A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.
John Stuart Mill
Just in time for Veterans Day! David Masciotra at Salon has a piece that perfectly encapsulates the contempt and hate many on the left have for those who serve in our military. The opening paragraph is a treasure trove of the pre-occupations of leftists in this country:
Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible.
1. Anti-white racism? Check.
2. Contempt for American culture? Check.
3. Hatred of patriotism? Check.
4. Paranoia about authoritarianism and/or totalitarianism for those who do not share the political views of the left? Check.
Left wingers in this country once upon a time did not have such unbridled contempt for military service. During WW2 all of FDR’s sons went into combat. Paul Douglas, a University of Chicago Professor who went on after the War to be a liberal Democrat senator from Illinois, enlisted as a private in the Marines at age 50, and earned two Purple Hearts in hellish combat in the Pacific in WW2 that left him with a disabled left arm, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
The change in the attitude towards the military came about due to the Cold War where Communists were the enemy, the left always having a large faction that could not regard Communists as enemies but rather perceived them as allies, at least of a sort. This inability to support one’s nation against foreign adversaries has become the norm on the left and Masciotra’s article is simply a very honest expression of that hostility to all things military, and those who serve in the military, which arises from opposition to the role the United States plays in the world.
Those who serve in our military have no greater say about our international policies than the rest of us. They are left to carry out the frequently grim business of fighting when the civilian leadership decides that war is necessary. Simple fairness should enable even critics of a particular war to honor those who serve our nation in such a conflict at risk of their lives. However, simple fairness and the left in this country have not been on speaking terms for a very, very long time.