Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I would  suggest that one of the many benefits given to the service by THE NAVAL REVIEW is the help it gives to the development of the balanced view.  Sometimes one may read in it a rather extreme article but with an assurance that in a later number a friendly reasoned reply will give a better balanced view on the subject. Thus, a sounder judgment on the ever arising problems is developed. The importance of this cannot be over-estimated; the extremist, be he the man with an idea, or a critic, is not allowed to get away with it unchallenged as too often he is in literature and the Press. Not that one must ever underrate the extremist's value. If one has an idea and the courage to advance it, it is human to overstress one's strong points, leaving to another to point out the risks involved; there are always two sides to a case. Balance of mind is vital in big decisions; but if your mind is too well balanced, you are apt to be safe rather than enterprising. Few great things can be accomplished without taking risks and, if you are a Nelson, balancing them correctly. Every advanced thinker seems at the moment to be an extremist; so I hope THE NAVAL REVIEW will keep its pages open to the extreme enthusiast, while cultivating the balanced view.

It is not always that a balanced view can be gained merely by deep thought; sometimes too much thinking may unbalance the mind. Practical test and experience is frequently necessary to find the correct balance. If we look back at some of the larger problems that disturbed naval equanimity, we find that conflict of opinions led to two issues: should the new road advocated be rejected, or should we move along it slowly and cautiously ?

From the 1951 issue of the THE NAVAL REVIEW, Quarterly Journal of independent professional debate of the Royal Navy.

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