“I’m often asked why someone with a penchant for philosophy and an academic life joins the Marine Corps. Why, some ask, does a scribe lower the pen to pick up the sword?” So begins this stirring and thought-provoking Independence Day address by Lt. Col. Scott McDonald, USMC, to attendees at Objectivist Summer Conference 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The more fundamental question, McDonald states, is: “What motivates an individual in a largely free society — one which is by and large free of coercion — to volunteer to accept some limits on his freedom and put his life at risk. Why, in short, does a free man fight?”

Disclaimer: Lt. Col. McDonald's opinions are his own, and there is no endorsement implied by the Department of Defense, the Department of the Navy or the United States Marine Corps.

Image: Irina Chebotareva via Shutterstock.com