I was living what the Romans called Mos Maiorum or ‘The Way of Our Ancestors‘.
To be a good citizen meant a career, or at least in my case, a stint in the Military, Politics, and the Law or Civil Service.
“No-one could be so unimaginative, so intellectually idle that he would not be fascinated to know how and under what sort of constitution Rome came to conquer and rule almost the whole of the inhabited world. They did this in less than fifty-three years and all alone. A feat which is not found to have happened before. No-one could be so obsessed by any other kind of spectacle or interest as to consider it a more valuable subject for study than this.”
Three Aspect of Citizenship
MILITARY – My time in the military came to an honorable conclusion. I was a Sea Cadet in High School and by the time I graduated, I shipped off to boot camp. Something drew me to the Navy. Nothing as cheesy as a romance with sea or anything, just something about Wooden ships and Iron men.
My hitch lasted 6 years of active duty reserves. I went right home from Great Lakes Boot Camp, never going Fleet. They don’t let you do THAT anymore. So for 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks in the summer, I get to cross this one off the list.
POLITICS – Unmitigated disaster. Of course this is most likely due to the fact that by ‘politics’, I meant the radical kind. For several years I tried very hard everyday to burn the world down, I did not succeed.
If things circle the drain as my young self had convinced himself they would, I will look back on the nineties and say ‘I told you so’ to all of my detractors. Time will tell. At least I did not permanently screw my life up.
You won’t get a follow up post on this.
Rest easy that I never did anything bad to someone who did not deserve it. I do think you can peer into a window to these days by reading Brent Truitt’s GUEST POST.
LAW – Here at last I found the juxtaposition of my various strengths and interests.
Some combination of juvenile traits, stubbornness, machismo, and vanity, had a legal education as third on my list behind the above two. Fate is a funny thing.
Law school was the first thing that really challenged me. Studying for the Bar was the hardest thing I have done. That test is no joke.
Here is a separate post on why/how I ended up with a career in law. I also have a post on choosing a law school. Later I will write one about navigating that ever so frustrating period of time right after graduation.
I have always practiced in the criminal law field. At this point, I am probably close to useless in civil law.
My Law degree has provided me with a fulfilling job, a place in my community, and a certain amount of professional pride.
Mos Maiorum teaches that a fully engaged citizen has some hand in the mechanisms of his own government. He understands sacrifice to and for the State. And ultimately that the State serves the People. A Republic, under the Rule of Law, with a citizen army.
I think many of us who choose FIRE are healthy cells in an otherwise sick organism.
I do think from time to time in the PF universe, it’s appropriate to address non financial aspects of our world. Understanding the macro culture in which an economy exists is important. It can go a long way in deciding what personal choices will get you to your goal.
I think I will come back to this topic of Mos Maiorum a few times. If only to give some context to the path that I find myself on today. Sharing our common, or perhaps divergent, life experiences may shed light on some universal truths. Maybe even lead a person to right thinking squared away financial health. A noble goal indeed.