Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bergdahl: Obamis Just Don't Understand Honor

Many conservatives are puzzling over why, just why, the Obama administration would get itself into such a mess over the Bergdahl prisoner exchange.  How could anyone treat Bergdahl's likely desertion as just a matter of missing a class on Monday?

The answer is simple.  It is honor.  Lefties don't understand honor, male or female.  And especially they don't understand military honor. The whole point of the left has been to expunge honor from the culture, except for the honor-among-thieves culture among lefties and community organizers.  Yeah.  It's one thing for Obama's Organizing for America buddies to "have his back."  But not for the rest of us.

If you want to understand the whole question of honor, a good place to start is James Bowman's Honor, A History. It comes down to this, writes Bowman:
 [T]he basic honor of the savage -- bravery for men, chastity for women -- is still recognizable beneath the surfaces of the popular culture that has done so much to efface it.
But it is not just the act of bravery that is important; it is the reputation for bravery.  And by bravery we mean the reputation for standing in line with your fellow kinsmen or fellow soldiers and not running away in the heat of battle.  In the Greek hoplite honor and bravery meant literally standing in the shield line and not breaking away, for victory in hoplite battle usually went to the side whose shield wall collapsed last.

That is where the duel comes in.  The aristocratic duel is a corruption of the code of honor.  It goes beyond the idea that my deeds of courage speak for themselves; it says if that you attack my reputation for bravery I will kill you.

In the development of the modern nation state the idea of honor developed from bravery among kinsmen to bravery among hoplite soldiers to bravery in the army of the nation state.  That is why the bravery of Sergeant York in World War I is such a big deal and why the cowardice of Private Eddie Slovik in World War II was such a big deal.

And that's why the apparent desertion of Sgt. Bergdahl is such a big deal to the men and women in the armed forces.  It's about their loyalty to to their buddies, then their unit, and finally the United States.  That is the code of honor in the US armed forces.

Obama & Co. don't understand that because they have a different code of honor.  It is not to family, not to nation.  It is to the movement, the progressive movement, or whatever the current left-wing thing is at the time.

Obama & Co., with Hollywood, celebrate the anti-hero who makes a point of declaring that he does not owe loyalty to family or to his city or his nation.  So to them Sgt. Bergdahl's hesitance about doing the army thing is only natural.  That's how Obama & Co. feel too.  Enough of this nationalist nonsense!  Peace and Justice!  And that's how the mainstream media seem to owe loyalty to Obama and his agenda rather than to the United States and the rule of law.  In their code, the United States and the military are rather shabby things.  And the constitution was drawn up by slave-owners.  What matters is to fight racism, sexism, and inequality.

Of course all along the Obamis have known that they need to bow to the national gods.  They must say that there is no blue America or red America, but just one exceptional America, and when their minds are focused by the need to win the election they can stay on message.

But they don't really believe a word of all that exceptionalism crap.  They just say it because they must.  Just as they know they must wear those stupid American flag pins.  Their loyalty and honor code is, we might suggest, the the honor code of the community organizer.  The loyalty and the celebrated acts of bravery are the acts to advance the banner of progressivism.  Like the UAW and the Battle of the Overpass.  Or the Movement against the Vietnam War.  Or the Battle for Women's Rights, or the Battle for Marriage Equality.

I would argue that the entire left-wing movement is really a crazed millennial cult.  That everything it does leads to a dead end, whether the economic dead end of communism, the free-stuff dead end of the welfare state, the reproductive dead end of feminism and homosexualism, the population dead end of environmentalism.

Actually, we've seen this before.  Rodney Stark has a name for our modernacademic-artistic-and-punditry industrial complex.  He calls it upper-class asceticism.  It starts with Buddhism, and the young prince Gautama Siddhartha giving up his princedom, his wife and children, for a higher life.

Ring a bell does it?

According to liberal philosopher Charles Taylor the trick is to combine a commitment to human flourishing with a commitment to something higher.  So you can't reduce life just to human flourishing.  Nor can you reduce it to upper-class asceticism unless you are a liberal trustafarian.

But back on Earth our liberal masters are screwing up royally, because they have selected themselves into an upper-class ascetic cult and are trying to force-feed the rest of us on their divine manna from heaven.  So they wrong-foot themselves again and again, and sooner or later the American people are going to take notice.

The folks that really need to take notice are the millennials, because they are the folks getting most royally screwed by the Obama doctrine.  But first they have to unlearn everything they learned from their liberal unionized teachers from K through grad school.

And the folks that will struggle hardest with that will be millennial women.  Nothing personal, but my life experience is that women actually believe what they have been taught, whereas men tend to think that the whole school thing is a joke.

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