Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

And One More Thing

with 3 comments

I did a serious blog post below.

But this showed up on RealClearPolitics this morning


and since it’s one of my hobbyhorses, I’ve posted the link.

I will admit I disagree with the thing about them being “well meaning” and “not corrupt”–

But hey.

I’m a cynic.

Written by janeh

May 6th, 2012 at 10:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses to 'And One More Thing'

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  1. “But hey. I’m a cynic.”

    I think that’s the conundrum. How to deliver essential assistance to those genuinely in need without generating an overwhelming insatiable demand from rent-seekers.

    Speaking of “normal” in a different sense, I just saw this NYT article: http://tinyurl.com/7e94flx

    For people of my generation, born 1940, it is surely hard to imagine how anyone could be of college age, let alone intelligent enough to actually teach at college level, without having any realistic concept of the military in our western democratic societies. It’s shameful enough that the Ivy League (and many other educational institutions throughout the western world) have, at least since Vietnam, refused to allow ROTC or equivalent schemes on campus, bowing to the ignorant thuggery of their extremist faculty and student bodies.

    But what is truly amazing that anyone could fail to appreciate that retired generals are not only a well-educated bunch, but also a much neglected fund of practical experience and hard-earned wisdom from that most rigorous academy, the School of Hard Knocks.

    With very rare exceptions, if any, officers who rise to four-star level in the military do so on their merits. In small armies like Australia’s, the “gene pool” is pretty narrow and not all that deep, but even here the universities have come to understand that generals know from real-life experience (rather than mere theory) an awful lot about many things that bright and curious students _ought_ to want to learn. Thus, a number of retired generals, and even more junior officers, have gone on to successful academic careers after retirement from the military.

    That anyone could express surprise at this relatively recent development, or that there could still be ideological resistance from sections of academia is simply mind-boggling.


    7 May 12 at 7:54 pm

  2. I’m missing something, Mique. What is military history? I THOUGHT it would have something to do with the study of fighting wars in the past – causes, result, important events during the war that influenced the outcome, some comments about the effect of war on political, economic, technological and social developments, etc. A Yale history professor says ‘Ivy Leagues, he said, still shy from teaching military history, although that is changing.’ How on earth can you teach ANY history without teaching military history? I could understand it if he said that they didn’t devote entire courses to military history, or that they didn’t hire military historians.

    I don’t know what the local university’s history department is like, but our currence chancellor is a retired general.


    8 May 12 at 10:08 am

  3. Cheryl, you do it by (1) more or less pretending the wars never happened–effectively, insisting that how the war was conducted had no impact–and (2) insisting when backed into a corner that the outcome of the war was inevitable. The winner was the side with the strongest economy, the most “progressive” politics or whatever. Mostly, this is hard to disprove. When it becomes completely untenable–the Peloponnesian War, say–the tearing down of the Long Walls doesn’t count as the end of the war and you carry on to some stopping point more compatible with academic ideology.

    Oddly enough, even in graduate school as a military history major, my professors usually found what I thought of as “military sociology” more congenial than studying the conduct of wars. Assigned readings were more likely to discuss the socio-economic background of various ranks in different periods than tactical innovations or the organization of the forces for war. The graduate students consistently took warmaking more seriously than the professors, which may tell us what 30 years on campus had done to the professorate.

    But within the past year, I looked through History Department catalogs from two or three of the Ivy League. It was all very fragmented, and very heavy on intellectual social and economic history–almost none of the Rankean political and military history. If you arrived at Harvard or Yale not knowing how the American Revolution or the Civil War were won and lost, I don’t think you’d find out by taking History courses.


    8 May 12 at 3:42 pm

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