Monday, November 10, 2014

On #RhetoricalSloppiness, Hero Soldiers, and Sweet, Sweet Schadenfreude on #VeteransDay

Of course not all soldiers are heroes.  

Speaking as a soldier myself, I would argue most soldiers are not heroes at all, and I know most of us feel we are not, because we know soldiers, policemen, and regular folks who really have been heroic (Flight 93, anyone?), and so do you.  It makes many of us feel uncomfortable to be placed on a pedestal for which others of us truly belong.

Heroism is a concept extending far beyond simply serving in the military or in your home-town or state police force (we all recognize police are on the battle line against evil every single day, as you'll recall the Eric Frein ambush against PA's finest).

Heroism is going far beyond just volunteering to take a job.  But, I can see why those who don't serve, haven't served, want to serve, or cannot serve may feel compelled to elevate a regular GI Joe in stature onto a special pedestal.  

I've got over 20 years in the military, which, of course, is not just a job (I guess I was being rhetorically sloppy by suggesting it was).

I vowed to give my life and make any sacrifice for my country's needs, and I will without hesitation.  Until that point comes, I consider myself much less than heroic. 

While an active reservist, I've been mobilized twice and deployed to Iraq.  I've got well over 7 years actual active duty time over those years, and I've embraced the suck which is associated with military hardships.  And if you think Reservists are pussies, lets see you balance two careers when they both tend to violently jerk you around independently from one another, while losing a weekend month and often many more than two-weeks during a year.  I can go on, but you get the point hopefully.

Looking back on my very successful and rewarding career, there have been times where that STRAC soldier in those digital Army Combat Uniforms with my name sewed on the right breast pocket didn't seem to be the same person who peered back at me in mirror.
Your Non-heroic Blogger

It's almost like when I take off the uniform I somehow separate that soldier I am (and was) from me as a US citizen and see him as someone not me.  It's like I'm two people, and I often feel more detached from my military persona.  

That person--that military me-- has done and seen some really amazing things; has accomplished remarkable feats that looking back sometimes seem semi-superhuman to the civilian me.

Nothing at all heroic, mind you. I've not been in combat or directly saved anyone's life.  But the Army puts its soldiers in as many challenging situations as the soldier wants to take on, and many he or she would prefer not to take on.  Over a course of 20 years or so, that's a lot of challengin' going on.

Unlike many institutions, The Army gives equal opportunity; it is a true meritocracy where most things if done well are rewarded, and if done very well, are very well rewarded.  No shit--if you do exactly what Forrest Gump did

and just embrace and do The Army thing (Stripes is another good, example to me, if a bit contrarian), you'll excel in it.  The Army isn't any fly-by-night organization (although we certainly love to).  Its not wet behind the cliches.  It's been around longer than the United States of America it protects, based on a career field possibly even older than prostitution, so of course its going to have figured "it" out long ago.

The non-uniformed me looks at the military me over the past 20 years (often in my very old photos when I was 100% Gumping; I'm more like Bill Murray's John Winger these waning days of my service) and can see the hero-like quality respectful and grateful Americans bestow on us.
John Winger

Thank you for thinking that of us.  

Calling us heroes may be a little over the top, but it's become part of the American lexicon to a nation who has seen the American Soldier perform admirably and continually in global conflict dating back in relative modern times to the 1991 Gulf War.

By the way, if you want to have a strong, motivated US military, for God's sake honor it!  Most volunteers recruit themselves and the love of the American people for their soldiers fosters very strong recruitment.  The performance of the US military in the First Gulf War and our Nation's reaction to it was an important factor in my own enlistment.

So now we transition to the Salon article which as you probably have guessed by now is the impetus behind this post. 

There are so many of you who are mad out there about this!

You are really, really outraged that this Salon writer would purposely insult the military (and police, many of whom are Vets, of course) on Veteran's Day weekend.

Sweet, Sweet Schadenfreude

So a Salon philosopher-king wannabee wrote an article designed to provoke the outrage he'd generate, and now he's internally basking in sweet, sweet, juices of a delicious Progressive schadenfreude boner he created.  

It was too easy for him to predict you #BitterClingers and your reaction to his erection.

You don't think your anger bothers him, do you?

So he quit Twitter or something.  Meh.  We all need short breaks from Twitter.

Your anger is exactly what he wanted; it makes him feel alive and super smart (even though it was exceptionally low-hanging fruit for him to pick).  His accomplish elevates him among his Progressive and Liberal friends and followers who are also feasting ravenously on your anger, laughing at you.

Don't be mad. 

I'm not.

I think it's awesome, for many reasons.

Your anger was long preceding by other anger: #ProgressiveAnger.

How angry and unhappy do you think a Progressive must be to create a literary work specifically designed to insult millions of Americans?

Progressives constantly seethe internally (and externally over soy lattes at the local cafe with their bearded Hipster friends) about this country.  This intense anger drives them while also consuming them nearly every minute of nearly every day.

You need to enjoy knowing Progressives are continually miserable--they are never not miserable!  This double negative, making a positive, is your sweet, sweet schadenfreude.

Consider something else.

Many of your normal low-information voter (LIVs) will have heard about this insult due to its intensity; it will break through what ever bubbles exist that make them less informed.  LIVs aren't stupid people, and many have off on Veteran's Day, which they like a lot.  They typically think military service is honorable.

Many LIVs are simply busy as hell, struggling with higher priorities than the #CultureWar, like trying to find ways to pay for their family's basic necessities.  And, of course, many LIVs are just narcissistic kids (increasingly infantilized through their mid-30's by a loving Federal State) sexting boobehs (often their own) to each other through their smart phones while at work, play, or while otherwise shirking Life's(TM) real responsibilities.  

But, most LIVs don't hate America, despite their hardships in it or youthful lack of interest.

When Progressives reveal themselves in this manner as the American hating Socialists they really are, it chips away at their cause.  Things like this make less Liberal converts, not more.  The more we rightfully tie anger to Progressivism, Socialism, and Liberalism (but I repeat myself), the more it's weakened as an attractive, competing philosophy to Conservativism (by the way, you need to read this essential Ace of Spade HQ blog post by Weird Dave from this weekend on Chesterton's Fence and the simple, fundamental Conservative concept of "change" in context).  It only takes a second to open in a new tab--but don't read it until you're done here; I'm about to give you some tasty bacon!  

On #RhetoricalLaziness

I opened with why most soldiers are not really heroes.  I agree with David Masciotra on this point 100%.  I'm no hero and don't want to be called one without cause.

Unlike David, though, who clearly believes himself to be an enlightened, intellectually gifted and talented Progressive on the right side of history, I'm a critical thinker, and as soldier myself, have insight into both civilian and military worlds.  I'm also not filled with #ProgressiveRage, so I'm not upset with the "hero" turn of phrase.  

I've thought this very topic for a long time myself, and thanks to David, I now have a much more enlightened position than I did yesterday.

It's just a way for a grateful citizenry to show their gratitude--if not in a little over-the-top manner as I said before. No big deal.

To him and Liberal intelligentsia, however, calling a soldier or policeman a hero really is base, rhetorical laziness--and calling it "rhetorical laziness" is intended by the philosopher-king wannabee to be a very deep insult, which is why I'm focusing on it.  It disgusts them how stupid we morons are.

For a really deep example of #RhetoricalLaziness, however, look no further than the author.  I love his ironic opening quote (the article's raison d'etre, in essence): 

"The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible."

The irony is found in the ultra-hyper language which builds the premise that a simple turn of phrase--calling someone who serves in the military a hero--"...betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism [sic]..."*

So here we have a hateful #Progressive so blinded by his hatred that he can't even see the linchpin premise of his entire argument that "our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy" is itself an excellent and overly complex example of #RhetoricalSloppiness.

In other words, this one word, "hero":
  1. is applied to every military person
  2. is applied to every law enforcer
  3. is frightening
  4. is nationalist
  5. is chauvinist
  6. is authoritarian
  7. is totalitarian
  8. is intellectually shallow
  9. prohibits honest conversation
  10. prohibits serious conversation
  11. endangers or deadens "real" democracy
  12. is childish
  13. is irreverent

I mean, did I miss any?  I specifically tried to only find specific literal connections without inventing any, and I'm just using that one linchpin paragraph and the article's title to do so!

Talk about #RhetoricalSloppiness!  I bet that paragraph was the longest considered and edited part of the entire piece!

It's a beautiful thing, and makes me happy.

Like I mentioned in my October 30th post, when Progressives argue, they do not care to adhere to logical nor factual argumentation (if they even have the ability or intent), and in fact, an illogical or deceptive argument is fine place to stand from inside their rhetorical argument wheelhouse. 

Words are means. Progressivism is the end.

This whole kerfuffle also highlights the critical importance #TheLeft places on language in the #CultureWar.  

Evidently using just this one word does an amazing amount of damage to the Progressive vision of America, so keep using it, dammit!

"Hero, Hero, Hero, Hero!"

In fact, if you ever Tweet a Progressive, see if you can slide it in. Maybe you could even call the male-bodied or female-bodied person a "Hero" for his or her own special Progressive political position. 

All you Veterans, enjoy your day tomorrow.  You earned it with much effort and through the others who bought it for us with their lives. Go out and get your free meals and discounts and when someone thanks you for your service tomorrow you know what to say to humbly back them with a smile.

"You're welcome."

*Liberals ABSOLUTELY HATE AND REFUSE to use the serial comma, which is the last comma in a series of things. I find this extremely humorous and intellectually lazy on their part. So I [sic]'d him. :P



  1. Great post doc. You're my HERO!!!

    1. I lol'd. Thank you much for taking the time to comment :)

  2. Love it!

    I did catch a couple typos- in numbers 9 and 10 on the list, what should read 'conversation' is instead "conversation".
    Happy Veteran's Day, and thank you!

    1. I fired my editor. Looking for a first, second, or third job?

      No benefits.

      No pay actually.

      But it's a job!

      (and you're welcome!)