The Military: America’s Golden Calf

 

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We are all born into a particular paradigm of life. There is some measure of variance in this paradigm among Americans. Some particular values of New England Americans may differ to some degree from southern Californian Americans. As a southerner, I was raised with values generally found among southern Americans, where we swear by sweet tea, college football and the Redneck Riviera. In some portions of the south, Bear Bryant has attained the status of the gods.One American idol which transcends all regions and cultures is the American military. Question the hallowed status of this sacrosanct institution which can do no wrong, whose methods and motivations must never be called into question, and you can expect a barrage of blowback.

It is easy to see why this is. From the earliest age, we have the notion drilled into our heads that the military is to be revered, and that we enjoy freedom because of it. Since we hear this, virtually from birth, it becomes a part of our very fabric, and we are so sure of it that it never even occurs to us to question such a thing. We are surrounded, bombarded with military propaganda every day, from songs on the radio which laud the military, taxpayer-funded commercials which promote the military, movies and news outlets which glorify the military, and sporting events which worship the military like a god.

When someone, somewhere out of the red white and blue dares to question the military’s exalted position, we recoil in horror at even hearing such blasphemy. There are several reasons for this outrage. One reason may be that the horrified has simply never heard anyone call into question this pillar of America. They have always heard it said or sung that the military is the reason we are able to do anything, that we owe our very existence, even the air we breathe, to these brave heroes. Thus, we simply assume that it must be true. I mean, come on….it sounds so right!

Another reason most Americans hold the military in such high esteem is that virtually every American knows someone who was, or is, in the military. Could be a son or daughter, niece or nephew, father or grandfather. Ironically enough, for the survivors of a loved one who was actually killed in action, the reverence of the military often even grows.

Thirdly, the simple fact is that most Americans, whether they know it or not, have made a god of the State. Some admit it. Other would deny it, but wouldn’t hesitate to salute the flag or praise the “heroes” who are, you know, laying it all on the line for us every day so that we can enjoy all the great liberties in America.

It might be a good time to consider the mindless cliches military worshipers puke out as fast as a pot of instant potatoes, whenever anyone dare question their adoration. Cliches such as:

– “If it weren’t for the military, you couldn’t say that!”

This clueless little gem presumes that our ability to speak freely comes not from God, but from the military. Somehow, we are supposed to make the connection that by having troops in Iraq, we are defending and maintaining free speech. Someway, we are to conclude that our entries into World War 1 and 2 was to ensure that we’d all be able to talk out loud.When a person who spews such mindless drivel like this is actually forced to defend it, they cannot, for obvious reasons. And this goes back to my original point, that reverence of a military whose existence must never be called into question is as much a part of our fabric as love of mother and her apple pie.Really, can we use our God (not military) given noggins and consider the absurdity of such a statement? People spoke freely long before there was an America, still do, and always will, no matter what war(s) is being waged.
“The troops are defending our freedoms”Again, mindless twaddle by people who simply accept at face value that which they have always heard, never stopping to consider the legitimacy of such sheer nonsense. It would be nice if the person who makes such a declaration were actually called upon to substantiate it, but they never have to, for we must surely never question such a patriotic statement. Good thing too, since such a statement cannot be defended.
So, here we go: No, the troops are not defending our freedoms. Not no way, not no how. Not even close. Most Americans blindly accept the claims of an American president whenever he goes before the cameras and tells us that our freedoms must be defended, and will be, as he sends troops to Iraq, or Afghanistan, or any other Stan. But we never seem to make the connection that what we are being told simply makes no sense whatsoever. After all, no president would lie about such a weighty matter, would he?Americans are under such a constant barrage of state-sponsored “patriotism” that most do not even stop to consider what is actually happening. They just sit there, like a collection of frogs in a kettle of statist stew, accepting as fact what they are told in government schools, or from loyal statist “news” outlets like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh or Sean “The Pawn” Hannity. Hour after hour, on radio, television and the internet, such cliches are pummeled into our heads to the point that we simply cannot fathom the notion of anyone questioning such a truthful and hallowed statement.Ideally, we would all live our lives as free men. This love of, and desire for liberty is God-given, but during the course of our lives, we are exposed to proxy definitions of the term that we conditionally accept as being the norm. Thus we assume that when a president, politician, or commentator uses the term liberty, he knows what he is talking about. Surely he’s on the same page as us, right?
The fact is, our brains have been massaged into a state-induced numbness, a condition which elicits a Pavlovian-style response anytime somebody raises a flag, calls troops “heroes,” or lauds the latest bomb-dropping frenzy on some nation you never knew existed, but it doesn’t matter, because your cable TV is still working. The truth is that our liberties – remember liberty? – or whatever is left of them are under constant assault by the greatest – by far the greatest – threat to them: the federal government of the United States. And who, dear reader, does the bidding of the federal government of the United States?

If you said “the military,” you may proceed to level two. The fact is that our freedoms are not under threat from the Stans, but by our own government. Stan is an illusion, a device employed to distract you while your wallet is lifted (literally.) Must I actually list all the ways our liberties are stolen from us each and every day by our own imperial government? May I ask what the reader considers the job of the military to be, actually? Is it to defend our freedoms? If so, then may I be so bold as to ask why they are not doing this?

Could it be because they are on the same team as the enemies of our liberties?

No, the troops are not defending our freedoms. The troops are largely being used as pawns to participate in a world-wide shell game which is making a precious few people a whole lot of money. The onus is on the person who maintains that the military is actually defending our freedom to prove this assertion. And good luck. We were never taught in our government schools to question such things. The good, loyal, patriotic American was to never question his government, or its military. And who doesn’t love a sense of security, the notion that all will be well as long as we dutifully believe what we are told? It’s just so much easier to accept, rather than challenge that which is presented to us an undeniable truth.

“How can you disrespect your own father?”

My own father, like many in the World War 2 generation, was drafted into the military in a time very much unlike the times we live in now. There was no television, probably no radio, and virtually no way to verify that what they had heard had actually happened. Masses of trusting Americans, many good, decent and hard working people had been told their nation had come under attack, and that the homeland must be defended. Scores of young men were drafted and shipped to all regions of the world. And what choice did they have? Even if they did doubt what they had been told, they had to go, or face prison. So they went and fought, many valiantly, and many lost their lives, tragically.

But as Olds once said, “This ain’t your father’s military.” Well, they said “This ain’t your father’s Oldsmobile,” but you get the point.

Today’s military is an all-volunteer proposition. No one has to go into the military. They do so by choice. Students are bombarded (get it?) by all branches about “career opportunities” in the military. (Then many join and wind up on food stamps, but I digress.) Each day, any American can drive by military recruitment centers. The gods, my friends, are everywhere.

Such a thing would be utterly abhorrent to the founders (or even a president as recent as Eisenhower, who warned us about the very situation we now find ourselves in.) The notion of a standing army was repugnant to early Americans such as Jefferson and Madison. But here today, because it’s just, well, everywhere, we simply accept it as the way it should be. For crying out loud, the military was never intended as a place where one could build a career.

Past generations of Americans were compelled to serve, ultimately by force. And the sons and daughters of these veterans hold them in great esteem and respect, as they should. But the military these loved ones served in, dear friends, is in no way, shape, form or fashion the military we have today. The brutal fact of the matter is that we have been lied to by the lords of government for decades, and scores of young men, and women, have lost limbs and/or lives for a lie. That statement ain’t met with applause. It will get you uninvited to the Christmas party. But it is the undeniable truth.

America is the greatest nation on earth!

Another statement often made while the brain is in neutral, and easy enough to debunk. What is criteria we use for greatest? Liberty would be at the top of my list, and when the freedom report card, if you will, was investigated by The Cato Institute and The Washington Times in 2012, the good ol’ US of A ranked 18th.

18th.

Behind Qatar.

Qatar. That lush, green land, flowing with milk and honey. And oil.

By any objective standard, this claim can be dismissed. And what say we to the “Amurricuh! Love it or leave it” contingent? We say that this is our home, too, and we have as much right to be here as anyone. Furthermore, it is the absolute duty of any truly patriotic American to call out lies the government passes out as truth.

Americans have a tremendous need to understand the vast difference between defense, which is the actual, legitimate task of the military, and militarization, or world-wide empire-building, which is the present unconstitutional manner is which the military is being used. Again, the founders warned against this very thing. But who cares anymore? Just raise the flag and start your engines, boys! Here comes the fighter jet flyover!

Americans love what they know, and they know what they love. And since worship and adoration of the military is drilled into us from early age, most people never question the hallowed status given to it. And anyone who dares to do so is met with insults, disdain, and told to “shut up.”

Well, not this man who values liberty above all, and has the stones (literally) to call out the enemy of same.

Military worshipers, back to your kettle.

© Copyright 2015 Tim Holcombe

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