Friday, March 05, 2010
Matthews makes his stab by attacking the Defense community. Why did the Liberal pick that to focus on when as Ryan pointed out, and it was his one nonplussed moment that he could have responded to more forcefully, it is a tiny percentage of the GDP? The reason I think is that Matthews understands that Defense expenditures support a cultural opposition to the Euro-Socialist model. That has little to do with the operation of the military as an organization. Life in the military approximates the Socialist ideal. That also was part of the appeal of Star Trek where all of the virtues of Socialism were on display but none of the vices of bureaucratic abuse, except for a pig headed diplomat, or the effects of resource misallocation.
What the Left hates about the military, they fear and distrust it even when they come from it or command it as Chavez does, is that it builds people who are not only obedient to lawful authority but also capable of independent thought and creative problem solving. The traditional Right in Europe and most places, Latin America, Nationalist China, Korea and Africa, view the military as the "School of the Nation." When done correctly it teaches not only discipline and practical skills, West Point was America's National school of Civil Engineering in the 19th century, but also citizenship and democratic values. The current iteration of the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, that the Left fears and hates, does try to teach officers from Latin America about Constitutionalism and Democracy. The wiki talk page on that topic is best handled with asbestos gloves.
When in power the Left builds alternative control and security structures to limit the threat that they perceive from the military. In the Soviet Union there were the zampolits and parallel military formations under the control of the Interior Ministry and State Security. Obama wants his Civilian Security Force.
The attack from the Left on the military, as evidenced by M*A*S*H, was that it constrained free spirits who wanted to "Speak Truth to Power." That was a fraud because the free spirits championed by them were those who arrived as non-conformists with a sense of elite entitlement. To protect their privileges the Left will attack the military institutions that defend the liberties of the many and builds self reliance in individuals.
Unfortunately the Libertarian conservatives in America, and their theoretical allies the Liberals of Europe, are particularly ill equipped to confront the Left on this issue. They also see the institutions of the military, and Law Enforcement, as not only financially draining but as constraints on individual liberty that can be used by a tyrannical government.
The best response to Chris Matthews statement that he did want America to become more like a European Social Democracy would have been a vigorous defense of the Constitution and the system of interlocking but constrained units and levels of government established to minimize the impact of government on individual enterprise while maximizing the ability to respond vigorously to threats.
We can in fact create a path back to the system that worked. We need to constrain entitlements, probably by trimming them 5% a year for 30 years. We also should rebuild and expand our armed forces until they are again at least of the size, effectiveness and flexibility that they were 25 years ago.
You capture how reactionary Obama is. Everything about him has the unreal quality of a newsreel from 60 to 75 tears ago. One caveat, Eric Blair/George Orwell always claimed to be a man of the Left, even after his break with the orthodox Communists. In Spain he sided with the Trotskyist Party.