This week I talked with a scintillating, fascinating, and stunningly good-looking guest – myself. I guess that between scheduling mix-ups, sketchy technical issues and general, well, havoc(k), it was bound to happen at some point. So there you go. I make the best of it, subjecting myself to a pointed interrogation about my positions regarding Azerbaijan-based pipelines and a lively debate about macroeconomics and Keynesianism in greater Oceania. That, of course, is a joke – there is no debate about macroeconomics and Keynesianism in greater Oceania. In reality, I use General Milley’s comments about critical race theory as a launching point to talk about tolerance and its underappreciated benefit to pluralism and discourse. And then I spend half the episode on a shameless plug. You’ve been warned.
Have a listen here.
I don’t spend much of the episode dwelling on Milley’s comments because it is simply a launching off point. But I missed a chance to tie his comments into this week’s subject, so I’ll take that chance now. I’m going to give Milley the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is preoccupied with bigger issues (that are actually related to his mission) and can be forgiven for falling into a trap that ensnares many people who don’t think deeply or at length about cultural issues. Milley is right that there is no reason not to know other points of view. But he misses the point that the military establishment seems determined to offer de facto endorsements of CRT (or “social justice” or whatever nomenclature we’re using this week).
In that, Milley confuses both tolerance with endorsement as well as knowledge with tolerance. This underscores a deeper issue about the military’s lack of understanding about civilian life and cultural issues. The military, is, at the end of the day, about saluting the flag and following orders, not about questioning the cultural trends and nuances of civilian leadership. This is admirable, but also leaves the military establishment intellectually unprepared for these sort of self-hating rituals. Those of us who grew up in big cities where racial hucksterism was all the rage (especially in the early ‘90s) see all of this as rebranded Sharptonism and remain unimpressed. Rural folk who make up the backbone of the military may be unfamiliar and therefore not fully appreciate that history. So perhaps this is a glimpse into a rural/urban divide in the military. This is actually a much larger topic… more on that down the road.
I moved my recording location which explains the increased background noise. Sorry to everyone who is bothered by it. I’ll move somewhere quieter next time. Like a train station.
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