Streetwise Professor

June 26, 2021

The March Through the Institutions Is Reaching Its Acme: The Left Is Marching Through The Military Like Sherman Through Georgia

Filed under: Civil War,History,Military,Politics — cpirrong @ 10:50 am

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, apparently studied Medieval fortification quite closely, as he implemented a classic motte-and-bailey stratagem in defense of the military’s program of Critical Race Theory indoctrination.

Expressing outrage, Milley dishonestly replied to Republican questioning about CRT thus:

I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military general officers, our commissioned [and] noncommissioned officers, of being “woke” or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist.

Why do I say dishonest? For an ambitious officer rising through the ranks during the Cold War, or shortly thereafter, studying Lenin, Marx, and Mao was a way to “know thine enemies.” To know how they thought. To know what motivated them. That is valuable knowledge in trying to counter them. Reading communists provides part of a good foundation for devising strategies to confound communists. As the movie Patton said while watching the Germans retreat at the Battle of El Gattar: “”Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book.” 

Mandatory indoctrination in CRT at the academies, and in the ranks and officer corps, is nothing of the sort. It is not about educating servicemen and -women about a foreign enemy to be able to defeat them. It is about coercively reshaping the minds and hearts of those who have volunteered for armed service to force them to pay obeisance to beliefs most of them find inimical. Indeed, puts an official imprimatur on the view that the majority of those who serve are irredeemably racist, and in need of reeducation of the type that Marx, Mao, and Lenin enthusiastically advocated. (No word on whether Milley also studied Pol Pot.)

No, Milley didn’t read Marx to become a Marxist. He read Marx to understand Marxists to fight them better. By forcing CRT on the armed forces, he and others in the military establishment, e.g., CNO Admiral Gilday, are waging war on the values, beliefs, and characters of a large majority of those whom they command.

Put differently: you read Marx et al to learn about the enemy; you force Americans who have volunteered for military service to read Ibrahim X. Kendri (aka Ibram Henry Rogers) et al because you believe they (the American volunteers) are the enemy.

And Milley said so, in not so many words:

I want to understand white rage, and I’m white. So what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here, and I do want to analyze it.

Kendri and his CRT ilk identify white people and “whiteness” as the enemy. If you are reading Kendri to understand white people, and their alleged rage, you are doing so because you have already bought into the idea that they are the enemy.

And about this “white rage” thing. Is it really a thing? I don’t think so. It is basically a standard epithet that leftists drag out when their political opponents don’t conform like good sheep. My first recollection of a variant on this is when Peter Jennings said that voters had thrown a “temper tantrum” when they voted out the Democrats from control of Congress in 1994. The real rage here is expressed by leftists (ironically, largely white) who cannot countenance opposition: the charge is just another example of psychological projection. “Mommy! No Fair!!! Johnny hit me back!!!!”

And it’s interesting that when it comes from the left, rage is considered a sign of authenticity, of righteous reaction to injustice. (“Days of Rage” in Chicago in 1968 was a label the leftists chose, not one that was applied to them.) This is particularly true of “black rage.”

So apparently the virtuousness (or not) of rage is politically situational and ideologically contingent. Go figure.

Another element of the motte-and-bailey strategy regarding CRT in the military is to claim that there are racial tensions in the military, and that such tensions degrade morale and military effectiveness. Therefore, proactive measures to improve racial understanding are imperative.

Well, there are such tensions, and not for the first time. I guarantee things were infinitely worse in the late-Vietnam and early-post-Vietnam era. The Navy had severe racial problems: that’s one of the biggest challenges Elmo Zumwalt faced as CNO: as I recall there is a chapter in his autobiography where he discusses his struggles to deal with racial conflict in the service in detail. Things had come a long way a short handful of years later when I was at USNA: they have improved substantially in the decades since.

But CRT indoctrination will not ameliorate racial tensions–it will exacerbate them, and substantiallynso. Tell me how, exactly, preaching that one skin color is inherently evil and oppressive, and other skin colors are inherently saintly and oppressed is going to promote a sense of camaraderie among a racially diverse group of individuals. It does the exact opposite. R. Lee Ermey’s way was much more effective.

The motte-and-bailey response to criticism of CRT is not limited to Milley and the military. It is particularly pronounced in public schools, where it is (dishonestly) argued that preventing teaching CRT prevents teaching about slavery: as MSNBC’s Joy Reid put it, if you don’t teach Critical Race Theory you are teaching Confederate Race Theory. This is obviously illogical bollocks: CRT emphasizes the evils of slavery, but not all curriculum that deals honestly with slavery is CRT. Another motte is to deny that such a thing as Critical Race Theory even exists: it’s just a figment of fervid (raging?) right wing/white wing imaginations dontcha know.

Wrong. CRT is a thing. It is a dishonest, pseudoscientific, divisive, coercive thing, and essentially a mask for the will to power. Cancerous Race Theory is a more accurate description. And it is now a cancer in the military.

One last thing about Milley. The left is in a rage (more irony!) about criticism of Milley’s remarks before Congress. Tucker Carlson’s trenchant description of the general (“He’s not just a pig, he’s stupid!”) has brought down howls demanding his cancelation (yes, it was a day ending in “y”).

Leftists defending the military “leadership.” The world turned upside down. But this isn’t because the leftists have changed: it’s because the military “leadership” has become leftist. It will become only more so in the next three and a half years as the purges work through the ranks. The military was once the sole institution the leftists hadn’t marched through: but now they’re doing so, like Sherman marched through Georgia.

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  1. Milley’s logic is perverse. He read Marxists to understand Marxism. Therefore, to understand white nationalism, he should be reading Greg Johnson, Richard Spencer, and Jared Taylor, rather than Kendi and his ilk.

    Comment by Emperor of Ice Cream — June 26, 2021 @ 12:25 pm

  2. What about critical racehorse theory? How does that fit into the picture?

    Comment by aaa — June 26, 2021 @ 1:22 pm

  3. I always thought the Patton quote is always overstated and probably never happened. Rommel was a small unit commander on the Italian front during WWI and was awarded the highest German medal for valor: Pour le Mérite.

    He wrote Infanterie greift an in 1937 describing infantry tactical doctrine. While Rommel advocated deception, shock troops, and deep penetrations, this was not necessarily the basis of German operational concepts of WWII.

    Comment by mark — June 26, 2021 @ 8:18 pm

  4. @mark–That’s why I specifically said “the *movie* Patton.”

    Comment by cpirrong — June 26, 2021 @ 9:33 pm

  5. It’s incredible what you can get a man or woman to say, or even to believe, simply by offering a sufficiently large pile of fiat currency to him or her. Does anyone for a minute believe Milley actually believes this garbage? Heaven help us if he does – gullible doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    Possibly the worst, most pernicious consequence of big government and the growth of bureaucracy is that, to staff and run it, a society needs to reach deep into its ranks of midwits. Pournelle’s Law then ensures that whoever might have been dedicated to the ideals of the organisation are squeezed out by those seeking their own advancement.

    Put communists in charge of the government, as you have now in the US, and the bureaucracy is the perfect instrument for implementing your favourite shade of cultural marxism.

    How long until we have the Chief of the Navy talking about his/her recent sex-change operation, and the mysteries behind ‘heterosexual rage’? You can imagine the ghost of Zumwalt getting cheesed off down in hell: ‘First they name a tumblehome ship after me – and now this??’

    Happier news: Rummaging around in my parents’ garage this weekend, I found my old copy of Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy in amongst a box of my old university stuff. Your mentioning of it a few months ago sparked my interest in it again, so this was a lucky find.

    Comment by Ex-Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — June 27, 2021 @ 2:54 am

  6. Did you ever consider that this could just be a generational thing i.e. Milley is far more in tune with the demographic he and his ilk are trying to attract to the services, way more so than some grumpy academic? Gotta hang wiv da kidz, doncha know?

    As for Milley attempting to understand white rage, perhaps this blog and its multivariate commentators would be a useful first port of call? Its all here, in black and white (depending on your screen settings).

    PS Craig blogs about woke generals the same weekend Trump complains about woke generals. Yet another coincidence of London bus proportions, you know, you wait for what seems like an eternity then all of sudden two turn at at once.

    Comment by David Mercer — June 27, 2021 @ 6:25 am

  7. I am afraid that this is in small part a function to the Donald greatest failures; he did not purge the bureaucracy of statist officials. While civil service regulations protect employees, it does not protect “E” grade employees from being demoted and does not prevent “GG” level employees from being removed from jobs and being moved to places where they CA not do much damage.

    Comment by Soviet1 — June 27, 2021 @ 11:27 am

  8. Read here:

    Comment by Richard Whitney — June 28, 2021 @ 7:16 pm

  9. @David:

    ‘PS Craig blogs about woke generals the same weekend Trump complains about woke generals. Yet another coincidence of London bus proportions, you know, you wait for what seems like an eternity then all of sudden two turn at at once.’

    Yes, David. Prof and the former president are coordinating their talking points.

    Or maybe they just happen to have responded, independently and in a timely manner, to Milley’s making an ass of himself?

    Comment by Ex-Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — June 28, 2021 @ 10:30 pm

  10. @Soviet1–I agree. When it came to cleaning the Augean Stables of DC, he was no Hercules.

    Comment by cpirrong — June 29, 2021 @ 6:08 pm

  11. C’mon @Ex-Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break! Donald gets all his talking points from me! He has me on speed dial.

    Yes, in fact, other than Donald and I, only every other right-leaning pundit, blogger, and columnist wrote about this. A vast right wing conspiracy!

    Comment by cpirrong — June 29, 2021 @ 6:14 pm

  12. Seriously, you’re smart people, stop feeding the troll. You can tell it is a DM troll attempt special from the first sentence.

    To be fair to DM he does at least reserve his posts these days to subjects where he knows he’s not completely ignorant.

    Comment by Steve — June 30, 2021 @ 8:54 am

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