The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and Don’t Go Messing With the U.S. Marine Corps

Posted on | November 30, 2010 | 7 Comments

The Pentagon issues a study on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  A military veteran points out that “opposition and skepticism is highest, a majority, among those in the Marine Corps, Army and combat units,” and adds:

[T]he report also represents a rather cavalier attitude at the top toward those troops who either have deep religious or moral grounds or effectiveness concerns for unease serving in close quarters and life-or-death situations with homosexuals. It, also, represents acceptance of the price in recruitment, careers and retention. None of those increase my faith in the politicized leadership of the armed forces.

Read the whole thing. My argument is Viscount Falkland’s maxim: “Where it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.” We are being asked to step into the great unknown, and assured that the negative consequences — if any — will be far outweighed by the benefits.

UPDATE: Welcome, Gay Patriot readers. You may be interested in my August post about the San Francisco v. Schwarzenegger court decision, “Equality Über Alles.”

In general, those who make equality the be-all, end-all of political virtue — latter-day Jacobins, as it were — are attempting an impossible task, pursuing an ideal that cannot be achieved in reality. Such attempts in the past have not yielded “social justice” (which is a mirage, as Hayek said), but rather have merely substituted new injustices for old. And in many cases, these innovations of so-called Progress have produced harm for the very people they were intended to benefit.

Specifically, it should be remembered that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a compromise, reached in 1993, after a harsh negative reaction to President Clinton’s proposal to void (by executive order) the sanctions against homosexual conduct in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

From the beginning, both gay-rights radicals and their strongest opponents (including Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness) have said the compromise was untenable — as all compromises with radicalism tend to be.

This situation reminds me very much of an occasion when William F. Buckley was invited to debate the British feminist Germaine Greer at Oxford Union, but they were unable to agree on the formulation of the proposition to be debated. After a series of trans-Atlantic telegrams in which various formulations were proposed and rejected, Buckley became exasperated and wired back this proposal: “Resolved: Give ’em an inch, and they’ll take a mile.”

And in that sarcastic response, I suggest, Buckley perfectly summarized the implacable nature of radicalism, and expressed why it is the duty of conservatives to “stand athwart history yelling ‘Stop!'”

Buckley did not oppose feminism because he was “anti-woman,” and opponents of the Official Gay Rights Agenda ought not let themselves be intimidated by the accusation that they are motivated by “homophobia.”

Neither should gay people let themselves be bullied into support of the Official Agenda by identity-politics appeals to group solidarity. The leadership of the gay-rights movement are pursuing their own interests — i.e., fund-raising and political power — and their claim to speak for the interests of others should be regarded as highly dubious.


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