- The strictest military discipline imaginable is still looser than that prevailing in the average assembly-line. The soldier, at worst, is still able to exercise the highest conceivable functions of freedom -- that is, he or she is permitted to steal and to kill. No discipline prevailing in peace gives him or her anything remotely resembling this. The soldier is, in war, in the position of a free adult; in peace he or she is almost always in the position of a child. In war all things are excused by success, even violations of discipline. In peace, speaking generally, success is inconceivable except as a function of discipline. (from H.L. Mencken, "Reflections on War" [edited]).
- The answer We commonly look on the discipline of war as vastly more rigid than any discipline necessary in time of peace, but this is an error. is correct.
- The topic sentence must emphasise the comparative nature of the paragraph. Mencken does argue that soldiers need discipline, but this is not all he argues in this paragraph. Likewise, while soldiers may well serve an important function in wartime, and while they may well be able to compete well in peacetime, neither of these points is discussed in the paragraph.