Monday, August 1, 2016

The conservative worship of the armed forces

Not a bit of worship I take part in.

Don't misunderstand me: I have tremendous respect for the military, for members of the military. I consider them patriots by default, doing work that is essential for the nation, in ways more fundamental than most. I think, at least until recently, it tended to instill some great character in its members.

But I don't get behind this weird, self-effacing, 'If a veteran says something you better listen and hold your tongue, you're in the presence of a hero!' schtick. No, not even for the wounded. And certainly not for family members of the dead. You don't become a hero by proxy.

I'll be even more blunt: I have vastly more respect for veterans who share my values and my worldview, or are in the neighborhood enough. That may sound chilling, but people forget that the whole point of the reverence of the soldier was that they were supposed to be the defenders of our shared values, putting their lives on the line to do exactly that. Remove those values and remove the automatic reverence. At that point you're just dealing with, at best, daredevils - I saw a few in the Turkish coup footage (not even from soldiers!) - and at worst, enforces of monstrous will.

Once upon a time, it was possible even for people of different political parties to largely be on the same page with some common values. That time is passed. Insofar as Khizr Khan treats his son's death as license to attack and belittle anyone who rejects muslim culture and massive muslim immigration, he deserves a 'fuck you' and little else. And make no mistake: his supporters have the same attitude for every soldier or grieving family member who stands against them.


Mike said...

I think it's largely guilt over the fact that so few conservatives are willing to serve. A lot of those people came to Ben Shapiro's aid when he was getting denounced by Vox Day and various milbloggers as the "littlest chickenhawk." They wanted to support our troops and support the war, but realized on some level that signing up for even their National Guard would put them at risk of being sent to that meat grinder. Frankly I think a lot of it is a bit of "better you than me" at the Id level.

Hrodgar said...

I can't help but see an analogy between soldiers and religious, similar to that between right religion and our sort of vaguely Christianish civic pieties. The soldiers whose blood waters the Tree of Liberty are the new martyrs.

Though I don't doubt Mike has something of a point as well. After all, most folks who praise the martyrs would also be reluctant to be one.

Mike said...

After all, most folks who praise the martyrs would also be reluctant to be one.

I would liken a desire to be martyred rather than die of old age, having produced a bumper crop of good works while surrounded by a godly family is closer to the modern trend of wanting to claim the mantle of rape victim so one can enjoy the adoration of St. Victim the Unaccountable in modern politics. It is perverse to desire martyrdom. It is actually even evil to desire it because you are desiring that someone should murder you for your faith. You are literally hoping that someone would do grave evil so you can be a rock star in Heaven.

Hrodgar said...

If you're going to say that the desire for martyrdom is evil, you'll have to argue against all the ancient Fathers and the constant teaching and Tradition of the Church. The Martyrdom of St. Ignatius of Antioch ( might be a good place to start; the money quote is right in the first paragraph.

For what it's worth (admittedly much less than the opinion of the Fathers)my own take on it is that to desire martyrdom is to desire as perfect as possible a participation in the Passion of Our Lord. But Christ, being God, did nothing he did not will, and it is hardly possible to will a thing without desiring it. Christ "wished no other right than to fulfill the will of the Father, to die on the Cross for His glory and our salvation." Furthermore, Christ, being God, does not will evil, though he does often permit it. If for Christ to desire his own murder (keeping in mind that Deicide is a much worse crime than mere homicide) on the Cross was not evil, then how can it possibly be evil for his servants to be crucified with him?

I'm not saying it's a sin to NOT desire martyrdom, but to desire martyrdom is as noble a desire as exists in this life.

GoldRush Apple said...

@ Mike: The last time I heard liberal & leftists weren't signing up for the armed forces in droves.