“Liberty and Discipline” refers to the delicate balance between individual freedom and collective order within a society or organization. Read More Class 11 English Summaries.
Liberty and Discipline Summary
Liberty and Discipline Summary in English:
Liberty is the freedom to think what we like, say what we like, work at what we like and go where we like. Discipline is the training of mind and character. It trains people to obey rules and orders and punishes them if they don’t. In short, discipline is a restraint on liberty.
So man has a very natural inclination to avoid it. But since ancient times, man has no option but to accept it. If everybody did what he wanted, there would be complete disorder in the world. There would be the law of the jungle.
From all history we have learnt that whenever the sense of order or discipline fades in a nation, its economic life declines. Its standard of living falls and its security vanishes. Then the nation goes into the hands of either some more virile militant power or a dictator.
Then both of them impose their own brand of discipline. Somehow, eventually, discipline is again enforced. Now the question is not “Shall we accept discipline ?” Sooner or later we have to accept it. So the question is “How shall we accept it ?” Shall it be imposed by physical violence and fear or accepted by consent and understanding. However, the discipline imposed forcibly is not discipline. That is dictatorship. The discipline that comes from our inside is pure discipline.
Here the writer describes an incident which took place when he was a brand new second lieutenant. Once he was walking on to parade. A private soldier passed him and saluted him. The writer acknowledged his salute with an airy wave of the hand. Just then, his Colonel came there along with the Regimental Sergeant Major.
He rebuked the writer for not returning a salute properly. He punished the writer for this. He said to the Major, “Plant your staff in the ground and let Mr Slim practise until he does know how to return a salute !” After about ten minutes, he called the writer up to him and said, “Now remember, discipline begins with the officers.”
If a man holds a position of authority, he must impose discipline on himself first. It is true that if he gives orders, they will be obeyed. But he should keep in mind that he can build up the leadership of his team on the discipline based on understanding only.
In order to inculcate a sense of discipline in his subordinates, an officer must first realize his own responsibility. He must display high standards of discipline in his own life. Only then can his teaching or his instructions have an effect on his subordinates.
No doubt, discipline puts some checks on our freedom. But it does not cut down individual freedom. In fact, it is the foundation of all freedom. It makes man truly free. It enables man to live in a community and yet retain individual liberty.
So it is not at all derogatory for any man or woman. Rather it is ennobling. Without discipline, no nation can overcome any economic or military crisis. Democracy means that responsibility is decentralised. And no one can avoid doing something he should do. But it is very sad that many of us shirk our share of work. If everyone of us really works,
we can overcome any sort of crisis. But all that takes discipline pure discipline that comes from inside. We think more of liberty than of responsibility. We should always keep in mind that we can never get anything without paying something for it. And in this case, liberty is no exception. We can have discipline without liberty. But we cannot have liberty without discipline.
Liberty and Discipline Translation in English
Field Marshal Sir William Slim, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, held the highest office in the British Army. He is well qualified to speak on the subject of discipline and the relation it bears to liberty?. This chapter has been condensed from an article contributed by Sir William Slim to The Fortnightly, London. This will be of special interest to all those who are rightly worried about the general disquiet for lack of discipline both at the personal and the national level.
When you get into your car or on your bicycle, you can choose where you want to go. That is liberty. But, as you drive or ride through the streets, you will keep to the left of the road. That is discipline.
There are four reasons why you will keep to the left :
- Your own advantage
- Consideration for others
- Confidence in your fellows; and
- Fear of punishment.
It is the relative weight which we give to each of these reasons that decides what sort of discipline we have. And that can vary from the pure self-discipline of the Sermon on the Mount to the discipline of the concentration camp, the enforced discipline of fear. In spite of all our squabbles, the British are united when it comes to the most of the things that matter and liberty is one of them.
We believe in freedom to think what we like, say what we like, work at what we like, and go where we like. Discipline is a restraint on liberty, so many of us have a very natural inclination to avoid it. But we cannot. Man, ever since the dim prehistoric past, has had no option but to accept the discipline of some kind. For a modern man, living in complex communities, in which every individual is dependent on others, discipline is more than ever unavoidable.
All history teaches that when through either idleness, weakness or faction, the sense of order fades in a nation, its economic life sinks into decay, then, as its standard of living falls and security vanishes, one of two things happens.
Either some more virile militant power steps in to impose its own brand of discipline or a dictator arises and clamps down the iron control of the police state. Somehow, eventually, discipline is again enforced. The problem is not; “Shall we accept discipline ?”
sooner or later we have to; it is “How shall we accept it ?” Shall it be imposed by physical violence and fear, by grim economic necessity, or accepted by consent and understanding ? Shall it come from without or from within ? The word “discipline” for some flashes on the screen of the mind a jackbooted commissar bawling commands across the barrack square at tramping squads. But that is dictatorship, not discipline. The voluntary, reasoned discipline accepted by free, intelligent men and women is another thing. It is binding on all, from top to bottom.
One morning, long ago, as a brand new second lieutenant, I was walking on to parade. A private soldier passed me and saluted. I acknowledged his salute with an airy wave of the hand. Suddenly behind me, a voice rasped out my name.
I spun round and there was my Colonel, for whom I had a most wholesome respect, and with him the Regimental Sergeant Major, of whom also I stood in some awe . “I see,” said the Colonel, “you don’t know how to return a salute. Sergeant Major, plant your staff in the ground, and let Mr Slim practise saluting it until he does know how to return a salute !”
So to and fro I marched in sight of the whole battalion, saluting the Sergeant Major’s cane. (I could cheerfully have murdered the Colonel, the Sergeant Major, and my grinning9 fellow-subalterns.) At the end of ten minutes, the Colonel called me up to him. All he said was : “Now remember, discipline begins with the officers !”
And so it does. The leader must be ready, not only to accept a higher degree of responsibility but a severer standard of self – discipline than those he leads. If you hold a position of authority, whether you are the managing director or the charge-head, you must impose discipline on yourself first. Then forget the easy way of trying to enforce
it on others by just giving orders and expecting them to be obeyed’. You will give orders and you will see they are obeyed, but you will only build up the leadership of your team on the discipline of understanding. There is more to a soldier’s discipline than blind obedience and to take men into your confidence is not a new technique invented in the last war.
Summary of Liberty and Discipline
Oliver Cromwell demanded that every man in his new model army should “know what he fights for, and love what he knows. Substitute work for fight and you have the essence of industrial discipline too to know what you work for and to love what you know. it is only discipline that enables men to live in a community and yet retain individual liberty.
Sweep away or under mine discipline, and security for the weak and the poor vanishes. That is why, far from it being derogatory” for any man or woman voluntarily to accept discipline, it is ennobling.
Totalitarian discipline with its slogan shouting masses is deliberately designed to submerge the individual. The discipline a man imposes on himself because he believes intelligently that it helps him to get a worthwhile job done to his own and his country’s benefit, fosters character and initiative’.
It makes a man do his work, without being watched, because it is worth doing. in the blitzt of the last war not a man of the thousands of British railway signalmen even left his post. They stood, often in the heart of the target areas, cooked up in flimsy buildings, surrounded by glass, while the bombs screamed down. They knew what they worked for, they knew its importance to others and to their country and they put their job before themselves.
That was discipline. No nation even got out of a difficult position, economic or military, without discipline. Democracy means that responsibility is decentralized and that no one can shirk his share of the strain. And some of us, a lot of us, in all walks of life, do not. If everyone not only the other fellows we are always pointing at really worked when we were supposed to be working, we should beat our economic crisis hollow.
That takes discipline based not only on ourselves, but backed by a healthy public opinion. We are apt these days to think more of liberty than of responsibility but, in the long run, we never get anything worth having without paying something for it. Liberty is no exception. You can have discipline without liberty, but you cannot have liberty without discipline.
How it all began Summary