The Left and the Military

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Mon, Dec 1 - 9:00 am EST | 3 years ago by
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    Lines of Departure: Military and the Left

    Ever wonder why the Left concentrates so closely on using the military to promote social change, be it Truman ordering integration, or sneaking around the Uniform Code of Military Justice with “Don’t ask, Don’t tell,” before memetically morphing DADT into the worst thing since Auschwitz, or, most recently, pushing for integration of women into the ground gaining combat arms? A lot of folks assume that it’s just because the Left hates the military, hates the United States, and wants to do everything they can to undermine and ruin both. I won’t say there aren’t people like that (and, be it noted, there seems to have arisen a fair number of folks who hate the United States and are on the far Right), but I don’t think that’s it in the main.

    Rather, as I’ve said here before – and I know people sometimes have trouble believing it – it’s that the Left’s ultimate articulable value and principle, their core article of faith, is the notion of the malleability and “perfectibility” of man via training, education, social engineering, propagandization, and relentless, merciless nagging. Some, more realistic types like Bill Ayers’ Weathermen colleagues, thought they’d have to kill about an eighth of the United States population, about a fifth of the adults, to get anywhere, after taking power, but they were still about training and re-education. The to-be-killed? Oh, those would be the ones who didn’t accommodate themselves to re-education.

    Don’t think that’s core to the leftist world view? Note, then, Lenin’s notion of “New Soviet Man.” Note, further, the initial draft of the SDS’s Port Huron Statement, “Man is… infinitely perfectible.”1 Note the degree to which liberal-leaning and leftist sorts go into academic training and education, or acquire the ability to nag en masse via taking over most of the media and publishing. (Oh, puh-leeze, of course they have.) Contemplate their almost universal faith in things like rehabilitation of criminals.

    Their problem here is that, article of faith notwithstanding, Lenin and the Soviet Union failed. Mao’s Great Leap Forward? His Cultural Revolution? Failed and failed. Pol Pot? After three or so million of his own people murdered, the Khmer Rouge failed. And Ho’s Vietnam barely tried, post war, and didn’t succeed, despite having a number of odd and deeply engrained cultural features that made socialism look like a good and acceptable idea to Vietnamese.

    And yet people look at the military – they’ve been looking at the military since at least the time of Sparta’s Lycurgus – and see what they think is profound change, change that goes against human nature, change against self-interest, change of people into something that simply, they think, cannot be natural. Thus, even if they don’t know how to create the change, how to form man as they think he ought to be, this week, they are certain it can be done. How else can the armed forces have so completely and painlessly integrated the races? How else can we so routinely get people to become altruistic even unto death?

    The problem is that none of that – literally none of it – is true. We change no one profoundly. If we had someone we could seemingly change profoundly, it would be because he was completely lacking in character, and we could get that appearance only while he was under close supervision. Let the 4th Mongolian Shock Horde show up, with malice in their hearts, and upon their arrival, the appearance we’d get from that spineless jellyfish is of his back as he ran away. We get altruism and courage because people are raised with them in our society. The armed forces can, at best, not undermine those and can reward where they’re demonstrated. They cannot create them.

    Integration? In the combat arms – where the living is very hard, much harder than liberal sentiment would permit in civil life; much harder than we ought to want civil life to be – we’ve had some degree of success. In other branches? Not really, no. Black, white, brown, yellow, and red will work together, generally amicably, but they rarely become true friends and comrades. The occasional exceptions are just that, exceptional.

    But the Left doesn’t see that. They see apparent harmony and assume, because of that core article of faith on the malleability of man, that the appearance is real. I suspect it would hurt too much to dig into it if, in doing so, they risked discovering or discovered that nothing like what they assume is going on is actually going on. It would be like a Catholic discovering the Pope is an atheist, I think.

    Check of proof. Go here.

    That is Margaret Carlson, ex-Capitol Gang, JD from George Washington University Law School, demonstrably not a dummy. In that column, Carlson bewails Sexual Violence in the Military. Here’s the problem with that; there is less of it in the military than in civil life, to include especially civil life on college campuses.2 So if one is sniveling about the problem in the military, and the military has less of a problem than the society from which it springs, I think one has to also be assuming that the military could do much better that it is. Why? How? Because they can form character and perfect malleable man like nothing else, of course. At least, I can’t see another way to arrive at the logic Carlson is using there.

    The other thing, and the thing I suspect underlies that core article of faith in the malleability of man, is that the Left seems to have a kind of childish faith in what amount to magic. Example, using the Truman example, again, they see the order for integration, and they see the current appearance of racial harmony. Wow; it was instant, it was just that easy, like…magic.

    The problem is that a) we took about eighty years to develop a corps of fine black officers and NCOs, beforehand – no magic there – and b) it was hardly easy or cost free. Our post integration performance in Korea was iffy, and when the Army collapsed – which it did – during Vietnam, race was a huge component of that collapse.

    ____________

    1 http://www.sds-1960s.org/PortHuronStatement-draft.htm

    2 Here’s a place to start researching that: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/harassing-military_738058.html

    Don’t miss last week’s column… War Games: Why They Don’t Work.

    Next week: Universal Soldier or How Bright People Can Have Such Poor Vision.

    Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.

    Note: If you follow the retail links in this post and make purchases on the site(s), Defy Media may receive a share of the proceeds from your sale through the retailer’s affiliate program.

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      • Tom Kratman
        • Kori

          The link in the article has been fixed. Thanks.

        • Tom Kratman

          Thanks, Kori. I figured that one I could sortakindamaybe fix myself.

      • clark myers

        Hard to see in context but the link in place picked up a terminal dot – drop the dot and it works.

      • Tom Kratman

        Easier to just post my own.

      • Ori Pomerantz

        It seems the left is big on using the military as a tool, but not so big on learning how to operate the military. God helps us!

        • Tom Kratman

          It’s too painful for most of them to contemplate, I think. Oh, for the days of Engels, who knew what a miliary was good for and approved.

        • Ori Pomerantz

          “Oh, for the days of”? Isn’t it better for one’s enemies to be as incompetent as possible?

        • Tom Kratman

          Not altogether clear to me Engles and I would have to have been enemies.

        • Duffy L. Sauers

          Well that is creepier then when a Sociologist told me that Marx was the first Feminist, and Jesus was Black. I also learned from said Sociologist that Jezebel of Bible fame was originally an Earth Goddess who was Demonized by the male dominated Hebrews, for being Independent. I managed to keep a straight face while in here class.

        • Ori Pomerantz

          This isn’t the first time I heard such statements. You have to remember that Engels lived when most of the economy was still run by aristocrats. Rocoberti types, not Carrera types.

          BTW, were Deborah and Jael also demonized by said Hebrews? You might want to ask the Sociologist about it after you get your final grade.

      • Pugmak

        There’s another angle, I think, as well.

        The Thought Bosses ( the meme makers and narrative inventors) know full well that they can’t have their perfect utopia omelet without a complaint military to do all or most of the necessary egg breaking.

        This is what’s driving so much of the domestic enemies in their panicked need to “transform” our military.

        The system is close enough now to critical mass that they know the blood bathing will go against them if the military is not dismantled and remade into something useful for them in enforcing the “new” America.

      • Iron Spartan

        The idea of confronting sexual assault in college campuses is verboten. The left owns most of those institutions and any perceived criticism of those institutions is an attack on the left itself.

        The person is disposable, the figure head is not. This is also a common theme of the left. Which is why women should always be believed over a man, unless that man is someone like Bill Clinton. Then she’s just a trailer whore who deserved whatever she got. This thinking is common in 3rd world militaries, and is why Leftists think that the military is more supporting of their causes than it is.

        I submit that many of the worst problems in our military today is the near impossibility to fail someone out of Basic. Because they should be able to be fixed by the training, otherwise the idea of the perfectible man becomes lost. Such things also cannot be allowed to happen.

        • NicciFredericpdo

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        • Steven Schwartz

          “The idea of confronting sexual assault in college campuses is verboten.
          The left owns most of those institutions and any perceived criticism of
          those institutions is an attack on the left itself.”

          Considering that most of the efforts against sexual assault on campuses is come from the left, this is a risible paragraph indeed.

        • Tom Kratman

          I think perhaps you and IS have a semantic issue going on there, Steven. Yes, the left is as the forefront of condemning it and instituting any number of, frankly,. really weird rules to combat it, or at least to give the appearance of combating it. What you don’t seem able to confront is that those rules are largely ineffectual, often unjust in their application, given to fomenting witch hunts and supporting witch trials (can you say, “Duke Lacrosse Team”?) and that the only ways to effectively combat it is something you really don’t want to do, which are either eliminate co-education or make it a capital offense, which would also require getting rid of something that is constitutionally highly suspect.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “given to fomenting witch hunts and supporting witch trials (can you say, “Duke Lacrosse Team”?”

          I start here because it makes the case simple: Yes, I can. And it’s one case. If we discarded attempted policies because of one or two high-profile problems, we’d rapidly have run out of policy ideas. After all, non-coeducational facilities didn’t prevent sexual assault on campus — it just meant that it wasn’t assault of other *students* that was the problem.

          “Yes, the left is as the forefront of condemning it and instituting any
          number of, frankly,. really weird rules to combat it, or at least to
          give the appearance of combating it.”

          What evidence do you have for your imputation of bad faith here, other than that it fits with the “our people can do no wrong” narrative you and IS allege the left has?

          “and that the only ways to effectively combat it…”

          Well, this: http://www.vawnet.org/Assoc_Files_VAWnet/AR_EvaluationCampusProgramming.pdf suggests a variety of approaches, and describes the measures of their success. Given that a) no one in their right mind expects an *elimination* of sexual assault on campuses, given that we have never been able to eliminate it anywhere else, and b) there are many approaches still being explored, I find it far too early to close the book and say “We can only combat it by eliminating co-educational systems.”

          IS said: ” The left owns most of those institutions and any perceived criticism of those institutions is an attack on the left itself.”

          As I said — if any criticism of higher education is an attack on the left, on this issue the attacks are coming from *inside*.

        • Patrick

          All the attacks are on “frat boys”, aka middle-to-upper-class, white, heterosexual males, not the institutions themselves. All the remedies are focused on giving the institutions more power through unaccountable panels, unencumbered by due process.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Actually, if you bother to look at Title IX complaints *against universities* — not against students — you’ll see a wide range of institutions being challenged, largely trying to *increase* the amount of accountability and transparency in the process.

        • Tom Kratman

          There are no other, similar cases, then, and every claim of rape must automatically be presumed valid? Ahem. Jeez, why even bother with a trial?

          I imputed stupidity, not exactly bad faith. The preferences for appearances over reality seem so deeply a part of the left wing POV that they are incapable of even seeing it, hence not bad faith.

          Please spare us cites to nonsense, unless you are also going to explain how the nonsense really isn’t, and will, or at least can, work.

          And Patrick’s already mentioned that the attacks appear to be entirely or almost entirely on evilbadwickednaughtybadbadbad and doubleplusungood straight white upper middle class males, not academia.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “There are no other, similar cases, then, and every claim of rape must automatically be presumed valid? Ahem. Jeez, why even bother with a trial?”

          As I said in the same paragraph — if we discarded policies due to one or two high-profile problems, we’d have run out of things to try. Heck; if we discarded idea based on one or two high-profile problems, the problems with tanks after the Battle of the Somme should have convinced anyone that they were hopeless, right?

          (Similarly; I do not hear people defending the death penalty giving up on it due to the fact that people now proven innocent were executed.)

          ” The preferences for appearances over reality seem so deeply a part of the left wing POV that they are incapable of even seeing it, hence not bad faith.”

          Ah; my apologies for presuming bad faith when, instead, you were demonstrating stereotypical thinking.

          “Please spare us cites to nonsense, unless you are also going to explain how the nonsense really isn’t, and will, or at least can, work.”

          Did you bother to look at the citation? It was about success rates of various different types of programs. If you want me to dig up more detailed citations that say that some of the “nonsense” and ‘really weird ways’ you talk about *are* effective at reducing campus sexual violence — not *eliminating*, because, as I said, that is never going to happen — but reducing it, I can, and will.

          “And Patrick’s already mentioned that the attacks appear to be entirely or almost entirely on evilbadwickednaughtybadbadbad and doubleplusungood straight white upper middle class males, not academia.”

          Given that Title IX complaints are against institutions, not individuals, for failures of policy and practice, Patrick was, quite simply, wrong.

          (I will also point out that many of the programs designed to reduce campus sexual violence are educational in nature, designed to increase empathy. If that’s an “attack”, then the people perceiving it as such must be remarkably thin-skinned, and are not perhaps ready for the academic environment.)

        • Tom Kratman

          Indeed, I was demonstrating steroetypical thinking on the part of the left.

          You will, of course, pardon me for being skeptical of that claimed effectiveness. I’m afraid Project 100000 convinced me that no such claims can be trusted.

          And, no, it seems that the Title IX complaints are either designed or have the effect Patrick mentioned, of causing academia to go after those badwickedevilnaughtbadbadbad doubleplusungood white males.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Indeed, I was demonstrating steroetypical thinking on the part of the left.”

          You were doing no such thing; you were *attributing* a thought pattern to an entire wide-ranging group of people. There was no “demonstration” anywhere near there.

          “You will, of course, pardon me for being skeptical of that claimed
          effectiveness. I’m afraid Project 100000 convinced me that no such
          claims can be trusted.”

          Ah; then I’ll stop wasting my time talking to you, since what you’re saying here is “I won’t consider any claims from social science that go against my ingrained assumptions/prejudices/conclusions” — in short, that you are immune to social science fact. Thank you for making that clear, so I don’t have to bother with your opinion or articles further, since I know their basis is your own (anecdotal) experience and whatever you feel like believing, rather than a grounding in the real world.

          “And, no, it seems that the Title IX complaints are either designed or
          have the effect Patrick mentioned, of causing academia to go after those
          badwickedevilnaughtbadbadbad doubleplusungood white males.”

          Such as the one against Morgan State? Oh, and did you bother *looking* at the complaints? “Go after” in the sense if “actually investigate and co-ordinate with authorities” rather than sweep under the rug — such a horror! How ever will the poor white men survive such a thing?

        • Tom Kratman

          No, Steven, just because you want to think that the special snowflakes and individualists of the left are not, in fact, the Stepford Wives at Tupperware Night, doesn’t change that, intrellectually, they are the Stepford Wives at Tupperware Night.

          Who you talk to and don’t is entirely up to you. I’ve still seen this kind of nonsense too much to accept it at face value. They’re a group of impeached witnesses, speaking from an impeached position, from a failed POV. Noscitur a Soccis, as we say.

          You can, as I suggested, try to convince me, if you care to, but you are rowing against the stream and I will not believe without some effort beyond, “Trust us, cuz we care and are sensitive and destest white males.”

        • Steven Schwartz

          “No, Steven, just because you want to think that the special snowflakes
          and individualists of the left are not, in fact, the Stepford Wives at
          Tupperware Night, doesn’t change that, intrellectually, they are the
          Stepford Wives at Tupperware Night.”

          IN other words, you’re not denying thinking in stereotypes; you’re just convinced your stereotype is true.

          “They’re a group of impeached witnesses, speaking from an impeached position, from a failed POV.”

          What? Social scientists? Or is it only social scientists you disagree with?

          “”Trust us, cuz we care and are sensitive and destest white males.”"

          So, you’d accept evidence of declining rates of sexual assault on campus — the very evidence you said you wouldn’t trust last post? Do, please, try and stick to one position on this, or at least be clear.

          So, I repeat: Do you want more detailed evidence of success rates in sexual assault prevention? Or will you just dismiss it?

        • Tom Kratman

          Yes, I think the stereotypes are true. I need more than numbers, Steven. Project 100000, liberal to the core and liberal from inception, quoted lots of numbers. They turned out to be fraudulent. Evidence of declining rates, even if true, would not necessarily mean that X program had a damned thing to do with it. So if you or the studies can isolate the program from the wider world, AND can prove honesty such as one almost never sees in life where a political question is concerned, I will consider it.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Yes, I think the stereotypes are true.”

          OK. Worth knowing, again.

          “So if you or the studies can isolate the program from the wider world,
          AND can prove honesty such as one almost never sees in life where a
          political question is concerned, I will consider it.”

          In other words, there is no realistic way to convince you, since numbers won’t work (apparently), and the plural of anecdote is not data.

          Thank you, again, for your honesty, even if it cuts out the possibility of useful dialogue.

        • Tom Kratman

          Do you mean you’re accepting the validity of those numbers without the data being filtered for outside influences, possibilities and independent variables? Wow.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “So if you or the studies can isolate the program from the wider world,”

          “Do you mean you’re accepting the validity of those numbers without the
          data being filtered for outside influences, possibilities and
          independent variables? Wow.”

          The data are examined with that in mind; that’s not the same as saying they can be *isolated* from it, since we are dealing with very complicated issues.

          Your standards appear to be shifting depending on whether or not you think someone can actually call you on them — that, or else you’re just being very unclear.

          The kind of “isolation” you want either a) is such SOP it hardly needs mentioning, or b) is so hard to do it’s nearly impossible to achieve. Which one are you after?

      • AussieTom

        Hi Mr Kratman,

        So what is the endgame here? Obviously this can’t continue.

        Will it be the classic tale of a bloated peacetime army getting torn a new one in a war?

        or is there a way to avoid the seeming inevitable outcome from denying reality>

        • Tom Kratman

          I’m sure there are ways to avoid it. I am even more sure that we will NOT avoid it.

        • KenWats

          Personally, I expect our peacetime Navy and Air Force to get the bejeezus kicked out of them. I don’t’ think the army will be materially involved much at all – at least not until it’s too late to matter.

      • Tom Kratman

        And, speaking of academia and spurious rape charges directed at those evilwickedbadnaughtybadbadbad white UMC frat males: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/05/rolling-stone-rape_n_6277308.html

      • Michael Geer

        Damn fine article, Tom

        • Tom Kratman

          Thanks, Michael.

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