RePosted from Facebook without permission:
We’ve all done good things and bad things in life. I’ve done some stupid things. I wasted 4 years at a college, when I could have been doing independent education. I voted for Obama, because I got tricked by his rhetoric. I’ve driven recklessly, given in to anger. In the past, I supported vouchers (a.k.a. crony capitalism), rather than supporting getting government out of education entirely. I’ve even spoken in favor of the Fair Tax, rather than ending the income tax. I’ve made unstrategic business decisions.
I admit that these were bad decisions. I don’t think bad decisions make me a bad person. But they aren’t what I’m proudest of. I’m glad I learned from those bad decisions, so I can encourage others not to make them.
Today’s military policy is bad. The military things it is doing are bad. Sure, peppered in there are unrelated behaviors like handing out food, but the actual military part of the military is doing primarily bad things. It’s creating enemies, making us less safe. It’s engaging in violence and killing that are entirely counterproductive.
And yet, even inside the Liberty movement which is working hard to stop that, we still follow the social propaganda custom in which “veteran” or “servicemember” is seen as a compliment. It’s treated as a positive part of a person’s present or past, not a compromise they made, or a trick they fell for. Even those who know that their missions had been corrupted, that they were risking their lives on counterproductive missions, treat it as a positive, rather than as a silly mistake that they learned from.
People join the military for all kinds of reasons. For some, it’s a way out of poverty, or to get respect, or to feel like a badass. But people also join street gangs for the same reason. People commit violent felonies for that reason. That doesn’t mean joining the street gang is what they would be proud of. It doesn’t mean that we would use “former gang member” as a compliment.
I have heard so many inspiring speakers who were reformed gang members, who help other young people avoid getting involved in gangs. I have also hear many inspiring speakers who were former military members, who now work to keep people out of the military.
Those aren’t bad people. Many are great people. Many of the veterans in the LP are great people. But their being in the military is not what’s great about them. I consider them great despite being part of the military, not because of it.
I’m proud to work with many of these people – despite their involvement in the military, not because of it. As I’ve often said, I’ll work with anyone who wants to downsize any part of the government – NSA, TSA, FDA, government schools, the military.
Incidentally, the same principle applies to all branches of government. There are many people who have worked int he government whom I respect. All, or nearly all, I respect despite their work in the government, not because of it.
I don’t expect those working to cut government to be perfect. I will continue to respect those working to cut government despite their shortcomings, not because of them.
We’ve grown out of the phase in which “federal employee” or “police officer” were considered positives. We now respect people despite those things, not because of them. I believe in respecting anyone who is working to cut government, but despite, not because of, their involvement with the state.