Summary: Here is another look at the worldview of the high-energy political extremes that dominate the political stage, dividing us with their lies. These “useful idiots” are allies of the 1% (by effect, not intent). So long as we listen to them we will remain weak.
As has been amply documented in these posts, among the most serious problems facing America is that both Left and Right are moving against the rest of us. The Right has gained great power at all levels of government, and now implements an openly extractive program to harvest and increasing share of America’s income for the 1%. They sell this program using lies, as seen in their campaigns to repeal Obamacare and their third wave of tax “reform” (cutting taxes for the rich, as did Reagan and Bush Jr.).
The Left has moved to oppose us in a different way, seeking massive changes in American society — using a program of lies. The fictional campus rape culture, and the false claim that “rape victims don’t (or seldom) lie.” The campaigns to redefine gender, schools’ The War Against Boys.
Those are just examples of the broad movements moving against us from Left and Right. Appropriately so. We have been apathetic and passive, resistant to leadership (as seen in the Occupy and Tea Party movements). We have become sheep. It is natural that wolves appear to prey upon us.
Each side clearly sees this problem in the “others.” Conservatives clearly see flaws in the liberals and vice versa. We cannot begin effective reform movements until we remove the blinders and see ourselves. More about this in the Conclusions section below. Here is another example illustrating the daftness of our politics. This one is about the left, and usefully read by leftists and their friends.
“The U.S. Military – Pampered, Safe And Very Scared” posted by “b”at Moon Of Alabama.”
This went viral on the Left. It was sent to me by two bien pensant leftists. The title tells the tale. It is an amazing window into a Leftist’s mind. Every paragraph is wrong in some sense. In response to comments the author played the “just kidding card”, adding a “/snark” tag. This is a widespread belief on the left, but seldom stated so clearly. It shows why the left has been losing influence in America since the 1970s. Let’s “deconstruct” it.
(1) It is an example of the limousine liberal’s world-view.
This shows the typically class-based view of the world (where the servants and proles are invisible) of intellectuals and elites.
My wife just finished a batch of 9 baby quilts for the Blue Star Mothers. Most go to families of enlisted personnel (lots of corporals and sergeants; E-4 and E-5). Many of them live in housing much like the public housing that welfare recipients lived in when I was a social worker in the mid-1970s. These families have few possessions, compared to most Americans. These mothers are delighted to get the quilts.
Here is the output of goods (most made, some donated) year-to-date for 2017 by one chapter of the Blue Star Mothers: quilts and fleece blankets to military and Vet hospitals (174 to adults, 159 to newborns), 128 knitted goods (hats and socks), 102 baby goods (bibs, diaper bags, burp towels, stuffed animals), 8 pillows/towels. These are appreciated by people who have little. Especially since many of these people any have nobody; they are totally alone (lots of orphans in the military). The total value of these goods is less than what an average upper middle-class family spends on booze in a year. These are gifts mostly from blue-collar families to other blue-collar families.
Military life is often quite hard. Frequent forced relocations. Discipline. Military pay is not high vs. civilian standards until reaching general. The pay for officers has to be high enough to retain sufficient numbers of experienced officers vs. what they could get in civilian jobs. Before the pay increases in the late 1990s — and those that came with the war — there was a massive problem with retention in the captain – colonel ranks (see section 3 here). Also, the px’s are not the great benefit they were in the past (there are many complaints like this one).
(2) Military life is “safe”.
The author compares the very healthy young people the military accepts to the general population — and conclude that it’s safe (i.e., it lowers their mortality). Their average IQ is probably higher also (for the same reason). Does joining the military makes you smarter?
Joining the military is like playing the lottery — if you’re in during a war, the fatality rate goes up 3x or 4x (far above civilian levels; see page 3 of this study). The injury rate goes up even more.
Factoid: 2016 was the first year without a combat-related amputation since the invasion of Afghanistan. It’s a milestone. Trump’s surges in Afghanistan and Africa might reverse that soon.
(3) People in the military are “fearful”.
This is quite nuts (some favorable comments to the post state that this was the major claim of the article). As evidence the author gives headlines by journalists. That’s a cut above citing scrawls on lavatory walls.
Also, it is a grade-school level mis-read of the word “fear.” Look at the first 5 bullets: The U.S. Military Fears Russia’s Electronic Warfare Capabilities, Air Force Fears New ‘Drug Craze’, U.S. Military Fears Volcano Could Harm Jets, U.S. Military Fears Outcome of Rape Trial, U.S. Army Fears Major War Likely Within Five Years. To understand their meaning, “fear” could be replaced with “concerned about”. In none of them is anybody afraid of anything.
Wellington: Will we be ready to move tomorrow?
Quartermaster: I fear not, milord, but the next day.
These articles must fill some need on the left (they’re so common), but their political effect ranges from counter-productive to suicidal. The military is the only institution in America that retains broad support (per Gallup). Bogus attacks like this get applause from the faithful but alienate many others. As does their political violence to suppress conservative’s speech at colleges (see the latest example at UC – Santa Cruz: “Students storm library, shut down College Republicans meeting“).
These divisive politics warm the hearts of the 1% because they make impossible a broad-based movement capable of challenging their growing power — like the progressive-populist movement that created the New Deal. We have to get smarter and learn to see what unites us. Only then can we be strong.
The Blue Star Mothers of America.
See their website to learn about this valuable organization.
“We are mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female legal guardians who have children serving in the military, guard or reserves, or children who are veterans. We support each other and our children while promoting patriotism. Our organization focuses on our mission every single day and will never, ever, forsake our troops, our veterans or the families of our Fallen Heroes.
“We have over 6,000 members from over 200 Chapters throughout the nation. Our members are extremely active and have accomplished the following in …2012. 74,123 care packages sent to members of the Armed Forces, giving more than 250,000 military personnel a little bit of love from home. 137,654 letters sent to members of the Armed Forces. 9,439 veterans’ events throughout the year. 287 events honoring Gold Star Mothers. 2,800 cards honoring Gold Star families.”
For More Information
- How should we honor our vets on Memorial Day?
- A reminder that we pay for our wars in money and blood.
Books to help understand how the Left & Right lost their way
Here are two books well-worth reading by Thomas Frank, among the most perceptive political analysts in America today.
- The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation.
- Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?.