Jack London.

A good soldier online

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University of California Berkeley


By the Postmaster General

Here is "A Good Soldier," by Jack London, which has
aroused the militarists of this nation to the extent that
Postmaster General Burleson has barred from the mails
envelopes containing this article. The APPEAL TO REASON
was threatened with a "fraud order" if it persisted in
sending envelopes through the mails containing London's
article. The Postmaster General did not even give the
APPEAL a chance in the courts. He said: "Either stop
circulating 'A Good Soldier' on envelopes or we will
close up your doors by refusing to deliver a single piece
of mail to you." So in "Free America" the APPEAL has
been forced by a War Censor to take this means to circu-
late Jack London's criticism of the soldier profession:

* * * *

A Good Soldier


Young man, the lowest aim in your life is
to be a good soldier. The good soldier never
tries to distinguish right from wrong. He never
thinks; never reasons; he only obeys. If he is
ordered to fire on his fellow citizens, on his
friends, on his neighbors, on his relatives, he
obeys without hesitation. If he is ordered to


fire down a crowded street when the poor are
clanioring for bread, he obeys, and sees the
gray hairs of age stained with red and the
life-tide gushing from the breasts of women,
feeling neither remorse nor sympathy. If he
is ordered off as one of a firing squad to exe-
cute a hero or benefactor, he fires without hesi-
tation, though he knows the bullet will pierce
the noblest heart that ever beat in human

A good soldier is a blind, heartless, soul-
less, murderous machine. He is not a man.
He is not even a brute, for only kill in
self-defense. All that is human in him, all that
is divine in him, all that constitutes the man,
has been sworn away when he took the enlist-
ment oath. His mind, conscience, aye, his very
soul, are in the keeping of his officer.

No man can fall lower than a soldier it
is a depth beneath which we cannot go.

[If you want to know more abo\it Socialism or how to join the
Socialist party, write to the Appeal to Reason, Girard, Kan. Th
Appeal to Reason is a weekly paper and costs 50 cents a year.]

Hollinger Corp.

Hollinger Corp.


Online LibraryJack LondonA good soldier → online text (page 1 of 1)