Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Go tell the Spartans

In honor of the repeal of DADT, here's Bill Hicks:



Yes, it's a great thing that homosexuals now have the same opportunities to become cogs in a relentless machine of imperial conquest as the rest of us. A real step forward.

I am straight and so not really entitled to an opinion, but I think I preferred it when gays were transgressive rather than determined to be normal middle-class people with marriages and jobs, including jobs in the bureaucracy of violence and death. But I suppose nobody really wants to live as an outsider if they can avoid it; it is difficult and risky and you can't get health insurance. So gay people have fought for and largely won the right to be normal, which is good for them perhaps, but leaves society short of strangeness.


[[Update: Here is IOZ on the idea that gays and women in the miltary will somehow make that institution more warm and fuzzy:

The military...is a vast metaphoric rape machine, a big hard thing shoving itself in where it isn't wanted. To waste time pondering how "feminine traits" like "intercultural dialogue" ... can be further incorporated to help "stabilize" the world's Afghanistans, so that we can teach their backward cultures what it would be like if they "privileged, remunerated and valorized the care and feeding of functional future citizens in the same way that [they] valorize soldiering," is to avoid the rather more pertinent question: what are we doing there in the first place?
]]

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Apropos of Bill Hicks's "Anyone dumb enough..." routine, this reflects the same sort of left-wing detachment from reality that Obama's comment about how people who didn't get enough education ended up in Iraq. What is wrong with this picture?

As a matter of fact, the armed forces are somewhat choosy about who gets to enlist. They administer a qualification test, the AFQT, and - as recently reported by the Associated Press - nearly one-fourth of high school graduates who want to join the military fail its entrance exam. When other factors are taken into account, such as obesity or other physical/medical unfitness, criminal record, or failure to graduate high school, Pentagon data indicate that 75% of those aged 17 to 24 don't qualify to enlist in the military. See: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101221/ap_on_re_us/us_military_exam_4

The AP article is based on a report of the Education Trust, which may be found at:
http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/publications/files/ASVAB_4.pdf

As for the repeal of DADT, it doesn't seem to me to have been pushed by homosexuals who want to join the military. Its advocates, indeed, appear to be largely hostile to the institutional culture of the military, and to be motivated by the wish to force a disagreeable measure on the armed forces. The last thing these people have in mind is improving this country's capacity to fight and win wars. They either wish actively for American defeat and humiliation, or are insensible to any need for American military strength - in other words, they are either traitors or fools.

Anonymous said...

Why was my previous comment about Hicks's "anyone dumb enough" routine, and about the real constituency for the repeal of DADT, removed? It was both appropriate and civil.

Violence is inherent in human nature, which is why war has been such a constant feature of history regardless of the issues and ideologies of any given moment. This is quite unlikely to change, however strenuous the efforts of pacifists and other idealists. The Kellogg-Briand pact, which was to put an end to war, is a monument to the vanity of such hopes. So is the United Nations. I agree with IOZ insofar as he says that incorporating women and homosexuals into the armed forces will not make them warm and fuzzy, and that all of the jabber about feminine traits, intercultural dialogue, etc., is a waste of time.

It is not, however, quite correct to say that "the military... is a vast metaphoric rape machine..." It would be more accurate to state that government in general is. The state rests ultimately upon the power to coerce by the threat of death, and to kill those who will not be coerced. It rests, in other words, upon the soldier, the policeman, and the executioner.

The lawful ability to coerce is what distinguishes the state from all other human institutions. It will always be thus, and this is the reason for the old joke about the three great lies: 1) "Your check is in the mail"; 2) "Of course I'll still respect you after we [fornicate]", and finally 3) "I'm from the government and am here to help you."

mtraven said...

Weird -- I thought about deleting that comment, on the grounds that it was (a) anonymous and (b) stupid. But I didn't actually do it (honest), so Google must be implementing remote mindreading now.

So, here it is, retrieved from email:

Apropos of Bill Hicks's "Anyone dumb enough..." routine, this reflects the same sort of left-wing detachment from reality that Obama's comment about how people who didn't get enough education ended up in Iraq. What is wrong with this picture?

As a matter of fact, the armed forces are somewhat choosy about who gets to enlist. They administer a qualification test, the AFQT, and - as recently reported by the Associated Press - nearly one-fourth of high school graduates who want to join the military fail its entrance exam. When other factors are taken into account, such as obesity or other physical/medical unfitness, criminal record, or failure to graduate high school, Pentagon data indicate that 75% of those aged 17 to 24 don't qualify to enlist in the military. See: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101221/ap_on_re_us/us_military_exam_4

The AP article is based on a report of the Education Trust, which may be found at:
http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/publications/files/ASVAB_4.pdf

As for the repeal of DADT, it doesn't seem to me to have been pushed by homosexuals who want to join the military. Its advocates, indeed, appear to be largely hostile to the institutional culture of the military, and to be motivated by the wish to force a disagreeable measure on the armed forces. The last thing these people have in mind is improving this country's capacity to fight and win wars. They either wish actively for American defeat and humiliation, or are insensible to any need for American military strength - in other words, they are either traitors or fools.

Anonymous said...

What is "stupid" about it? Do you disagree with the AP article or the Education Trust report? Do they not tend to indicate that the intelligence and other qualifications required for military enlistment are in fact somewhat exclusive with respect to those on the left hand side of the IQ bell curve?

Or do you disagree that the principal constituency for repeal of DADT is not among homosexuals who want to serve in the military, but among people who are mostly hostile to the institutional culture of the military?

I am old enough to have been subject to the draft, and recall when everyone on the left hated the military and wanted to avoid serving in it. One of the ways of doing so, for those whose distaste for the prospect outweighed their fear of public shame - for such it was in those days - was for the prospective draftee to inform his draft board that he was homosexual. If they were persuaded the claimant was not shamming, he got an automatic 4F classification. There was even a comedy based on this theme, entitled, if I recall correctly, "The Gay Deceivers."

Most of the people who lobbied for the repeal of DADT looked to me like the sort who would be pining for the availability of this old stratagem, if they suddenly received call-up notices in the mail.

It has been noted that a significant number, perhaps a majority, of those discharged under DADT, were 'outed' to their superiors not by others, but by themselves. For whatever reasons, they wanted out of the military before the ends of their terms of enlistment. Having "told," the DADT policy provided them a convenient escape. The principal effect of its repeal may be to force gay soldiers who have found the military life not to their liking to soldier on till their hitches are up, just as their heterosexual comrades in arms have always had to do. I find this grimly amusing.

Anonymous said...

Again, either you or Google have removed a perfectly civil and appropriate response, in this case to your comment of 2:53 p.m.

You don't have to agree, and you don't even have to respond, but it seems silly to offer the option of commenting on your posts to your readers if they will not allowed to use it.

mtraven said...

I haven't deleted any comments. I've heard complaints on other blogs so I guess something is broken on Blogger.

But, I reservere the right to do so, especially for comments that are:
- anonymous
- irrelevant
- stupid
- offensive

You tend to score high on all counts.

mtraven said...

Ah, Google apparently turned on some kind of spam-detection feature and your comments were so flagged. I suggest at least signing them, I'm not going to bother checking the spam queue regularly.

scw said...

Saying the above comments are stupid, offensive, or irrelevant does not make them so. I thought Bill Hicks's video that you posted was stupid and offensive.
What I wrote was relevant in that it was directly in reference to the topic of the posts. That you disagree with an opinion does not make it 'stupid.' To say so reflects only your arrogant supposition that you have a monopoly on intelligent analysis. As for anonymity, your manners indicate that you are rather a petty and vindictive individual to whom I should rather not give any obvious indication of my identity. Anonymity and pseudonymity are common in these blog commenty sections, as you will discover if you read them. To oblige you I have provided a pseudonym.

scw said...

The last comment I posted was signed with the same signature as this one - and I now find it not here. Your excuses/explanations are unconvincing. So much for your regard for freedom of expression - you and Hugo Chavez, etc., are birds of a feather.

mtraven said...

You really are an ass. If you don't choose to believe me, that's no skin off my nose. From now on, if Google spam-filters you, I'm not going to bother retrieving it -- I've got better ways to spend my time.

For the record, here's the stupid part of your comment:

They either wish actively for American defeat and humiliation, or are insensible to any need for American military strength - in other words, they are either traitors or fools.

Such tripe -- anchored around a nebulous "they" -- is not worthy of response.

scw said...

I remember the crowd that chanted "Ho, Ho, Ho Chih Minh - Viet Cong is gonna win" back in the 'sixties and 'seventies. Substantial numbers of Obama's mentors - e.g., Bill Ayers - were of this stripe. That they wanted American defeat and humiliation was obvious.

This school of thought is alive and well on the American left today. Many of its members have been active in pressing for repeal of DADT. Look at the Congressional advocates of repeal. Most of them have never been friends of the military. They are people who hold the military in scorn, just like Bill Hicks.

And when you refer to the American military as "a relentless machine of imperial conquest" and "the bureaucracy of violence and death," or quote with approval the statement that the military is "a vast metaphoric rape machine," the most charitable interpretation these remarks can be given is that you are "insensible to any need for American military strength" if not actually hostile to it.

"They" can encompass two or more people, and while I am not sure how extensive the group that I have described may be, it should be obvious to any objective reader that you, Bill Hicks, and IOZ belong to it. And a sizeable number of this group have been involved in seeking the repeal of DADT.

fish said...

ts advocates, indeed, appear to be largely hostile to the institutional culture of the military, and to be motivated by the wish to force a disagreeable measure on the armed forces.

Yeah, like the Pentagon.