How Not to Defend a Castle, by David Carlin

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*Image: Allegory with a Virgin (or Allegory of Chastity) by Hans Memling, [Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris]

By David Carlin, The Catholic Thing, Dec. 13, 2019

David Carlin is a professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

David CarlinLet’s suppose you’re the defender of a medieval castle.  And let’s suppose your castle is under an attack by an enemy – an enemy who, if he prevails, will raze your castle to the ground and scatter its inhabitants to the winds.

Your castle has four walls – a north wall, a south wall, an east wall, and a west wall.  You have 1,000 men to defend the castle, and you have evenly distributed them so that 250 defend each of the four walls.

A few minutes ago you discovered that the enemy, whose men outnumber yours by about five or six to one, has thrown all his forces into a major assault on one of your walls, the west wall.  What will you do?  Which option will you choose?

(a) Will you pull most of your men away from the north, south, and east walls, re-assigning them to the defense of the west wall?

(b) Or will you leave 250 men each at the north, south, and east walls, while at the same time telling most of the men at your west wall (the wall under assault) that it’s time for them to take a break for lunch? ….


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