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August 18, 2005

Why most chickenhawks are hypocrites

1. A chickenhawk supports the war and could volunteer to fight.
2. Moreover he* recommends the war enthusiastically, and tries to convince other people that the war is worthwhile. He may have exhorted us to invade Iraq in the first place. Maybe he even attacks critics of the war for being "weak" or "unpatriotic."
3. He knows that there aren't currently enough troops to fight the war properly.
4. He understands that if the war is not fought properly, we will lose. He can't advocate the status quo, because that would be hypocritical. After all, he says he supports the war.  He also claims to support our troops, and he wouldn't want any unnecessary deaths for lack of reinforcements. .
5. The chickenhawk realizes that in the event of a troop shortage, we can do one of the following: a)Withdraw, b)Institute a draft, c)Induce more people to volunteer.
6. A chickenhawk can't advocate a draft because that would involve forcing someone to fight in his place. That would be hypocritical.
7. A chickenhawk must therefore support some alternative plan for recruiting more volunteers. The traditional free market solution would be to increase military pay until enough people join up to fight the war properly.
8. Obviously, we're going to need a lot of extra money. A chickenhawk can't urge us to simply borrow the money because that would be pawning off his financial obligation onto future, unconsenting generations.
9. The chickenhawk can either advocate raising taxes or cutting non-military spending. If the chickenhawk supports the Bush tax cuts, he's a hypocrite, unless he proposes raising other taxes to make up the shortfall. We need that money to recruit soldiers to fight his war.
10. If the chickenhawk urges us to cut non-military spending, he's got to explain why other people should lose their benefits just because people like him don't feel like fighting the war. After all, he could just volunteer at the current rates and save the government the expense of recruiting him later.

So, no matter how you look at it, a war supporter who won't join up is a hypocrite unless he's got a plan to encourage other people to volunteer and a willingness to pay his share of the cost.

*He or she. But specifically Ben Shapiro.

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Comments

I think this is the point in the discussion where the corpse of Doug Henning, replete with rainbow suspenders, arises to give you a lesson in freedom and magic using "The Laffer Curve."

We must also consider the detrimental effects a whining, fascist jackass like Shapiro will have on unit cohesion. I think it's called the "don't ask or puruse whether I write stupid columns for Townhall.com, and I won't tell you."

It does seem like it's hypocrisy, but it strikes me as hypocrisy on a low enough level that they aren't quite hypocrites automatically. It seems to me that being a hypocrite (in the perjorative sense) requires more than run-of-the-mill hypocrisy that all of us commit sometimes: it requires... well... something more, like, say, supporting a war for which there is a draft while simultaneously seeking deferrals for that same draft.

Saying that any way that we fall short of doing everything possible to live up to our views makes us hypocrites is so demanding that it just makes all of us hypocrites, which, in some ways, makes none of us hypocrites. That isn't to say it isn't a bad thing when I do fall short of the standards to which I hold myself. It is, and we should all strive to be better people, but the way you single out chickenhawks could be used on pretty much anyone. ("If you care about African poverty, why don't you sell your house, live in a dumpy apartment, and give all your income to Oxfam? If you're a vegetarian animal welfare activist, why are your shoes made of leather? If you want free markets, why are you buying food from supermarkets that's heavily subsidized by Uncle Sam?")

In short, this is a tactic that people use to deride people for holding ideals that the "hypocrisy" charger disagrees with in the first place, not really an attack on their hypocrisy in not fully living up to them (after all, it's unlikely that the person making the accusation herself lives in a dumpy apartment and gives all of her income to Oxfam, has no leather in her wardrobe, or buys from farmers who refuse government subsidies).

This is all kinda okay since the pro-war ideals of the hawks, chicken and otherwise, are wrong anyway, but the argument is still unpersuasive.

Julian: I think that the added element of running down anybody who's against your preferred military adventure as not "supporting the troops" or "objectively pro-Saddam" or "mounting a fifth column" might contribute that special little pungent something above and beyond the examples you cited.

In addition to the reasons that norbizness cites, I would add that most of the chickenhawks are being paid specifically to advocate policies that sting others badly, but that they'll never feel, and don't seem inclined to step up in any other way. Goldberg, for example, makes a decent living from the combination of warmongering and tax-the-poor advocacy, and I have no doubt that Shapiro is being subsidized.

That's not low-level "failing to live up to one's ideals" hypocrisy. That's tip top grand poo-bah chickenhawk hypocrisy.

a slight technical note. being an RSS lurker around these parts, i noted that your XML seems to be under some stress. im not enough of a wiz to figure out how the stuff works or why it is broken, but im sure someone here can help out. thanks :)

Not everybody who supports the war is a chickenhawk. In my book, you're not a chickenhawk unless you're also actively and publicly engaged in jingoistic warmongering and/or denigrating war critics and war skeptics.

also, if at this late stage, people anything less revolting from the right-wing blog-circus, then they have far too much of an imagination.

all the chickenhawk crowd is and has been is scumsucking little gop whores. from insta-heh to the "blog of the year" to the loons at NRO and michelle malkin, they are all sitting on the shoulders of charles johnson and his band of nutjobs not to mention the freepi. with roots like that, the fruit is gonna be similarly toxic...

If you're a vegetarian animal welfare activist, why are your shoes made of leather?

Good question! I think the answer is that it's hard to find shoes that aren't. ("Buy Tevas! They're made from petroleum!" Ummm...)

If you want free markets, why are you buying food from supermarkets that's heavily subsidized by Uncle Sam?

Also a good question! I think the answer is that free market advocacy means "when it is in my favor to do so."

If you care about African poverty, why don't you sell your house, live in a dumpy apartment, and give all your income to Oxfam?

[Stares off into space] (quiet voice) because, um, I like my house....?

While we are at making everyone who supports the war to go fight it, can we also get anyone who:

a) is in favor of abortion, to have to perform them.

b) decries minority employment, be required to hire them.

c) complains about global warming be CO2 neutral.

d) favors higher taxes, pay higher taxes.

e) needs a doctor, to pay for their own health care.

f) whose children does not have enough books, to maybe get a better job and buy them.

g) who would regulate the way that cars are built, to build their own.

h) who would regulate the way food is sold, to make their own.

i) who would regulate the way businesses operate, to start their own.

Until liberals actually do what they advocate for themselves instead of trying to get the jack booted thugs of government to do it for them, they are even more hypocritical than any right winger in favor of the war.

Of course, one could say that the liberal proposal to only have a military that fights the wars it wants to fight sounds good on paper, but that would be appallingly stupid. The Romans made that mistake and wound up a military dictatorship, as have many nations since. No, the military must forever be a civilian plaything. That you might get ordered to die becuase a stupid civilian is part of the job, and, if you don't like it, don't join.

Pretty much, every regulation, including whether or not we go to war, is up for our civilian discussion. So, if you want to have a society where you have to do what you advocate, then, there is little need for government at all. So sure, call neocons hypocrits for supporting the war, but, stare in the mirror as the essence of politics is to get someone else to do what you want, without even having to really do it yourself.

b) decries minority employment, be required to hire them.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Also, one reason I support choice is because amateurs should not be performing abortions with coat hangers for beer money.

"Civilian discussion" is such a lame talking point. Obviously the war is a matter for civilian discussion. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. At a certain point, if you make a public spectacle of your so-called patriotism, somebody's going to ask you to put up or shut up. Especially if you've made an equally big show of calling everyone who criticizes the war a wimp or a traitor.

Nobody's forcing these guys and gals to join up, but you have to wonder how deep their commitment really is.

My argument is that good people give what they can to the causes they support. If you claim to care about African poverty, you don't have to give away everything you own. Although if you're hosting telethons for famine relief it's pretty friggin' tacky if you never give a dime of your own money and demand huge royalties for your time. Many conservative pundits have been hosting a non-stop war telethon for several years.

Like I said, decent people give what they can. So, if you're not prepared to go fight the war, you should at least support higher taxes to fund it. If you're advocating a war based on a revenue neutral model, you should explain why we should lose out on roads or parks or benefits for the veterans we've already got so that you can sit on your ass at home.

Lindsay,

1) If you can train as a soldier to fight in war and kill or be killed, you can train as an abortion doctor.

2) You would be surprised at how many liberal organizations are largely run by white people only. I used to work for one long ago before I turned to the "dark" side. Their leaders have nice offices and the staffers get heavy handed indoctrinations, massive fundraising quotas, and a mountain of crap. I never worked at a corporation that treated its people as rudely or unfairly as I have for liberal fundraisers, and certainly when it comes to crunch time, corporations always pay better and have better benefits!

Can you even get a list of executive directors of MoveOn.org? I think they are all white people?

And, which political party put in the first black secretary of state? The first black female secretary of state? Hmmmm..

Well, I certainly would agree that is wrong to openly call someone who is against the war a traitor. I do not like those who do it, any more than I like TV preachers (whom I loath). Peaceniks are patriotic too, even if they are sometimes wrong. We are all Americans. We have a bunch of protesters where I work that come out every Friday saying, "honk for peace". I honk every time, not because I agree with what they are doing, but because they are engaged in our democracy and it makes me proud to be a citizen.

1) If you can train as a soldier to fight in war and kill or be killed, you can train as an abortion doctor.

I never realized that being a soldier and being a doctor were exactly the same skill sets. So you can get out of the Army, immediately pass the MCATs, and enroll in Harvard Medical?

Amazing what they teach them in the Army these days.

Ah, stork puts up a list of stupid strawmen. Let's just take one.

I am in favor of aggressively progressive income taxes for everyone. I am willing to pay those income taxes (and have, when I have made a great deal of money in the past). By contrast, Messrs. Goldberg and Shapiro are in favor of and advocate ferociously colonialist adventures like the Iraq occupation, but they're not willing to do ANYTHING that would be required to adequately support that adventure, whether that be volunteer themselves, implement a draft, or pay the taxes required. In fact, they smear and attack anyone who thinks that they should do something other than attack liberals to actually support the war they want so very badly. See, that makes them chickenhawk hypocrites.

The military is of course a civilian "plaything", especially when the civilians in question, like the Republican Party and their apparatchiks (and I would argue, Stork, based on what he's written in the past) don't really care about the soldiers, but merely the abstract idea of militarism and the need to be the WAR party. Liberals have not argued that the military fights only the wars it wants to, but that actual facts and experience should guide how people go to war, especially when even the doctored intelligence (let alone the unstovepiped information) was clear that there WAS NO IMMEDIATE NEED to do so. In the instant case, the warmongering civilians who did and do everything they could to avoid serving their country in the military then wanted to use the military as a plaything and political camouflage ignored every single piece of advice concerning that use, and in doing so, have pissed all over both the military and the credibility of civilian control.

"... but, stare in the mirror as the essence of politics is to get someone else to do what you want, without even having to really do it yourself"

How is this the essence of politics? Sure, I can see that this definition might be preferred by those who favor feudalism or monarchies or other types of hierarchal social orders in which those in power force those who lack power to do their bidding. You know: fight their wars, plow their fields, input their data.

But for the rest of us, it's positively bizarre.

"That you might get ordered to die becuase a stupid civilian is part of the job, and, if you don't like it, don't join."

Um, the point is that the people who claim to like it don't join.

"If you didn't want to die in Iraq, you shouldn't have enlisted" is not a completely unfair point. Of course the logic of that point is playing out now, and it's not hard to foresee a military made up totally of foreigners seeking American citizenship, and convicts.

OTOH, if George W Bush proposed that 2 soldiers per day be thrown into a volcano to appease the gods, then the sheer stupid futility of the exercise would surely be a valid defense for the hapless enlistee. So obviously there's a tipping point past which "you signed on the dotted line" isn't a fair objection. I'd say the war in Iraq is decidedly on the wrong side of that line.

Lindsay Beyerstein's analysis of the term chickenhawk is dead-on from a political perspective. Unencumbered, able-bodied men and women who tout a war they dodge are certainly open to question. But isn't chickenhawk just an amusing, bloodless, modern, liberal, euphemism? Why not use the term their grandfathers used: coward.

As for Ben Shapiro's argument:

The "chickenhawk" argument -- which states that if you haven't served in the military, you can't have an opinion on foreign policy -- explicitly rejects basic principles of representative democracy.

Wrong on both counts Ben. The basic principles of a representative democracy (you remember them Ben, the ones trampled in the 2000 presidential election) involve free and fair elections choosing the government. And the chickenhawk argument doesn't say you need to serve in the military to have a say on foreign policy, it is just the commonsense observation of your hypocrisy in saying the Iraq war is worth someone dying for, just not you.

Ben Shapiro (parenthetically, (is that redundant?) mocking his alleged virginity is a mocking of sexual orientation, stop it Steve Gilliard) says that the chickenhawk argument is anti-constitutional, indeed contrary to the principles of democracy. Does he think that we could pass a law banning such pernicious sedition?

I supported the war at the beginning, tho demanded, meaning screamed real loud, a much greater committment and mobilization.

I support a universal draft. I advocate the return to tax policy circa 1960, meaning 90% marginal rates. I also pretty much support the most left positions of any left available, and would prefer a much further left was available. I also want Bush on a scaffold. Dead serious.

How many young men's lives is Medicaid worth to you? Or choice, Social Security, or unions. I have watched American politics for forty years, and that is the conclusion I have come to. You don't believe it is true, that we only have that one viable category of choice, keep watching.

As far as chickenhawk goes, okay. Some young men must die, and the rest of us get to send them there. If I could take their place, I would. Really. But that is not my lot. I get the survivor's guilt.

And the hate for those who would waste those lives by not using them wisely.

stork:
a) is in favor of abortion, to have to perform them.
I have.

b) decries minority employment, be required to hire them.
I do.

c) complains about global warming be CO2 neutral.
I try. (Or do you mean suicide?)

d) favors higher taxes, pay higher taxes.
I do, and whine constantly to my wife's dismay that they aren't higher.

e) needs a doctor, to pay for their own health care.
I do.

f) whose children does not have enough books, to maybe get a better job and buy them.
I have.

g) who would regulate the way that cars are built, to build their own.
If you drive near here, and knew my auto skills, you wouldn't even ask.

h) who would regulate the way food is sold, to make their own.
I have. But I still buy the vast majority. Why do you think it wrong to ask that the real ingredients be listed?

i) who would regulate the way businesses operate, to start their own.
I did.

Having answered this litany of non-sequiturs let me suggest you re-read your history. The Romans fell because they strayed from democratic ideals into the rot of empire, not, as you obliquely suggest, because they didn't have Ben Shapiro warblogging from the comfort of home.

Whatever hypocrisies you associate liberalism with, and I don't doubt there are many, it is still worth considering why most Americans still think WWII was worth dying for, and few, even able-bodied conservative bloggers, think the Iraq war is worth dying for. Do you?

Thanks Epi. I was going to answer those points but they were just too bizarre.

Rather than the Romans, I think the more appropriate historical metaphor is Athens' decision to invade Syracuse.

There are plenty of people brave enough to respond to the call of their country regardless of their own views of the morality of a war, see, e.g., John Kerry. Almost any of us would volunteer if we were directly attacked by another country.

Chickenhawks want other people, but not themselves, to die to test their ideological views, or to enforce their Pax Americana fantasies, or for any other brainstorm.

Ben Shapiro is just another elitist coward.

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