“Nathaniel Hicks was obliged to admire a simple, unlimited integrity that accepted as the law of nature such elevated concepts as the Military Academy’s Duty-Honor-Country, convinced that those were the only solid goods; that everyone knew what the words meant.
“They needed no gloss–indeed it probably never crossed General Beal’s mind that they could be glossed, that books had been written to show that Country was a delusive projection of the individual’s ego; and that there were men who considered it the part of intelligence to admit that Honor was a hypocritical social sanction protecting the position of a ruling class; or that Duty was self-interest as it appeared when sanctions like Honor had fantastically distorted it. In his simplicity, General Beal, apprised of such intellectual views, would probably retort by begging the question; what the hell kind of person thought things like that?
“Formal logic was outraged; but common sense must admit he had something there. Few ideas could be abstract enough to be unqualified by the company they kept.”
James Gould Cozzens, Guard of Honor