One day John approached his elderly friend Frederick in the countryside surrounding the city which both called home. The city, that place which of old is called Atra Flumen, was threatened with war by it's rivals. As the offending legions trekked along the the war path, the city's magistrates had begun to call forth all able-bodied men to meet the enemy in combat. Under such dire circumstances, John sought out his old friend to discuss which course of action should be taken.
Frederick! Noble soul I call you, rightfully counted as wise by the men of this good city, if not indeed the denizens of all the world over. It is in the greatest dismay that I have sought you, that which is born of uncertainty. The choices that appear before me are as two mighty rivers, but the tributaries I cannot discern. All men who can serve in the army have been called to protect the name and mortar of the city, and see driven all who claim enmity with us. But I cannot risk my life, as I have a new-born child and a wife to whom I must attend.
John, surely you don't therefore expect that you are released from your obligation? War is a collector of widows and orphans. Your situation is far from unique. The freedom and peace of your youth was purchased with the blood of those who came before, and by your sacrifice you will preserve it for your child. What would he think of his father, who languished beneath the high walls of the city, benefiting always by the services of the rest of society, if when the time came, he remained unmoved when summoned to repay his debt?
But is that not the gift of my homeland? That my life be always free from weregild of any type? The sacrifice of my ancestors is wasted if any coercive force should influence me, unless it were of my own conscience.
Ah you speak truly. Yet some bondage cannot be broken unless all ties with fellow man be shattered alongside. For as long as you benefit from the aspects of the city which you count as good, you must also bear all hardships. In choosing freely to live in the city, you have accepted the laws therein.
And if the law is unjust? By the virtue of my birth must I support the decrees of a tyrant? For many rules I have judged in my own heart to be unjust. By virtue of my very residence am I obligated to ignore my own conscience and submit to such edicts?
If your will is unsatisfied with the law only three options are open to your spirit, if it is noble. Either peaceful legislation in support of justice accorded to your vision, or failing there, the instigation of open revolution against injustice. But in lieu of that, or in failure, the option is ever open to simply remove yourself from the society your heart deems intolerable. A noble soul cannot abide naked injustice, thus speaks courage. To remain under what is witnessed as tyranny or injustice, for sake of comfort, thus coaxes cowardice.
It seems to me that to flee the city in the time of dire need is unbecoming of an honorable man.
The honor of each decision is according to the heart that makes it. The avenues available have been brought to stronger light, but I cannot influence you in any direction.
Speaking thus, the two men parted ways, the old man and the young would-be soldier. Both left with expected conflict demanding attention. While one took up arms, the other wrestled constantly with the doubt and unknowing of the human condition.