Today is Veterans’ Day, a national holiday with a bit of a convoluted history (here). It started out as Armistice Day to honor those who served and fell in WW1. Then through a series of congressional acts starting in 1954 it became a day to honor all veterans who served in the nation’s armed forces, and its observance was returned to 11 November. Memorial Day is reserved, as it should be, for those who gave their "last full measure of devotion" to America.
My thoughts on this day also turn to how our military is now constituted as an ‘all-volunteer’ fighting force. The bar to get into the services has been significantly raised so that many young men and women who might benefit from the experience will not qualify. I side with those who believe that in a broadly franchised liberal democratic republic everyone who is able to contribute to the forceful defense of our nation should be required to man the ramparts – in short, I would like to see a new version of the draft returned, similar to the one that provided millions of our young, especially the men, with an irreplaceable coming-of-age institution. Yes, it may be a less efficient way to defend our country, but having an all-volunteer professional military in its stead also comes with dangers known and unknown.
Last night’s Republican debate sponsored by Fox Business News and the WSJ set a new standard for how such events should be conducted. The moderators - Neil Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo, Gerard Baker – showed everyone how professionals can and should draw out the substantive policies, beliefs, and backgrounds of the candidates. The bookend to this debate was the last one by CNBC where the obviously leftwing moderators couldn’t outdo each other in their attempt to discredit the whole Republican field with questions like, ‘Senator A, in his recent campaign ad Mr B calls you an asshole, how do you respond to that?’ From the latest debate that gave ample time for candidates to speak, we learned the candidates’ positions on important issues focusing on the economy and the nation’s foreign policy. This morning on countless blogs and media outlets you can read how these positions compare/contrast, and how well thought out they are at this stage of the campaign. We will welcome more of this kind of debates.
IMHO progressives are bad news for the country in whatever form they express themselves. The latest, of course, are the insane student demonstrations on our college and university campuses. These young people and their useless professors are functional idiots who have to a large degree changed our centers for learning and new ideas into Orwellian enclaves where allowable thought and speech are today dictated by people who really should apply for tuition refunds because their schools failed to teach them anything, even in the lightweight majors they have attempted to study. The Univ of Missouri situation has become the most recent posterchild of how students from union K-12 schools are now participating in the destruction of our institutions of higher education. And don’t get me wrong, their politically correct and cowardly administrators and teachers are aiding and abetting the ongoing travesty. We have to remember how many generations have been intellectually polluted since the Great Society vulture spread its wings over academe. You can read a brief but insightful summary of these goings on in ‘Bonfire of the Academy’.
[Later] And as more inquiry is devoted to the U of M affair, it appears that no one can provide any evidence for all the alleged race-based infractions that got the campus light thinkers agitated. It turns out that even the report of the football team walking out en masse is wrong, only a few players refused to play if the resignation demands were not met.
Especially on this Veterans' Day, this video is worth watching. (H/T to reader)
[14nov15 update] Friday the thirteenth in Paris – bad omen. ISIS, Obama’s JV team of terrorists, is operating freely on three continents, and most freely in western countries with liberal democratic societies. Yesterday’s attacks in the City of Lights is a definite game changer, and will also affect attitudes about the hordes of illegal Muslim migrants now swarming across Europe’s borders. My irritation continues with the know-nothing journalists who still continue to call this the ‘war on terror’ of which it is nothing of the kind – as before, WW2 was not a ‘war on the mechanized division’. For a broader view about the portents for Europe and perhaps America, I direct your attention to this Stratfor report – ‘What to Expect After the Nov. 13 Paris Attacks’.