No, Conservatives Are Not Likely Ready to Fight

I read J.B. Shurk’s well-written March 8th article “Why Should Deplorables Fight for Those Who Hate Them?“ with some interest. My answer to his question is that I don’t think conservatives will. The reality is that the military has evolved leftward over the last 30 years.

Ever since the ’90s, when my wife and I were on active duty, we witnessed the slow morphing of the US Army from a Conservative—and, yes, a male entity—into a much more liberal culture. By then I had been in the military for a decade.

Officers and NCOs were commonly investigated for doing things like enforcing normal army regulations and then accused of racism or sexism for doing so. This was a way for the soldier being corrected to avoid being held accountable for breaking regs. It could be over something with dire consequences or for something as trivial as a uniform violation.

We also witnessed the early stages of the transition from a conservative-dominated volunteer army to that of a growing liberal and anti-Christian mindset that did not value the Constitution or live by some of the classic principles of duty, honor, and “mission first.” Single parents and female troops with multiple kids become more common, which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but clearly put additional strains on the soldier parent(s) and the overall budget required to sustain the army.

I remember hearing about a Christian rock concert on base being canceled for being…well…Christian. It was replaced by an atheist-themed concert.

Some of the more elite units were still able to recruit professionally-minded troops—from both conservative and liberal backgrounds—but these units make up a relatively smaller portion of the force. There was a clear distinction between the conservative combat arms troops and the much more liberal support troops who outnumbered them by something like 7 to 1.

I remember talking to some of my peers in Special Forces (the Green Berets) about the long-term outlook of these trends. We debated with our more liberal brothers, who merely felt the government should be more active in our society, but they had no desire to see it take over our society. Conservative and liberal alike regularly counted ourselves lucky not to be in the “big army” with all its social engineering.

More than once, we discussed how the trend might eventually affect the Second Amendment. We considered what might happen if the federal government ordered the military to start going after the guns of civilians. I can only speak for our view of the army at the time (and probably the US Marine Corps), but we all agreed that most of the military would likely consider it an unlawful order and not carry it out.

Believe it or not, our military is expected to obey orders unless they are unlawful, which is a tricky decision under the best of circumstances. All orders are presumed lawful, and disobedience is at the soldier’s peril. If a soldier believes the order to be unlawful and refuses it, but ultimately finds out that it was perfectly lawful, that soldier is held accountable for it. If the soldier obeys and it was unlawful, the consequences could also be severe.

Image: The Navy’s gay flight crew. Twitter screen grab.

Our general conclusion was that, in the early to mid-1990s, the Second Amendment was safe, but that in the coming decade or so, if the military continued its path to liberalization, we would likely have a military made up of troops willing to carry out an order to confiscate weapons. It was a scary thought then, and I fear the possibility is even greater now.

My wife and I left the army in 1996, so I have no idea what happened after that, but I saw no evidence that the trend was changing. I will mention that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may have slowed things a bit given the realities of those battlefields, which would be about the only good strategic outcome of those wars that I can think of.

I am at least the 3rd generation to serve our country and my wife served believing she owed this country as an immigrant from a place that taught her all about oppression. We have three fine sons, none of whom we want to serve in the army, which as a second-generation paratrooper saddens my heart. At the same time, we debate whether the real service to our country might simply mean being a Conservative in the military when it is highly discouraged by our government and culture.

My oldest son even decided to apply to West Point (his mother’s alma mater) until the forced COVID vaccinations of our troops were ordered. The vaccine mandate and the intensive focus on wokeness (gender and race training) seem intended to cull more conservative recruits from the ranks. Not to mention they risk unit cohesion and take time away from training that makes our troops effective and keeps them alive.

All I can say at this point is that it doesn’t look to me like we can count on conservatives joining any fight for the current government and what liberals think this country stands for. We might get lots of kids from conservative backgrounds in the lower enlisted ranks—especially those who have nowhere else to go (like me when I enlisted), but our officers are mostly coming from ROTC at very woke, Liberal colleges. So, the trend continues and our traditionally conservative military culture continues to die out.

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