Biloxi, Mississippi (Ammoland) THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered
That quote from Thomas Paine was originally delivered to an audience of American patriots on December 23, 1776. I might remind you that December of 1776 was not a happy time for the American Revolution. Washington’s Army had narrowly escaped total destruction not once, but twice, during the Battles of New York (Long Island) and White Plains.
The fervor over the attacks at Lexington and Concord and the elation felt after the British troops were driven out of Boston had begun to fade. December of 1776 was a time of great trepidation for those who supported independence from England and a country called the United States of America. In other words, it was not cool or hip to be a revolutionary. Quite the opposite, to many on the outside looking in it appeared as though the upstarts and rebels living in the British Colonies of the Americas would soon be brought to heel.
In the centuries that followed that bold speech, Paine’s quote has been referred to often by those whose desire is to inspire their fellow Americans. But what was Thomas Paine trying to tell the Americans at that time and offer to their posterity?
Using modern vernacular, Tom Paine was saying that it is easy to be a patriot when it is cool or popular to be so. When the majority or the mob seems to be supporting this cause or that, it is easy to join along. Everyone wants to be a part of the popular crowd.
But, what happens when the cause celeb is no longer popular or when outside forces attack the ideas and purpose of your cause? What happens when the winds of popularity turn cold and you become uncomfortable?
Sun Tzu’s Advice
In his book, The Art of War, Sun Tzu understood the concept of the summer soldier and sunshine patriot. In Book One of the Stephen F. Kaufman translation of the ancient Chinese work, Tzu states:
“War does not permit faltering of personal belief. Never seek to assuage the non-sympathetic in an attempt to convert them to your way of thinking.”
He goes on to advise regarding the ‘non-sympathetic’ “They serve no purpose other than to use up valuable resources and create dissension. Dispose of them.” Lastly on the subject of attempting to assuage or appease the non-believers, Tzu offered the following admonition.
“Never try to win someone over by changing your strategy in hopes of befriending them…False friends are worse than true enemies.“
Continue reading the entire article at the Patriot Fire Team site.