We’re Veterans, Not Victims

The Problem

I’ve spent enough time ‘in theater’, and have a good enough memory to remember, who was and who wasn’t there with me. And I can tell you unequivocally that not one of the bureaucratic bastards who make decisions for our returning veterans ever stood by my side when the shit hit the fan. Every veteran out there is nodding his head right now, because every one of them knows it too. Those of us who fought and died together have a bond that only we can understand. I know that sounds like boilerplate bullshit, but it also happens to be true. We also know that bureaucratic bastards aren’t unique to government: there are plenty of them that make it through the recruiter’s office. Furthermore, plenty of them end up gracing the halls of academia and thus being commissioned into Her Majesty’s Canadian Armed Forces, where they will end up in key decision-making positions and can dick-dance away a 30-year career making life difficult for the rest of us. Even if you’re a commissioned officer, you know those of whom I speak.

The burden of bad management seems to fall most heavily on those who have released from the military and are now attempting to create civilian lives. This goes doubly for those with physical or psychological wounds, of which there are many. What I want more than anything right now is to speak to veterans, both retired and serving, to try and root out some intellectual rot that I’ve seen setting in across our ranks.

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Hitting the Links

I have a large number of interesting articles that I’ve run across over the last few weeks, so I’m trying to clear the backlog at the same time as I attempt to present them in a less-than-random order. Since it’s current news, here’s a selection of “Bruce Jenner” commentary. I wrote about this subject on Monday, but here’s everyone else’s thoughts. Matt Walsh (first link below) has a particularly good piece. Have a read and let me know what you think.

Matt Walsh at The Blaze

Mark Steyn at SteynOnline

Michael W. Chapman over at CNS News

“They Damn-Well ARE the Droids I’m Looking For!”

Do you remember Obi-Wan Kenobi in that first Star Wars flick where he’s trying to smuggle Luke Skywalker and his two robotic pals off of their home planet? The whole crew of them end up at a check-stop where Obi-Wan waves his magic hands and tells the Stormtrooper that “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”. The shtick works and the poor guy mechanically repeats back: “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for”. In the film, it’s all very cool and the good guys get away. Big win all-round, right?

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“Science of Mom”: Measles Is Serious (A History Lesson from My Grandmother)

I ran across “Science of Mom” the other day and thought it was a really smart blog. This post about vaccinations caught my eye, in particular. The lesson from ‘Grandma’ can be applied to different areas of study, and it also tells us something interesting about how we tend to view history.

We live in a time of peace and plenty and so it’s tough to pull ourselves out of the experiences of our time and imagine a totally different reality, even when that reality wasn’t so long ago. Our current state of safety and security tends to feel permanent, as though it is the natural state of things; like there is some kind of cosmic law which dictates that life will always be this way. Living in a prosperous society distorts our perception of risk. It’s easy to inflate the very marginal risk of vaccinations once you lose sight of infinitely greater risk of widespread disease.

This dichotomy applies also to debates around radical environmentalism or radical Islam. It’s easy to call for an end to fossil fuels when neither you nor anyone else you know has ever lived in an energy-poor world. Similarly, dismissing the threat of Islamic terror is so much easier when you’ve lived your entire life in Western liberal democracy and can’t imagine that others don’t share your ‘universal’ values (that in reality have emerged from a very particular Anglo-European and Judeo-Christian history).

If you’ve ever wondered why we don’t learn the lessons of history, this is a big part of your answer.

Enjoy the article:

The Science of Mom

Measles is back. The outbreak of this highly contagious viral illness that started at Disneyland in December has spread across the country and shows no signs of slowing. As of February 6, the CDC reported 121 cases in 17 states in this year alone, most linked to Disneyland. In 2014, we had 644 cases of measles in the U.S. This is a striking increase compared to the last 15 years, when we usually saw less than 100 cases in an entire year.

measles 2015 CDCI’m sorry that so many people have been sickened in this outbreak and hope that it is reined in soon. This is no easy task given our mobile society and the fact that we like to congregate in places like Disneyland, schools, doctors’ offices, hospitals, airplanes, and shopping malls. Add to that the pockets of unvaccinated people where measles can easily spread, and we have a recipe…

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Academic Caviar

Tuesday’s are when I’ve planned to share academic articles that I find to be of great interest. While the intent is to share pieces of fairly recent vintage, I think that I’ll go with a bit of a throwback for this week. Here’s Samuel P. Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations”. Detractors like to quibble with Huntington’s word choice and definitions, but considering that this article come from 1993, it’s hard to argue that the piece hasn’t held up.

N.B.- Provided you haven’t used up your free monthly article from Foreign Affairs yet, this link should work well for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to register or Google-search an alternate copy.

Link: “The Clash of Civilizations”

Backlashophobia

Immediately after the Ottawa terror attack that killed Cpl Nathan Cirillo at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in October of last year, the Toronto Police Service released the following statement:

Although the news is still unclear as to who the perpetrator(s) is/are, some members of the community may link this attack to Islamic Extremists. We at Toronto Police Service have not made that link. I am asking you to relay to your mosques and their Imams, that we as a service, are aware that your mosques may be vulnerable to a backlash.[1]

This statement was part of a broader trend throughout Canada to declare that this Islam-inspired violence, directed at the heart of the Canadian state, has ‘nothing to do with Islam’.

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Hitting the Links

Mark Steyn on the dwindling of Anglosphere liberty.

A great breakdown of ISIS by Graeme Wood in The Atlantic.

Daniel Hannan at the Oxford Union explaining government regulation, modern banking, and the virtues of capitalism.