In my most recent article, “How Empires Live and Die“, I had promised that my next article would describe one way in which the US empire will disintegrate into ethnostates. But, upon return from a recent business trip, I encountered something so relevant to that previous article that I had to post this article first. In the Empires article I mentioned that Janissaries (locals embued with empire mythology and then returned to an area to herd the locals to the empire’s interests) would someday be encouraged to make public loyalty oaths. I did not anticipate that this public loyalty oath would extend to other groups as well. Imagine my surprise when I opened my September edition of “Shipmate”, the official Naval Academy alumni magazine, to find exactly such a loyalty oath from some of my ’88 classmates. This one, however, is so childish and naive that the reader can’t help but smile!
The content, reprinted in that edition of Shipmate under the class of ’88 section, can also be found at medium.com, linked for its illuminating backstory context, and edited for formatting for this page:
I recognize that we are men and women of action, and only through our actions can we effect a change. Because it is not enough to only recognize and speak against the mistreatment of our brothers and sisters who served alongside me, I commit to you that I will also engage on your behalf. What I can do, I will do. I commit to each of you to serve alongside you. I will take these 3 steps:
1. Listen to my peers. I will interact intentionally with shipmates and have real conversations about our respective life experiences. My commitment is not only to hear but also to try to understand. I pledge to listen to my Class of 1988 brothers and sisters.
2. Lead by example. I will engage to address any displays of injustice and any statements of untruths. If I am in an environment among friends or peers and something insensitive, derogatory, or untrue is proffered, I will reject it and encourage others to do the same. I will lead by example. Silence is no longer an option. What I can do, I will do.
3. Leverage my network. I will use my sphere of influence, an important extension of me, to the benefit of my classmates and the U.S. Naval Academy. It is critical that we all affirm our commitment to fairness and integrity, and that we carry out our message to the broadest audience possible.
This one is so precious it is hilarious! More so that the (four!) authors graduated from an elite public institution famous for training people to be responsible for handling nuclear reactors and weapons, but sound as if they are graduates of a Marxist rhetoric course. Goodness. The overall tone is that of spoiled children accustomed to never being questioned on anything, and taking “a stand” on something that is politically lauded. Such courage! Daddy is sooo proud! Men and women of action! All the words prove that this is true! Speak against! Rise up against no one whatsoever!
I thought about trying to highlight portions for emphasis, but it is all emphasis.
“… not only to hear, but also to try to understand.” Yes, darlings, Daddy will try to understand. Tell Daddy all about it. Here’s your sippy, it will help the snuffling stop while you interact intentionally. As opposed to interacting unintentionally (“Did I do that?”), which just might fit all other cases than this heroic manifesto. As a side note, the version published in Shipmate contains “interaction intentionally”. I’m guessing that medium.com did them a solid by interacting intentionally with the text to fix that one silently rather than embarrass them with (sic).
The language of “mistreatment of our brothers and sisters” is so touching. Almost tribal. Certainly the language of ethnostates. One would hope that current and former naval (defined as Navy plus Marine Corps) officers wouldn’t be too concerned about their mistreatment. From my perspective, I’m not a victim, not even of current one-sided Marxist rhetoric. Oh no, quite the contrary. I find it energizing and helps focus one’s attention and efforts, as well as being remarkably helpful in rallying others to a cause. But I can understand why the crumbling of Marxist rhetoric might seem to be mistreatment to some. See, Daddy is trying to understand!
Peers and shipmates are not at all the same thing, but I suppose to process operators (versus warfighters) in a dying empire it certainly feels that way. By the way, I recall the mission of the naval services was all about power projection and sea control. Captain Daddy, USMC, must have slept through the portions of the naval leadership classes (Annapolis and Quantico both) about having real conversations about our respective life experiences. Supporting that 19-year-old Lance Corporal with a rifle at the point of decision is all about a meaningful dialog, you see.
Now, precious ones, Daddy is proud of you for standing up against things which are not true. That is laudable (in Daddy language, that means “well done”). But the sensitivity about things insensitive or derogatory is really more of an emotional reaction, dearests. What if something is insensitive, but true? What if something is derogatory, but true? Here’s an example. Is the following pic, and caption, a) insensitive, b) derogatory, or c) untrue?
That’s right, my darlings, it is true! But is it insensitive or derogatory? Maybe, if the pictor and pictee were having a laugh at the situation (naval aviators once did such things for fun before process operator feelz became more important than warfighter morale). Or perhaps it is insensitive or derogatory to laugh at them for their virtue signaling if they were serious. Either way, there is something insensitive or derogatory about it. But it is presumably true, and a snapshot of collapsing empire that should be preserved for posterity. The editors of Shipmate magazine certainly thought it was worth preserving on the cover of their June issue. Is it to be squashed in a spasm of integrity? Certainly not. I’m sure the empire’s enemies have circulated it widely for morale purposes already.
My darlings may not be old enough to remember such things, but there was once a book titled “1984” by a clever man named George Orwell. In this book, Mr. Orwell (no dear, not the popcorn guy) talked about something called a “memory hole” where unpleasant facts would be destroyed as if they never existed at all. When my darlings say things like “I will reject it and encourage others to do the same” that’s a memory hole! I understand my darlings snuffle about their fee-fees, but sticks and stones, dears. Sticks and stones. You see, sensitivity (whatever that means) has become the new standard for integrity. Which, of course, is exactly the opposite of integrity. See? Words mean things! They really do!
(I’m resisting the temptation here to hold forth at length about the impact of this form of integrity on military readiness. Fairness and integrity, please, as long as it isn’t insensitive or derogatory to one’s pet institutions or fellow process operators. I quote myself from the Empires article, “On the international front, military power begins to decay. Systems and processes become less effective per unit cost due to corruption and politically protected incompetence and tribal nepotism.”)
So let’s talk about my darlings’ final pledge to leverage their important extensions (no not that one, put that away, child, we’ve had that discussion before). Remember those times when you put your hands in the air and said some words? No, not about the roof being on fire, dears. There was something about “enemies, foreign and domestic”? What you should have been really thinking about was not the piece of paper, or the institutions, but the people that paper and those institutions are supposed to represent. Sometimes angry people want to say things, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not, but it is good for all of us for those angry people, our people, to get to say things. Or fly flags they like. Or think about their ancestors (that means their mommies’ and daddies’ mommies and daddies and so on) and look at their pictures and statues. These things make them less fussy. Because when angry people don’t get to say things, they start wanting to do things. That’s right, scary things!
It wasn’t about just helping each other, or being “true to our school”. No, dears, what we were supposed to do was to make sure that the people of this country, our people, even the ones we don’t like, get to say things. Or do what they want to do as long as they don’t hurt other people. Yes, I know that what a lot of us really did was to kill a bunch of people to make some bad rich people richer, but that is for a different discussion. Just know that when we want to make our people stop saying things, and use our influence, individually or as a group, to try to force them to stop (such as making sure they don’t have jobs), we have become those bad people ourselves. And that would make Daddy very, very disappointed in each of you. Because Daddy isn’t going to be one of those bad people if he can help it. And Daddy doesn’t want you to be one of those bad people, either.
Because if we aren’t going to do that, darlings, then we are playing a completely different game, with different rules. And that game is called Jump Ball. History shows us that fussy people can be very, very good at that game. Scary good.