Military

Who Supports the Troops?

Where are their supporters before they are deployed to war?

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winn*/Flickr

A huge sign outside a local tire store really irritated me a couple of weeks ago. Its large letters blared: "WE SUPPORT THE TROOPS." I was tempted to get out of the car and demand that the owner tell me what he was actually doing besides displaying the sign, which probably didn't cost much in money or effort. I suspected that posting the sign was the extent of his "support," but I restrained myself and kept going.

I wonder if anyone ever asks the owner that question. Probably not. People seem to think that supporting the troops consists simply in displaying signs and bumper stickers, and perhaps suppressing negative thoughts about what those troops—including pilots—are doing in the far-flung locations to which the imperial ruling elite has dispatched them, That's all you need to do to be a citizen in good standing of the Empire—that and pay your taxes on time. It's funny because supporting the troops and declaring you support the troops don't really seem to be the same thing. I can imagine a conversation:

Troop supporter: I support the troops!
Interlocutor: Okay, let's see how you support the troops.
Troop supporter: You just did.
Interlocutor: I just did what?
Troop supporter: You just saw me support the troops.
Interlocutor: No I didn't. I heard you say you support the troopers.
Trooper supporter: That's right.
Interlocutor: Okay, then. Let's see how you support the troops.
Troop supporter: You just did!
Interlocutor: No I didn't. All I saw was you saying you support the troops. I want to see you actually support the troops.
Troop supporter: That's how I support the troops.
InterlocutorTo support means to assist. How does your empty declaration of support assist the troops?
Troop supporter: Why don't you support the troops? Don't you love your country?

What's strange is that demanding an end to the wars in which the troops are fighting, killing, and dying seems not to count as support. You'd think that the ultimate expression of support would be, "Bring them home now!" But that's not how typical troop supporters see things. In fact, they think that's the opposite of support—and even treason. Topsy-turvy.

While I believe their expressions of support are sincere, I also believe they haven't thought things through. Good intentions aren't enough. Their expressions in effect are only in support of the regime that moves the troops to dangerous spots on the map like pawns on a chessboard in the ruling elite's geopolitical games.

I concede that opposing the wars—how many are there today?—is also little more than a declaration not backed by much action and therefore without immediate effect. However, I see a difference. To the extent that declarations of support for the troops reinforce the government's militarism, it endangers those troops, and those not currently deployed—and that really doesn't seem much like support. In my book, merely making the troops feel better about what they are doing (if that is indeed the effect) doesn't count as actual support.

On the other hand, to the extent that antiwar declarations and public activities such as demonstrations change government policy for the better, the troops are that much closer to safety. That, I submit, would be of help to the troops.

So who really supports them: those who merely say they support them while refusing to criticize the militarism that imperils them, or those who vocally oppose militarism while trying to convince families, friends, neighbors, and total strangers to join them in opposition?

At some point during a discussion with an avowed troop supporter, the matter of morale may come up. "I support the troops but not necessarily the wars," he might say. "We've got to keep the troops' morale up while they are away from home serving our country."

Why do we want their morale high while they are carrying out immoral orders—which does not serve the country but only the regime? Remember, American troops are fighting aggressive undeclared wars—in one manner or another—in more than half a dozen countries, roughly from Somalia up to Syria and over to Pakistan. Heaven knows where else the CIA (do their agents count as troops?) and special-ops forces are? American military personnel—including drone operators—routinely kill and injure noncombatants. As we know too well, even hospitals and wedding parties are bombed.

Perhaps if the troops' morale was low, they'd refuse to do the immoral things they do, like raiding homes, operating killer drones, and flying bombers and gunships. Perhaps they'd like to know that some Americans disapprove of what they are doing. Some of the troops know that what they are doing is wrong. What about their morale?

I know: they're just following orders. Does anyone still think that's a valid excuse? One has no obligation to follow an immoral order.

To be fair, troop supporters may do more than merely express their views. They may send money to the Wounded Warrior Project or a similar organization. I guess that's nice, but I can't help thinking that for the mangled beneficiaries, the help comes a little late. Where were their supporters before they were deployed to hell?

This piece originally appeared at Richman's "Free Association" blog. 

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  1. Left-libartarian hippie cosmo rejects the evil SoCon agenda:

    “Ultimately, he said: “I believe the government should be out of the marriage business altogether. We can comply with the law while protecting our citizens’ rights to freedom of religion simply by separating the religious covenant of marriage from the legal, contractual relationship established by marriage as recognized by the state.

    “”The two are separate and they should be treated as such. Two consenting adults should not need to ask for permission from the government to enter into a contractual relationship ? a license should not be needed. As with other contracts, the government’s role should be limited to recording, interpreting, or enforcing such contracts in times of dispute.”

    “He said in the interim, marriage license templates should be posted online so people can download them, fill them out and file them, “just like a mortgage, a lien, a deed, etc.””

    1. But then how are we supposed to limit the tax credits to only hetero couples!!!

      1. Get rid of the tax credits by going to simple consumption.

  2. I read Richman’s words in Andy Rooney’s voice.

    1. That kind of works but it is not whinny enough. I always hear Richman’s words in a high pitched whine.

      1. I’m thinking Ned Flanders.

      2. Whinny is what horses do.

      3. I imagine a nervous giggly voice that sounds like he’s taking it up the ass while he talks. Kind of like RFK Jr..

  3. Perhaps if the troops’ morale was low, they’d refuse to do the immoral things they do, like raiding homes, operating killer drones, and flying bombers and gunships. Perhaps they’d like to know that some Americans disapprove of what they are doing. Some of the troops know that what they are doing is wrong. What about their morale?

    Sheldon is always comic gold. Guess what Sheldon, they join up to do those things. Doing those things is the last thing that lowers their moral. And thanks to their willingness to do such things, you get to live out your sorry existence whining about how horrible the world is. You know, Orwell, and idiots like you sleeping well thanks to rough men being willing to do violence on your behalf and all of that.

    1. Yeah.Like shooting up hospitals protects my freedom The military is a threat to freedom and prosperity .
      Save that bullshit about troops protecting our freedom for fourth grade public school students.

      1. Okay, get rid of it. Good luck with that. Lets just leave the entire country without any military defense. I am sure that will work out great.

        Yeah, dumb ass life is really hard and requires you doing hard things if you expect to survive. It is even harder if you are a fucking moron who doesn’t understand that. Just be thankful we live in a country where morons like you and Sheldon are able to be morons without consequences.

        1. Apparently, in JohnsWorld TM, the only alternatives are the huge bloated government run military, or abject surrender. No alternatives such as a much smaller military focused entirely on defense, or nongovernmental militias instead of a standing army. No, you gotta vastly empower the federal govt, even if those troops can be turned on the civilian populace,
          or you’re a moron in his book.

          1. That’s pretty much his argument, yes. He’s like the textbook definition of “false choice”.

          2. No alternatives such as a much smaller military focused entirely on defense, or nongovernmental militias instead of a standing army.

            A large standing military was inevitable the minute we started preparing our military for WW2. If you want that to go away, we’ll have to go to a completely isolationist stance. That’s also not going to happen in any reality short of societal collapse. Your option of “nongovernmental militias” is a non-starter in a technologically complex country of over 300 million people. Arguments like yours are why most people view libertarians as sheltered aspies.

            1. Another false choice argument.

              There is no reason that we need to have our soldiers, sailors, and marines in every pissant conflict in the entire world. The defense budget is massive and bloated, and there is no accountability for any of it. We now have a permanent warrior class and a completely top-heavy military.

              We could markedly decrease the amount we spend on defense and be more safe than we are now.

              Aspies or not, libertarians know that our current spending and posture are unsustainable. Reality bats last.

              1. A better policy would be to ban all travel from the usual suspect countries, pull every piece of American/western architecture and troop from there, and say, “Fine! You guys want to fight it out, go for it.” Anyone who tries to leave gets a no questions asked ‘sploding. They can’t simply STOP jihading, so in 10 years, the problem solves itself, as long as the last survivor does us all a favor and shoots himself in the head.

                Anyone who whines about the “humanitarian crisis” gets dropped in to join ’em. Fuck them, humanitarianism is for humans.

              2. Another false choice argument

                That’s the reality. If you don’t like it, tough shit. Blurb your FEELZ to someone who cares.

                There is no reason that we need to have our soldiers, sailors, and marines in every pissant conflict in the entire world. The defense budget is massive and bloated, and there is no accountability for any of it. We now have a permanent warrior class and a completely top-heavy military.

                And it’s going to stay that way until American society de-scales. We got on this track at the beginning of the 20th century when we decided to carve out our own pseudo-colonies from Spain’s possessions, and it became a permanent feature after WW2. There’s no way that genie is going to be put back in the bottle unless we decide to become thoroughly isolationist–and that’s not going to happen either short of a collapse.

                Aspies or not, libertarians know that our current spending and posture are unsustainable. Reality bats last.

                Wrong. Reality is what smacks you dead in the face no matter how much you whine about how things should be. The only thing you’re engaging in is mental masturbation. Our current spending and posture will continue until there’s an economic and social breakdown, a la the western Roman empire. That’s the reality, regardless of whether focusing entirely on internal defense would be the logical choice. Not acknowledging this is what makes you a sheltered aspie.

                1. i think you are just reinforcing the the fact that you are taking an all or nothing stance…. which is what makes it a false argument. we can either have what we have now… where the majority of out military is not in our own country, or we can have complete isolationism. you see no way for there to be some place in the middle. no way we could militarily assist allies, without doing all of the fighting for them. no way the goal of self defense could be more prevalent, without the complete abandoning of all else.

                  “Our current spending and posture will continue until there’s an economic and social breakdown, a la the western Roman empire. That’s the reality, regardless of whether focusing entirely on internal defense would be the logical choice. Not acknowledging this is what makes you a sheltered aspie.”

                  and acknowledging this, to attack the non-interventionist approach makes you a few cards short of a full deck. you know it is more logical to scale back foreign involvement… you point out the historical context of what happens to empires that do not…. and then attack people making the argument that we should not aspire to repeat that history. you are practically making the argument for them, by mentioning several times that the current path ends in collapse.

                2. Red Rocks: You are correct that we will ride this charade until collapse but the points of the above commenters are correct. Just because we are doing it and will do it until it collapses does not make it correct or even the closest thing to smart policy.

                  No one doubts that politicians will use the nationalist sheep to perpetuate never ending wars and support the Mil. Ind. Complex. The argument is that the sooner more people start to question bloated government and war posturing, the sooner we will realize our moral duty to chant the drums to bring them home rather than perpetually place them in harms way.

                  What is obvious does not have to be the status quo nor is it right because of that. Reality will hit us in the face as this collapse continues to accelerate.
                  Collapse is a process, not an event.

        2. Why is the choice always presented as “doing stupid, destructive shit around the world” versus “no defense at all, let anyone attack us with impunity”?

          John, I would grant you plenty of slack – but that is just as fucking stupid as a person can possibly be.

          1. you can see the same false-choice arguments being made regarding immigration, over and over again.

            1. Tony ain’t the only one who fellates fallacies.

              1. Recycled Clintonism from about 20 years ago…

                “You oppose my program to federalize all of the vaccinations for The Children?

                WHY are you opposed to vaccinating The Children?”

                Classic false choice… If the feds don’t do it, no one else will.

                1. “We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

                  -Frederic Bastiat
                  ca. 1849

                  Classic is right.

        3. I would feel perfectly safe if the military were cut by about 80%. Ain’t nobody invading this country. Too many guns.

          1. That is exactly right.

      2. Sometimes bombing hospitals absolutely protects freedom. Depends on context.

        The fact is, the US military is one of the organizations most vital to global freedom.

        1. Yeah. When the US military does it, it’s always A-OK. I mean, if we have to kill a bunch of noncombatants, what’s the problem?

          1. War sucks, no question. I also think we go to war way too easily.

            Should we be in Afghanistan (or other places) is another question.

            The question of noncombatants getting killed, it sucks but it is part of war, always has, always will be. There is no way to wage war and not kill some noncombatants – sounds harsh but that is the truth. Thank God it isn’t as bad as in WWII.

            I agree it doesn’t make it right it is just the facts of it.

        2. We’ve talked about this, Nathaniel Branden’s Head. You’ve got to change the nutrient fluid in your jar at least once a week, or you start saying embarrassing things.

      3. Why don’t you go say that to a war vet’s face. As if you would ever have the guts.

    2. Sheldon need not worry, the Army’s morale is extremely low today.

  4. I know: they’re just following orders. Does anyone still think that’s a valid excuse? One has no obligation to follow an immoral order.

    No they don’t. Maybe they just disagree with you about the morality of the order. Shockingly you don’t have a monopoly on morality. In fact, your opinions are often appallingly immoral. But don’t let that stop you from claiming otherwise.

  5. I’ve noticed that the earliest comments are generally done by the yokels and right-wingers. Then as the day goes on the cosmos start to chime in. My hypothesis is that the cosmos lead cooler lives and actually sleep in (especially on the weekends), while the yokels are up early to chase kids off their lawns.

    1. Nothing says “Yokel” like understanding the need for a national defense. At this point “yokal” has become code work for “has some basic contact and understanding of reality”.

      1. Yeah, our military suuure is all about defending Murica. Definitely not a giant corporate welfare program. No sirree.

        1. If only Sheldon were making the point you seem to think he’s making.

          1. Read the comment again, short Canadian warmonger.

        2. How is the military a ‘giant corporate welfare program’?

      2. MSF wasn’t attacking America. Nor was 90% of the people the US military attacks. Now the people the US government FUNDS on the other hand, they are quite likely to attack you.

    2. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and not a smug prick

    3. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and not a smug prick

    4. I don’t get to chime in until late because I have a life.

    5. “…cosmos lead cooler lives…”

      Winner for official Reason staff t-shirt.

    6. My hypothesis is that the cosmos lead cooler lives and actually sleep in

      Or, you’re single males.

  6. Morale is a force multiplier. Low morale can get you killed. Does Sheldon really want our troops to die?

    1. Yes he does. Sheldon is actively on the other side of any conflict that involves the US. It is not that he objects to war. Sheldon loves war. Sheldon objects to the US winning wars.

      1. Like his buddy Obama.

  7. Awww, does this mean I won’t see a green light on your porch on weds Sheldon?http://www.greenlightavet.com/

    1. I never do that kind of stuff. I find it mawkish and pointless. But if I lived anywhere near Richman, I would do it all just give Sheldon a sad. I would love to have Richman as a neighbor. Trolling his sorry ass would be endless entertainment.

      1. Yeah, as a vet, I’m telling anyone who’ll listen not to do this largely meaningless gesture. If you want to help a vet, fucking literally help one. Only part of Richman’s article I agreed with. Signs in a yard are a PR stint for the Facebook generation. “Let’s see how many likes we can get!!”

        1. [looks for “like” button, doesn’t find it, kicks pebble and wanders off]

  8. The troops aren’t draftees and how the U.S. uses its military is no secret to new recruits. So, unfortunately, I think we have to assume that most troops support those policies (and appreciate the ‘I support our troops!’ signs much more than they do anti-war libertarians).

    1. Yes. Now if Richman could make that assumption while also no longer making the assumption that no one could ever reasonably disagree with those policies, Richman might actually start to pull his head out of his ass.

      1. That we like a comment seizure!

    2. I think we have to assume that most troops support those policies

      Bullshit. They join for a whole slew of reasons, and trust that they won’t be thrown into a meatgrinder unless it’s absolutely necessary. By and large, that was true when I signed up. It has morphed into something completely different over time. Now, instead of war being a last resort, it’s at the top of the toolbox.

      I would now advise anyone against joining the military under the policies promoted by the last two administrations.

      1. but how can you trash the troops if you can’t misrepresent their motives?

        At this point, it’s hard to believe any one joins AND expects to avoid the meatgrinder, but I’m not questioning each individual’s reasons for joining. Might be nice if the brass took a hard look at the policies and compare them to reasons THEY signed up, and ask how many more condolence letters they want to sign for no discernible reason.

      2. “Now, instead of war being a last resort, it’s at the top of the toolbox.”

        I sure would like to live in this alternate universe where Iran’s regime wasn’t allowed to murder and kill Americans with no consequences time and again.

        1. Me too. But that’s not my problem. Not worth spilling my blood to attempt to achieve something the principals aren’t willing to do for themselves.

        2. Yeah, when I think of organizations that have killed Americans, Iran is, like, 25th! So let’s invade! Right, short Canadian warmonger?

      3. “Now, instead of war being a last resort, it’s at the top of the toolbox.”

        Well, yeah — and it’s been that way for ~15 years, so most of the troops now are folks who signed up during that era. Do you really doubt that the current military is at least as gung-ho as the population as a whole?

        1. Do you really doubt that the current military is at least as gung-ho as the population as a whole?

          Do you think the military likes killing people? Being away from their families for a year at a time, some guy 4 and 5 times? Think they like getting shot at? Think they like getting shot at over bullshit, having unachievable objectives and no end in sight?

          I’d say that most do it out of a misplaced sense of duty, loyalty and patriotism. They do it because they feel if they don’t they are letting their buddies down. If they have a fault, it’s that they have martyr syndrome. They do it because they gave their word that they would.

          Gung ho? No. It may start that way or there may be a few nuts, but all it takes is one tour to realize how fucked up the policy is.

          1. ‘I’d say that most do it out of a misplaced sense of duty, loyalty and patriotism. They do it because they feel if they don’t they are letting their buddies down. If they have a fault, it’s that they have martyr syndrome. They do it because they gave their word that they would.’

            I’m not certain it’s misplaced -situation-specific. Nicely put.

            There are indeed always a few who buy into the program, for the flag, for king and country, what have you, but what I’ve found the soy latte and skinny pants/haven’t figured out the 60s are over crowds never get their head around, that many have other reasons. The thought that there may actually be an independently minded separate military caste that cannot be lumped into ‘all cops bad’ and ‘flyover states’ denizens pick noses and fuck sisters’ seems to be beyond the ken of most Americans. Some fight for each other, to hells with the bleating masses, and to keep their skills honed should the nation actually need its borders defended.

            The military can indeed be reduced in size, as some here advocate, but it’s laughable to think that reducing to 20% of current standing forces would leave the country capable of defense missions. I’m sure commenters would be the first to ‘grab a rifle and head for the trenches’ if it came it, yes?

            1. To it. Came to it…

      4. I served in Desert Storm. And there is no way I would serve under Obama. Under a real president it’s a lot different. Not so with this traitor in the White House.

  9. When I see a “we support our troops” (WSOT) sign/sticker I generally assume that most probably means the bearer of that phrase has a relative in uniform somewhere. I suppose there are also a large number of other people who display that phrase for reasons that they consider patriotic.

    As a currently serving Army Reservist myself, who first enlisted and went on active duty 40 years ago, I suppose my perspective might be somewhat unique. As my primary contribution to the military right now would be as a linguist in a Cat-4 language I am basiclly tied to the area where I live and it is unlikely that I will find myself in any of the current combat areas. I like to think that my continued presence in the Army means one less soldier that the US Gov’t has to spend money training in my language.

    I remember what it was like to be in uniform durrig the Vietnam era and there is almost no way to compare that to today. I have to say that this WSOT vibe contributes much to the difference – although I personally feel a litte embarrased when I am “thanked for my service” (I don’t like the spotlight and also feel others deserve the thanks more than I do).

    But I highly appreciate the dissenting viewpoints against he wars that we have been waging. I believe that if we are not going to really go to war, to fight it completely without limit until it is over then we should not do it at all. Just as there is no way to be just “a little dead” there is no correct way to fight a “limited” war.

    1. I don’t know a single person in the military who likes the “we love the troops stuff”. Ending the draft was of course a very good thing. But one of the costs of doing it is the general public has lost any realistic understanding of the military and seems to be divided between the mindlessly pro and the mindlessly anti, neither view of course is healthy.

      1. Ther was some Marine who was interviewed about 10 – 12 years ago – in replying to the “America is at war” phrase that we were hearing back then. He said “America isn’t at war. America is at the mall. The United States Marine Corps is at war.”

        I don’t know if there will ever be a way to bridge the gap in perspective between people who know about combat and people who don’t. While there are rules of engagement which are followed almost religiously by the US military the nature of combat is to kill other human beings. Trying to apply morals to that is like pissing on a duck. Killing an enemy who is trying to kill you right then and there is the right and completely justified thing to do but to call it “moral” is a modification of the term.

      2. I’m active duty Army, in a combat MOS. I feel very uncomfortable with the “thanks for your service” stuff. They don’t know why I serve, and probably wouldn’t appreciate it if I told them the why.

        After visiting a few of these desert hell holes I wish people would see the absurdity of our policies and dump these places. We are not going to turn Afghanistan into a liberal democratic nation…..unless we wish to spend the next 5 generations there.

        1. Yeah, the while nation building concept is bullshit. Get in, kill who you need to kill, and gtfo.

          1. As a war vet, I agree. I liked Patton’s philosophy. That guy was a real SOB, by put he didn’t fuck around. And he always WON. Something Obama cannot grasp.

        2. We are not going to turn Afghanistan into a liberal democratic nation…..unless we wish to spend the next 5 generations there.

          Funny how people who’ve been there get it. How to convince the politicians….?

          Achievable objectives…

          …novel concept.

        3. There is a historical instance or 2 of a nation getting turned liberal-democratic by war, but this sure wasn’t the method by which it was done.

        4. As a vet, I don’t need anyone to kiss my ass. But I have little tolerance for the lack of basic respect I see from little pussies that have never served and clearly could never have handled it. Like Sheldon.

        5. Didn’t serve in Afg but worked there for a while, agree, there is no way we can ever make it a democratic nation. Never, not even in 5 generations.

          We should have been out long, long ago.

      3. The lack of realistic understanding of the military is probably more common in the Beltway crowd than the country at large.

    2. 40 years ago?
      God damn you’re old.

        1. Ha ha ha! Yeah, I had an appointment with the recruiter for the day after I turned 17 – so just add 40 to that.

          I was out of uniform for a long time so it hasn’t been unbroken service.

    3. But I highly appreciate the dissenting viewpoints against he wars that we have been waging. I believe that if we are not going to really go to war, to fight it completely without limit until it is over then we should not do it at all. Just as there is no way to be just “a little dead” there is no correct way to fight a “limited” war.

      Amen brother. That was the biggest take-away from Vietnam and they’ve flushed all those lessons down the shitter.

      1. I think the only time the US really fought a war without limit was the Civil War. Everything since then has been a pale shadow of that conflict. To hold up the Civil War as some kind of example of desirable warfare is perverse. WWII seems a much better model. Let others do the heavy lifting and sacrificing, and try to keep casualties below domestic traffic accidents.

        1. Unlimited war (also total war or general war) means to use all resources at your disposal to defeat the enemy’s war making capability.

          WWI and WWII are prime examples. Yes, it’s uglier, but it’s decisive and over quicker.

          The point, which you missed, is that if you do not have the resolve to fight a total war, you probably don’t need to be fighting at all. Meaning if your objective isn’t important enough to go to the mattresses over, then engaging in killing without due process probably isn’t yet required.

          1. “WWI and WWII are prime examples.”

            These are hardly prime example of the US total commitment to war. That would be the Civil War, where America was involved from start to finish and suffered unbelievably high casualties.

            1. You simply have no idea what you are talking about. Reread the “military” definition I’ve provided and try again.

              1. We may be quibbling coz i agree with the thrust of your comments here. I don’t agree that America committed the totality of her vast resources to fighting WWI and WWII. Germany did. So did the USSR. Britain came pretty close to it.

                1. That you would say that about WW2 shows a lack of understanding of that war.

            2. One of the main reasons for the excessive casualty and death rates in the Civil War was how far technology had leapfrogged tactics. Civil War issued rifles had 2 to 3 times more range and accuracy over the smoothbore muskets for which the tactics had been developed.

              1. It was the first time technology invented for exterminating lesser races was used against white people. WWI was Europe’s first experience of this.

        2. General Sherman was one of the greatest people ever, and his model of warfare brought peace to the land. If America had employed his ideas of unrelenting, merciless force to Afghanistan they would have a decisive victory. Sherman = man of peace

          1. “General Sherman was one of the greatest people ever”

            Comrade Stalin was pretty great too. His armies’ merciless destruction of the Nazi war machine brought peace to Europe. That the US were the ultimate beneficiaries of the war while sitting back and letting others pay the lion’s share of the price is the American Way. Think Tom Sawyer. Did he bother getting his hands dirty when it came to painting that fence?

            1. Your penchant for false equivalence and red herrings is remarkable.

              1. It’s Sherman’s greatness that is false. Nothing to do with me.

          2. Yeah, you know all about Sherman, right? Cause Canada is right next door! And you loves you some war, right shorty?

  10. A huge sign outside a local tire store really irritated me a couple of weeks ago. Its large letters blared: “WE SUPPORT THE TROOPS.” I was tempted to get out of the car and demand that the owner tell me what he was actually doing besides displaying the sign, which probably didn’t cost much in money or effort. I suspected that posting the sign was the extent of his “support,” but I restrained myself and kept going.

    I hate troop worship but you might want to reconsider your priorities if you were seriously tempted to go out of your way to start an argument with someone over a sign.

    “Don’t be an asshole” is a pretty good operating principle.

    Perhaps if the troops’ morale was low, they’d refuse to do the immoral things they do, like raiding homes, operating killer drones, and flying bombers and gunships. Perhaps they’d like to know that some Americans disapprove of what they are doing. Some of the troops know that what they are doing is wrong. What about their morale?

    I know: they’re just following orders. Does anyone still think that’s a valid excuse? One has no obligation to follow an immoral order.

    I certainly there there’s a point where as human beings they are morally obligated to ignore an order. My Lai massacre-type stuff or the war crime that was repeatedly bombing a hospital in Afghanistan.

    But it’s crazy to say that the United States doesn’t go out of its way to abide by rules of engagement that are often detrimental to the overall mission.

    1. I like to point out that while the My Lai massacre was a US war crime, it is other US soldiers who put a stop to it and identified the guilty.

      1. Not sure that “But there are a few good apples” is a great argument.

        1. The “only a few good apples” argument works in the Snowden case. I wouldn’t say it applies well to the My Lai case.

          The fact that it wasn’t the media, congressional oversight, or any other outside actors that brought out and prosecuted the My Lai incident – it was internal Army actors and processes. Of course it lead to media exposure and congressional oversight but the Army itself – the soldiers and leadership – did not allow that to pass without correction.

          1. “it was internal Army actors and processes”

            Did internal Army actors and processes uncover any other incidents of that sort or were the residents of My Lai just particularly lucky?

      2. I would add the soldiers responsible for Abu Grahb (sp??) were already in jail when the story broke. The Army had even put out a press release stating that. There is even evidence the pictures came from a relative of one of the abusers who had been trying to blackmail the Army to let the abuser off scot free.

      3. This. If the military had the same corrupt culture as cops, it’d still be covered up.

        1. Military life is far riskier and more demanding on many levels than being in civilian law enforcement.

    2. Sheldon: I can’t tell you how angry your sign makes me!
      Store owner: Betty, call the psych ward and let them know Sheldon wondered off again.

      1. Sheldon: I can’t tell you how angry your sign makes me!
        Store owner: (quietly rolls up trouser leg to expose prostetic metal leg)

        1. As George Carlin was fond of reminding us, we should just leave all the symbols for the symbol-minded.

        2. Sheldon would probably tell him that he got what he deserved for being a stooge for Israel.

    3. I hate troop worship but you might want to reconsider your priorities if you were seriously tempted to go out of your way to start an argument with someone over a sign.

      When I read that part of Richman’s article, it reminded me of so many third-wave feminist articles I’ve seen.

      1. It is your duty to storm into a business and tell a person how wrong he is.

        Richman: “WHERE WERE YOU BEFORE THE WARS!”

        Tire guy: What? This is a tire shop.

        Richman: “HOW DARE YOU SUPPORT THE TROOPS AFTER THE WARS HAVE STARTED! I WAS ON THEIR SIDE BEFORE YOU BECAUSE I WAS AGAINST THE WARS!”

        Tire guy: What? Please leave.

        Richman (as he is being pushed out the door): “CHRIS KYLE WAS A TERRORIST!”

        1. If Richman came into my tire shop…[harp strumming]

          Richman: How dare you put up that sign!

          Me: What?

          Richman: The big one about supporting the troops. Your mindless patriotism is getting people killed in pointless and illegal wars!

          Me: If I took down the sign, all that would stop?

          Richman: Well, no…

          Me: If the US military ceased to be, would world peace ensue?

          Richman: Um…

          Me: Should I put up a sign that says “fuck the troops”?

          Richman: No, that would probably hurt your business.

          Me: Isn’t it good that I am reminding people about the war?

          Richman: Yes, but…

          Me: But nothing! People like you are never happy, except in some imaginary Lalaland. There will always be wars so we will always need a military. And since we don’t have a draft, which I presume you are grateful for, people have to be persuaded to join. Part of that persuasion involves things like my sign. If you feel so strongly about your view, put up your own damn sign.

          Now get the fuck out of my shop!

          1. (applause)

          2. I would like to see some samples of your tire selection, sir, as I make it a habit to patronize businesses that understand common sense.

          3. “Either buy some tires or get out of my shop”

          4. “Me: If the US military ceased to be, would world peace ensue?”

            Sheldon would seriously respond with ‘yes’.

  11. Yes, Sheldon really loves the troops which is why he can’t tell the difference between soldiers and child slaughtering psychos.

    1. I suppose I should add that Sheldon makes some valid (albeit incomplete) points here. It’s just that prior articles really call in to question his whole “troop supporting” motivation here.

      1. He is right that the best way to show support for the military is not involve them in pointless, unwinnable wars.
        There have been fourteen years of war policy failure, which should be the best evidence a person like Sheldon could have against starting pointless, unwinnable wars.

        Here is where he loses me:

        So who really supports them: those who merely say they support them while refusing to criticize the militarism that imperils them, or those who vocally oppose militarism while trying to convince families, friends, neighbors, and total strangers to join them in opposition?

        The real problem is the tire guy, or a person with a Wounded Warriors decal on their car? The balls on someone to presume a stranger’s motivation for creating a sign, or wearing a shirt, or giving to a charity.

        1. Yeah, that self-righteousness poisons everything.

          1. Every article that I read from the Future of Freedom Foundation uses lots of these lengthy imagined discussions. They need a new trick for their pony.

  12. It’s an oversimplification to say the US military protects freedom. Sometimes it protects freedom, either of the US or other countries. WW2 is the best example. Other times, it is used for another noble purpose, such as disaster relief or peace-keeping. Sometimes it is used for no good reason, like in WWI. And sometimes it lost while fighting for a noble cause, such as in Vietnam. Its mere existence prevents some wars and prevents others from escalating. That’s not defending freedom, but it is defending peace, and you can’t have much freedom without that.

    On a side note, the nobility of a cause is not based on whether you win or lose. If a car accident victim dies in the emergency room, the effort to save his life was still noble as are the people who made the effort.

    1. How, exactly, was Vietnam “fighting for a noble cause?”

      You mean the noble cause that they were peddling as the reason, all the while knowing it wasn’t really the case? Keep in mind that the noble cause of stopping communism really represented a massive intelligence failure; communism ended up doing a fine job of stopping itself.

      1. Tell that to the Boat People, or those that were “re-educated” or Pol Pot’s victims…

  13. Di

  14. Given Sheldon’s stated belief that the antiwar movement is a positive force against imperial wars, perhaps he can explain where it has been for the past seven years. Why it has remained silent while the current President has rendered the War Powers Resolution a dead letter. Why it hasn’t uttered a word while our current President does not even go to through the pretext of seeking Congressional authorization for the use of military force. Why it remains silent when the President who promised not to put ground troops in Syria puts ground troops in Syria. Why it says nothing about drone strikes or presidential kill lists innovated by this administration? Or why the movement that still calls Nixon and Kissenger war criminals for their unauthorized bombing of a sovereign nation sat silent when the founder of Vietnam Veterans Against the War told us that the unauthorized bombing of a sovereign nation is “not a war.”

    Is this the antiwar movement you speak of, Sheldon? Couldn’t be that it puts party ahead of principle, could it?

    1. Because the so-called anti-war movement was really an anti-Bush movement. But I think you knew that already.

      1. Sheenan went from hero to zero in the media on inauguration day. From “you can’t question her courage and moral authority” to “there’s that crazy Cindy again”.

        1. Everyone on Team Blue was enthralled with Jesus 2.0. Everyone on Team Red was already in love with war. Everyone else was not invited to the table; they’re just isolationists, you see.

  15. Diane Feinstein is on Meet the Press. She just said, “We can fight them now, or we can fight them later.”

    When will the noble peace loving folk of California rid us of this evil Dick Cheney puppet?

    1. I love this “we” when I hear it from politicians. I know it is would be ponderous for her to state “we will authorize, direct, and fund some really fit, bad-ass guys to risk THEIR asses to fight them…” but the credit-grabbing phraseology of saying “we” just glares.

  16. Sheldon, you do know that many Americans give millions of dollars to charitable organizations that actually do support the troops, right? Wounded Warrior being one of a dozen.

    1. They may send money to the Wounded Warrior Project or a similar organization. I guess that’s nice,but I can’t help thinking that for the mangled beneficiaries, the help comes a little late.

      It’s your fault they need that care because you did not do enough to stop the wars from happening.

      You know, like if you elected an “anti-war” president and congress who were going to end all wars as soon as possible, and surely not start any new ones. An anti-war person could have done that. That surely would have worked.

  17. totally OT: found this last night and I laughed and laughed

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCAuP9qulH4

  18. Chuck Todd is bullying Carly Fiorina. I bet Rachel Maddow will call him put on it.

  19. As a hypothetical, if the military were privately funded, would libertarian thought have any moral objection to wars in Iraq or Afghanistan?

    It seems like it wouldn’t be any different from any other fights going on in the world where the attitude is that we should stay out of it. If the “we” is not you when you don’t participate or fund then it doesn’t matter.

    I think objecting or not both create problems.

    If you think a privately funded military is okay, and none of your business then that means the military objection is entirely based on taxes and therefore you should be no more against the military than the highway.

    If you think it’s not okay for the private military then it means you think that an individual should have say over what others can do beyond our borders. Which is paradoxically the same reasoning of the government for the wars to begin with.

    1. Re: Not okay,

      As a hypothetical, if the military were privately funded, would libertarian thought have any moral objection to wars in Iraq or Afghanistan?

      Why would a private institution pursue a war against either?

      But let’s say someone does – why should I care? As long as it is not done with MY MONEY.

    2. Re: Not okay,

      If you think a privately funded military is okay, and none of your business

      You’re already setting a false dichotomy. I can find war morally despicable and at the same time not feel connection to any actual war. The Non Aggression Principle is a personal principle, not a collective one. I would tell you that I find war a morally despicable enterprise and that I would never involve myself or my resources in one, willingly. That position does not impose on me a burden or responsibility to actively condemn every single conflict around the world. I just don’t like it when a government like the US government pursues a war effort with MY FUCKING MONEY!

    3. “As a hypothetical, if the military were privately funded, would libertarian thought have any moral objection to wars in Iraq or Afghanistan?”

      The libertarian arguments would still be the same about whether the war was morally justified, in our best interests, etc.

      And you might be talking about a criminal enterprise. If I raise a private army to go take over another country and kill a terrorist in the name of the United States, I’m not sure I’m not committing a crime.

      One of the legitimate powers of government is to protect our rights from foreign threats. Maintaining a military and using it to defend our rights from foreign threats is how the government legitimately does that. So long as Congress declares the war, I have no problem with the government using private contractors to fight wars. One of our old libertarian regulars, here in this forum, fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan for a private contractor. But those guys aren’t making a profit because of or from their activities in Afghanistan and Iraq. That money is coming from the government.

      1. Generally speaking, I think any privately funded military that doesn’t get paid by the government…how are they going to make a profit and pay their troops because of an occupation? Are they looting and plundering? Are they imposing a dictatorship and confiscating land? Are they committing war crimes? I understand government contractors making a profit. I’m not sure I see how a private military makes a profit solely from its own fighting without committing some kind of crime.

        1. That and I don’t find wars morally wrong just because I’m funding it. If I think bombing a hospital (for example) is wrong, it’s wrong whether my tax dollars are being used or not.

      2. There would be no “our” best interest. Unless you subscribe to some sort of tribalism, what they did would be none of your business. If you think it is your business, then what makes either side of a conflict your concern?

    4. I think it would be really cool – and effective – if congress would issue a letters of marque to some cutting edge software companies to identify and raid the bank accounts of organizations like ISIS and Al Queda. No blood, no collateral damage bnd it would hit them where it hurts.

  20. A horrifying EPIDEMIC

    “We will review each case on an individual basis. I can’t predict how we will respond to each of these cases. It is a possibility that students will have to register as sex offenders,” said Mr. LeDoux at a Friday news conference.

    Felony porn charges could also be filed. LeDoux warned that consent doesn’t exist when taking or exchanging nude photographs of students under age 18.

    ————–

    During a community meeting hosted on Thursday night by the school, administration and law enforcement officials advised parents how to deal with the crisis.

    “It’s just a nationwide problem, it just happened that it’s really exposed here,” parent Michelle Barnes said.

    “The sad part is you could probably go to any high school and grab cellphones from all of the students and there is going to be pictures of sexting,” parent Gina Devonshire said, according to AOL.com.

    A nation of perverts.

    We’re all sex offenders, now.

    1. I loved this line

      “authorities said it could take a month to sort the offenders from the victims in the scandal.”

      Never mind that many will be ‘both’

    2. Well, to most of these parents and assorted authority figures – sex is pretty offensive.

  21. “I was tempted to get out of the car and demand that the owner tell me what he was actually doing besides displaying the sign, which probably didn’t cost much in money or effort.”

    Was this in an area with a lot of military personnel?

    If you live in Oceanside, CA, you’ll see a lot of signs like that. But then that’s where Camp Pendleton is. There are a lot of Navy bases in greater San Diego, as well. And there are a lot of military personnel and their families about. There are wives, girlfriends, and kids whose dads won’t be home for Thanksgiving because they’re deployed. And I bet it does a business well to let their customers know that they empathize with the sacrifice they’re making–especially during the holidays.

    Out of curiosity, Richman, do you get all angry and upset when you see NFL players trying to raise awareness of breast cancer, too? Or is this righteous indignation of yours only reserved for people who empathize with military members and their families?

  22. And Richman has no idea what the people he sees displaying those signs are doing or aren’t doing for the troops.

    I have a cousin that co-founded a charity more than ten years ago that gave free voice recognition software to wounded veterans who couldn’t use their hands anymore. Her father died of that weird form of leukemia that people only seem to get when they’ve been exposed to Agent Orange. He served as a medic in Vietnam–drafted but as a conscientious objector. You might not know it to look at her, but, yeah, she supports the troops.

    I guess I do, too–although I didn’t realize it before I read this article. Guess I better go get myself a bumper sticker.

  23. To support means to assist. How does your empty declaration of support assist the troops?

    My dictionary includes another definition: “give approval, comfort, or encouragement to”. I couldn’t make it past this tiresome (and misplaced) pedantry. Why do I feel that arguing with Richman must be like arguing with a five-year-old?

    1. I wonder if Richman’s accusation of empty “support” carries over to other issues.

      Is it okay for women to support abortion, or does that require having to go work for Planned Parenthood?

      Is it okay for me to support ending the Drug War, or is that dishonest unless I’m a drug dealer?

      Is it okay for me to support gay marriage, or is that support empty because I’m not actually gay?

      Does support for lower taxes necessitate going to jail for refusing to pay taxes?

      Something tells me Richman didn’t think this all the way through.

      1. Something tells me Richman didn’t think this all the way through.

        Inconceivable!

        1. I do not think that word means what you think it does.

          1. Or perhaps your sarc meter is stuck

            1. I think CJ would make a terrific Inigo to Richman’s Vezzini.

      2. He never thinks. He emotes.

        To be honest, I don’t really read his stuff anymore. I stopped around the time I realized that he’s incapable of thinking critically. The closest he comes to forming something resembling a cogent argument is when he’s regurgitating the ideas of someone he’s read recently when it reinforces his feelings on the issue.

        1. It’s like they plucked Sheldon from a Jezebel internship and told him to keep writing in the same style.

          1. In Sheldon’s defense, he’s much hotter than most Jezzie writers.

            1. God damn your standards are low.

              I’d ask you out to dinner, but you wouldn’t even make it through the first course.

              1. She’s right. He looks like a bearded collie, which is much more attractive than most Jezzie writers

  24. Although I don’t usually agree with them, I have respect for idealistic pacifists who oppose any war on principle because they want to remain true to their values. But lets not kid ourselves that this describes Sheldon, whose real bias involves the assumptions that all anti-Israel nations are peace-loving victims and anyone pro-Israel is as bad as Adam Lanza.

  25. Saboteurs lurk in the Democratic shadows.

    Al From, a leading figure of the centre left who chaired the Democratic Leadership Council during the first Clinton presidency, argues that a focus on inequality, though understandable after the banking crash, risks driving all candidates too far from policies that would promote growth.

    “They rev up the base of the party, but if all you are doing is redistributing golden eggs and you’ve got a dead goose, you aren’t going to get very far,” he says. “That’s what I worry about more than anything else.”

    He adds: “It’s feelgood politics. It’s very easy to say, ‘When I’m elected we are going to increase social security’, but we might not be able to pay for social security as it is.”

    Fucking teabagger!

    1. From’s mistake is in believing that any Dem candidates or elected officials have an interest in things that “promote growth” unless that phrase means “things that can be taxed to fund new forms of utopia.”

      1. I didn’t think that existed any more.

    2. The last of a dying breed. Seriously, I would probably take a guy like this as president at this point.

  26. This is just a Richman rant without a meaning.

    Why the hell does he care if someone displays a sign supporting troops? Because it tickles his anti-war sentiment. Richman is not unhappy because some random person is displaying a sign. He’s unhappy because he sees the sign as support for the war. Why else would he be so angry about a sign, unless it challenged one of his beliefs?

    He sees support for the troops as support for the regime waging that war.

    Why do we want their morale high while they are carrying out immoral orders?which does not serve the country but only the regime?

    He claims to be a better supporter of the troops because he wants to bring them home. Yet he would be happy to destroy their morale–which might well put them in danger–to serve his purposes of ending the war. IOW, Richman cannot separate support for troops from support for the war, despite his claims to the contrary. Richman is against both the war(s) and the troops.

    1. Nuance is not Richman’s forte. He takes a semi-interesting argument and beats it to death with simple rhetorical devices.

  27. When other libertarians ask me why that Cato survey found the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians …”

    Mass movements do not need a god, but they do need a devil. Hatred unifies the True Believers.”
    -Eric Hoffer, “The True Believers”

    The militant self-righteous.

    1. You can have the Richman threads. Post early and often, plz!

      1. Rick: I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    2. “Believer” Singular. Which suggests to me you’ve never actually read it. Actually, everything about you suggests you’ve never actually read it.

      1. “Believer” Singular. Which suggests to me you’ve never actually read it. Actually, everything about you suggests you’ve never actually read it

        The book was written about Gilmore, but all he took away is the title title! Shame on me for agreeing with 90% of the posters, but not conforming with him (gasp).

        He’s launched a personal attack on almost all my posts for over three months. In football, it’s called “piling on.” Conform or die!

        (posted in defense of yet more aggression)

          1. (laughing) The counterfeit d’Anconia defends aggression.
            Still.

  28. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

    http://www.OnlineJobs100.com

  29. Richman is half-right.

    As usual he has no grasp of what war is. War is always immoral. It consists of killing people without due process. How could it be anything but immoral? And yes, in war, you kill the enemy and sometimes, in the process of doing so, civilians die either by accident or when a target is so critical that it supercedes avoiding collateral damage. That’s what war is. It is horrible, ALWAYS, but there are times when it is necessary and the correct course of action.

    The wise leader knows the difference. The wise leader knows the capabilities of his forces and knows the difference between an achievable objective and pipedreams. A wise leader realizes when to act and when not to.

    Kill or capture everyone responsible for 9-11. = achievable objective
    Ridding the world of terrorists = pipedream
    Install a democracy where democracy is not valued = pipedream

    Where Richman is right, is that the current conflicts are undeclared. The Executive has overstepped his authority. The current wars are unnecessary and are, in fact, counterproductive to achieving the stated objectives.

    I have no problem going to war when it’s necessary and given a mission I can accomplish. This…ain’t either. This is a clusterfuck start to finish. So YES, Sheldon, supporting the troops in this instance means not wasting them on unachievable, unnecessary garbage.

    And no, Sheldon, the soldier doesn’t get to pick and choose which is necessary and which isn’t.

    1. “War is always immoral. ”

      Wrong. It is totally moral if necessary to end a great evil ex British rule over the colonies, slavery/The Confederation

      1. “It is totally moral if necessary to end a great evil ex British rule over the colonies, slavery/The Confederation”

        The War of Independence did nothing to end slavery. If anything it kept America safe for slavery for another couple generations.

        1. The War of Independence did nothing to end slavery.

          Commas…how do they work?

          1. “Commas…how do they work?”

            I’ll spell it out for you. Cytoxic is arguing that the War of Independence was a moral necessity. I think a war that kept the institution of slavery going for as long as it did is morally dubious.

      2. It is totally moral if necessary to end a great evil ex British rule over the colonies, slavery/The Confederation

        No…in those cases it is necessary, NOT moral.

  30. Has anyone noticed how 95%+ of the posts on Facebook are all moral/political signalling ?
    I mean really, good through your feed, and categorize each one according to:
    1. Things that actually happened in someone’s life.
    2. Apolitical funny or interesting pics/videos/articles. (i.e. cat videos, wierd art)
    3. Pics, videos, and articles with a political or social message (i.e. support the troops, support gay marriage, guns are bad m’kay)

    Category #3 is easily the highest volume, by a wide margin.

      1. I have heard of this Facebook. I believe it is something like a collection of smug bumper-stickers observed in the parking lot at Whole Foods/Walmart.

    1. There should be a term for when signaling goes hostile.

      When the “C0exi$t” bumpersticker people start lashing out at Christians.

      Or maybe a term for when other people’s signaling makes us go hostile.

      When “support the troops” triggers nothing but hostility.

      Maybe we should call it “going Richman”?

    2. Yes, I noticed that before deciding to delete my account over a year ago.

      1. Dang. How are we supposed to exchange nudes now?

        1. I post all my nudes on pinterest

          1. Unrelated: Do you have the number for Child Services?

            1. Sure, when OMWC endorses child nudity it’s funny and charming

              1. My daughter (about your age) called me “oddly charming.” Of course, she’s repressed all the memories.

      1. Yes. but then you don’t see ANYTHING from those people, not even the personal posts.
        I want an AI to detect moral posturing and screen it out.

    3. I’ll never ‘get’ the appeal of things like Facebook. I understand the appeal, but I just don’t ‘get’ why people feel the need to announce to the world their latest bowl movement, and are interested in others’ bowel movements.

      1. I just moved a bowl from my living room to my kitchen. HA!

        Seriously though, I just pooped the poop of the kings.

        1. Me too, man.

          I had a life insurance physical recently, and I ate a whole bunch of beans everyday to keep my serum cholesterol down before the blood test. I kind of got used to it, and now I like beans with every meal.

          Poop of kings.

      2. For me, it’s an easy way to stay in communication with extended family and keep old high-school and college friendships from growing cold. I moved halfway across the country after graduating, so I’m really far away from family and lifetime friends.

        I also follow a few hobby groups, and that’s about it. My feed is rather clean, compact, and apolitical (except for the political groups that I follow).

        1. that’s pretty much it – contact with old friends and some former co-workers / associates. The political aspect has been useful in giving me the reason to cull the group whose posts appear. I have only so much tolerance for bullshit and some former classmate’s ‘liking’ of the latest Occupy Dems message falls outside that limit.

          1. The Occupy Dems thing reminds me:
            Facebook is also very useful for finding out who the idiots are.

            When I bump into said idiots in line at the grocery store, I know what topics to avoid at all costs.

            1. It’s a weird thing seeing otherwise intelligent people breaking derp with things like supporting Bernie Sanders.

        2. This is pretty much it. I have 3 young kids, so it’s a huge amount of work to maintain friendships. Facebook makes it much easier. When I do go out with friends, I don’t have to spend 90% of the time catching up.

        3. FB is great for reminding me that all the snobby hot girls i went to school with now look like my grandma.

      3. It makes it WAY easier to coordinate things with friends and other groups. If I found a popular enough substitute I’d delete my account.

    4. Also Category #1 is easily the lowest volume. Nobody actually wants to tell you what’s going on in their life. Everyone just wants to tell you what their opinions on politics are. Occasionally, someone will tell you something they think will make you laugh, but mostly they just tell you things they think will make you vote for the right people.
      Collecting lots of friends just seems like a mechanism to distribute your political opinions as widely as possible.

      Here’s an idea for a product. A filter that categorizes facebook posts into groups like “personal”, “humor” and “political”, and allows you to filter out categories you aren’t interested in, as opposed to blocking the person entirely. I would love to have a filter that would just shut off all the moral/social signalling and only give me the personal updates and cat videos.

      1. Nobody actually wants to tell you what’s going on in their life

        Unless they can phrase it as a humblebrag “lol I just won the lottery and now everyone wants to be my friend, so awkward!”

      2. Also Category #1 is easily the lowest volume. Nobody actually wants to tell you what’s going on in their life. Everyone just wants to tell you what their opinions on politics are.

        I find that there are a few offenders who make Cat #3 the highest volume. Once you filter those offenders, it balances out so that it’s a lot of Cat #2, the occasional Cat #3, and a bit of Cat #1.

        I just did a quick sweep of my newsfeed, and it was 4 memes of various sorts, 4 personal updates (concerts, bike rides, marathons, etc.), and 1 social preening/politics post.

    5. One positive of not wanting to stay in touch with extended family or friends is that Facebook is to be avoided like a TB infected bum grasping a bloody kerchief, and, therefore, exposure to moral posturing is minimized.

      1. It’s perfectly OK to block your family.

        My aunt is a hippie douche, and I unfriended her. It came up at christmas, and I told her why.

    6. My 14 month old walked around all morning with his finger in his nose. I had sure everyone on Facebook saw a picture. Multiple pictures, actually. He’s lucky he didn’t stab his brain.

      1. I noticed the fingertip poking out of his left ear.

        1. Maybe the back of his eye was itchy.

    7. Back when I paid attention, I would have put #1 and #2 at about 45% each, #3 at 10%. I just don’t have friends that post political shit.

      1. I stopped paying attention for a couple of years and just came back. I think all the political people drove all the apolitical people away

  31. ” I was tempted to get out of the car and demand that the owner tell me what he was actually doing besides displaying the sign, ”

    Is this parody, or is he serious? If serious, he’s welcome to come by my place and demand that I explain what I put on my walls.

    1. He’s an amateur philosopher. He can’t get out of his own head much less his car to have a real conversation.

      1. I think it’s Asperger’s, but I was under the impression that folks with Asperger’s were intelligent.

  32. Where have all
    the anti-war democrats gone

    Long time passing

    Where have all
    the anti-war democrats gone

    A long long time ago

    Where have all
    the anti-war democrats gone

    Gone to cheer Dear Leader’s un Constitutional wars
    every one

    When will they ever learn
    When will they every learn

    1. Don’t worry. As soon as there is a Republican in the White House, those anti-war Democrats will be back.

      Principals, not principles.

      1. And it will be funny since Obama is leaving an even larger mess than Bush did. Notice Obama is now leaving troops in Afghanistan until after he leaves ? Pawn it off on another person after the failed surge.

        1. You know who they’ll blame it all on of course.

          BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

          1. What I find more bizarre than the “BOOOOSH” caterwauling is the religious hatred of Reagan. If you sit in on any “progressive” conversation long enough, you’ll hear “Reagan’s policies caused this mess we’re in today!” or “Things would be better if not for Reagan”. Like Reagan is some kind of phantom who is ruining the country from beyond the grave.

            Does anyone else notice this, or is my family just a particularly fervent bunch of Reagan haters?

  33. Reason continues to publish this fool when every one of his articles only serves to drive away people who would otherwise be/sympathize with Libertarians. It’s articles like this one that guarantee us political irrelevancy for the foreseeable future.

    Keep it up, Reason, and you can continue to be the leading online magazine for 0.5 percent of the population.

    1. We need a magazine that supports the troops. That would be really popular with the 99.5% of the population who aren’t troops.

      1. …what?

    2. Wow, Hihn has a kindred spirit.

  34. One meaning of the word “support” is ” to agree with or approve of”. If I say “I support the first Amendment”, it doesn’t require me to invest money or time in anything. It’s possible for someone to honestly display the offending sign attacked in this post without doing anything material. A penniless and handicapped person can still support something. Or, a family with a loved one in a war can display that sign in support of their loved one without having to go to war themselves.
    You can make your argument against the war or even those who support it, but this “support” business is a dumb attack. It’s just English. Some words have multiple meanings.

    1. And of course if you pay taxes you are materially supporting the troops. Some people are proud of that.

  35. Sunday Shelderp: a Reason ckickbait tradition!

  36. Perhaps if the troops’ morale was low, they’d refuse to do the immoral things they do, like raiding homes, operating killer drones, and flying bombers and gunships. Perhaps they’d like to know that some Americans disapprove of what they are doing.

    Only a retard thinks that those things are inherently immoral regardless of context or that the troops are unaware that some disapprove of what they do. IOW, Sheldon Richman.

    1. How is killing people without any due process a moral act?

      I can rationalize war for defense, but that’s it. And I fail to see how killing goat-herders who are literally on the other side of the planet constitutes defending the country from attack.

      Then I look at all the stories of soldiers coming back with PTSD. Why is that? Is it because they can’t live with the immoral acts that they committed for their government while deployed on the other side of the planet? I think that may play a part. A big part.

      War is hell, and it should always be the last resort. Not the first.

      I say if you want to support the troops, then you should support bringing them home.

      1. ” I fail to see how killing goat-herders who are literally on the other side of the planet constitutes defending the country from attack.”

        Do you see goat herders everywhere? Are they under your bed?

        “How is killing people without any due process a moral act?”

        If it is necessary to end a tyranny or for a free nation to defend itself and quell aggression, then it is absolutely moral ex Hiroshima.

        “War is hell, and it should always be the last resort. Not the first”

        That’s insanity. That’s like saying ‘amputation is awful. You should never do it unless absolutely necessary’, even if you could have chopped of a finger to save an arm. If bombs are the best option to protect the rights and freedoms of a people, then bombs away.

        “I say if you want to support the troops, then you should support bringing them home.”

        This is every bit as nauseatingly dishonest as equating opposition to a war with non-support for troops.

        Your intellectual well has run dry. Again.

        1. Do you see goat herders everywhere? Are they under your bed?

          That’s just dumb, but I expect that from you. Especially when you don’t have an answer.

          If it is necessary to end a tyranny or for a free nation to defend itself and quell aggression, then it is absolutely moral ex Hiroshima.

          Last I checked, Japan started that one. Not only that, but that was a war between governments. Once the Japanese leadership told the troops to stop fighting, that was it. Who tells terrorists to stop fighting? Exactly. So the comparison is nothing short of stupid. Again, I expect that from you.

          That’s like saying ‘amputation is awful. You should never do it unless absolutely necessary’, even if you could have chopped of a finger to save an arm.

          Um, no. It’s not. And bombs don’t protect people. They kill people. As far as protecting rights and freedoms, how is that working out? Whose rights and freedoms are being protected when soldiers use grenade launchers to blow up goat-herders? Talk about dumb.

          This is every bit as nauseatingly dishonest as equating opposition to a war with non-support for troops.

          It’s not dishonest. If you don’t want troops being killed and coming back with PTSD, then get them the fuck out of there. Especially when the people they are killing are not a threat to you and me. Talk about stupid…

        2. By the way, when you respond with straw men an personal attacks, I’ve already won the argument. It would be refreshing if you could argue like a civilized human being. Then again, that fact that I have yet to see you disagree with anything the military does indicates that you’re not very civilized. After all, civilized people don’t go around breaking things and killing people, nor do they reflexively cheer when their overlords to the same for any or no reason.

  37. So because Ken Schultz above could only imagine private defense acting like criminals, we’re just to ignore history and how the private production of defense was and is more efficient and effective?

    Markets are many times free of violence, and can’t even match the violence inflicted upon individuals through gov’t. When a market emerges through voluntary interaction and transactions free from force or coercion, third party gov’t steps in and injects its force and coercion into such transactions. If one doesn’t pay the new taxes, or abide by the news laws and regulations, the ultimate penalty could be imprisonment or death. But let’s ignore the criminals currently running around debauching currency, starting bogus wars, and enforcing BS law through their other standing army funded through extortion.

    Socialism doesn’t become magically efficient because it is applied to defense. Why is it gov’t built ships like the USS Constitution ran into substantial cost overruns (which still happens today), while private ships such as the privateers or corsairs didn’t experience those issues. How was it those privateers did a far better job, and less violently to boot?

    But folks like you and John are somehow trying to tell us all the waste and fraud somehow makes the military more able to provide better services through such waste, rather than the private production of defense which would be subjected to consequences, and marking their services to market through price signals.

    1. Insofar as Libertarians are statists, Libertarians are socialists. The military is arguably our most socialist, if not downright communistic, social institution. Yet lt’s the only one I’ve seen defended so vigorously by so many here.

          1. Indeed indeed. Minds were blown.

    2. “But folks like you and John are somehow trying to tell us all the waste and fraud somehow makes the military more able to provide better services”

      That’s what’s called a “straw man”.

      What I said was that I had a hard time understanding how a private military would make its money–if it wasn’t making it from taxpayers or from people who are willing to pay for their services. If they’re making that money from the occupation itself–like the one in Iraq, specifically? If they were living off the resources and people they conquer (instead of taxpayer or customer donations), then I have a hard time understanding how they can turn a profit doing that within the context of a libertarian society based on mutual consent and willing cooperation.

      P.S. You’re not Tulpa, are you?

      1. I was making a couple of other points.

        1) The questions of whether a war (and occupation) are a) morally justifiable and b) in our best interests (cost/benefit, risk/reward) would still be what they are–regardless of how the soldiers who were fighting for us were getting paid.

        I will add that the risk/reward question is especially tricky. If some private company decides they want to go take on, for example, Hezbollah, and Hezbollah subsequently launches a terrorist campaign targeting American citizens, I’m not sure the terrorists are going to limit their attacks to just the American civilians who financed the attacks on Hezbollah. What gives you the right to invite retribution against non-customers? That becomes especially problematic when dealing with countries that have a nuclear deterrent.

      2. 2) A private military could not go past the mandate of its customers–unless it were committing war crimes, property crimes, etc. Companies tend to maximize profits, and if there isn’t any profit in, say, occupying Iraq without looting resources, then there isn’t much point in them occupying Iraq from an entrepreneurial standpoint.

        And that could be seen as a good thing.

        There are upsides and downsides, I suppose. On the plus side, we’re less likely to invade and occupy countries unnecessarily if they don’t have much in the way of resources. On the downside, our defense may someday require us to invade a country that doesn’t offer much in the way of resources.

        Either way, I’m not convinced that once a corporate military dominates a country and government that it won’t ply its trade to enrich itself with a disregard for people’s rights.

        I’m not an anarchist. I think the government has a legitimate function in protecting our rights–and the rights of those we conquer. Companies don’t exist for that reason. They tend to maximize profits for their shareholders. And that’s fine and dandy so long as everyone is doing everything based on voluntary exchange and with respect for everyone’s rights.

        1. Yeah, I guess it is Tulpa.

      3. “I’m not sure I see how a private military makes a profit solely from its own fighting without committing some kind of crime.”

        You’re trying to imply, with your questions that a world without some violent coercive monopoly, that already commits crimes, that somehow institutions providing defensive or security services can only survive through crime.

        You’re bullshitting by suddenly forgetting how the market functions, especially when bad economic actors face consequences of individuals in the market.

        Piracy could be handled by ships arming themselves, or purchasing services through insurance or defensive companies. A little skiff shouldn’t be able to take over a ship and kill it’s occupants so easily. That only happens when they make ships gun free zones, and they waste resources trying to recapture the ship and save the crew, and look like heroes.

        1. “You’re trying to imply, with your questions that a world without some violent coercive monopoly, that already commits crimes, that somehow institutions providing defensive or security services can only survive through crime.”

          I’m stating, quite frankly, that apart from taxpayer money or paying customers, the profits of war typically involve plundering and the confiscation of land.

          If there’s any profit to be made in an occupation apart from taxpayer financed contracts or paying customers, it comes from unlibertarian activities. That’s historically why entrepreneurial wars have been fought in the past–to get a share of the plunder!

          There are implications of that fact, and I’m drawing them.

          Why did armies stop being about plunder? Some of it had to do with the transition to professional armies. Some of it has to do with subjecting them to governments that are at least nominally supposed to respect the rights of civilians. That got a little muddied with technology (aerial bombing, nuclear ICBMs, etc.), but you’re not talking about limiting the technology. You’re talking about making the military no longer subject to civilian authority–as if the civilian authority were the problem.

          There are lots of places in the world today where the military isn’t subject to civilian authority. The outcome of that (whether you want to call it “private armies” or “not subject to civilian authority”) is fairly predictable.

          …predictably bad, I should say.

      4. “If they were living off the resources and people they conquer (instead of taxpayer or customer donations”

        By “they” you mean the military, and you are correct. For the most part the military are decent people who join with the best of intentions and motives. While serving at least, they lead modest but secure lives. (not just in the physical sense, it’s hard to get fired from the military)

        If by they you mean the people own outfits like Lockhead Martin who soak up what must be close to a trillion $US each year, they can certainly deliver you profits thanks to a vast, wealthy and isolated public. What they can’t deliver is victory in the field. Especially if the field is a mountain or a jungle or a desert. I think until recently the American public was confident enough as well as wealthy enough to be able to absorb these losses and carry on. I sense that has changed. I think people are very wary about escalating conflict in the middle east.

    3. “Markets are many times free of violence, and can’t even match the violence inflicted upon individuals through gov’t.”

      When you’re talking about a private military, you’re talking about a company that specializes in violence. You’re hoping that a company whose competitive advantage is violence won’t use its competitive advantage.

      Consider the East India Company’s dealings in India and China or Rhodes’ British South Africa Company. Whether you think of them as private militaries with an economic interest or economic interests with a private military, there wasn’t anything libertarian about either one of them.

  38. vector-a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another.

    Politics, particularly POLICIES which make up politics, are like vectors. If one chooses the concept of “left versus right”, fine, but libertarians should be considered neither left nor right. But nothing is as simple as that. But at the very least, if one does have a direction on an issue as more right or more left, a libertarian’s magnitude should be short. The longer a vector, the more Force is necessary to sustain it’s length.

    On the issue of war, perfect libertarian would be firmly against. In terms of government existing at all anarcho-capitalism is really the only pure way. But reality must be dealt with. But in so doing, again, the LENGTH of a vector should be short. And perpetual war, with a solid Military Industrial Complex fully in place, standing armies, endless interventions in thousands year old tribal hatreds, billions disappearing off-budget into “black ops”. the list goes on. There is NOTHING libertarian about current military make up and use. A hundred or so years ago, certain officers were given a commission – to muster men to fight. During the Sino-Japanese war, the Flying Tigers were voluntary corps off fighting.

    cont.

  39. I was tempted to get out of the car and demand that the owner tell me what he was actually doing besides displaying the sign, which probably didn’t cost much in money or effort.

    Hey, whoa, Scott! Whoa! Take it down a notch…

    Are you saying #BringBackOurGirls was just a big waste of time?

  40. Granted even in those days, such endeavors may have been manned by “lost men” with small prospects, but today’s military is sizably made up of people with slim prospects. Military spending is a hidden form of transfer payments that can be made into Republican districts – effectively laundered welfare. Today, we have a huge chunk of our economy tied in with making munitions and tanks and humvees etc etc etc (the excess production now in the hands of our “civilian” police. We sop up a huge amount of excess people and send them overseas – better outside the borders than becoming a threat internally.

    I could go on. I’ve never considered myself a pacifist. I recall a philosophy professor who went on about never resisting or fighting, you simply didn’t have to cooperate and they invaders would just go away. The naivete was alarming. And I do understand waiting to be lined up next to the pit you’ve been forced to dig to be shoot and buried is probably not the best time to calculate fighting for yourself. So where is the “sweet spot”, the vector of the shortest length? Hard to say fully, but in the continuum between waiting to be annihilated and trouncing around the world with hundreds of thousands troops and endless war is most certainly pushing far to the other side of the spectrum.

    cont

    1. And, perhaps, having a DIY (do it yourself) attitude in ALL policies, instead of depending on agents (with speculative alternate agendas) is a sound way for an individual to maintain the proper length of their “vectors”.

      In the end, there is certainly something cheap and platitudinous with signs and yellow ribbons, much less the gimmicky staged surprise homecomings everyone is marketing. It’s propaganda. It’s not really understanding the brick and mortar of what blowing shit up really is or turning people into piles of hamburger with a drone or pointing a gun at somebody and ending their life.

      There is now just as much a disconnect with our militarism than there is with the double blind welfarism. There’s a huge area of money and power for parasites to grow. It’s what happens when you hire agents to do something for you – whether it’s blowing somebody up or handing out 50% of your labor to others mindlessly.

      And welfarism and warfarism are connected at the hip.

  41. Huh, new movie out about the Benghazi Youtube Video protest attack.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m84z-GWwa58

    1. ” the Benghazi Youtube Video protest attack”

      UGH. you mean the “spontaneous demonstration”

      It appears this movie is going to based on the the contractor personnel’s claims about what happened, rather than the official house report… which differ on a number of key points.

    2. oh god… michael bay….

      should have seen that coming in the first few seconds.

      1. Is this a real movie or a well made preview spoof?…. Doesn’t look like it has enough explosions or exploding flying car rollovers for a true Michael Bay movie.

    3. Very meta – throwing a Michael Bay bit under a Richman article.

      Well played.

  42. Sheldon, paying the government’s taxes is different from paying “your” taxes. I am taxed at gunpoint on orders from politicians I voted against. These distinctions are important or Newspeak wouldn’t be written the way it is written. When Nixon was God’s Own Pestilence chief, boys were kidnapped and shipped off to Vietnam as cannon fodder. One of the reasons this was done away with (besides fragging of officers and the LP forming) was that the looters didn’t dare tell youths they were being shipped off to “their” undeclared war.

  43. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,

    ———- http://www.4cyberworks.com

  44. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,

    ———- http://www.4cyberworks.com

  45. who is richman? richman can stop war.

  46. I am Interlocutor, of Borg.

  47. As a former troop, I never needed or wanted the support of the civilian population. I signed up with the knowledge that I could be put in harm’s way, and with the knowledge politians and the will of the people might just put me in harm’s way, in which case in 1991 they did.

    If you support the troops, send a care package–those are always nice–and petition your ellected officials to raise the base pay. Otherwise, your empty platitudes are noted, and ignored.

    1. Boom. Shot over. Civilians can pound sand until the cows come home.

      And, send nudes. Kids, take pictures of your (hot, over the age of consent) moms and sisters, and send them to combat troops. Take pictures of dads and brothers for the women and gay men. The gay women would love pictures of mom and sister as well.

      Do it now. Tangible support.

  48. Im making over $9k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,

    ———- http://www.onlinejobs100.com

  49. Im making over $9k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,

    ———- http://www.onlinejobs100.com

  50. I “support the troops” by working in an industry that develops technology so that our war-fighters are better able to accurately and confidently kill remote targets without putting themselves in danger. I also do small cash donations from time to time.

    That said, I’m as distrustful of people that feel the need to make public displays of their “patriotism” as I do of people that feel the need to make public displays of their “piety”. Both are seeking reward for the display itself, rather then the supposed inspiration they claim prompted it.

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