“Government at all levels is too large, too expensive, woefully inefficient, arrogant, intrusive, and downright dangerous.”
The above quote comes from the Libertarian Party website. For the purposes of our series “Our Communist Military” that single line sums up the thinking of “small government conservatives”, libertarians, “free market capitalists” and the Republican party.
Summarized, the government equals terrible.
Which is fine for a political philosophy, if you want to embrace that thinking. But you can’t think that the government equals terrible, then sign your name to a document that says the opposite. In two weeks, we plan to celebrate the one year anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. During our research, we came across an amazing statement signed by a host of military bloggers published on May 12, 2010. Here’s the first paragraph:
“We consider the US military the greatest institution for good that has ever existed. No other organization has freed more people from oppression, done more humanitarian work or rescued more from natural disasters. We want that to continue.”
That has ever.
Existed. (Our bolding.)
This statement was signed by fifteen military bloggers, including four authors from BlackFive.net and Mark Seavey from This Aint Hell. Yet many conservative milbloggers hate the government, specifically, anything that smacks of “socialism”:
- This BlackFive.net post by “Deebow” talks about how, if he were President, he would, “get government out of the way” of Americans. It also advocates for several more small government approaches to governance.
- The spokesman for Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund called President Obama, “Communist in Chief Hussein Mao Obama”.
- Writing on A Soldier’s Perspective (a blog which didn’t sign the above statement, but believes in the military as one of our greatest institutions) Wes writes that he doesn’t want America “teetering off the abyss into socialism”.
- And This Aint Hell really hates the scary spectre of socialism. In this post, the authors admonish us to “remember the basic tenet of socialism: it is a leveling of all things, including nations.” This other post calls President Obama’s political team a “thoroughly liberal/socialist/communist movement”.
Milbloggers aren’t the only conservatives holding two incompatible ideas in their head at the same time. Politicians from Senator John McCain to Mitt Romney to Congressman Paul Ryan argue that we need to shrink the federal government but increase defense spending.
Something doesn’t make sense here. How can the greatest organization in the history of the earth...be a product of the government, which allegedly causes only inefficiencies, waste, and tyranny? How does that jibe with the idea that a big government program--the biggest government program in discretionary spending--is the single greatest institution in, not just the history of the U.S., but the history of the world?
Most small government conservatives don’t bother reconciling these arguments. Like Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney’s budget plans, they simply say, “Shrink the federal government to nothing, except for national security and defense.” Small government supporters love espousing libertarian ideals until they run into the consequences, like a drastically smaller Department of Defense. This shows the gap between ideology and action; conservatives have constituencies, and those constituencies don’t like cuts.
Libertarians also won’t admit that the military suffers from the same problems that the rest of the government does. As we will keep showing that blind support for the military prevents the Pentagon from implementing cost cutting measures and efficiencies needed to bring it into the 21st century. Pro-military milbloggers call any and every one who even thinks about criticizing the military unpatriotic. (More on this later.)
If the military is the greatest institution ever created by man, then it can probably take a little criticism. And if it is the greatest institution ever created, can government create another?