Friday, December 23, 2011

Ad Orientem on the military and liberty
  • Awfulness, not from putative Christians in the mainline or Modernists supposedly in the church, but conservative Protestant buddies who hate Ron Paul and are distracted by Bradley Manning’s personal problems/sins. (His gayness is irrelevant.) Let he who is without... Anyway, longtime readers remember my view on the Manning/WikiLeaks case. Paul’s right of course. What Manning did was arguably heroic. That said, the MCJers and others have a point. Paul and I are anti-war, not anti-military. It needs its discipline to do its proper job (defending the people and Constitution against all real enemies, guarding the coast, not wars of conquest). USMC = you signed the motherf*cking contract, for example. So my line on Manning is the same as on principled deserters (hell, no, I’m not going back to kill for no good reason). They’re heroes, and part of the heroism is taking the due punishment: jail, being kicked out with a bad discharge etc. Self-sacrifice for a greater good. Greater love hath no man... That said, of course don’t torture Manning.
  • I understand the conservative instinctive reaction to want to go Patton on Manning. Fallout from when society went to hell in the late ’60s-early ’70s. Evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants used to rightly distrust the government and were anti-war (the Southern Baptist Convention as recently as 1936). (Before Francis Schaeffer politicized Jerry Falwell, a footnote in the 1980 election, they were largely apolitical. Mainliners were hawks: destroy Catholic Europe and replace it with American Protestant idealism, and defend their Protestant mother country.) After the big change, they started to see the spit-shined, yes-sir military as Christian knights. I understand it works both ways: evangelicalism is useful now for a military on the offensive, and it’s become the de facto religion in it. As LRC’s Laurence Vance, a conservative Protestant who won’t get played, points out, they’re being used.
  • Another good thing about the military: many of them like Ron Paul, who if I recall rightly is the only candidate who was in the military (Air Force doctor).

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