December 30, 2010

COLMAN MCCARTHY: Now that Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell Has Been Repealed, Here’s Another Excuse For Keeping ROTC Off Campus. “ROTC and its warrior ethic taint the intellectual purity of a school.” Pathetic. What does McCarthy know about either intellectualism or purity? Not much, to judge from this column. His post-Post “academic” career is just further evidence of both a higher education bubble, and of the politicized lack of standards therein.

UPDATE: Reader Jason Johnson sends: “The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch writes: “If you consider the quote from your reader and look at Washington DC it’s pretty much where we are. Anti-violence activists aren’t anti violence. They’re just against the rest of us being able to resist them.”

Looking at Colman McCarthy’s language drawing equivalence between U.S. soldiers and the Taliban, I don’t think he’s just a dreamy peacenik. And I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of the good intentions of “dreamy peacenik” types anyway, since, somehow, they always seem to promote things that help the other side. At best, they’re oikophobes.

MORE: Reader Dave Everson emails:

I don’t understand why people are so eager to reinstate ROTC at the Ivies. We have the finest military ever created and we did it without any substantial contribution from the Ivy League schools for the past 40 years. Why mess with success? The best officers I served under were state university graduates. I would not have followed the one Harvard officer I did serve under to a free lunch much less a war.

Ouch. And in response to Jason Johnson’s Thucydides quote above, reader David Swager writes: “Actually, the scholars are already cowards AND fools (notable exceptions, of course) while the warriors are heroic and highly ingenious. I know, I work with our soldiers and most of the officers have advanced college degrees.”

MORE STILL: In response to Dave Everson, Paul Baker writes:

You’re missing the point. We don’t want the military to be influenced by Ivy leagues, we want the military (and its values) to influence the Ivy leagues. I remember a few years after I graduated from a midwest Catholic college (University of Dayton), there was a sit-in protest about allowing the CIA to recruit on campus. It was diffused by having an open forum where the protesters argued that the CIA did not reflect the values of a Catholic institution and should therefore be banned. However, they were silenced when the counter-argument was made that if the goal is to infuse the CI with morals and values, what better place to recruit than at a Catholic institution?

Liberal values only succeed when they bully the other values out. When conservative values are infused, the liberal values wither on the vine due to lack of intellectual arguments. Get ROTC in the Ivy leagues, and the liberal monopoly is broken.

And, also, it’s just fun to watch them try to come up with a new excuse, in the process demonstrating that all the fierce moral urgency deployed behind the last excuse was just so much dishonest twaddle.

Meanwhile, reader Peter Davis offers a cautionary note:

Glenn, an infantry squad today is filled with young men who are brighter than an equal number of college students their age, as well as in better physical shape.

My war was some forty-five years ago. I never once spent time in a firebase where there was not a collection of paperbacks, and not just Louis L’Amour and Micky Spillane but philosophy and history, math and other heavy stuff.

A career enlisted man will have finished his AA degree by the time he’s made E-4 or E-5 and will likely have a BA or BS degree by E-7. Few officers will make Major without a graduate degree.

Your commenter is sort of wrong, the fighting is not done by fools. It is, however, more and more likely that the fighting will be by men with a deep and abiding contempt for “the elite”. This probably will not be good.

Indeed. The best solution would be for the elite not to be contemptible, of course. . . .

STILL MORE: Reader David Wharton — a classics professor — emails:

For the sake of scholarship, I thought you would want to know that the Thucydides quote about scholars and warriors you referred to here almost certainly isn’t from Thucydides, but is probably adapted from General Sir William Butler. As you know getting it right matters, in history and in law — as you know. Thucydides said many insightful things, but this isn’t one of them.

Noted. And Jason Johnson sends this followup:

Thank you for posting my Thucydides quote earlier. Since a few people disagreed with the “fighting done by fools” part I wanted to respond and say that, based on the down-to-earth people I’ve know in the military who were avid readers and closely followed world events, compared to outright insane postmodern drivel that gets counted as intellectualism, that I agree the country is definitely much more in danger from acquiring more foolish and cowardly thinkers than it is foolish fighters.

I’d also like to add, after reading McCarthy’s article again, one of his justifications for keeping ROTC off college campuses, is “America’s penchant for war-making.” Wouldn’t it be nice if all of the people who’ve caused trouble for America in the past held the same strong convictions about how much Americans loved war as your typical university teacher or left-wing commentator.

Maybe the world would be a less war-filled place if America’s enemies were given free scholarships to Ivy League schools, where the versions of history and views on current events taught there might fill their imaginations with ideas of how horrible we are and make some of them have second thoughts about attacking/threatening us or our interests.

From back to WWII when all but a few in the Japanese military thought Americans would be too disheartened after the sneak attacks at Pearl Harbor to fight and later by Kamikaze attacks and staging costly defenses when it turned out we weren’t, all the way to Saddam Hussein thinking Iran was a bigger threat to him than the US, it seems to me that while many of our university teachers and others who deeply drink from the “Americans are the ultimate warmongers” fountain of propaganda, many of our enemies don’t seem to actually swallow it themselves.

Indeed.