Mark Greenblatt, City Journal
"Analyzing lists of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, Lindberg spots a trend: the percentage of citations that include a life-saving narrative has escalated markedly in the modern era. “The increasing emphasis on life-saving activity over time is so starkly apparent that it is tempting to conclude that no one will get the Congressional Medal of Honor any more simply for exacting a price on the enemy,” he writes. “Absent the saving function, the chance of a medal being awarded now seems vanishingly low.”
If the American military—the most powerful fighting force in the history of the world—reserves its highest honor not for killing the enemy but for saving lives, “then we have perhaps reached the point in the development of the modern world at which the modern, saving form of heroism has eclipsed the vestigial forms of classical heroism and their slaying ways for good,” Lindberg observes. And that raises a haunting question for the author: what if a slaying hero (or villain) arises outside of the modern egalitarian West? Considering the rise of ISIS, the assertiveness of Iran’s mullahs, and the belligerence of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, those anti-Western heroes may have arrived already. “Do we,” Lindberg asks, “generous in spirit and reluctant to slay as we are, have the capacity and will to resist?”"