When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

August 19, 2005

Rusty's Blogger Military Service Survey


Regarding Rusty's military service survey of the blogosphere, a commenter objects:

Its disgusting that you legitimize this fraudulent meme of the Left, Rusty.

The meme SPQR is talking about is the often-repeated phrase "chickenhawk" tossed at war supporters who haven't served in the military, or (since G.W. Bush is a veteran, and therefore passes the test) haven't served in combat. Yes, it is a meme, but Rusty isn't legitimizing it. In fact, quite the opposite.

I'm certainly willing to stipulate that anyone who has been in combat has more "moral authority" than I to comment on the war, and I imagine Rusty is as well. But that's only one kind of authority, and it doesn't beatify any single veteran, which is apparently what the Left believes. Though Max Cleland has more moral authority than I, I have more intellectual authority. And to the extent that my intellect is consistent with what is right, and what has the greatest chance of saving the most lives and preserving civilization, I also have more moral clarity than Max does. That ought to count for something. Heck, it ought to count for quite a lot.

But the "chickenhawk" concept is fraudulent because it presumes:

1. That everyone who hasn't been in combat is assumed to be a coward; and

2. That, therefore, only those who have been in combat can legitimately support the war.

Which, of course, doesn't mean that assumed cowards can't oppose the war. According to the meme this is entirely consistent and morally non-problematic. What they can't do is support it; because, well... that'd be hypocritical. By such logic it's hypocritical to support criminal convictions and sentencing if you're not willing to apprehend the criminals yourself. And only those who are demonstrably willing to serve as policemen can cast a jury vote with any validity, or far that matter deserve protection from crime. So the options for an "assumed coward" (anyone who hasn't been in combat) are either to oppose the war, or shut the heck up.

And it isn't lost on these folks that combat veterans are vastly outnumbered by assumed cowards in our society, which guarantees the result they seek.

BUT if moral authority is a valid concept, and I think it is, even though I'm not willing to stipulate that it's everything, then only the votes of combat veterans carry significant weight one way or the other in that personal moral dimension. Robert Heinlein's SciFi classic Starship Troopers exemplifies this concept, by differentiating between "civilians," who haven't volunteered to serve in combat, and "citizens" who have.

So, the bottom line is that Rusty's project has merit, because intuitively its premise is that veterans have more moral weight in the debate, reflecting greater moral authority. And if that's the criterion, then our side almost certainly wins.

The thing that's fraudulent about the "chickenhawk" concept, is that it disenfranchises only the opposition, based not on some uniform criterion, but on their prospective vote.

Which, of course, is not only dumb but immoral.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia)

Launched by Demosophist at August 19, 2005 08:23 AM | Missile Tracks

Retaliatiory Launches

I guess my question to anyone who advances the 'chickenhawk' gambit is to counter that unless you went to Iraq to serve as a human shield, you cannot legitimately oppose the war.

Logically, what is the difference between the two arguments?

Posted by: bugz at August 25, 2005 05:27 PM

free hit counter