The Irrepressible Rothbard
Essays of Murray N. Rothbard
Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Drunkenness and "debauchery" at a convention of naval aviators and their boosters! My, my, my! I hate to keep bringing up Claude Rains and his "shocked! shocked!" at gambling in Casablanca, but it seems to be the appropriate response for this nonsense. Drunkenness at a social hospitality suite at a convention! And in Las Vegas yet that model city for strait-laced propriety! Hey, give me a break!
I am a great fan of quaint and obsolete words, I haven't heard that lovely word "debauchery" for many a year. I can see Victorians using it about eighteenth-century excesses. "Debauchery!" But since when has debauchery been a high crime, or drunkenness off the job for that matter?! Our culture is getting rapidly crazier at an accelerating rate, and the poor guys at Tailhook are caught in a culture loop, victims of a new and raging form of Left Victorianism.
And this Inspector General Derek J. Vander Schaaf, the guy who wrote the Tailhook investigatory report, must be a real doozy. He reports, with a great air of concern, that while the "symposium aspects of Tailhook >91 were reasonably educational and professionally presented," that, horrors! less than 2,100 people attended these "professional events," while as many as 4,000 naval officers came to the convention, which means ye gods! that maybe half the attendees came only to participate in the "social" events and not to attend the symposium at all!
Look, Derek baby, let me clue you in on the facts of professional life. I have never attended any convention, even the most staid, where the socializers did not outnumber the guys who actually came to the official proceedings. And this is true even at economists' conventions, where I can assure you, Derek, there was no "gauntlet," mooning, strippers, and all the other debauched practices you have reported in such loving detail. And precious little drunkenness, let alone debauchery.
All these hi-jinks, all these piggish fraternity-like practices most of which, despite all the hysteria, seem to have been consensual, had been going on at previous Tailhook conventions for the previous thirty-five years. Even Inspector General Derek admits that this stuff had become a veritable "tradition" at Tailhook. And even Derek concedes that the least consensual part of the festivities, the notorious third-floor hallway "gantlet," had a sign posted, saying, "Gauntlet Enter at Your Own Risk." So, if this was a well-known tradition, and the sign was up, why did these women show up at the Tailhook convention or at the famed third-floor hallway or hospitality suites? Doesn't this showing up make the basic proceedings consensual and voluntary? And in any case, what's the big deal?
It's pretty clear that this whole thing was launched by that harridan Lt. Paula Coughlin, who strutted down the "gantlet" secure in the arrogant belief that being an admiral's aide would spare her the indignities heaped upon lesser females. And when the young lads gleefully shouted "admiral's aide!" and gave her extra treatment and she reported them in a huff to her admiral, he had the nerve to do the old-fashioned thing in the military: to tell her to forget it! And so Paula went public in a big way, taking advantage of the raging feminist advance in our culture, to bring that admiral down, and the rest of the Navy and the "military culture" down with him.
The inevitable question: do I "condone" the actions of the young lads at Tailhook? The very question is idiotic. I am not a fan of fraternity-culture, but so what? I'm not a member of Tailhook and I didn't go to the convention. Those who went to Tailhook should have known what they were doing. And the charges of a "cover-up" that have smeared so many higher officers are also ridiculous. The whole thing should have been thrown out from the very beginning, and the "victims" told to butt out and grow up.
The real victims of Tailhook are the naval aviators who were suddenly, ex post facto, trapped in the vise-like grip of a whirlwind culture change, the accession of an implacable Left-Puritanism. One of those female military experts that seem to have sprouted like weeds let the cat out of the bag on a TV news program recently: "We have to get rid of the macho culture of the military."
Yes, of course, that's the key. The military, especially the crack pilots, are trained for discipline, quick-response, aggressiveness indeed, a macho culture. A macho culture might even go in for occasional off-duty drunkenness and debauchery. I was reminded of that lovely line from Wordsworth: "Shades of the prison-house begin to close/Upon the growing boy." Because these "boys" are going to be hit hard by the prison-house of an anti-macho cultural revolution. Those young lads who don't get jailed, fined, or expelled, will be subjected to compulsory "counseling sessions" sensitivity training to fit them into our new "therapeutic" state. The anti-macho revolution will include, in particular, feminization and gayization. That should do the trick. Thus, Command Master Chief Elaine Human, the first female master chief at the Pacific Fleet headquarters, put the needed change this way: that military service must become "gender-blind."
I am trying to figure out the role of sex in this new culture. It's not an easy task. On the one hand, kids in elementary grades are being handed out free condoms, and instructed how to use them, all in the absurd idea of warding off AIDS, because chastity for teenagers and sub-teenagers is supposed to be ridiculous. On the other hand, drunkenness and debauchery have to be outlawed for adults, including the military. And what is a truly "gender-blind" and "trans-gender-blind" military going to look like? If gender-blinding is a serious goal, then there will have to be total integration, into every aspect of the military: combat, submarines, showers, toilets, of all genders and transgenders: men, women, gays, lesbians, cross-dressers, trans-sexuals, hermaphrodites, and whatever other sexes the left will have dreamed up. And while all these assorted "genders" will have to be integrated in all activities, any sexual action or thought of any kind: not simply "groping" and "fondling" but also leers, ogling, and verbal references of any kind all of which have been defined as "sexual harassment" will be outlawed to the hilt, with disgrace, imprisonment, expulsion, and maybe castration as the instant punishment.
How can they give out compulsory condoms and still outlaw any sexual thought much less action? How can something be "indecent exposure" at Tailhook and yet be compulsory in barracks and showers in the name of "gender-blinding"? How can we possibly make sense out of this crazy quilt of sexual attitudes? Perhaps the answer is this: the Enemy is what used to be called "normal," or "macho," hetero-sex. Anything else, any kind of transgendering, is good, healthy, a liberating "orientation," etc. That seems to be what the military, and the rest of us, are in for.
Well, one thing I'm sure of. After a steady diet of the new culture, we won't have to worry about the military and its "macho culture." It will be very interesting to see what will happen when the new, liberated, sensitive, feminized, gayized, and trans-genderized Army, Navy, and Air Force run up against the Serbs who, God bless them! haven't caught up with the modern world yet.
To repeat a point I've made elsewhere: who would you rather have defend you, a feminized, gayized, de-machoized military, or a group of Serbs? Think about it.
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