GI Jane and the End of Conservatism

So argues James Kirkpatrick.

I disagree with this author’s argument that women make inherently incompetent soldiers. See here, here, here, here, here, and here. But the important part of this writer’s argument is that even the supposedly most conservative institution in the U.S. is itself thoroughly penetrated by political correctness.

The defining insight of the Alternative Right is that every traditional institution in the West has been fatally compromised by egalitarianism and radical leftism, and that ultimately modern conservatism serves as nothing more than the defense of the liberal establishment. The one possible exception to this rule has been the United States military.  In the popular imagination, the military represents an American warrior tradition that predates the Republic itself and is a bastion of conservatism and patriotism in a society gone mad.  It remains the only public institution that enjoys the widespread trust and support of the American people, far exceeding the approval ratings of the media, branches of government, corporate America, and even religion.

Nonetheless, a steadily increasing collection of papers and books from Thomas Ricks’s Making The Corps in 1997 to Lt. Col. J.K. Dempsey’s Our Army in 2010 contain much furrowing of brows and lamentations about the alleged monolithic conservatism of the officer corps and supposed alienation of officers from a decadent American society. Conservatives can smugly assert in response that it is the very innate conservatism of the military’s leadership that makes the institution so worthy of trust.  Furthermore, they could argue that this conservatism is inherent to the military profession, as Samuel Huntington elaborated in his seminal 1957 work, The Soldier and the State. Any progressive attempt to crack open the military and force it to operate like any other government bureaucracy is therefore doomed to failure.

Unfortunately, the progressives have succeeded.  Whatever the private opinions of the officer corps, the last few years have shown that the Army essentially operates with the same principles as any Ethnic Studies Program at a typical university.  In 2009, a major in the United States Army who had openly expressed outright contempt for the country he ostensibly served murdered American soldiers on an Army base.  Soldiers could not fire back and had to be saved by the police—because they are not allowed to be armed on base. Our mighty centurion General George Casey—in a pronouncement as immortal in its own way as Casear’s “Vini, Vidi, Vici”—commented that while the shootings were a tragedy, the greater tragedy would be if the Army’s diversity were a casualty.

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