Friday, August 6, 2010
Libertarians Should Leave the Military Alone
John Stossel, a Fox News personality and self-proclaimed libertarian, recently wrote a column for Human Events announcing his belief that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy is "dumb" and that the United States should "repeal" it.
Stossel's article and similar comments on "The O'Reilly Factor" were misinformed and inappropriate in their assumption that the military is comparable to the civilian world. As stated in current law, it is not. Stossel and others are free to be libertarians, but that is a poor excuse for imposing on the military extremes of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) agenda.
A new LGBT law or policy for the military would not be "leaving people alone"-due to mandatory "zero tolerance" policies it would be just the opposite. Personal actions in the military, whether disciplined or undisciplined, affect everyone else, for better or worse. Ultimately, national security is the primary consideration-individual rights do not apply in the same way.
As usual in media discussions of this issue, Stossel confused the facts, starting with the suggestion that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a law. It is not. The actual statute, Section 654, Title 10, United States Code, states that homosexuals are ineligible for military service. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is an administrative policy suggesting that homosexuals can serve in the military as long as they don't say they are gay. Congress never voted for DADT because it correctly saw it as unworkable. The actual law makes no mention of the concept, but Bill Clinton imposed it on the military anyway, in the form of expendable administrative regulations that are not consistent with the law.
Gay activists constantly exploit the confusion caused by DADT with human interest stories about discharged homosexuals who should have been told they were not eligible to serve in the military. Those stories are far less important than the consequences of Congress repealing the current law, which are summarized in these ten points:
Ten Reasons to Oppose the LGBT Law or Policy for the Military
In his column John Stossel disavowed the "conservative" label, but several other prominent figures thought to be conservative have recently associated themselves with gay rights advocates. Grover Norquist, noted anti-tax champion and head of Americans for Tax Reform, along with Bill O'Reilly’s "culture warrior" Margaret Hoover, recently joined the board of GOProud, a gay activist group that claims to be Republican. GOProud is an offshoot of the Log Cabin "Republicans," which currently is in a California court waging legal war against our military. With high-handed litigation that disrespects constitutional principles as well as our uniformed men and women, the Log Cabiners' are trying to get a federal judge to nullify the 1993 law, Section 654, Title 10.
The Republican National Platform has stated unequivocal support for that law in every presidential election since 2000. Given this fact, why did Senator John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, recently announce his intention to attend a Log Cabin Republican fundraiser?
Association with these groups by Stossel, Norquist, Cornyn and Hoover represents a trend of "libertarianizing" conservatism, which is most disturbing where national security is concerned. The near-exclusive focus of libertarians on individual rights and freedoms seems to have clouded their perspective on national defense issues.
They should know that in the military, individualism is circumscribed and in some respects prohibited outright. Servicemembers don't get to "express themselves" with attire or accessories that differ from uniforms worn by everyone else. Nor do they enjoy individual comforts common in the civilian world-much less the freedom to use marijuana and other pursuits favored by some libertarians.
Without consistent standards of conduct and procedures, imposed by necessity at the expense of individual rights, the military cannot accomplish its missions. This is why the current law, passed in 1993 by veto-proof, bipartisan majorities in both houses, elevates concepts such as unit cohesion, discipline and morale above individual rights, and applies those restrictions on a 24/7 basis, on- or off-base. In addition to listing ways that the institution differs from the civilian world, the law clearly states that there is no constitutional right to serve in the military.
It is possible that Stossel, Norquist, Hoover, and others are misguided by personal associations with gay friends, which most of us have, but civilian friendships are not relevant to this discussion. All should reexamine the so-called "civil rights" arguments of gay activists who seek to use the military as a laboratory for social engineering experiments that military people would not be free to avoid.
Rather than simply "allowing" homosexuals to serve, the forced acceptance of open lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the military would result in the imposition of corollary "zero tolerance" policies that punish anyone who disagrees with homosexuality for any reason. Repeal would cause many personnel with irreplaceable experience to leave, short of a full career, and would discourage others from joining in the first place.
"Libertarian" conservatives and Republicans are free to promote that philosophy all day long, but they should stop trying to impose the LGBT agenda on men and women in uniform. To be consistent with their own "leave us alone" mantra, libertarians need to draw the line at the military's door. Unlike the civilian world, the All-Volunteer Force restricts individual freedom within itself to protect that same freedom for the rest of us.