Knapp: ‘Apropos of Libertarian Veterans Turning Into a Herd of Whiny Snowflakes …’

Kn@ppster:

Over at Facebook, Michael Weems reposted something I wrote some time back. It does seem applicable to current events in the Libertarian Party. So what the hey, why not re-use it as a blog post?

Who Got Served?


Thomas L. Knapp, 1985
Marine Corp Recruit Depot San Diego

As a veteran of the US Marine Corps (1984-1995, “honorably discharged”), I’ve always found the obligatory “thank you for your service” remarks somewhat grating. It’s difficult to explain why, but a Google News search returning 19.1 million media results in the last 30 days on the dual terms “veterans” and “service” indicates a need for re-examination of the whole concept of “service” as it relates to military affiliations.

What is “service?” When someone signs a contract and joins a state’s uniformed armed force, who is serving whom? The answer isn’t as simple as one might think. “Service” is a layered thing in even its simplest forms.

For example, think of  the “servers” at your favorite restaurant. They serve at least two masters: The restaurant’s owners on one hand, you on the other. The market justification for this is that by serving the customers well (satisfying their desire for food served quickly, efficiently and courteously), the servers also serve the ownership well (satisfying their desire for maximum profits). And there’s no question that service is what they’re engaged in. They really are servants, not masters, at the beck and call of  (and subject to pleasure or displeasure of) customer and restaurateur alike.

Military “service” is different. The soldier, sailor, airman or Marine certainly serves the military force. Likewise, that military force certainly serves the state which created and operates it. But those are both instances of service to ownership. There are no “customers” in any real sense. The alleged “customers” — the tax-paying citizens of the state in question — are themselves servants rather than served.

In the case of the United States, the only war in its 240-year history which even came close to qualifying as an instance of “service” to the taxpayers was the American Revolution. Every subsequent conflict, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the (just now supposedly wrapping up) occupation of Afghanistan, has been fought entirely in the interests of the state and the ruling class. To the extent that I’ve studied history, this appears to be true of all other states and their wars as well.

If anyone should be thanking anyone else for “service,” it should be me thanking all of you who paid my salary, bought my food, provided my medical care, subsidized my travel and covered the costs of numerous other benefits of military “service,” even though nothing I did during that “service” could plausibly be construed as having been done in your defense or for your freedom.

It’s unseemly that the direction of appreciation should be reversed, with you continuing to believe I did something for you. And since you really have little choice in the matter (other state “servants” stand ready punish you if you don’t pay for said “services”), it seems to me that what you’re due from me is not thanks, but sincere apology. I’m sorry I took the money that the state took from you. By way of restitution, I hope to help you abolish the state which took it.

16 thoughts on “Knapp: ‘Apropos of Libertarian Veterans Turning Into a Herd of Whiny Snowflakes …’

  1. ATBAFT

    Thank you for your service, Mr. Knapp.
    During the Revolution, British troops looted farms within a mile of my home. The local militia and Washington’s regulars tried and failed to stop them. There is no doubt in my mind that, in the more than two centuries since then, the United States would have been attacked and conquered numerous times had there been no “sheepdogs” such as yourself willing to confront the “wolves.”

  2. paulie

    During the Revolution, British troops looted farms within a mile of my home.

    Damn! I knew you were old but not that old…ATBMoreThanAFT I guess 😛

    [/snark]

  3. paulie

    in the more than two centuries since then, the United States would have been attacked and conquered numerous times

    If that was going to happen the most likely time would have been the late 18th/early 19th centuries, but back then armies were raised in times of war and went home when the war was over. The standing army, such as it was, was not even a shadow of what it has been in recent decades. I don’t see much danger of the US having being conquered any time after that, and it’s not because of the standing military. During WWII the Japanese did a feasibility study of invading the US West Coast and concluded that too many Americans were armed and would put up a guerrilla resistance that would be too costly to put up with. Who do you think would have conquer the US more recently? If the Brits couldn’t do it in 1812 who could have done it since then? Consider how small the US military was in 1812 and how much bigger Britain’s was. It should tell you something that no one even tried in subsequent decades, although there was not much of a standing US army in between wars until after WW2.

  4. dL

    The resolution is a mockery. Republican-lite bringing in the Sensitivity Safe Spaces Training

  5. ATBAFT

    Paulie, I’m not arguing about “just” wars or lack thereof, or some scattered resistance by gun owners.
    I’m talking about willingness to serve in defense of the country, whether as part of the militia or reserves or regular military services. The fact remains that if Americans were not willing to serve in defense of their country, the country would not exist very long. And that’s true from 1775 to today.

  6. dL

    I’m talking about willingness to serve in defense of the country, whether as part of the militia or reserves or regular military services. The fact remains that if Americans were not willing to serve in defense of their country, the country would not exist very long. And that’s true from 1775 to today.

    22 countries today have no military or standing army. 11% of the world’s total. And they still exist. Your statement certainly is not a fact.

  7. ATBAFT

    Let’s see. Iceland is a member of NATO, so I guess Mr. Knapp was helping to protect them too. A number of these nations with no military are nice tropical islands. Maybe the Libertarian Liberation Army should move in a take over a few who aren’t under the protection of powerful nations?

  8. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    For more than a year I’ve been thinking about growing street violence and Weimar paramilitary groups.

    Been thinking about alt-right v intifada which was heavily covered at IPR regarding Ryan Ramsey & Augustus Invictus.

    And thinking about the unhealthy effect of disgruntled World War II veterans on Weimar Republic. Today discovered Wikipedia even has a whole article on the topic. Even has a section on political parties.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_paramilitary_groups

    So I think it’s time to find out how much militarists – including military contractors – are infecting the LP. Including the LNC. The best way to silence your opposition is to infiltrate and castrate it and then make it your “pogue”. (Raped male military slave basically.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogue http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pogue

  9. NewFederalist

    “And thinking about the unhealthy effect of disgruntled World War II veterans on Weimar Republic.” – Carol Moore/Secession.net

    I quite certain you meant World War I.

  10. George Phillies

    The most important issue with respect to foreigners invading the United States is the hydrogen bomb. The foreign country that launches a serious invasion of the United States, ignoring minor details like logistics and transport, will be given the gift that keeps on glowing.

  11. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Obviously resistance to Allied Occupation of Germany after WWII did continue for a while, but with the country divided and devastated, and so many young men dead, it didn’t last long. There are similarities between US today and Weimer Germany after World War I.

    1. Infrastructure:
    *Despite the loss of hundreds of thousands of young men and economic disruptions, German economic infrastructure still was intact.
    *Today, despite 16 years of war, the 2008 economic crisis, policies driving jobs over seas, ours is still intact, but in some ways probably not as good as Germany’s was at the time!

    2. Sanctions
    * Because of the US late entry in the war what had been a stalemate became a rout, Germany was blamed for everything and Germans who might have preferred to stay in a larger German republic were forced out. And then there were huge reparations Germany was forced to pay.
    * Today US not under sanctions, but between aging population, 1/2 the population getting government checks, poorer educational system and much faster technological change, we might as well be under them.

    3. Riots in the Street
    * Communists and socialists rioting in the streets for decades, increasing evern more after communists took over Russia. Communists wanted to turn Germany into another Russia.
    * Today statist liberals and anti-capitalist socialists have turned just complaints about racism/sexism/homophobia etc into excuses for more government. Many have adopted “anarchist” street fighting tactics that became prominent in year 2000, which makes the “anarchists” happy. This follows the long European tradition of rioting for more government benefits and whatever else you want.
    People opposed to statism and/or socialism and/or who want white males to keep ruling the country and the planet have reacted with mockery at best, and among the “alt-right” and militarist street violence and threats of more of it.

    4. Anti-semitism
    *Nazis targeted Jews not only because of long standing anti-semitism but because of the actions of a small number during World War I. NazIs insisted Jewish-owned media drove Germany into the war and then abandoned the war effort. I don’t know if they knew that powerful Zionists in US were busy convincing Wilson to enter the war. (Even Washington Post includes a chapter of a book mentioning this. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/fallenpillars.htm) Of course Hitler was willing to work with Zionists to transfer Jews to Israel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haavara_Agreement Most of them didn’t want to go; and yes Zionists as well as anti-semites didn’t want them coming to the US.
    *Today, racist/religious hatred of Muslims, Arabs, Iranians, or anyone suspected to be such a person already is rampant in this country. And they are blamed for everything, while US attacks on their nations are excused as necessary.
    However, Jews may not be immune from revivals of anti-semitism. Both left and right have complained loudly that Neocon Zionists, mostly Jewish, pushed the war on Afghanistan and Iraq and continue to promote a catastrophic war vs. Iran, all for the good of Israel. The Israel Lobby has been openly exposed and protested for the last 10 years. Its influence is immense compared to the measly influence Russians tried to have over Trump. Given too many individuals left and right are willing to blame all Jews for the actions of a few American Jews and the STATE of Israel, anti-semitism is likely to keep growing.

    The big difference between Weimer Germany and US today, of course, is today a lot of nations have nuclear weapons. So the next world war will be a true armageddon killing billions instead of hundreds of millions.

    Given the virulent attacks on Vohra (led initially by alt-right revolutionary conservatives, evidently, I see both hyper-militarism and racism on the part of SOME individuals, whether veterans, military supporters, or government contractors. We’ll see if it increases or not towards all critics. It certainly is creating a backlash with threats of violence having been thrown around on both sides already!

    At least we expose and try to root out the money grubbing special interest government contractors – especially the military ones – where ever we find them! Who wants to start the database? :-0

  12. Just Some Random Guy

    22 countries today have no military or standing army. 11% of the world’s total. And they still exist. Your statement certainly is not a fact.

    And how many of those countries have an agreement (formal or informal) with countries that DO have a military to defend them?

  13. DJ

    Just Some Random Guy
    May 23, 2017 at 17:20

    And how many of those countries have an agreement (formal or informal) with countries that DO have a military to defend them?
    ………

    What difference does that make? How many armed citizens do we have?

  14. Just Some Random Guy

    @ DJ

    What difference does that make? How many armed citizens do we have?

    I’m saying a country being around despite not having a military doesn’t mean all that much in regards to how necessary a military is if that country has another country, one which DOES have a military, to defend them. They still have a military at their disposal for defense, even if it’s “subbed out.”

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