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01 December 2010

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John Minnerath

I was surprised at how many came out of the closet and crawled out from under rocks in support of that life style no matter what the consequences.
Don't blame you for being sick of it all.

Patrick Lang

JM

I deleted some of the worst. I will not provide them a platform for their efforts on this. They want that because of the SST audience. When they realize that I won't give them that, they become quite abusive. I guess they are accustomed to bullying people in the academic/media environment. pl

Cal

To be frank I don't care if someone is gay...live and let live and all that rot.
But basically people should keep their particularities or whatever to themselves...genetically inspired or not.

There is such a thing as "norms" in/of society and 'norms" I would think, in the military culture also. So I can imagine in a military enviroment some 'differences' would cause problems.
Contrary to the ultra liberal hand wringers attitudes, 'individual rights' don't always trump
the collective good of a group.
But I haven't been in the military so my opinion is just personal opinion, not experience.

Twit

Col,

I'm trying to understand this debate. Many Americans today rarely need to subordinate their rights, desires, or interests to that of anything larger than themselves. Forget about "a last full measure of devotion" when people don't even devote a partial measure to any particular community or even principle (except maybe for the profit of their employer, some half-baked ideology, or misplaced 'loyalty' to a commercial brand - in which case it often manifests itself as obsequiousness or mindless repetition of others' ideas). This is the central conflict between being an American Consumer versus an American Citizen.

I am thoroughly a civilian, but as a citizen, I still understand that members of the military devote themselves to a community that - as a community, not as individuals - is sometimes asked die and to kill for our country. Would we really even have a military if there wasn't something special, something different about that community. Without the specialness of the military, wouldn't we just have a bigger Blackwater?

Intellectually I support the repeal of DADT as a civil rights issue (I was convinced actually by the arguments of a gay former soldier). BUT at the same time I also know that I don't truly know what I'm talking about. Because I respect the uniqueness of their community (and think it's important), I defer to military people to know what is best on this, and recommend other citizens do as well.

Just try it - deference based on actual thought and principle not only feels good, it's actually good for America.

ae

Col. Lang,

Even though I think I still disagree, I am not among those offended by your views on this subject. Thanks to you it now seems to me a far closer call than I had once assumed.

But, agree or disagree, I value your views, and I am glad you opened the discussion, participated in it actively, and let it run as long as you did, despite the weariness it occasioned for you. Thanks for that.

Your overarching point (that the military is a way of life and a community, in the nature of which the rights of the group must prevail over those of the individual) seems unassailable to me. And moreover, at least partly transferable even to civilian life: rights are the obverse of duties, and without a community in acknowledged duties, there can be no practical observance of rights. I think this is a deep lesson liberals (and libertarians) can learn from true conservatives, and I'm glad you are here to teach it.

Someday, when your weariness has passed, I wish you would share your thoughts about the desegregation of the armed forces following Truman's executive order. I know that the cases are not entirely analogous, but I also know that at least some of the ojections of today were voiced then as well, and that the precedent, to the extent it is perceived as one, has tremendous force for those who favor the end of DADT.

Was that earlier, pioneering move toward 'social justice' in the military context also frought with the same dangers for the military's role? Did it exact a comparable toll? If so, was it worth it nonethess? Or should it rather have waited on developments in the civilian world?

All of these are genuine (not rhetorical) questions. I can imagine quite a range of fair-minded answers to them, but I lack the knowledge of the military and historical contexts, to confidently venture any myself. I can only observe what seems to be a widly successful outome, now, where scrupulous social justice and undoubted readiness & effectiveness seem to walk hand in hand. But it is many years on, and so how much of that success is due to the passage of time, I cannot say.

Sorry: this comment feels like it wants to weasel around your 'comments closed' injunction and that was not my intention. I won't mind at all if you don't publish it. I mostly wanted to thank you for the original discussion, and assure you that not all of your more liberal, gay-rights-supporting readership is deaf to the issues you raised there.

Patrick Lang

ae

Ah. I see now that i didn't shut off comment on my admin post. Nevertheless I appreciate your comment. In re desegregation of the armed forces, there had been four regiments of Black troops in the Regular Army since just after the Civil War and a couple of Black Divisions in both world wars. It was clear that these men were good soldiers. Only social prejudice argued against integration of units. That seems to me to be quite different from open service of a group of people with a profoundly different life style from the rural and small town americans who make up most of the enlisted force. The military will survive but the degree of stress imposed on the force from a forced integration of this kind is the question at hand. pl

Michael Moore

Col. Lang,

It disheartens me to read that you are considering ending SST over dealing with opposing DADT commenters. I would urge you to reconsider. Even though I disagree with you on this issue I very much enjoy reading your blog and find it highly interesting and educational.

Sincerely,
Michael Moore

Patrick Lang

MM

No. I meant that if the audience gets small enough I would feel justified in stopping. As it is there are so many people now in government and the military who read it that I have no choice but to continue. pl

Charles I

I didn't weigh in before, but I adopt Twit's penultimate paragraph.

Another couple three of generations of kids may change things.

Being too offended by disagreement to listen to, or accord any legitimacy to those who have been, and will go there, "on principle" in this existential context is irrational, yet apparently SOP for large % of citizens and pols alike.

Thanks for moving me from that default position!

Mark Gaughan

Pat,
You wrote: "i have other things to do." Well then, by all means, go do them.
Mark

Patrick Lang

Mark

I'll think about it. pl

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