As I have often said on this site, so much of the
damage done to Our polity in the past forty biblical years has resulted from
the pols’ refusing to consider consequences and outcomes (possible, probable,
inescapable). So eager were they to get a chunk of the electoral demographic
pie created by their newly-embraced client-Identities that they refused to think
about – or simply ignored – the consequences of both a) “advocacy-group liberalism”
generally and b) the specific demands and agendas pushed their way for
rubber-stamping and (lavish) funding.
And as I noted in my essay on Catharine MacKinnon’s
1989 radical-feminist summa Towards a
Feminist Theory of the State (among other essays), ‘standards’ and ‘ideals’
were merely macho abstractions meant to sustain the hegemonic, dominant,
oppressive, and marginalizing reign of patriarchy. As Baudrillard said it
nicely: every ideal contains within itself the seeds of oppression.
Thus ‘character’ as an ‘ideal’ has to go because it
may well oppress. It will oppress you personally because now you will try to
repress and deform your naturally gooooood self and all its natural impulses (Rousseau)
in order to conform to the demands of this ‘ideal’ called ‘character’ which has
been imposed on you by the patriarchy or the dominant-cultural powers simply to
ruin your day (Boomers) or keep you subordinated to the status-quo (Marx and
derivative revolutionaries). And if you try to impart those ideals to others, then you are oppressing them.
Just “getcha sef freeeee” (Simon & Garfunkel)
and all will be well and the whole culture will gambol (Boomers) or march (cultural
revolutionaries) into the eternal summer of love on a Frisco beach (Boomers) or
into the brave new world of Correct thought and behavior (cultural
In any case, everybody would be liberated from
everything, except for the scripted oppressors, who would be ‘devalorized’ and
kicked to the curb. Along with all their pomps and all their works. Which would
Does Character limit or boundary natural human
impulses? Yes. Does it thus Shape a human being as an individual and as a
social participant? Yes. But Boundaries and Shapes also Ground humans, giving
them a solid keel thrust down into the deep to keep the vessel ‘on an even
keel’ so that it doesn’t simply a) bounce along on the surface of whatever
waves come along or b) blow itself right over as the sails’ motive power –
unopposed by the staying-power of the keel – push the vessel to its
Kids and revolutionaries aren’t really into
Boundaries and Grounds and Shapes and Limits. That’s just grown-up stuff
(which, one would have thought, was what sustaining a culture and a nation- and
its economic vitality and moral integrity – was precisely all about).
The military in all of this offers an interesting
forum for observation and judgment.
The world of the military is in some very real ways
Life writ small: there is a very palpable responsibility (to effectively wield
lethal force) which cannot be ‘spun’ away; this abiding and ever-present
responsibility creates a powerful and tight focus on running your life – as an
individual and as a member of a common project – in such a way that you will
always be capable of fulfilling that responsibility.
This creates a necessary Shape and Ground to a
military life. And keeping that Shape and staying rooted in that Ground
generates a necessary way-of-living, of conducting yourself and of shaping and
grounding your personal life so that your own individual ‘vessel’ or ‘vehicle’
is always ready to fulfill the over-arching responsibility. * That necessary
way-of-living and way-of-being constitutes a ‘discipline’ (askesis, in the Greek), a deliberately embraced ‘Way’ that keeps
you always on the path to fulfillment of both your responsibility and your own
genuine best human Self. And if everybody is doing that, then you have a
remarkably fulfilling common culture as well as an individual Character.
At least, according to the summery urge-rattled
Boomers and the gimlet-eyed revolutionaries of the late 1960s, soon embraced by
the Dems and then the entire Beltway as the fresh, rich, transgressive, new
demographic masters and – I’ll say it – mistresses of the New Order and of the Brave
One thinks – and should have thought back then – of
Mussolini’s shimmering new Fleet: bright-painted, newly-constructed, and
numerous. It gave the Royal Navy – in its hulking gray, storm-battered vessels
– quite a scare: so many ships, so new and shiny and fast, and not bad at
But of course, the sailors of those shiny new ships
referred to their vessels as “the cardboard fleet”: protective armor and heavy structuring steel
had been somewhat sacrificed for speed and if you fired all the big guns in
broadside simultaneously, you ran some risk of blowing yourself over. And they
had no radar.
So if the waves got really big, or it got dark or
cloudy … well, that was a problem. Best to go out on sunny days and calm seas.
Why risk getting all snarled up in the occasional storm or darkness?
You can imagine the type of military efficiency and
effectiveness such a plan of (in-)action would yield. And yet, given the
fundamental weaknesses of the primary components (the ships, the crews that had
no confidence in their or their ships’ capabilities), going forth the meet the
Royal Navy wasn’t going to lead to a successful outcome either.
There were no good options left to them.
Now, as We approach the Fourth of July, in the Year
of Grace Two-Thousand-Twelve and of the independence of the United States the
Two-Hundred-and-Thirty-Sixth, comes Our own Navy … with a self-admitted
There have been alarmingly large numbers of Navy
commanding-officers relieved of command and Senior NCOs relieved of duty
because of “personal misconduct” (adultery, fraternization, and fraud are
Perhaps, the brass are thinking, the “screening
process” might be tightened up, or “with a little more training” then “they
might have made better choices that might not have cost them their careers”.
Although you would have to read the Memos almost
daily to avoid running afoul of the ever-expanding list of Correctnesses that
must be embraced, and must be embraced with a straight face and, indeed, a
cheerible can-do Aye-Aye. For more often than anyone would care to think, officers and senior NCOs have found themselves praying the prayer of Klink and Schultz: Whaaaaaat ammmm I sayyyyyink?
And today’s ‘standard’ might be tomorrow’s
‘oppression’ and the ‘devalorization’ of that standard the glorious ‘reform’;
and the usual constitutional protections against Ex Post Facto don’t count in matters
of promotion and career: if word gets around that you once raised your eyebrow
or shook your head, it’s the Desk-Job without prospect of further promotion or some
bit of an assignment wherever the Russian Front might be that month.
Is it brought to your attention that the weight-room
on your ship is offensive to females because it reinforces macho-ness among the
males in the crew? You had better never be seen even shaking your head in
disbelief or bemusement. You had better never be heard trying to explain the reasons for this offensive practice of physical work-out.. Or if you are informed - and by superior authority - that the stand-up urinals create an 'unfriendly work environment' because it reminds everybody that there is a difference between males and females (I kid you not) ... you had better keep a straight face. And if you have the temerity to put your thoughts in writing in an
official communication, then you have signed your own career’s death-warrant. It's all reminiscent of the defunct Soviet Navy, where the Party's political-agenda overrides the military mission.
And in matters of ‘sex’, where the list of
‘discriminatory’ practices or attitudes grows only a shade faster than the list
of prosecutable military-law sex-offenses … you had best pay more attention to
Moscow than to any ‘standards’, comrade commander. Your first task is not some
distracting concern for ‘operational efficiency’ (which is merely a cover for the
fuddy-duddy and un-Correct stubborn counter-revolutionary commitment to “your
grandfather’s Navy”) but rather your first task is to the establishment of the
New Order. Da! Ja! Yah.
After all, the U.S. is the undisputed world-hegemon
(so the Beltway thinking went in the 1990s) so We can afford to forget
‘operational efficiency’ and focus attention on the demands of the Correct New
So far, the Navy has not been put to the frightful
tests confronting the Army and the Marines, confronting the awesome and
awe-full Ares Ferox et Atrox on his
own ground, the un-spinnable and brutally real test of Combat and Battle.
But now the Navy – as if by inadvertence – notes
that it seems to have a problem with “moral failures”.
And – as is now Standard Operating Procedure in the
New Order – a pandemonium of “experts” are going to be engaged, at whatever
expense, to “address” the problem.
So then, first of all there will be a daylong
workshop on “character and integrity” which all officers and sailors of the
Naval air arm will have to attend. This might seem to be progress: for quite
some time “character and integrity” were ‘devalorized’ as merely being pretexts
for opposing the New Order. The Navy has too many standards and not enough
women! – as the mantra went back in the day, twenty years ago.
This marvelous new program will be inflicted upon
Naval Air first, because – perhaps – it was there that the slyly-constructed
Tailhook brouhaha was first deployed, twenty and more years ago. It will then perhaps
be expanded to the entire Service. But the retired admiral (nicely named Tallent) who is going to (be
paid to) put the new program into operation got his start in Naval Air, so
maybe it’s just a matter of convenience.
And next year, new screening-procedures for
selecting commanding officers will be put in place. Although – you may rest
assured – “character” and “integrity” still had better not have been
demonstrated by opposing or not fully ‘getting on board with’ whatever
whackeries the New Order imposes.
To imagine that it is precisely the forced
acceptance of those whackeries that have deranged and derailed “character and
integrity” in the first place would, no doubt, be ‘thinking too much’.
And your fitness for command will now include taking
into account “subordinates’ opinions”; so that anybody who feels that you were
not sufficiently ‘on board with’ the New Order (and his/her demands) can
write-in a telling indictment that may well quash your further promotion and
All so charmingly Soviet. It worked so well for them, didn’t it?
Marvelously, the Navy says that “neither step is a
direct response to a recent spike in dismissals among commanding officers,
deputy commanding officers, and top enlisted sailors”. But of course. Though the
“spike” isn’t so “recent” and incompetent (but Correct) commanding officers
have wrecked valuable major warships and damaged others, to say nothing of
lesser frakkeries that included a well-connected female Captain throwing
pottery at subordinate officers on the bridge of her major warship, and
throwing a screaming hissy-fit on the bridge when a subaltern had the temerity to
point out that her last engine-order would cause the ship to damage itself in a
shallow channel (which it proceeded, to nobody’s surprise except the Captain’s,
to do – at huge cost in fundamental repairs).
There has been a doubling of relief-from-command
incidents, though, in just the Year of Grace Two-Thousand-Eleven and of the New
Order the Twentieth (more or less).
Much of this can be attributed to Naval Academy and
Naval education’s Correct ‘devalorizing’ of such putative skills as handling a
ship, in favor of a ‘let’s just all get along’ approach that needs no standards
about anything having to do with mechanical and technical stuff and
combat-leadership, but rather has everything to do with enforcing the tenets of
the Correct New Order.
But apparently a large chunk of these incidents now
involve ‘unprofessional command climate’, ‘personal misconduct’, and
‘inappropriate personal behavior’, all ominously linked to the lifestyle and
command-style requirements of the Correct New Order. Many of them involved
“sexual relationships between male superiors and female subordinates” (it is
axiomatic, but of course, that such things simply do not happen with female
commanders, let alone among lesbian-inclined officers and enlisted).
Thus, We can see that “character and integrity
issues” are really only about failure to make the New Order work as its
proponents and their legislative enablers insist that it will work, if only everybody does everything Correctly.
One solution might be to have gender-separate ships
and units. But for some unfathomable reason, that possibility isn’t and never has been even remotely discussable.
Perhaps because such ships and units might all too quickly and clearly
demonstrate the fundamental problems with the New Order’s basic premises; or
perhaps because that would leave any lesbian-type misdeeds too vulnerable to
exposure. Who knows? The Question – doncha know? - mustn’t be asked; it simply
But let’s not let all that get in the way of a
spiffy major new Initiative.
After all, “incidents that stem from character and
integrity issues have an adverse impact on our readiness as warfighters”,
intoned a Vice-Admiral piously. Why, yes – yes they do. Although hopefully the
Vice-Admiral doesn’t think that such a basic and ancient military truism
reflects the cutting-edge of flag-level wisdom and insight.
But the secret info that does reside in senior-level military knowledge is that “character
and integrity” have verrry speshull definitions in the New Order.
But rest assured that none of this will be the usual
government or Pentagon boondoggle. There won’t be any “long lecture given with
PowerPoint”; rather “it involves small groups discussing dozens of … case
studies that are based on real instances in which sailors and officers made bad
personal choices that ended their careers”.
Sort of a consciousness-raising session (shades of
the 60s and 70s!), no doubt run by cadres of Correctness (who will also be
taking names, if you get my drift). Sort of a Maoist indoctrination session with a happy-face.
And you can imagine what the carefully vetted ‘case
studies’ will be and what you should and should not glean from them.
The cases will cover a gamut running from “inappropriate
relationships” and “alcohol abuse” all the way over to “cheating on tests”, “wrongful
use of government equipment” and “various forms of fraud such as lying to boost
a housing allowance or a travel expense claim”.
The embarrassingly prevalent sex stuff is hidden in
the simple portmanteau phrase “inappropriate relationships” (always the fault
of the superior and/or male); the rest of it reveals an apparently widespread
and pervasive, if garden-variety, disregard for what used to be covered by the
standards and ideals of ‘officers and gentlemen’ and the tradition of the Naval
Service – but those were ‘struck below’ quite some time ago, to clear the decks
for the axioms and mantras of Correctness.
Nor is it evident that the Navy realizes what a bad
example the highest-echelons of the Service have set for several professional
generations now, as senior admirals went-along-with all the lethal claptrap in
order to preserve their position now and in the post-retirement afterlife. Nor
what a bad example the Beltway has set and continues to set.
The retired rear-admiral, the aforesaid Tallent,
admits that he’s not quite happy with the ‘character and integrity’ moniker given
to the workshops; since, he observes as if the insight is worth all the money
he’s being paid, you can’t teach character to someone in a day.
You need a family and parents who will get to work
on this task from the beginning of their child’s life (having already achieved
some level of character in their own lives); you need a culture and society
that supports them and demonstrates to the growing child the value and need of
character; you most probably need some type of genuine religious experiences to
help Ground the whole project, since the surface dimensions of this-world do
not often easily support such a foundation.
And all that is before you get the kid into the
Service. Where there must be an even more focused development of the
foundational character-skills already well-laid down. You can no more start
building character in the course of military operations than you can lay down
the keel and build a ship when you’re already at sea.
So Tallent is going for some modest repair work. But
of a very limited and rather familiar kind: you can teach people to ‘self-confront’
over their tendencies – not so far removed from the old handbooks for Maoist
cadres. Or perhaps a good ‘command climate’ will include the running of
required daily or weekly group-sessions where individuals can be accused or can
self-accuse at the hands of everybody else. Though perhaps, as per any
Correctness regime, any such confessions or recounting of “past mistakes” may
be taken down in evidence or quietly kept for future reference and use.
Waxing theological (reflecting with an ineluctable
irony just how much Correctness springs from a secular religion of the
this-worldly), Tallent divines that of course not “everyone can be saved”. Yea,
verily. And given the lethal structural deconstruction of the general culture
as well as of the military culture for the past two decades, the numbers of the
irretrievably lost are now far more astronomical than they need have been … or
would otherwise have been.
It’s a wonder they aren’t all just written off as
the eggs necessary to break in order to make the Great Omlette. But neither the
Navy nor the Pentagon nor the Beltway really want to admit how many such broken
eggs now dot the floor of the national Kitchen.
And Tallent will try to put them back together
again. Or at least, as many Humpty-Dumpty’s as might be managed in a series of
day-long workshops and a fresh wave of Correct impositions.
Good enough for government work, as the cheerible old
cynical saying used to go.
Tallent ventures close to the edge of the Abyss: “It
starts by having deeper, more honest conversation about these things than we’ve
been having in the past”. You always run a great professional risk when you
start to suggest that Washington (or Moscow or Berlin, back in their day) has
been screwing things up but now you’re here to fix it and make it all better.
But Tallent is safe enough: he’s already retired
with his rank and status and pay, and the current boss-brass know that he’ll
make sure that such ‘depth’ and ‘honesty’ don’t get out of hand or stray off
the Correct course. He’s – as the Brits would tactfully put it – “a safe pair
of hands”; and the natives won’t be allowed to get out of hand on his watch.
An ethics professor at a Virginia university
cautiously agrees (you don’t want to work in Virginia and be on record as
disagreeing with the Beltway and the Pentagon): it “makes sense, at least in
theory” and he thinks “it could make a difference”. This man knows how to say
nothing while producing the desired blurb.
But – and the article nicely gives it solid play – a
retired Captain with the command of three cruisers under his belt, notes that
the new scheme of ‘subordinate reviews’ (sort of like students rating their
teachers) “will do more harm than good” since the popular commanders will get
great ratings (perhaps to offset their less-than-stellar combat and
ship-handling qualities) while the less-popular but more competent officers
will get slammed.
The Navy needs to make up its mind – says this retired
Captain – whether it wants hard-edged competent war-fighters or “gentle,
idealized characters who treat everybody nicely”.
I’d say it doesn’t quite have to be so cut-and-dried:
you can be competent without being a raving ogre, although no amount of
niceness will compensate for competence when trouble and challenge rear their
Nor do you need a wartime situation to encounter
that at sea. Even in peacetime, a warship is a whole lot of explodable and
flammable stuff crammed into a very small space, and things can go very wrong
on a perfectly nice calm day. Or night.
Let alone in storms or worse weather-events. Nor are such events susceptible to Correct
impositions and regulation.
So the retired Captain thinks the whole plan is unnecessary.
I wouldn’t say that: I’d say that it’s way too little, way too late.
And I’d base that in part on the assumption that the
Navy has already decided what it wants: the Correct, happy-face, feel-good type.
Because you don’t have to ‘master’ all those old macho, industrial-age,
patriarchal skills of “your grandfather’s Navy”; you can be perfectly Correct
and still reach high-command.
(Who at this point can fail to recall Gilbert & Sullivan’s Admiral: “he thought so little, they rewarded hee / by making him
the ruler of the Queen’s nay-veee”? Make the appropriate adjustments for gender
and diversity and richness and transgressiveness and so on and so forth, and
you have the Navy’s chosen vision nowadays.)
After all – as the thinking went in 1991 – the Soviets
were gone, there wouldn’t be any further need for that macho industrial-age
naval combat like you saw in ‘Victory At Sea’, and anyway there were computers
now that would take care of all the sailing and fighting. Wheeeeeee!
So worrying about ‘combat efficiency’ and ‘leadership’
was simply a mask for being counter-revolutionary and a backlasher.
And so the Navy (along with the other Services) was
really just a differently-costumed opportunity for government employment and
benefits. Think: Microsoft with a stricter dress code.
But another retired senior officer, a vice-admiral,
now head of the prestigious U.S. Naval Institute, disagrees with the retired
Captain. Because, says the retired vice-admiral, the Navy will use the new
procedures "correctly" (small ‘c’ – but you see the Freudian slip here): the
example of others’ past mistakes will be used to prevent future mistakes. Thus
this recent unhappy “spike” of serious troubles and firings can be stopped.
But the retired Captain won’t back off: “the most important
question to ask … is what caused the spike of firings in the first place”. (You
can see why this well-tested officer never made admiral-rank: he thinks wayyyy
too much and thus is not “a safe pair of hands”.)
And yet then they both agree on one cause: “the
addition of women to ships”. So there it is.
With that one addition, I would say, you get
simultaneously an astronomical increase in the possibilities of the sex-offense
and Gender War soap operas becoming the prime programs occupying the attention
of the Service, while simultaneously requiring the ‘devalorization’ of all the
old macho virtues – war-fighting competence, combat leadership, mastery of vast
quantities of technical lore and usages, relentless focus on preparation for
the brutal and lethal realities of Naval operations and combat – and all those
obstructive ‘standards’ that have a
nasty tendency to rule out the best cards ‘women’ bring to the table.
(Again, this might well be addressed by
single-gender ships, but – again – that possibility has always been off the
In light of the problems I suggested above, the
assertion that overall this “addition” has “benefitted the Navy” is not
credible and reflects, rather, the still-entrenched Beltway death-grip on the
so-called ‘women’s demographic’. Instead, the Navy brass have committed the Service and all its souls to chasing Congressperson Ahab's Great White Whale, the common cup drunk, the Coin nailed to the mast.**
In the beginning – it is now asserted – a “healthy
fear” of the women kept the males and females properly apart, but now the ‘success’
of their presence has resulted in a familiarity that leads to “zipper failures”
at an increasing rate.
And yet as early as the first Gulf War, before the
Tailhook brouhaha, such naval support vessels as had been integrated at that
time, enroute to that combat mission, suffered pregnancy rates so high that the
local commanders were ordered not to keep specific records. Nor could they request replacements for the
now-pregnant crew: that would provide official evidence that gender-integration
was – at the very least – going to be a hugely fraught (if not ultimately
So the commanders a) had to make do by making the
remaining crew take up the slack and b) had to accept command-responsibility
for somehow preventing sexual encounters. If there was sexual activity, it was
not the fault of the two participants but rather it was the fault of the
commanding-officer who clearly had permitted a faulty ‘command climate’. The
Beltway, like King Canute, would order the tides, and – more directly – would order
its ship commanders to actually get that job done.
Be that as it may. The tides keep coming.
Pulling a punch with almost satirical obviousness,
the retired Captain observes that all the sex was “the natural, inevitable, yet inexplicably unforeseen effect of
stocking units with young, healthy men and women and putting them in isolation
and under pressure”. [italics mine]
It was foreseen, but it was not allowed to be
officially recognized. Too many powerful political advocacies had a heavy stake
in propounding the illusion that you could do all the gender-mixing and not
have a sexual-activity problem.
And as the ‘deconstruction’ of moral and ‘character’
standards proceeded rapidly in civilian life, then the incoming generations of recruits
were increasingly less schooled in the mastery of sexual urges and impulses.
Indeed, especially for young women, sexual activity ‘like a guy’ was an almost
required badge of liberation. Thus the overall incoherences of national
policies which Naval officers were then required to accept with a straight-face
and a can-do Aye-Aye – and not ask any questions or ‘get philosophical’ about
One truly prodigious howler of an incoherence: in
military sex-offense law, a woman who has had just one drink is incapable of
consenting to any sexual contact whatsoever – and yet these same profoundly
fragile and limited creatures are to be considered as perfectly reliable
shipmates and capable of major command responsibility. Simultaneously
super-victim and super-competent. To which the only career-preserving response
is somewhere along the spectrum from keeping a verrry straight face to drinking
the Kool-Aid and making your competent crew drink the Kool-Aid and hoping that
God will be around to fill in the blanks when the time of fiery trial arises.
According to the article, the best anybody can think
to do at this point is to avoid punishing all infractions and deploy punishment
only in really serious cases. Although in matters of sex-abuse, according to
the still-connected advocacies, all sex-abuse – and it is verrrrry widely and
broadly defined in the military – is ‘horrific’ and ‘traumatic’ and so on. So
another incoherence pops up here immediately.
“The Navy has to find that balance” blurbs the
retired vice-admiral hopefully.
You can’t balance an incoherence. You can only tackle
the fundamental incompatibility head-on and make the hard choices about your
priorities and then do what has to be done to conform to those priorities.
There is little chance of that happening in the near
future. The radical and fundamental incompatibility between a) the radical-feminist agenda and b) the Navy’s
(and all the Services’) responsibilities to wield lethal force effectively and
successfully in the national interest cannot be wished or spun away, nor can it be
The Navy will continue, as the nation must continue,
going down a fast-flowing river with each leg balanced on a different ice-floe.
That’s more of a balancing act than any leadership can achieve or sustain for
So have a thoughtful and deliberative 4th! And don't drink the Kool-Aid.
*Let’s just observe in passing that this approach to
life conforms rather nicely to the Classical and especially the classical
Christian vision of what it means to be a human-being. In the latter case: you
are created in the Image of God; which generates a responsibility as an
individual and as a member of the human community to always work toward being
capable of fulfilling that Image (and thus fulfilling your genuine (echt, in the German) self).
While writing this, the television next to my desk
was showing 2003’s Master and Commander:
The Far Side of the World. It is precisely this culture of standards and
character, sustained in the face of awesomely challenging weathers and combats,
lasting well into the 20th century, that was ‘devalorized’ over the
past twenty or so years. It will have to be recovered, if there are enough of
its practitioners left to re-instill it. And if not, not.
**Rumors are strong that the Marine Corps will now
come to heel, opening up the Infantry Officer Course – one of its most grueling
(and necessary, if you’re going to be leading troops in combat) – is now going
to be opened to ‘women’. There go the standards. Because the rules of this Game
are as follows: a) standards cannot be enforced if they make women look bad; b)
this ‘milestone’ is so important that Allwomen cannot be made to look incapable
even if Thiswoman is; c) standards are oppressive and hegemonic anyway; d)
ground combat is a thing of the past and it’s really about job and promotion
And given the current SpecOps and drone crazes, the
Marines – whose salad days in the Pacific are almost unremembered as the Greatest
Generation passes into history – will need all the Beltway goodwill they can
muster in order to keep funding. And if that means …
Also, don’t look for hard-hitting investigative and
exposure-type journalism into this the way you would see with the ‘military
culture of rape’; you will get nothing but glowing encomia and feel-good puff
pieces about all the ‘success’ of the program.
I would add the following.
There was – in the time before The Present Situation
– a strong emphasis in the Service Academies on rules, stringent requirements
stringently enforced. And those rules reached down to such day-to-day matters
as being on-time for scheduled events (to use an example).
There was a purpose to this: war or military
emergencies (the plane develops a problem while airborne; the ship develops a
serious problem on an otherwise fine peacetime day at sea) present immediate
and unavoidable challenges – ‘facts’ if you wish – that must be dealt with
immediately and effectively.
To achieve this, command personnel have to be deeply
habitualized to handling that type of situation with the right – and only –
useful frame of mind and heart: control your emotions, actively get all the
facts however unpleasant or ominous they may be, and keep your head as you
evolve a plan of action to deal with the problem.
Such self-possession does not come easily.
It had been one of the primary and most fundamental
objectives of the Service Academies to instill that habitual self-possession,
as a vital personal ‘platform’ or foundation upon which all the special technical
skills and know-how specific to that Service would then be built.
And since the Service Academy couldn’t simply create
actual war-conditions or full-blown actual military emergencies, then they had
to somehow develop a regimen of regulations and enforcement to create a usable
simulacrum of a vital and unavoidable challenge. Thus the demerit-system
whereby the cadet was continually required to perform a mental calculus as to
whether and how much a possible course of action might cost him and/or his
mates in the unit.
Thus too such stringent requirements as being
severely punished if – even through no fault of one’s own – one was late for a
significant event. Such as reporting back after leave: an ice storm in winter
or a blockage delay on the highway, let alone a missed flight or train
connection … you stood to get some significant ‘restriction’ or other ‘award’.
This, to the civilian mind, is being far too ‘strict’
– which most likely in civilian life it would be. But the Service Academies
were not there to prepare you for immediate post-graduate entrance into
civilian life. Rather, you were going to be a military officer with the
responsibility of wielding lethal force, if so ordered, effectively and also of
commanding others in that same mission.
The aspiring-officer had to learn to so structure
his life and his thought that he would continually be performing the vital
calculus as to costs-and-consequences of any possible action he might take, and
learning as well to accept responsibility for outcomes even if failures were
not directly attributable to him. (So, for example: did you want to go home on
leave through a complex web of plane or train connections in wintertime or a
holiday period? You should have considered the hardly improbable possibility that
you could not control all the elements that might prevent your reporting back
But with the dawn of the Beltway’s infatuation with
(and politically calculated embrace of) the Boomery worldview, things started
to go seriously awry. The laid-back element of Boomerism didn’t like a lot of ‘regulations’
which – in marvelous kiddie fashion – were seen to be merely unnecessary obstructions
to one’s enjoying a more fulfilling (read: enjoyable) life.
And the ‘revolutionary’ elements of Boomerism –
spearheaded in this country by radical-feminism – saw all such regulations (and
‘standards’) as merely oppressive constructs devised to exercise and sustain the
inevitable Patriarchal Hegemony.
So the regulations had to go. And of course the ‘standards’.
You couldn’t ‘Boomerize’ the Services without profoundly
weakening their essential function and mission.
Nor could you ‘feminize’ them – as the term came to
be deployed by the radical-feminist Advocacy and its political enablers –
without also ‘civilianizing’ them.
And so to the long-standing fundamental dissimilarity
between ‘civilian’ life and military life there was added the now-familiar
un-bridgeable abyss between patriarchal-military and feministical-civilian.
But that was OK – it was blithely asserted – because
especially after the fall of the USSR there would be no more need for a ‘military’
approach to life (so macho in its emphases on self-control, self-mastery,
self-possession, and hard competence in hard matters in order to face hard and
Thus the Service Academies have become ‘campuses’ –
much like Microsoft calls its major institutional concentrations ‘campuses’.
The military life as Microsoft with a stricter dress code.
And of course, since the Academies had been carefully
calibrated to inculcate precisely those values – as best could be achieved –
then the ‘standards’ vital to those values had to go.
And they were tossed away.
Although – as noted – upon the authority of those
blithe but loudly-screeched accusations that they were merely pretexts for
institutional misogyny and patriarchy. And anyway, the Services should
forthwith and henceforth be seen as ‘employment opportunities’ and as ‘rights-arenas’
where the only necessary objective was to make sure that feminization (defined
and shaped according to the radical-feminist playbook and game-plan) replaced
everything that had gone before. ‘This is not your grandfather’s (name of
Service)!’ became an in-your-face standard mantra that was supposed to be the
trumpy comeback to any fuddy-duddy doubters, all those Archie Bunkers in
uniform trying to keep ‘women’ from getting their slice of the purported pie.
And, by the most amazing coincidence, all the
Academies now have ‘character’ problems and all of the Services seem to have a
problem getting their missions accomplished.
Not a prahblum! The drones will do the fighting and
the computers will run the aircraft and the warships.
Meanwhile, on another sound-stage on the same movie lot
and run by the same film company, the Beltway had run through and run down the
national Treasure and Substance, almost guaranteeing that the new Age of
Go-Out-and-Grab other peoples’ stuff was going to create numerous ‘contested
sites’ around the entire planet requiring not
only effective military operations but
also a world-wide reputation for military competence (so that any potential
adversary or rival would think twice about getting in the way in the first
The ponderous imponderables of International Affairs
and War. But they were hardly un-recognized. They were simply ignored.
And now the turkeys are coming home to roost.
Labels: American character, consequences of radical feminism, Navy, Political Correctness, US Naval Academy