Monday, June 28, 2010

On Kagan and McChrystal

This morning I saw this article which says among other things: "The solution to a less politicized military can be accomplished via dilution, but for this to happen more political centrists and liberals would have to join the military. I doubt this will happen. According to tens of thousands of surveys conducted by University of Virginia social psychology professor Jonathan Haidt, politically conservative individuals disproportionately value both respect for authority and loyalty — values that perfectly align with military culture. By contrast, those on the political left disproportionally value caring for others and fairness. These are admirable preferences, but they don't immediately comport with a military career."

And, it reminds me of some things I've thought about before. One is that there is nothing wrong with making lawyers to change the world, notwithstanding for example the views of the critics of the law schools at Liberty and Regent. There are a few posts here about the start-up of the Liberty law school, a few years ago.

The Rumsfeld v. FAIR case always struck me as an outrage, both because it was legally unsustainable and because the means never fit the end. In the FAIR case, the law schools claimed that the Solomon Amendment that punished schools for banning military recruiters violated the First Amendment rights of the law school, or some part of it. The Supreme Court rejected this claim, 8-0.

One of the law school administrators at the front of the military recruitment ban was Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, whose hearings are this week. If people like her really wanted to change the military, they should have taken a page from Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson's playbook and been trying to get more Harvard lawyers in the JAG corps, rather than less. The military recruitment ban was unjustified and unjustifiable, legally and practically. If it's true that liberals and centrists are less likely to choose the military of their own accord, then would-be liberal reformers like Ms. Kagan should have been trying to do more not less to encourage them to pursue military careers. It would appear that General McChrystal could have have used a few on his staff, so that he might at least have had more of a clue when he or others around him were saying stupid things.

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