Hillary Clinton

Military Affairs

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My anarcho-agrarian friend Bill Kauffman, who worked for Reason back when I was still in high school, has an interesting essay on the Counterpunch site arguing that family-values conservatives should be at the heart of the peace movement. A sample:

Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but love requires presence above all. The divorce rate more than doubled between 1940 and 1946. The Second World War, by removing men from households and removing many of those households from the rural South into the unwelcoming urban North, waged its own mini-war upon the American family. Rosie the Riveter propaganda aside, the domestic face of the warfare state was sketched by an Arkansas social worker: "children's fathers go off to war and their mothers go to work, and thus the interests of parents is diverted from the home and the children."

Government-subsidized daycare was one offspring of the Second World War; thanks to the Lanham Act, over half a million children were cared for by strangers in these cold institutions. Today, Hillary Clinton and the corporate feminists point to the U.S. Army as the model daycare provider. And yet conservatives, who froth at the merest hint of the carpetbagger's name, are quiet, struck dumb by their worship of the widow-making bureaucracy.

I do not want to open YET ANOTHER COMMENTS THREAD ON WHETHER THE IRAQ WAR WAS A GOOD IDEA. Forget particular wars for a moment, and think about war in general. Can pro-flag, pro-family conservatives reconcile the tension between their devotion to the domestic and their devotion to the military? Discuss among yourselves.

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  1. Pacifism is not a family value as it leaves your family vulnerable to every predator that comes down the pike.

    Self-defense is definitely a family value, perhaps even the ultimately in family values – providing for the safety and security of your family.

    The only question is how you define self-defense, and we are right back to the particulars of any given war.

  2. R.C. Dean,

    Also depends on how you define pacifism.

  3. BTW, Free Your Mind.

    Matrix Revolutions opens Nov. 5th worldwide. 🙂

  4. I’m not sure a lot of conservatives think war is good for families. I’m pretty sure most realize it isn’t. It needs to be balanced, as RC says, against the particulars of the war in question. People can realize that war is bad in terms of encroachment of the state, civil rights, people killing each other, people getting maimed and traumatized, families breaking up, and still think it’s worth fighting, dependant on what they think the positive aspects of the outcome will be.

    I suppose it makes most libertarians feel better to think that everyone else engages in the same 1 dimensional thinking that they do, and just don’t do it as well.

  5. The abstraction “war in general” makes the question irrelevant, i.e., the motivations for any military action have to be analyzed in context.

    Except we’re not just talking about specific conflicts here. We’re talking about the social effects of the whole blasted military-industrial complex.

    Also, it’s perfectly possible for someone to be anti-war in general but believe that a particular war was a tragic necessity. I’d think there’s a difference between conservatives who take that position and those who reflexively support the exercise of American military power abroad.

  6. I’m hardly a ‘pro-flag, pro-family conservative.’ But when I was a kid my father went to a lot of civil rights marches, where he could have been killed or hurt. (Others were.) And he was away a lot doing organizing, etc.

    I don’t think of that behavior as being anti-family, and I don’t see why going to war is necessarily anti-family, either. This seems to me to be rather a stretch.

  7. Not to go too far out on a limb, but I always thought that there was public acknowledgement that pro family conservatism is ideologically inconsistent.

    The problem, it seems to me, is that the support for control through historical institutions that defines US conservatism leaves them vulnerable to the current state of those institutions. They can’t seem to realize that placing a value on a variable group unit like ‘family’ doesn’t help you very much.

  8. I suppose it makes most libertarians feel better to think that everyone else engages in the same 1 dimensional thinking that they do, and just don’t do it as well.

    I’ve always wondered, JDM: Is your smugness an acquired characteristic, or did you run around making obnoxious comments in nursery school, too?

  9. I just want to say that I agree with and wholeheartedly endorse the fascinating, scintillating observation that war can often have bad effects on the lives of people who fight in them as well as those of their families.

    Thanks for the news flash though.

  10. Jesse you are making a lot of assupmptions for a supposed querry about war as an abstraction:

    >>We’re talking about the social effects of the whole blasted military-industrial complex.

    The concept of a “military-indusrital complex” is not necessarily entwined with the concept of war.

    >> those who reflexively support the exercise of American military power abroad.

    Such as who? You are a real dick if you are branding pro-war folks as psychotics. Everyone knows war is a tragic necessity.

  11. Last post was mine. Too much coffee today, got excited.

  12. War is the health of the State.

  13. Jesse,

    Did you acquire the tendency to be so easily offended, or were you one of those kids who I used to make cry in nursery school?

  14. Taken further, if war is anti-family in the sense that family members are separated, isn’t, you know, working anti-family? At least working other than telecommuting.

    Gotta work to pay the mortgage; gotta war to make sure there are people to live in the mortgaged house. At least “war in general,” the terms of the question. Unless the question now is about the reflexive support of the exercise of American military power abroad, in which case my head hurts.

  15. If I were a “family values” conservative, I’d be pissed that my movement has been hijacked by big government phonies like Bush. I’m not though. Though I’m still pissed.

    Don’t you have to differentiate between defensive and offensive wars? “Don’t Tread on Me” seems reconcilable with conservatism. “Preemption” does not.

  16. The concept of a “military-indusrital complex” is not necessarily entwined with the concept of war.

    But the American military-industrial complex as we know it is a product of the Cold War.

    Such as who? You are a real dick if you are branding pro-war folks as psychotics. Everyone knows war is a tragic necessity.

    Some people seem to support every tragic necessity they see, which makes the claim they see it as tragic somewhat dubious. Maybe it makes me a dick, but they sound pretty psychotic to me. Which “national greatness” pundit was it who called for using ground troops in Afghanistan not because it was a better idea strategically, but because he wanted Americans to “sacrifice” more?

  17. Sharky-
    I don’t know about “war being the ultimate family value”.

    These days, were not talking about some “noble” patriarch and his fellow menfolk fending off the visigoths. Modern, mechanized warfare has 0 noble qualities about it. Defending your family is something to be valued, war on the other hand doesn’t always fulfill that criteria.

  18. “Everyone knows war is a tragic necessity.”

    So nobody watches things blowing up on TV and says “Damn, that’s awesome.” Nobody gets off on the power trip of being the #1 superpower. Nobody enjoys rallying with thousands and shouting “USA! USA! USA!” Or, while shouting, everybody at every rally is thinking “Boy, this is a tragic necessity. It’s really sad to see people die. Especially Iraqis.” None of them is thinking, “Those towelheads had it coming to them.” None of them are thinking: “Hey, you damn terrorists can knock down two buildings, but we can knock down two countries! We’re tougher than you!” Nope, never happens.

    During wars, the streets are always full of people with sad faces, talking about how mixed-up they feel inside. They express great concern for the lives and health of the enemy combatants and civilians. The moment information leaks of potential war crimes, they are angry at their own country for letting them down — not angry at the media for pointing it out.

  19. JDM: My memory’s hazy, but I think I spent most of nursery school ignoring you. Every couple of months, though, I might have punched you in the jaw.

  20. Bill was an editor when I was in college and
    doing my summer internship at Reason. He’s a
    great writer – it would be great to see him
    in Reason again. He has a book too – Dispatches
    from the Muckdog Gazette.

    Jeff

  21. All wars are offensive. The purpose of war is to defeat an enemy. “Peace” is an utopian belief, NOT conservative.

    Peacemaking is conservative. Or at least what I have got out of Burke, Kirk, etc.

    Not sure how Christian conservatives reconcile that (as Christianity seems to push “peace” as a utopian value), but I am not one so I don’t know.

  22. I have two comments:

    1. I think most conservatives understand that security is a prerequisite for family. Hard to raise a god-fearin family when, you know, screaming Islamo-fascist (fill in the blank) radicals keep blowing our shit up.

    2. You could make the same argument about work. “How many god-and-family conservatives have really considered the implications of their ‘have a job’ mentality? We’re talking 40, 45 good hours a week away from the family, away from the kids. Quality time gone forever to some squat glass building in the suburbs.”

    You know what I really think? This whole line of inquirty is exceedingly dumb.

  23. Jesse, I guess I am open to the criticism of not focusing on the larger aspects of MI complex in Kauffman;s argument.

    A person who is not “anti-war in general,” meaning they want a perpetual state of war, is dangerous and bloodthirsty. By that I mean all civilized people only accept war when a serious threat exists…and the definition of that threat is molded by the specific facts “on the ground.”

    So talking about “war in general” is lumping the Crimean War and the Boer War in with The American Civil War and Vietnam and trying to draw a general conclusion about “war.”

  24. “At least “war in general,” the terms of the question. Unless the question now is about the reflexive support of the exercise of American military power abroad, in which case my head hurts.”

    What about “devotion to the military”?

  25. Jesse – I’ve seen JDM and I’ve seen your picture. The idea of you punching him in the jaw and living to tell about it is about as likely as me taking out Roy Jones, Jr.

  26. Jesse: The military-industrial complex was as much a product of technological reality. If we win this thing it won’t be because the military-industrial complex.

    yelowd: It is still about killing the other guy before he kills you (or your family, tribe, nation). Some things never change.

    Rest: You can pick out examples at will. I was speaking of normal, THINKING people. Not attention-getting pundits or your average teenager. To most people, the thought of killing someone in battle makes them sick, even if they also feel a bit of blood-lust.

  27. “Not to go too far out on a limb, but I always thought that there was public acknowledgement that pro family conservatism is ideologically inconsistent.”

    I disagree. Family values conservatism, nationalism, and militarism are all about keeping everyone in their proper place, with Big Daddy on top. Think of DP Moynihan, a hero of family values conservatism, lumping numerous unlike phenomena under the heading “female-headed households” in his study of Black family life, and pointing to the existence of such a thing as the cause of a whole host of problems.

    When large scale government daycare allows women to play a greater role in public and economic life, conservatives are against it. When it allows the greater regiminatation inherent in a war economy/society, and allows manly men to manly wage manly war, they’re for it.

    You all need to get over the idea that “conservatism” refers to a coherent policy program, and recognize that it’s all about preserving traditional power arrangements.

  28. Uh, Joe. Perhaps you missed it, but World War II essentially midwifed female participation in the workforce (pardon the expression). This sort of belies your thesis, no?

  29. I’ve seen JDM and I’ve seen your picture. The idea of you punching him in the jaw and living to tell about it is about as likely as me taking out Roy Jones, Jr.

    Did you see him before his growth spurt? Back in nursery school he was the littlest little angel in the class.

  30. “[M]ilitarism is not the opposite of pacifism; its true counterpart is civilianism. . . . It covers every system of thinking and valuing and every complex of feelings which rank military institutions and ways above the ways of civilian life, carrying military mentality and modes of acting and decision making into the civilian sphere.”

    Alfred Vagts, History of Militarism

  31. “Did you see him before his growth spurt?”

    Actually, yes, I’ve pretty much known him since we were 2 years old.

  32. I always thought you two were peas in a pod.

  33. I’ve been hit, kicked, chased, and almost stabbed for being a wiseass, but this is the first time I’ve been retroactively punched in the jaw by a pre-schooler.

  34. Also, I don’t know who this PLC person is.

  35. “What about ‘devotion to the military’?”

    I wasn’t deliberately fudging the question; my point was applicable to “war in general,” the ability to defend the place from harm, and I acknowledge that when you add layers to that (“reflexive support” of the “exercise of power,” which could be for a lot of good and a lot of bad reasons) it gets more complicated.

    I’m glad our military is the biggest and the baddest, because it means my family and I are safer, and I hope it stays that way. I don’t know if that’s “devotion” so much as “gratitude.” But enough about me. Is there a difference between an all-volunteer military and a largely conscripted one? Volunteers, you’d think, would make the decision to volunteer together with their spouses, or their spouses would marry them fully informed, which doesn’t make it less difficult but would tend to keep people likely to be broken up by the demands of military service apart in the first place, or out of the military. At least to an extent that a draft wouldn’t.

  36. joe: Name one conservative philosopher that supports militarism or nationalism. Burke? Kirk? Hayek? Nope. Nope. Nope. On the flip side I know plenty of militarisic and nationalist liberals, but I also know that mitilarism and nationalism is not liberalism.

  37. A mans Duty is to his God and his Family. America, more than most others, is a nation bound together by duty to God, Family, and by extension, Country. If you would die for your own sons, then a Christain man would die for his neighbors sons.

    Or send his own sons to fight and die.

    Which is morbidly easy for me to say unfortunatley, never having had to fight. Although i do have a young son…

    But i chose sides in this fight long before 9/11, and what was Right then, is Right now.

    His will is our Duty.

    I don’t plan to waver.

  38. Pete, that was an unintended consequence. Not to mention, the government and industry colluded to drive women back to the domestic sphere at the end of the war – successfully, for two decades.

    BTW, any Latin scholars care to venture a definition for “regiminatation?”

  39. “Name one conservative philosopher that supports militarism or nationalism.” You’re using an awfully narrow definition of conservative, and allowing that definition to be written by the wrong people. Conservatism is not a philosophy though up by philosophers. The philosophers you mention are better described as free marketeers or capitalists.

    Every self-proclaimed conservative president and presidential nominee in my lifetime has shown an unseemly attachment to both nationalism and militarism.

  40. >> Not to mention, the government and industry colluded to drive women back to the domestic sphere

    Sure joe. Women just hate the idea of staying home with babies. It must have been a conspiracy! (oh whoops, forgot you can’t mention the C-word here!)

    Take it that joe isn’t married.

  41. Burke is a free marketer or capitalist? Hayek isn’t considered a philosopher?? Nope. Nope. Read a little about it, it will do you good.

    (and btw – so has every self-proclaimed liberal president. People rarely practice what they preach…another news flash!)

  42. married four years next Thursday, Sharky. To a highly sought after engineer/environmental consultant.

    If you can get away from the shack, you might want to check out some of them purty city-girls.

  43. Sharky,

    In re your claim that throwing away one’s life for the state is “in our genetic code”, how do you explain the disintegration of nation-states like Afghanistan, Somalia, Zaire/Congo, etc., where people clearly valued family/tribe/clan connections far more than a magical piece of paper labeled “Constitution of …”?

  44. Can pro-flag, pro-family conservatives reconcile the tension between their devotion to the domestic and their devotion to the military?

    I think the average pro-flag, pro-family conservative would rather see his children raised by a stranger, than see them lying dead in the rubble of a bombed building.

    War has costs, like everything else. The only question is whether it’s a cost worth paying.

  45. I think that’s the heart of the question, Dan. In calculating the costs and benefits, why don’t family values conservatives attach any weight at all to the harm done to families?

  46. I’m glad our military is the biggest and the baddest, because it means my family and I are safer, and I hope it stays that way.

    Funny, growing up next to a SAC (Strategic Air Command) bomber base, I felt the opposite.

  47. Jack: I didn’t say the state. I said family, tribe or nation — i.e. one’s given gene pool.

    Nobody rallied around the “Dialectal Materialism” or Stalin’s Terror-State in Great Patriotic War…Stalin called them to defend the “Motherland” from the German agressor…and they did.

    Why this doesn’t work in other lands is a tad off topic.

  48. His will is our Duty.

    Can you explain this further? Is his will subject to interpretation? Do I, being a non-believer have the right to disagree about this supposed obligation?

  49. War against giant, agressive and anti-freedom nation-states is easy to agree with. Iraq was not.

  50. “Family values conservatism, nationalism, and militarism are all about keeping everyone in their proper place, with Big Daddy on top.”

    Viewed through this “power structures” lens, liberalism as an ideology is also all about keeping everyone in their proper place, but with Big Government on top.

    This is the fundamental difference between liberalism and conservatism (I’m talking about fundamental ideologies here, not necessarily how they manifest themselves inconsistently in the policies of Bush or any other politician). Liberalism desires Big Government to be in charge of everything. Providing for the family, raising and educating children, etc, liberalism wants to lay these responsibilities at the foot of Big Government. Conservatism desires the family man to be in charge of everything.

    The problem that conservatism faces is, there are some things that can only be provided by a Big Government system – one of these is national defense. So, conservatism runs into an inconsistency. It is simultaneously in favor of smaller government (although Bush has done more for Big Government than any Liberal since FDR), yet also in favor of a strong national defense. Perhaps that’s at the heart of Jesse’s original issue?

  51. And war against a metaphor is to invite perpetual conflict and the ever growing police state, as any Reason subscriber probably already understands.

  52. Was WWII a pro-family war or not?

    I need to know whether I should support it retroactively in order to not be called a hypocrite at some point in the future.

  53. Liberalism does not desire to see Big Government in charge of everything. Liberalism wants people to be more free; that is, to have more opportunity to pursue their own happiness. When government assistance in certain areas will increase this freedom by, for example, helping people with their medical bills or providing someone to watch the kids, liberalism supports that. But the consolidation of power in the hands of the government is not a central tenet of liberalism, merely an incidental tactic for certain occasions. The consolidation of power in the hands of patriarchs of various types and sizes, on the other hand, is the central tenet of conservative thought.

    The bond between liberalism and government, like the bond between conservatism and deregulation, is a passing accident of history, and does not reflect their internal natures.

  54. Sorry Steve. We are not taking the bait to hear more “anti-war talking points.” Rules are rules.

    Brad: Why do you assume that a military has to be provided by a huge military industrial complex? If anything this outdated system is hindering our efforts.

    And it isn’t a big/small government issue, it is the proper use of state-power for conservatives. Most think a powerful military is a proper role for the state. Example: Barry Goldwater was in favor of a strong military with limited government.

  55. joe has proven that he knows nothing about conservative thought. Don’t hold your breath that he might actually be open minded and try to find out (another downside of today’s “liberalism.”)

  56. “Funny, growing up next to a SAC (Strategic Air Command) bomber base, I felt the opposite.”

    Hey, growing up near Niagara Falls, which, it was explained to us as we practiced hiding beneath our desks with our arms over our heads, could be vaporized any second, I didn’t feel very safe, either. But it turned out ok, didn’t it?

  57. sharky-

    “It is still about killing the other guy before he kills you (or your family, tribe, nation). Some things never change.”

    Essentially you’re saying Hobbe’s state of nature exists outside the realm of each state. Without our state then that chaos would descend upon us. This outlook would necessitate a preemptive attack on any true, perceived, or future threat. Therefore, you would be arguing for perpetual war as this is the only way to crush rising threats.

    I believe the fear that is caused by that quote is exactly the one the MI plays upon as well as Bush and any other Pol.

    Is perpetual war something that is truly a family value? no. Defending your family is, yes. Marching off to battle to destroy every rising power is not a family value. History is always a great guide.. How well did the traditional family fare during the roman empire, the napoleonic campaigns, the hundred years war, wwI, wwII, etc?

    Lastly, all wars have an aggressor that fires the first shot. Arguably, all of those first shots were done to acheive superiority. TO be the top dog, to be the one that kills and is not killed.

  58. joe writes:

    In calculating the costs and benefits, why don’t family values conservatives attach any weight at all to the harm done to families?

    Why do you think, or pretend to think, or insist without evidence, that they don’t?

  59. Joe, what in the world due you mean? How did “Industry” and government “collude” to “drive women” back to the domestic sphere? That’s awfully strong language to use.

    You seem to think that a “couple of decades” is a long time. My friend, we’re talking about a prfound and broad-based sociological phenomenon affecting a huge portion of the US population. If, in 1945, government tried to get women OUT of domesticity and into the workplace, I think a target of 2 decades would have been ridiculed as absurdly optimistic.

    Tell me more of the grand conspiracy between “Industry” (which industry? all of them? durable goods manufacturers?) and “government” (what, the department of labor? OSHA? We talking federal government only, or state and local? And does this include the judicial branch?)

    My only request – please, no cherry-picking and dot-connecting. I know, conspiracy theories are hard to sustain if you can’t connect the dots between sporadic and disparate observations, but give it a shot.

  60. That last question isn’t rhetorical. It’s an honest question.

  61. >>Essentially you’re saying Hobbe’s state of nature exists outside the realm of each state.

    That is correct. The rest of your reasoning is flawed. Often it is impossible to prempively strike threats as we can’t see into the future. We take guesses.

    And it is incorrect to assume that the pereputal THREAT of war is the same as the STATE or ACT of war.

    The value of protecting one’s family from harm is hardwired in normal people. That is why even “pacifists” lock their doors at night or purchase life insurance.

    And yes, the traditional American family fared much better in WW2 than the German (or Russian) family. Mostly they lived.

  62. Relationships among states are routinely referred to as existing in a state of nature. In fact, that may be the most common (and accurate) way of describing the nature of international relations.

  63. Is anyone else vaguely bothered by National Review Online having at least three “Syria’s next!” or “Iran’s next!” columns a week?

  64. Pete, look at the record. Women in armament industries (which made up an outsized segment of the economy, and which were retooling for peaceful purposes to serve as the country’s economic base) were summarily fired at demobilization. They were often explicitly told to go back to their families. Those who objected were accused of “wanting to take men’s jobs.” This was explicit government policy, just as the effort to attract them into the workforce a few years before. Life Magazine stopped running Rosie the Riveter stories, and began printing sorrowful tales of women injured on the job, and childern permanently scarred by having a working mother. This is not a hard topic to find information on, if you’re genuinely curious. I’m sure an afternoon’s worth of reading would illuminate the subject for you better than my poor efforts here.

    And my, my, my…bring up women in the work place, and suddenly “conservatives” dismiss assertions of coordination between the Roosevelt/Truman-era government and industry as a conspiracy theory.

  65. War is socially and economically disruptive. It should be avoided whenever possible.

    Sometimes it isn’t possible. Thus one must weigh the probable costs and benefits.

    That makes comment #67 or so, by my count, believe it or not.

  66. I’m not a conservative. What I am is suspicious anytime somebody starts talking about grand conspiracies between two large sectors of the US economy.

    I know women were forced out of their riveting jobs after the war. My goodness, did you take me that literally? Did you think what I meant was that all those female riveters stayed at their jobs and never left, and that’s where we are today?

    What I’m sure you mean to say is that our values at the time had only begun to change. The focus for women was still the home. But a barrier had been breached, and from that point forward women continued to make steady progress in the workforce. To describe it as some kind of planned and deliberate coordination or collusion between two monoliths called “government” and “industry” is, to put it kindly, a bit simplistic. People who mistake cultural values – which, good or bad, take some time to change – for evil conspiracies to repress people, should always be viewed with some skepticism.

  67. “Why do you think, or pretend to think, or insist without evidence, that they don’t?”

    Because I’ve never seen a conservative office holder do so. Honestly, I cannot recall ever hearing a conservative public figure express concern about the impact of war on family stability. Feel free to enlighten my wretched liberal mind by providing links. Perhaps there is an entire wing of the Republcian Party I’ve been missing. If I am wrong, I’d like to know.

  68. “War is socially and economically disruptive. It should be avoided whenever possible.”

    That’s a great point, and easily illustrated by a simple mathematical puzzle. Let’s say that, in the year AD 1, Jesus Christ gave Simon Peter $1 to invest for the Church. If that $1 compounded at a modest interest rate of 2%, today it would be worth $1.586 x 10^17. That’s over $158 quintillion (a quintillion is a thousand quadrillions, a quadrillion is a thousand trillions, etc). Today, the entire world economy is but a fraction of that. In AD 1, it’s impossible to put a value on the “world economy”, but suffice to say it was probably worth more than $1. What does it all mean? It means that the economy of the world has clearly grown at a rate of less than 2% annually since the time of Christ. Why? Draw what conclusions you will, but I would argue that constant periodic wars and conflicts have stymied economic growth through the ages.

  69. Brad: Actually you can see that the economies whcih have increased growth are those that have developed better methods of war and were willing to use it.

  70. Saying “war is bad” is another way of saying “disagreements are bad.” Wars are but very serious disagreements.

    Think about what it would mean for us to resolve never to disagree anymore. It’s like…but what if we do?? Not only is that not possible, it doesn’t make any sense at all.

    It always boils down to this: What if the other guy starts it? That’s just pacifism – giving up at the first shot. Which gives all the marbles to the bad guys.

    Yeah, war is bad. So is surgery. Sometimes you have to get a root canal. Sometimes you have to fight back. That’s life.

  71. Pete, historical facts demonstrate that the government worked with industry and media to encourage women to enter the labor force during the war, then encouraged them to return to domestic service during demobilization. Yes, the broad arc of history was clearly moving in a certain direction. But there was a clear attempt to push that arc in one direction, then the other – and both worked, for a time.

    I’m sorry if my language is too radical for you. (No I’m not. I love the fact that my language is too radical for you. One of my weaknesses, I guess.) But do you have any substantive objections to what I wrote, or just stylistic criticism?

  72. Sharky 3:59 – stealing is not growth.


  73. Because I’ve never seen a conservative office holder do so [=In calculating the costs and benefits [of war] .. attach any weight at all to the harm done to families].

    You haven’t “seen” them do so? How would one “see” conservatives attach weight to the harm done to families when calculating the costs and benefits of war? In what way would this manifest itself externally?

    Oh, you mean talk about it.

    Well, one might say that The Harm Done To Families could have been partially what Bush (whom, I assume, you would probably consider a “conservative office holder”) meant in his State of the Union address when he said: ‘The technologies of war have changed. The risks and suffering of war have not. For the brave Americans who bear the risk, no victory is free from sorrow. This nation fights reluctantly, because we know the cost, and we dread the days of mourning that always come.’

    But apparently you know that’s not the case. Perhaps that’s because you are a mind-reader and know what Bush was thinking internally when he said that, and he wasn’t thinking about anything related to The Harm Done To Families at all.

    Though that would raise the question of just who would be doing the “mourning” that Bush mentioned.

    Enlighten us, mind-reader.

  74. Dang, I didn’t even realize you weren’t limiting your 2%-growth-for-2000-years argument to war. We’re talking about mere conflict, too!

    So, fine. No more conflict for us. It hurts economic growth. The global economy would be $158 quintillion and we’d all be driving 5-series BMWs without it.

    What do we do when somebody with an organizing social principal incompatible with ours attacks us? Do we say, “No, no, we all agreed to have the same opinions!”

    One example: Islamic fascism is incompatible with global democratic capitalism. Not to mention tall office buildings. So, how do we deal with disagreements like these?

  75. Sharky-

    I suppose to truly continue this thread we must define WAR and Family Values.
    war

    War, n. [OE. & AS. werre; akin to OHG. werra scandal, quarrel, sedition, werran to confound, mix, D. warren, G. wirren, verwirren, to embroil, confound, disturb, and perhaps to E. worse; cf. OF. werre war, F. querre, of Teutonic origin. Cf. Guerrilla, Warrior.] 1. A contest between nations or states, carried on by force, whether for defence, for revenging insults and redressing wrongs, for the extension of commerce, for the acquisition of territory, for obtaining and establishing the superiority and dominion of one over the other, or for any other purpose; armed conflict of sovereign powers; declared and open hostilities.

    Men will ever distinguish war from mere bloodshed. –F. W. Robertson.

    Note: As war is the contest of nations or states, it always implies that such contest is authorized by the monarch or the sovereign power of the nation. A war begun by attacking another nation, is called an offensive war, and such attack is aggressive. War undertaken to repel invasion, or the attacks of an enemy, is called defensive.

    Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, ? 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc

    Family values- It’s a ridiculous term, admittedly open to all sorts of interpretations. Fire one off, Sharky.

    As for my logic being flawed. I resent that. You’re still not recognizing the fact that defending one’s family (let’s just say in the state of nature) is always an act of war. Not all acts of war are defending one’s family. I gather from your posts that the defending your family bit is falls into the family values ethics. War is not necessarily then a family value. I do believe that is unflawed logic based on the definition provided above.

    As for perpetual war, I’m not going to say that there aren’t going to be breaks or lulls between acts of war. While troops are not engaging the enemy are they still at “war”? In the same thought, though we aren’t necessarily actively killing anyone, we or the state (if truly existing in the state of nature) is always at war.Why? Because EVERYONE is our enemy! When it gets down to it, I believe the whole nasty, brutish, and short experience is generally the description of war.

  76. joe:

    The assertion that the post New Deal liberal has anything to do with maximizing freedom is a bit dubious to anyone who has seen what liberals vote for. Just because they call it freedom when I spend your money doesn’t make it so.

  77. “Perhaps that’s because you are a mind-reader and know what Bush was thinking internally when he said that…”

    Or perhaps it’s because HE DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE IMPACT OF WAR ON FAMILY STABILITY. The issue here is not whether Shrub thinks there is a downside to war. It’s whether he, and other conservatives, think the disruption of families is one of those downsides. Care to try again?

    Obviously, I don’t expect to see war-mongering cons highlight the downsides while they’re trying to convince the nation of their policies’ brilliance. But I recall a number of objections from the right over Kosovo, and don’t recall that being one of them. Again, prove me wrong.

  78. Joe, here’s what you actually said:

    In calculating the costs and benefits, why don’t family values conservatives attach any weight at all to the harm done to families?

    You’re arguing now that conservatives don’t make speeches about war’s harm to families, which is a far cry from arguing that conservatives don’t think about or consider war’s harm to families.

  79. Jason, I wasn’t trying to convince you of its rightness, just to impart an understanding of its internal logic.

    Convincing you of its rightness will take three more comments. At least. Heh


  80. Or perhaps it’s because HE DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE IMPACT OF WAR ON FAMILY STABILITY.

    No, he just talked about mourning and costs and sorrow. I’m sorry you can’t connect those dots; he had to say the WORDS “family stability” to ring your bell.

    Interesting. Can I assume that you also agree with Bush defenders that because he didn’t say the WORDS “Iraq is an imminent threat” he wasn’t trying to get people to believe Iraq was an imminent threat?


    The issue here is not whether Shrub thinks there is a downside to war. It’s whether he, and other conservatives, think the disruption of families is one of those downsides. Care to try again?

    1. If you don’t count “mourning” as family-disruption then we may have such mixed-signals that it’s not worth continuing.

    2. I speak only for myself and perhaps not other conservatives but I assure you that I (who consider myself conservative) Think The Disruption Of Families Is One Of Those Downsides. It enters my calculations of the costs & benefits of war.

    Happy? What are you going to say? “No, you don’t”? On what basis?

    Oh.. right… cuz you’re a mind-reader and you know that I don’t, not really. Right?


    But I recall a number of objections from the right over Kosovo, and don’t recall that being one of them. Again, prove me wrong.

    Here: The potential disruption to families figured into my calculations which informed my view of the Kosovo war.

    That alone proves you wrong. (Unless you think I’m lying and can prove it on the basis of your mind-reading.)

  81. joe:

    P.S.: what Josh@4:11 said.

    Even if you were correct that no conservatives spoke about Harm To Families in any speeches (but you’re not), that still wouldn’t mean it didn’t enter their cost/benefit calculations.

  82. OK, I will accept both comments about war’s impact on families, and policy decisions, from conservative politicians.

  83. I don’t understand, and why should I care what you “will accept” anyway? You made a claim (that conservatives “don’t… attach any weight at all to the harm done to families” in cost/benefit calculations of war). Can you substantiate your claim or not?

    Note: a true substantiation of this claim necessitates mind-reading of all “conservatives”.

  84. I think your definition is statist and don’t agree to it. “War” is organized violence where one group seeks to enforce its will on another. This can happen between gangs, tribes or other groups, but ususally the combatants are tied by a perception of being part of ones gene pool (which could be defined as “family” in some sense).

    Perpetual war is impossible, as eventually one group will dominate the other. This state can be defined as “peace.” As only the winnners can be sure of safety of their families and the goal of war is to win, all wars are fought in defense of family.

  85. 86 posts!

    and it’s not about weed!

  86. OK, I will accept both comments about war’s impact on families, and policy decisions, from conservative politicians.

    You’re not paying attention. War’s impact of families would be considered by conservatives (and everybody, frankly), part of the “human cost” of war, whose calculation is implicit in any decision to go to war.

    As to your constant harping on Kosovo, what exactly were that conflict’s impacts on American families? I don’t remember a whole lot of combat deaths, if any. It hardly seems likely that you’ll find conservative politicians hammering on about the cost in American lives and its resulting cost to American families when American lives aren’t actually being lost.

  87. sooo….joe hates bush.

    why debate that?

  88. In pursuit of our new shared goal to Eliminate Conflict, I’ll take a middle-of-the-road approach to this subject. I think conservatives probably do think some about the costs of war to families, but maybe not as much as they should and maybe not publicly enough (enough for it to influence public debate and reasoning).

    That said, war is never entered into lightly (even if the reasons for going to war were…ahem…exaggerated just a tad). So I can’t imagine that the marginal question of whether tours of duty are disruptive to families could ever reasonably be expected to reverse a decision to go to war.

  89. Name: mourning is about feeling sad. Yes, Bush clearly considers the sadness of loss to be a downside. But I’ve been following policy debates pretty closely for a number of years, and in my experience, conservatives are not shy about talking, in very explicit terms, about family structure and the harm done to it by policies they dislike. Welfare debate, divorce laws, yadda yadda.

    I’m glad such impacts enter into your calculations. Are you a “family values conservative?” – do you fear the harm done to families by sodomy laws, easy divorces, swear words on the radio, working women, legal abortion, and gay civil unions?

  90. joe,

    Not to point out the obvious, but World War 2 involved essentially the entire nation, whereas Iraq involved a few hundred thousand people who were already professional soldiers. Not exactly the same in terms of demographic changes to the American family. Your irrefutable proof that all conservatives are evil hypocrites will have to wait until tomorrow.

  91. Okay, guys. I don’t think we really need to pretend that any president is unaware that sending troops to war is unpleasant business, do we?

    We can disagree on the weighting of costs and benefits, but it is a bit nasty to act as though human costs are not weighed at all. One side takes the position that the cost in lives of soldiers is buying more lives of civilians and others don’t agree.

    Now that I’ve said that, I want to sling the two most asinine insults used in modern politics. You are all a bunch of partisans and ideologues!

    Take that!

    joe:

    “I can change that ideological predisposition in 3 comments! How about you, contestant number 2?”

  92. Great article.

    The problem
    (well one of the problems anyway) with the modern state is the standing army, which perpetuates war and conflict on a continuous basis. Intervention by the government in foreign affairs has been the reason why most wars begin anyway, most recently demonstrated by Iraq. To me, from a libertarian point of view, the only just war is one fought in defense of agression (of which their have been very few in my opinion).

  93. Matt–

    I think it’s a misunderstanding of history to think that continuous warfare is an invention of the modern state with a standing army. If anything, the citizen militia model of, say, Republican Rome, led to more aggression, in the hopes that you could catch your enemies off guard. The standing army at least presents some sort of deterrent to aggression.

    Even if you don’t accept that warfare has declined with the establishment of the modern state and standing army, it’s categorically untrue that it has increased.

  94. Sorry I am late to this thread so let me know if this has already been thrown out on the table.

    Would it be better for the kids and the family if we were to nuke our enemy? I still hear many far righty wacko’s still calling for turning the middle east to glass. Soon, their claim will be to Nuke em in order to perserve American families besides the lives of our soldiers!

  95. joe:

    I’m glad such impacts enter into your calculations.

    Ok then. Best,

  96. Sharky-
    LOL. Never in my life have I been called statist.

    1) So you agree that defending the family requires war but not all war is about defending the family?

    2) The problem is that with the creation of the state, gangs vs. gangs, family vs. family, etc. are mere acts of criminality. This is the same problem with declaring “war on terrorism”. It’s a tactic. You can’t wage war on it. In addition, the terrorists were nothing more than int’l criminals. How do you wage war on them? And how is that different then police action? In addition, the gene pool notion is faulty when considering

    3)Perpetual war is not impossible. Though there may be lulls in the actual combat, the attempt to be on top never stops. Just because one state, family, gene pool, etc. becomes dominant, does not mean that all attempts to be dominant stop and peace is known around the world. It simply means that the now dominant power has to wage war on those below it to maintain its dominance.

    Honestly, I’m not a fan of hobbes and if I had more time would take issue with his notion of the state of nature.

  97. “You made a claim (that conservatives “don’t… attach any weight at all to the harm done to families” in cost/benefit calculations of war). Can you substantiate your claim or not?”

    Can I prove a negative? No, I can’t; you see, that’s not possible.

    What is possible is to prove an affirmative statement: that family values conservatives are concerned about the impact of war and militarism on family stability. Or that they have considered the issue, and decided that is it not a problem. I believe they have not, that this particular family issue does not appear on the radar of family values cons. All it would take to change my mind would be a link to a speech in the Congressional Record, or to the websites of the FRC, Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Heritage Foundation, National Review, or any other authoritative source of family values thought, in which this concern is addressed.

    One. Just one. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  98. I realize you didn’t call me a statist.

  99. Intervention by the government in foreign affairs has been the reason why most wars begin anyway, most recently demonstrated by Iraq.

    Well, most wars BEGIN when one country invades another, and all wars involve an intervention into the affairs of foreign nations, even if only to prevent their policy of conquering your country, so I guess this is true as far as it goes. It seems that this statement is really pretty axiomatic, if not tautolgical (war=intervention by a government in foreign affairs).

    I suspect that what is intended is more along the lines of “The US gets involved in wars by gratuitously intervening in the affairs of other nations that aren’t really bothering it at all, like Iraq.”

  100. yelowd: I didn’t call YOU a statist. I said the definition you chose was statist.

    1) Nope see above. Even if one’s stated goal is to conquer, loot, whatever, there is always a chance that one will face a counter-attack, which puts one family at risk.

    2) Hardly! See Somalia or the street wars of narco-criminals. I would say that the function of police is to enforce the law within a state, not defeat an enemy in the state of nature. The “war on terror” label is PC-ese, for “War on Islamic Militants and the States that Support Them”

    3) But lulls in actual fighting is how I defined “Peace.” I agree people attempt to break the peace all the time, perpetual peace isn’t possible either.

    It is hard to reconcile Hobbes with libertarianism. But after watching 3000 innocent people get blown to bits on live TV, I have a hard time dismissing him.

  101. Sharky,

    “Name one conservative philosopher that supports militarism or nationalism…. On the flip side I know plenty of militarisic and nationalist liberals….”

    A major subset of what passes for “conservatives” these days ARE former militaristic and nationalistic liberals. The main strand of neoconservatism is Cold War Liberals who didn’t move left with McGovern.

    Jack and Sharky,

    The larger the political unit, the more tenuous the connection between family and tribe, and the “nation.” And the larger the political unit, the more the State will treat actual communities like a parasite treats a host organism. Large states obtain the allegiance of the host organism (aka the people) by manipulating the genetic willingness to sacrifice for family and genuine community, and transferring that allegiance to a government 1000 miles away.

  102. joe: Weird, I thought we’d settled this.

    Can I prove a negative? No, I can’t; you see, that’s not possible.

    I didn’t ask you to “prove a negative” (which is not necessarily “impossible” anyway). I asked you to substantiate your claim that conservatives “don’t… attach any weight at all” to Harm-to-families in war calculations. It’s ok with me if you can’t substantiate it, as long as you admit it.

    “Don’t attach any weight at all” is a very strong statement, and one which addresses an internal mental process. It’s not my fault you made such a strong, ridiculous claim which calls for mind-reading and that you can’t possibly substantiate. All I’m saying is that you can’t possibly substantiate it. We seem to agree about that, actually, since you’ve basically admitted it.


    What is possible is to prove an affirmative statement: that family values conservatives are concerned about the impact of war and militarism on family stability.

    I’m not sure it’s possible to “prove” that, actually. It depends on what you would accept as constituting “proof”.

    A minor initial hurdle would be that you would have to define just exactly what the heck a “family values conservative” is. But presumably one could find such a specimen who would self-describe as such. Then one could ask him “are you concerned about the impact of war and militarism on family stability?” If he says “yes”, then unless he’s lying, that would settle that, from my point of view.

    Do you think it would be impossible to find such a person? That seems to be your contention.


    Or that they have considered the issue, and decided that is it not a problem.

    “not a problem”? Don’t you mean “considered the issue and decided that it is outweighed by other factors”? Of course you do.

    I believe they have not, that this particular family issue does not appear on the radar of family values cons.

    Ok, believe away. This is an autobiographical statement.

    All it would take to change my mind would be a link to a speech in the Congressional Record, or to the websites of the FRC, Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Heritage Foundation, National Review, or any other authoritative source of family values thought, in which this concern is addressed.

    No. Even if I accept your list of authoritative sources of “family values thought” (whatever that means), it would (rather, should) take MUCH LESS than that.

    Again, as Josh and I have already pointed out to you, whether or not “family values conservatives” (whoever they are in your mind exactly) have talked about this issue in speeches or articles doesn’t prove anything per se about whether it has influenced their calculations. You still seem to have trouble telling the difference between these two things.

    Again, your implied claim was:

    In calculating the costs and benefits … family values conservatives [don’t] attach any weight at all to the harm done to families

    If just one “family values conservative” says “But I do!” then your claim is debunked (unless he is lying). He doesn’t have to say this is any speech or article. He just has to “attach weight to” Harm-to-families when he is “calculating the costs and benefits”. These are events which take place mentally, and which you claim to know do not occur in the minds of “family values conservatives”.

    P.S. Now, in fairness, I’ll concede that I’ve erred in one aspect of this discussion. I had missed that you weren’t talking about conservatives in general, just “family values conservatives”. Maybe FVC’s, whoever they are, don’t attach any weight to harm-to-families. I mean, I don’t even know who the heck they are exactly. Are there any such things? If not, you would be vacuously correct in your claim (as I would be if I claimed that “all pigs with wings are green with yellow polka-dots”).

  103. joe,

    Your line of argument is now just nonsensical. I’m not sure there are many people who think about such things who deny the role of WW2 in the movement of women into the workplace. I’ve taken it as common knowledge, myself. Since many family values type conservatives think this is a bad thing, you have to assume that they can connect the dots. No one applied it to Iraq, because it was a very small war, compared to WW2 (which was a very big war,) and so it didn’t occur to anyone that it might disrupt families similarly to WW2. As it turned out, the war was fought, and families are still in tact. Who’dve thunk it?

    You’re going a long way to tar someone when you’re claiming they didn’t consider their own values carefully enough before making a decision that, in the event, had no effect on the value in question – especially since it was always obvious that it wouldn’t.

  104. Kevin: Strange that nationalists such as Pat Buchannan seem to be their main opponents. Mostly I don’t give a shit about the label, as it has ceased to have any meaning (other than a slur leading to Off Topic flames).

    The rest of your analysis ignores other important factors such as shared customs, language, history, religion, laws, taboos, etc that also factor into what we call a “nation-state.”

    People choose to risk dying in battle for “family values” but also for other values (sometimes wrapped up into what we call “patriotism”).

  105. Liberalism has a control aspect to it as much as conservativism does; in fact, I can’t think of any organizing philosophy which lacks this quality (social-welfare qualities of the former and the religious qualities of the latter should tip you off from the start). And those that do – Taoism for example – aren’t the basis of nation-states. We still live in a Hobbesian world I am afraid.

    BTW, did you notice that France has pointed its nuclear weapons against “rogue” states which have or rumored to have WMD programs? Yep, its a Hobbesian world certainly.

  106. Per the statist point – note my second post.

    1) What??? The initial act of aggression or “war” is still not an act of defending your family. True, your family is now possibly in peril. Arguably this isn’t always the case either. How often have wars started because the aggressor believed they would have an easy victory. Since WWII has been discussed, Germany’s initial thrusts certainly fulfill this criteria. Soldiers dying was about the only threat to family life.

    2)Before I make any points, are you saying that the gangs are in a state of nature? or are you saying that any act that goes against the state (and its laws or citizens) is one that takes place in the state of nature? Or both? An impressive philosophical point if you’re making it.

    3) According to my “statist” definition, Hobbes, and Machaivelli, there is no true “peace”. Another way of looking at it is that the soldier on the front isn’t at peace just because no one is shooting at him at that particular moment. There is always a struggle to be on top in the Hobbes’ state of nature. Thus perpetual war.

    Agreed on Hobbes. At the same time, the fact that nearly all people felt the same way, reveals that hobbes state of nature may not exist. Those individuals are criminals. Nothing more. If they are state sponsored ( I’m looking at you, saudi arabia), then by all means wage war on that state. Otherwise what you are doing is a police action. Unless you are arguing point 2.

  107. Liberalism has a control aspect to it as much as conservativism does; in fact, I can’t think of any organizing philosophy which lacks this quality

    Umm, libertarianism?

  108. R.C. Dean,

    No, liberalism. Liberals wish for people to live specific ways; if they don’t, then they don’t get the goodies that liberals are passing out. The goodies are used as a means to inculcate specific values. Education is also a component of this. Libertarians aren’t in enough places of power for me to see how they would create, or really, to be honest, methodologies of control. But I am sure they would.

  109. adopt methodologies

  110. Jean, libertarianism is defined by its hostility to methodologies of control, and does not lend itself to developing control mechanisms. A libertarian who starts adopting such mechanisms is no longer a libertarian, but has become, by definition, something else.

    “Liberalism” used to mean much the same thing, but has been highjacked by a statists with a particular agenda.

    You may be saying that no person, or group of people, given access to the machinery of the state, will be able to resist using it to engineer the activities of their fellows – this was the fate of liberals, and it will be the fate of libertarians if they ever achieve power.

    That may be, indeed, be true, which is why I believe that liberty can only be sustained in a society where power is devolved into a number of competing jurisdictions and organizations, but that is a rant for another day.

  111. Can pro-flag, pro-family conservatives reconcile the tension between their devotion to the domestic and their devotion to the military?

    Actually, you could generalize this further to the question, “Can people who like ‘nice things’ (like families) also like things that are not ‘nice things’ (like the military)?”

    In either case, sure. If you believe unpleasant things are vital to protecting whatever’s nice around you, you value them. You can respect and admire those who do things like join the military (because of both the risks they take and the importance of protecting nice things). You can even appreciate the power and capability of the military and its tools.

    This isn’t cognitive dissonance, it’s merely recognizing more than one dimension to the world.

    Perhaps the real question is, “Does anyone who thinks differently from us think beyond ideological reflex? Discuss.”

  112. I think that’s the heart of the question, Dan. In calculating the costs and benefits, why don’t family values conservatives attach any weight at all to the harm done to families?

    They do attach weight to it. It just isn’t a deal-breaker. Murdered children are a deal-breaker. Children who grow up without a father, because he died chasing their would-be-murderers overseas, at least still get to live, and learn, and grow.

    I think most conservatives never seriously believed people would dare to launch serious attacks on America again. That is why, pre-9/11, the conservative conventional wisdom favored isolationism, while the liberal conventional wisdom favored using our troops as as Global Police Force to help “needy” countries. Since it has now been made nakedly obvious that there millions of people in the world who’d love to see every person in America butchered, the conservative conventional wisdom has shifted, and now favors eradicating that threat.

    Yes, a lot of American kids will grow up without fathers and mothers. That’s the price our generation, and possibly the one after us, has to pay. Emphasis on “has to pay”; the price of surrender would be so much worse.

  113. 1) Really or was it that the Germans feared getting conqured by the Communists? Not defending the Germans morally, just discussing how family values is a key part of warfare (and human nature).

    2) “State of Nature” isn’t black/white, but I would say that gangs or even people often do act as in a state of nature (think hostage situations). A profound but difficult point, but I can’t claim it (straight out of Hobbes).

    3) I agree that peace is not perpetual. But the gaps in outright violence would constitute “peace” in my book.

    I suppose I am arguing point 2. And I had a relevation similar to Hobbes. In 5 seconds of watching Tower 2 come down I experianced the FEAR that Hobbes often spoke of. In those 5 seconds I ceased to be an anarchist (though I am not a statist either!).

  114. the conservatives in bismarck’s germany were certainly for the military, as that unit (nation) was of more importance than the family unit.

    so there. AND this is without needing to punch out roy jones jr. — nice estimation of your abilities, PLC. that’s a good SAT analogy: JDM kicking Jesse’s ass :: Roy Jones kicking PLC’s. will we see you on upcoming ISKA features? or on fox’s “tough guy”? *grin*

    and this fighting is for the afghani/cali girl, right? or the french libertarian?

    how many other posts can come in here…

    cheerio.

  115. RC,

    Yeah that’s pretty much what I was attempting to say, but there are other ways to intervene besides just war itself (like propping up dictators we perceive as being “friendly” or “pro-western”).

    Josh,

    I didn’t mean to suggest that war was invented by the state, but it does seem to have been perfected by it. It seems to me having a standing army basically allows the state to direct troops wherever it wants them to go. Without a standing army could we have troops in over 100 countries right now? Could we attack countries that pose to us no real threat? I don’t have any sort of death figures or anything on me, but look at the destruction wrought by the wars of this past century. Could they have been possible without a standing army drafted and maintained by the state?

  116. As another point to further the claim that this is much ado about nothing (or maybe cliches), I would point to the notion that even family values conservatives are not opposed to anything that makes family life difficult or unpleasant. They are opposed to those things that threaten the institution of the family. In one sense, this is about controling the definition of family, as in “a union between a man and a woman”. In another sense, it is about trying to preserve the preferred definition of family as the cornerstone of childhood development and the center of moral education. I find the whole notion somewhat juvenile, to be honest.

    A war is a threat to some families, but it is not a threat to the institution of family, so Joe will not find the evidence he is seeking.

  117. The article is about much more than if a war is a threat to the family. It is about whether a militarized society is a threat to the family, and it’s about whether it has already undermined it in the last 60+ years.

    Anon @ 10:09 doesn’t seem to understand that. Neither does Eric the .5b, who apparently thinks this is about the wisdom of one particular war.

    A conservative who throws a tantrum over rap music or TV violence as a threat to “the family” but doesn’t say a thing about war or the warfare state is a conservative with bad priorities.

  118. Too many posts to read them all. Quick synopsis follows.
    War is bad, but sometimes a necessity.
    Men are hard-wired genetically to interpose themselves between their family and any perceived threat to it.
    Men sometimes take this truism and expand their definition of “family” to include the rest of their nation/tribe/whatever.
    I am proud to have done this myself, and remain grateful to those who went before, and have come after me.
    Anybody tries to hurt my family, STILL does so at their peril.

  119. The Iraq war was a crappy idea.

  120. The abstraction “war in general” makes the question irrelevant, i.e., the motivations for any military action have to be analyzed in context.

    If hypothetical pro-flag, pro-family conservative’s flags and family are being threatened by an invasive aggressor, then the question answers itself unless aforementioned guy wants to commit suicide for his principles.

  121. >>Can pro-flag, pro-family conservatives reconcile the tension between their devotion to the domestic and their devotion to the military?

    War is the ultimate family value. Giving ones life in defense of family, tribe and nation is implied in family values. That isn’t just my opinion or a system of morality, its in our genetic code.

  122. Warfare creates changes in the domestic order which are generally unforseen and to be frank unplanned for even if they are known to be in the offing.

  123. Probably not. I’ve met few conservatives of the “family values” stripe who really want to rethink their allegiances. They are conservatives first and foremost, romantically harking back to the institutions that were praised in their youth, or their parents’ youth. Family, church, and the heathen-fightin’ warfare state. Once you’ve bitten that apple, you don’t stray far from the tree of authoritarianism.

    Yes, there are exceptions – I know a few – but I don’t see these few starting a groundswell of logic and new allegiances. That wouldn’t be conservative. That would be too radical.

  124. Okay, more time to peruse, now. What this does point out is how much we owe our men and women who willingly assume these burdens in order to “provide for the common defence.”

  125. Now that we have resolved that issue, what is the conservative belief about fire?

  126. Jean Bart

    “BTW, did you notice that France has pointed its nuclear weapons against “rogue” states which have or rumored to have WMD programs?”

    Yes, I did, and I was reminded of when De Gaulle withdrew from NATO and went with France’s independent nuclear deterrent. It pissed off the US, but even more so Canada because of their multilateralist and internationalist leanings. The Canadian press regularly pointed to De Gaulle as some kind of dangerous renegade. Of course he then topped it off for them with his “Vive le Quebec Libre” speech.

    I think the US thought more of De Gaulle as an annoying upstart, the worst he did was try to cash in his $ for gold (another act of independence, not to mention fiscal prudence) but Nixon closed the gold window.

  127. I would argue that government-subsidized daycare started with compulsory schooling, but I suppose one could argue that was an off-shoot of the military complex, too. But it IS the first disruption of the family for nearly every American child.

  128. Jesse done started somethin’

  129. … against it.

    and don’t get me started on the wheel.

    or depo provera. or those &*$^(%&*@%& pudding pops.

    confused.

  130. Oops, I cleaned up my system at home and lost my saved signature. I’m anon 10:09.

    Emperor Joe Bob:

    I don’t think I missed the point. We can debate to what extent we live in a militarized society, but I would suggest that conservatives don’t perceive us to be in one. My point was that to make this argument, you have to focus on how military activity affects the institution of family rather than just arguing that military activiy affects specific families.

    “A conservative who throws a tantrum over rap music or TV violence as a threat to “the family” but doesn’t say a thing about war or the warfare state is a conservative with bad priorities.”

    You could finish this thought without including the bit about war. As I indicated many posts up, conservatives who rant against rap music to preserve ‘family values’ is already in trouble philosophically. All I’m saying here is that the military thing is not a particularly good example of why.

  131. We can debate to what extent we live in a militarized society

    I suppose, but in historical terms the current US is highy non-militarized. Certainly, by comparison to the societies that supported mass conscript armies (virtually every Western nation since Napoleon) the current US military has a very small cultural/social footprint.

    Relatively few Americans will serve in the armed forces, none of them against their will. Increasingly, one concern is that the armed forces are beginning to be increasingly isolated from society at large, as they largely live out their lives on military bases among other military families. Members of the military tend to come from families with a military history, leaving swathes of America that do not have an immediate family member in the military. Military service is not seen as a big advantage in the private sector, as far as I know.

  132. It is amazing, really, this pathological desire of nonconservatives to tell conservatives what they should believe in order to remain true to “authentic” conservativism. What drives nonconservatives to such madness, and what can be done to help cure them of this dread malady?

  133. uh, Jesse, in case you didn’t notice, the military is a pretty small percentage of the marriageable male population nowadays. Nice attempt at sci-fi, though

  134. Forgive my one-dimensional libertarian thinking, but pretty much I see the modern labels as being a little confusing. For instance, in reality:
    libertarian = liberal
    liberal = conservative
    conservative = reactionary.

    So to a liberal, war is coherent with family values if it promotes the state. To a conservative it is coherent with family values if it promotes Judeo-Christianity. This is why the neo-cons got such traction. They can enlarge the state while fighting Islam. Both groups have something to love. I thinks its gleefully ironic that the Israelis are the modern Romans and the Palestinians are the modern jews. So that will make Arafat or Bin Laden the Arab Jesus as soon as we get around to capping their asses. America as a client state to Israel. Just enjoy the dadaesque surreally. Zappa should have lived to see this, so he could have died from laughing instead of prostate cancer.

    And I see no reason why war is tragic. It is wonderful. It is glorious. (As long as its in _your_ gang’s interest huh?) After hanging around Tongans and Samoans (at the same pool table) — I can tell you that violence is just an extreme form of communication. Like poetry by other means. And since Ayn Rand defined a “Right” as something that needs no sanction or approval from another I would posit that humans have a right to violence. Now let’s get this thread over 150 comments dammit.

  135. I was rather enjoying this intelligent back-and-forth, till I got to the conspiratorial and anti-semitic garbage Paul Rako just vomited up. America is a client state to Israel? Who is this, Mahathir Mohamad? ‘Zat you, Mahathir? Going on about how Jews run the world?

    Take your bigoted garbage and shove it up your ass, Paul.

  136. All right Name: enough with the semantic arguments, pretending to be confused by the term “family values conservative,” etc. It’s very simple: there is a large movement on the right dedicated to fighting what it perceives to be threats to the family. The think tanks and magazines I mentioned above have produced reams of paper on how rap music, birth control, gay rights, etc etc etc are such a threat. Notably missing from this list is war/militarism, despite the fact that there is a much more direct link between warfare and family strife than many of the bugbears they identify as “anti-family.” Why is this threat missing?

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