Breaking News: The Government Lies To Us

Shocking, I know, but there it is.

Don McAdam, a true American Patriot, writes in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

About two minutes into the video, I could take no more.

I was going to break decorum. I mumbled, "It's a lie. It's the worst kind of lie."

Realizing that not even the two people sitting directly in front of me had heard my utterance, I raised the volume and repeated it. I stood up from my cushioned chair and in a stronger voice said, "This ad is a lie!"

I didn't dare glance at my family. I needed to remain in denial as to how my wife and kids were reacting to my outburst. My heart racing, and in my angriest voice, I shouted, "It's a lie, just like this war!"

That was the scene at my local movie theater prior to a showing of "The Golden Compass." The pre-show ad that was playing was a music video titled "Citizen Soldier," a slickly produced and, I suspect, highly effective recruitment ad for the National Guard.

The 3 1/2-minute music video incorporated an original song by the successful rock band 3 Doors Down with images of the National Guard's responses to past, present and imagined wars and disasters.

The scenes of the band playing were magnificently filmed with a shakiness that evokes a sense of being in the midst of battle explosions. I hated it in part because it was so well-made. It's a great advertisement because it sells the dream of the product, not its reality or its true price.

Its lie is obscured under the veneer of misguided patriotism and false realism. Its sterilized depictions of death and destruction pale in comparison with what actually happens when people and war collide. In the video, there are no dismembered bodies, no blood raining from the skies, no charred remains of babies caught in bomb blasts. And always out of our view are the horrified, terrified faces of the survivors.

No successful ad campaign about national service under our current civilian leadership could possibly tell the truth. If Americans saw the ugly truth about the war and occupation of Iraq, they would turn in disgust. The war would be ended and the perpetrators prosecuted for the lies that created it and the utter incompetence with which it was waged. Still many, perhaps even most, Americans despair over this endless occupation and the needless suffering of those who serve.

The truth about today's military service is that almost 40,000 of our armed forces are dead and wounded in Iraq, with the Army National Guard constituting about 20 percent of those. Suicide and divorce rates are escalating for combat veterans. According to recent U.S. Senate testimony, almost half of our returning troops are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Cases of traumatic brain injuries are at high levels. The quality and quantity of medical care provided to veterans is frequently inadequate.

Even with the repeated warnings of military experts that our military is at the breaking point, the policies of repeated and extended deployments remain. They remain for the simple reason that our military does not have enough people to properly carry out its missions. No wonder the National Guard spared no expense with its latest ad.

It's kind of a shame I never bought a 3 Doors Down album, cause now would be a great time to publicly burn one.

Share this

This whole concept of

This whole concept of "citizen-soldier" is very hum... Spartan

Madness? This is Sparta!

And therefore completely gay. In a bad way.

If Americans saw the ugly

If Americans saw the ugly truth about the war and occupation of Iraq, they would turn in disgust.

You fucking arrogant prick.

arrogant prick

I have at times been an arrogant prick. However, this president is destroying our military and the families of those who serve. It must stop and he must be held accountable.

There's nothing arrogant in

There's nothing arrogant in stating the obvious.

Guy sounds like a prick,

Guy sounds like a prick, like those people who complain about clothing ads spreading an unrealistic standard of beauty.

compain about clothing ads?

I've never before protested anything. But, if clothing ads were responsible for the needless death and wounding of 40,000 Americans I would scream until my lungs bled.

Volunteers

It's an all-volunteer military. They have an agreement with the state. They are pretty much the only group in America that has nothing against the state to complain about (that is, qua military - as American citizens they have the usual stuff to complain about). Their participation is voluntary, and they were not bamboozled, they were not tricked. (Once in, they cannot leave for the contracted duration, which is an unusual sort of contract and some argue is ethically suspect, but there is still a wide difference between that voluntarily signed contract and, say, a mugging, and some libertarians do defend such contracts-with-teeth in any case.)

If you want to be outraged, be outraged about the 3000 who were murdered in the WTC. Those people did not sign up with anyone to be murdered.

Or, if you want to be outraged about the 40,000 harmed in the military, be outraged, not at the state for putting them in harm's way - for, they have a contract with the state, into which they entered voluntarily, which grants the state the right to do this - but at the enemy for harming them, for the enemy has no such agreement with them allowing the enemy to harm them.

 

I am outraged. While you

I am outraged. While you try to tip the scales of logic to equate the loss of 3000 civilian lives on 9-11 as greater than almost 4000 service member lives in Iraq, remember all human life has intrinsic value. I am outraged over both! As such, it sickens me that our president started a war with a country that had nothing to do with 9-11.

That wasn't my point

While you try to tip the scales of logic to equate the loss of 3000
civilian lives on 9-11 as greater than almost 4000 service member lives
in Iraq

That wasn't my point.

 

I'm one of the people who

I'm one of the people who complain about clothing ads spreading an unrealistic standard of beauty. I guess that makes me a prick. Proud to be one.

Unrealistic was the wrong

Unrealistic was the wrong word.  I'm not even sure what I meant by it.

The rant above remains whiny.  Of course an advertisement is going to put its best foot forward and not mention the bad--that's still not a lie, especially when the bad side of whatever's being peddled is, as is the case here, obvious.  Plus, I've seen that ad--I doubt many will be inspired to join the National Guard just because they played some heavy metal beside it (or whatever you call it--I listen to Beethoven and Billy Joel). 

Yeah, please don't call

Yeah, please don't call Three Doors Down heavy or metal. And I say this having sat in on bass in a Billy Joel cover band (we had no synth player or guitarist so I got to do the cool distorted-slide intro to Miami 2017 on my bass with the aid of an overdrive pedal).

Just mistaken

I don't know whether you're a prick, but I do think the scapegoating advertisers is part of a larger mistake. It's the familiar commie/nazi idea that we have our authentic selves (in the commie case it's a question of class, in the nazi case a question of race - the term "authenticity" is here taken from the Nazi-sympathizing philosopher Heidegger; authenticity for them is genuine awareness of our interests as a member of our class/race and solidarity with other members; authenticity however is a more general idea) but there are forces drawing us away from our authentic selves and subjecting us to a false consciousness. These forces are imposed by our class or racial enemies and they are stuff like advertising and other cultural transmission. This is why Jews need to be locked up, degenerate art needs to be dragged through the mud, and so on. It is one of the pillars of totalitarianism: the total control of the noosphere by the right-thinking group that knows people's genuine interests, to defend them from malign influences.

Commies and nazis are for the most part discredited, but fragments of their ideology survive. I don't actually think they are the source - clearly the nazis and the commies draw from a common intellectual tradition. The parallels are so obvious and so deep and, above all, so different from other intellectual traditions.

One of the common threads is that the speaker presumes that he has a special insight into the true, authentic interests of people. He might see them as members of a class, or as members of a race, or whatever. He thinks of himself as having this special insight into their true interests and - this is important - he thinks that they don't. They are tricked. It's a short step from this to the conclusion that, for their own good, he needs to take control of cultural transmission, so that they can be set free, allowed to authentically realize their own true interests. The nazis and the commies both did this. Other people have taken control of cultural transmission, but there is a particular flavor to the commie/nazi totalitarian takeover, a particular sort of self-righteousness about it, which is partly informed, I think, by this idea about authenticity, this idea that the state is actually freeing people to more truly be themselves, freeing them from a kind of mental slavery to the mind-control rays of some enemy (jews, the bourgeoisie, clothing manufacturers, whatever, you can fill in the blank with any purported enemy of true-to-oneself-ness).

An opposing view is that people are already fundamentally true to themselves and pretty hard to mold. Advertisers merely use people's nature to manipulate them into buying clothing, which is not at all the same thing as molding them to internalize a new unrealistic standard of beauty. People can lead other people into temptation, but the basic desires that people use to lead other people along are already there.

The "unrealistic" is an intrinsic aspect of our desires. We shoot for the moon and hit the stars. Everybody starts out with massively unrealistic (for most people) wishes ("I want to be an astronaut", "I want to be a famous singer"), and we whittle them down as we mature. People dating are, among other things, testing to see just how attractive an opposite number they can find. Ideally (and, in most cases, unrealistically) every boy wants a maximally ideal girl and every girl wants a maximally ideal boy, but the vast majority fall short of the ideal and eventually discover where they stand. Thing is, this pursuit of the unrealistic is not something alien that has been imposed from without, but is internal to what we are.

It's not that there is no cultural transmission whatsoever, but that it is a ripple on the face of an ocean, and moreover that it is nine parts or ninety nine parts accident, one part planned. Capitalists spend a lot more time chasing trends and fads, than creating them. The ones that seem to create a trend are in all likelihood the lucky beneficiaries of a happy mutation, and in any case in the extreme minority.

Actually, I'm being a bit of a broken record. I'm more or less echoing what I wrote here:

[somebody writes] Strange then that it is the leftist camp that embraces secularism and science.

[I respond] Would that be the way the leftist camp embraces and excuses and makes common cause with islamofascist terrorists, who reject secularism and science? The US has secular government built into the Constitution and the US is a major and possibly the major center of scientific research and technological progress; and yet to leftists, just as to the theocracy of Iran, the US is the Great Satan. And the reason for this is well known. It is not because the US is a theocracy or because the US rejects science, since it is not and does not. It is because the US is the beating heart of capitalism, and leftists hate capitalism, they hate self-interest ("greed"), they hate the fragmented purposes that power the engine of the worldwide marketplace (lack of "solidarity"), they hate all the imperfections that they see in the majority of mankind (a day does not pass in which some new form of unacceptable ignorance or prejudice is not discovered by some leftist in order to feed his misanthropy, I am sure), they hate that the marketplace serves the pre-existing repulsive desires of individuals rather than indoctrinates them into the superior desires of the self-anointed (e.g. the pandering of Hollywood). The US is secular and scientific, and is the center and the symbol of all that the Left hates.

The claim that only leftists embrace secularism and science is too absurd to merit a reply.

Leftists are irrationalist to the core. A core doctrine of leftism is the doctrine of alienation, it is (in one version) the doctrine that modern society in some way separates individuals from their supposedly true, authentic, needs and wants, and leftists seek to re-join people with their true, authentic needs and wants. But in reality people are never separated from their needs and wants - the idea is on the face of it absurd (and no doubt attractive in large part because of its absurdity). Not only is the doctrine of alienation irrational, it is religious, as it posits something (true wants) which are asserted to be absent, disconnected from us, but nevertheless extremely important to us. Much as Christianity posits God to be disconnected from us. The Christians want us to reconnect with God. The leftists want us to reconnect with our true wants. But most importantly: the Christians with their Book claim to know better than us about God and what God wants, and the leftists claim to know better than us about our true wants. This doctrine, if accepted, opens the door to submission and domination. Of course the Christian priesthood's power was demolished by the new idea that people did not need intermediaries between themselves and the Book; however, the left-wing priesthood continues to hold the mass of racist, sexist, homophobic, ignorant, redneck, etc., humanity in contempt and has no intention of relinquishing the right to power it claims for itself.

 

 

I encourage you to submit a

I encourage you to submit a rebutal to my piece to the Atlanta Journal. Here's the email address to the editor in charge of the Op-Ed page.
dbeasley@ajc.com

I think you make a couple of good points. However, I am on firm ground when I state that "If Americans saw the ugly truth about the war and occupation of Iraq, they would turn in disgust."

News outlets do not show the carnage of this war. On the rare occassion when they have tried, they've received angry responses from their audiences.

What is the nature of the response?

However, I am on firm ground when I state that "If Americans saw the
ugly truth about the war and occupation of Iraq, they would turn in
disgust."

News outlets do not show the carnage of this war. On the rare
occassion when they have tried, they've received angry responses from
their audiences.

But your evidence does not prove your point. Key details are left out. Your comments are elliptical. If we expand them to what you probably mean by them, they probably look like this:

"If Americans saw the ugly truth they would be disgusted with the United States government for starting this war."

"When news outlets show the carnage of this war, their audiences become angry, not at the United States government for starting this war, but at the news outlets for...for starting the war? No, presumably for failing to be sufficiently supportive of the war."

When we expand your claim and your evidence into what you likely mean by them, the evidenced proves, not your claim, but roughly the opposite of your claim.

The one sub-group of Americans that truly does see the carnage first hand is the American military, and as I recall from various polls, the American military tends to be significantly more pro-this-war than the American people, who are shielded from the carnage. The morale of the troops seems, however, to hinge on whether the troops feel that they are supported at home.

Good point

Good point. However, you are incorrect about the level of support our military service personnel have for this occupation.

"Among active-duty military, veterans and their families, only 36 percent say it was worth going to war in Iraq. This compares with an Annenberg survey taken in 2004, one year after the invasion, which showed that 64 percent of service members and their families supported the war."- Bloomberg News
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a9eBP4ZM28G8

"Nearly 60 percent of readers who participated in a recent Military.com poll said the United States should withdraw its troops from Iraq now or by the end of 2008. More than 40 percent of the respondents agreed the pullout should begin immediately because "we're wasting lives and resources there." -Military.com

Okay, but what does it show?

Your own data show that this is a recent phenomenon. It was probably not a reaction to the carnage, since the carnage did not start recently. The morale of the troops is affected by many factors, and the changing factor that produced this shift in opinion is probably not the carnage.

Please, you gotta be

Please, you gotta be kindin'.

Morale

All you have to do is google a little and you'll find lots of discussion about what affects troop morale. It's not as one-dimensional as "carnage".

This complex question is the

This complex question is the subject of morale philosophy.

Groan

I think your comment just killed a few brain cells.

A couple of minor points:

1) The claim I had made was a comparison of military support to public support, but the evidence cited by Don was not comparative.

2) The claim I had made concerned support for the war among the military itself, and the poll includes the families of the military, who could conceivably have a markedly different view than the actual members of the military.

These may not be a big deal. I know how hard it is to get a poll that targets the group you're interested in. Anyway, here are just a couple of examples of stuff that can affect support for the war among the military. From USA Today:

"They've maxed out on the troops. You've got guys who are over there on their fourth or fifth tours. It's ridiculous," says Jeanette Knowles, 40, of Mountain Home, Idaho, whose brother, Jeff, served a tour in Iraq with the Oregon National Guard.

"I don't want to see another Korea. I don't want to see us stay there (in Iraq) forever. And you don't want to be in a country if they don't want us there," says Bruce Bartley, 65, of Fredonia, N.Y., whose son, Army Capt. Steven Bartley, is on his second tour in Iraq.

So, not just "carnage".

By the way, here's a bit of comparative data which supports my point:

Military families are more supportive of the war than Americans without immediate family members in the military, the polls show. Among Americans without military relatives, 59% say the invasion was a mistake, compared with 49% of immediate family members.

 

What about the claim made by

What about the claim made by Ron Paul and his supporters (I haven't seen verification for it, but it seems plausible, and if true, useful for this present discussion) that Paul gets more support than any other candidate from the military?

By the way, here's a bit of

By the way, here's a bit of comparative data which supports my point

It could be cognitive dissonance. Your son's life is in danger, it would hurt you even more to think it's in vain. However, convincing yourself that it serves a useful cause alleviates some of your pain at no cost to you => rational irrationality.

Sure

But you have put your finger on something important that speaks against Don's point. 

The violence and its effects does not have the effect on a lot of people that it has on Don. Don's reaction is familiar and not at all uncommon, but Don is not truly representative of all of the population. I would argue that it is not the carnage that has turned the American public against the war, but the sense that the war isn't going well for the United States, or not well enough. People like victory, and don't like defeat, and the lack of progress in Iraq is what has turned people away. This is more about the meaningfulness of the war than about the concrete reality of it. "He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how." The carnage is part of the how. The problem with the Iraq war has always really been the why.

 

The Why and The How

The two are not entirely distinct. Even those who believe a given war is justified or wise don't believe that the same war is justified or wise at any cost. No matter how strong one's Why may be, when the corpses start to pile up high enough, eventually the How begins to have its say. If the cost of the war was miniscule in terms of money and lives, I doubt there would have been much opposition at all. So too, no matter how praiseworthy or ethically justifiable the cause, some costs just aren't worth paying.

Iraq war not particularly bloody

The iraq war is one of the least bloody conflicts that Americans have been involved in. Compare the American dead in Iraq with the American dead in Vietnam, or WWII, or the American Civil War. A little while ago it was pointed out that Venezuela today is more violent than Iraq today (here we're talking Iraqis versus Venezuelans dead), and nobody has said (in my earshot) that there is a war going on in Venezuela. In fact a lot of Americans still support Chavez. And where his support has been slipping among Americans, my guess is that it is his attempts to become dictator for life that has been doing it, and/or his humiliation by the Spanish king, and/or a bunch of things other than the violence in Venezuela.

The problem with the Iraq war has never been the body count because the body count is quite low by the standards of war. The problem has always been the pointlessness of it.

I mean, sure, if it were bloodless then that would be fine, but what's special about the Iraq war is not the high body count but the pointlessness of the war. Compare it with WWII. The reason very few people today regret American involvement in WWII is not the low body count of WWII, but the feeling that WWII had a particularly important purpose.

People aren't ignorant. They know that war is bloody, that people die, that innocent people die, that buildings are destroyed. Rubbing their noses in it isn't telling them something they don't know. In fact it might backfire: once people realize how bloodless the Iraq war is compared to other wars, they might revise their sense of the violence down. Think about the filtering effect of the news: only the car bombs are reported. What about the other million instances of peace? If you take a camera into Iraq and give a non-selective, full view of the daily life of the typical American soldier, people might think, "gee, nothing's happening, they patrolled all day and nothing happened, sixteen hours of nothing (imagine a sixteen-hour move that just follows a typical soldier's day). Most soldiers encounter very little most of the time, so if you give people that balanced, unbiased look into it, that might backfire.

This is why I don't think the key to changing minds is (or has been) rubbing people's noses in the bloodiness of it. People do already know. The key to changing minds is, and has been, a growing sense of pointlessness.

And a significant number of people believe that the Iraq war, like the other wars, has a noble and important purpose. Not everybody, and not you. It may be that this ad offends you in part because it portrays the current conflict as noble. However, this, while being arguably false, is not dishonest. Not everyone feels about things the same way you do.

One of the common threads

One of the common threads is that the speaker presumes that he has a special insight into the true, authentic interests of people. He might see them as members of a class, or as members of a race, or whatever. He thinks of himself as having this special insight into their true interests and - this is important - he thinks that they don't. They are tricked. It's a short step from this to the conclusion that, for their own good, he needs to take control of cultural transmission, so that they can be set free, allowed to authentically realize their own true interests.

This is silly, for it proves far too much. Libertarians too presume that we have a special insight into the true, authentic interests of people, an insight that most people don't have about themselves, as a subjected, non-political class dominated by a political class. They are tricked. Yet part of what makes us libertarians is that we place limits on what should be considered legitimate means of controlling cultural transmission; we don't think it's okay to, say, forcibly appropriate CNN's assets simply because they may perpetuate a statist message. The risk of this "short step to control" does exist, but it is not a sufficient reason to pretend the original critique on which it is based is invalid, and therefore must be rejected on slippery slope grounds.

No one claims (or at least I don't) that the media is solely responsible for perpetuating unrealistic and inaccurate views about the good, the just, the ideal; but we do claim that the media plays an important role and deserves criticism both as a reflection and a progenitor of unhealthy views.

Additionally, the observation that argument X is an argument shared by Nazis or Communists is not alone a valid reason to reject argument X. That's just guilt by association. If the argument is truly problematic, we should be able to give independent reasons for why this is so, without having to resort to associational tarring. As a wise man once said, "Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism; at least it's an ethos."

What's wrong with guilt by

What's wrong with guilt by association ? This is typically a criticism a  fascist would make.

No, I don't think so

This is silly, for it proves far too much. Libertarians too presume
that we have a special insight into the true, authentic interests of
people, an insight that most people don't have about themselves, as a
subjected, non-political class dominated by a political class.

I'm not sure how to respond to that curious remark. I'm not entirely sure what you mean. Surely it is obvious that libertarians are pro laissez-faire, and they are not only incidentally pro laissez-faire, but the essence of libertarianism is laissez-faire, is letting people do what they will, is freedom. A core element of that advocacy of freedom involves treating preference as fundamentally important. It is non-libertarians - not libertarians - who find various ways of deprecating choice, personal preference (as, e.g., inauthentic). What libertarians oppose is not inauthentic behavior, but criminal behavior. Criminal behavior could certainly be authentic so it is not the inauthenticity of criminality that libertarians oppose. Libertarians, if they can be accused of anything, can be accused of worshipping choice. The concept of alienation is, if anything, a major critique of choice. It seeks to portray the choices that people make as not genuinely their own choices.

I'm not really clear on what you're talking about. It might be that you are heavily influenced by Marxism and are unable to understand libertarianism except as a species of Marxism. Here, I will try to translate your statement into a statement that I might make:

Libertarians have an theory of ethics. Not everybody subscribes to this theory of ethics. Libertarians are disappointed by this.

I'm not sure how this is supposed to involve "authentic interests". People act in a self-interested manner just fine, and I don't think libertarians deny this at all.

Should libertarians concede

Should libertarians concede that the average joe, who is not a libertarian, is right in believing that his interests are best served by the current formation of government? Or is it permissible--perhaps necessary--for libertarians to argue that the average joe is simply mistaken, and that his true, authentic interests are instead best served by a radically different form of government?

You're talking about mistaken predictions

The error you seem to be referring to is an error of prediction, and not an error of misidentifying one's true interest. I really don't think that that kind of error is what leftists are talking about when they talk about authenticity and alienation. The way I understand it, the error is an erroneous preference.

It's actually bizarre and therefore somewhat difficult to explain, but the following analogy might help: John is a homosexual. He loves men. He is kidnapped and sent through a program that can actually switch a person's sexual orientation (science fiction here). He escapes but it is too late: now he lusts after women and doesn't like men. In some sense this preference is an alien thing that has been imposed on him, even though now, as things stand, he prefers women.

Here's my view of this situation: at this point, it is up to John to decide whether to change his orientation back. Really has nothing to do with me. There is, as far as I am concerned, no fact of the matter of what, at this point, is "true to John". That is for John to decide.

Here's how someone else might view this situation: there is some orientation that is "true to John", which may differ from the orientation that John chooses for himself.

 

Well, sure, the difference

Well, sure, the difference is a difference in the level of abstraction. But that's a difference in degree, not a difference in kind. Whether the average joe prefers the status quo arrangement of government because he erroneously predicts it would better satisfy his preferences, or whether he prefers the status quo because his prefence is the status quo itself, isn't really an important distinction, nor is it a resolvable one.

Sure it's important

I don't know why you think it's not important. If someone prefers the status quo and just prefers it, that is not erroneous. It is his preference. What is there to debate?

If he just prefers the status quo then there's no error and no inauthenticity. It's just a preference. If he erroneously predicts a consequence, then there's an error, but again, this is not inauthenticity either. Somehow you seem to think that by saying that there is no real difference between A (pure preference) and B (prediction), where neither A nor B is inauthenticity, then you can somehow turn the conflated A/B whole into an instance of inauthenticity. But conflation is not a blank check to let you call things however you like, even if you can carry the conflation out.

Now, if a lot of people prefer the status quo and as a material result of this the status quo is maintained, then that is a material problem for me, but that does not constitute an error on anyone's part, or inauthenticity. It constitutes a misfortune for me.

There isn't anything to debate if people merely prefer the status quo. Then it's just a matter of my taste and your taste. And maybe we're enemies. Maybe your pursuit of your status quo and my pursuit of my goals conflict. But that doesn't make you inauthentic. It might make you evil. If your taste for the status quo leads you to commit a crime against me, then you are a criminal, a bad guy. But evil is not the same thing as inauthenticity. I'm sure that a rapist is being entirely true to himself.

I think you're trying to force matters into language that they don't fit into. Or maybe you actually envision things in terms of authenticity. That's possible. Just as there are neoconservatives who are communists-turned-conservatives, there might be neolibertarians who have recast libertarianism as a species of Marxism. If so, it's nothing to do with me.

You are probably wiser than

You are probably wiser than I.

Infantilizing the public while arguing for anarchy

2 major problems for me.

1) Taking myself (perhaps foolishly) as a representative libertarian, one of the two services I think is inherent to a national government is national defense (the other being enforcing rule of law/contract enforcement when state boundaries are crossed). This post appears to be intended towards denying (or at least severely minimizing) the government the means to provide for a national defense by *voluntary* means.

In my book, that's promoting anarchism - something of which libertarians are frequently accused, and toward that end, I don't find this useful.

2) That the advertiser is considered to be lying and in general horrible-no-goodniks for putting a truthful, but best possible, spin on their product (in effect) is implicitly arguing that people are infants incapable of reasoning for themselves. That naturally promotes reductions in liberty (infants, after all, need someone to look out for them), and I find that worldview very hard to square with libertarianism.

1 question:
Did 3 Doors Down license the rights for the ad or did the record label? (I'm not privy to the workings of the record industry as I have virtually no interest in music, but based on the little I know, I would assume that licensing rights are held with the record label.)

Jody, I am an anarchist, as

Jody,

I am an anarchist, as are the majority of the bloggers here at DR. But that isn't important for this post. Even for a minarchist who believes that national defense is a legitimate function of government, it takes fantastic mental jugglery to believe that our misadventures in Iraq count as national defense.

As for infantilizing the public, that goes hand in hand with the political process itself. Since individual voters don't bear any real cost for their political decisions in the voting booth, they have no incentive to keep themselves informed of the truth (witness the number of people who continue to believe that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was behind the 9/11 attacks). Does this observation, which libertarians have made and continue to make quite often, imply that people are incapable of reasoning for themselves and therefore must be looked after by a higher authority? No, just the opposite; it implies that we should move as far away as possible from the political process precisely because of its infantilizing effects.

From what I can gather, the National Guard hired 3 Doors Down to perform the song and star in the music video as part of a recruitment campaign. In other words, 3 Doors Down sold out to the man, surely a smart strategy for commercial success.

Not voluntary

This post appears to be intended towards denying (or at least severely
minimizing) the government the means to provide for a national defense
by *voluntary* means.

The government doesn't provide defense through voluntary means since it uses tax money to hire soldiers. Taxes are not voluntary.

1. I am strictly opposed to

1. I am strictly opposed to the abuse of our military by this president. My children are interested in joining the armed forces. It is an honorable endeavor to serve our country through military service. It is essential for us civilians to hold accountable the civilian leadership for its abuse of our military.

2. My knee-jerk reaction to yell "this ad is a lie" was the easiest way to voice my disgust over our current war policy.

There's nothing honorable in

There's nothing honorable in serving "the country" *, and especially not when it involves living off other people's taxes shooting people thousand miles away.

 * whatever that means

This is a nonsensical argument

There's nothing honorable in serving "the country" *, and especially
not when it involves living off other people's taxes shooting people
thousand miles away.

Putting "the country" in scare quotes implies you don't think such a notion exists. Until the libertarian utopia sprouts from the soil fertilized by Ron Paul's poop, the nation exists. It's real.

Living off other people's taxes is something every one of us does to a degree. It's unavoidable in the modern nation-state. Soldiers and tax collectors may live off taxes more than the rest of us, but the difference is a matter of degree, not kind.

Shooting people is morally ambiguous unless you know something about the moral standing the shootee and the context behind the shooting. "He shoots people!" is worthless indictment.

It doesn't matter how far away the shooting happens. Moral status doesn't change with distance.

 

I think the country exists

I think the country exists as  a  notion, but I put it in scare quotes because I oppose its reification. Serving the country would imply the country has  a defined interest to be served, which is simply not true.

As for living off other people's taxes, I have a pretty simple moral criterion: scale down the taxes from what they are to 0, do you keep your job or not? People like firefighters may be payed in taxes, but I think they come last in "living of other people's taxes". Military don't come first, but as the amount of taxes payed shrink, so does there number.

Although the morality of shooting doesn't depend on the distance, the fact that you travel a long distance to shoot someone make it doubtful that you did it in self defense.

I think the country exists

I think the country exists as a notion, but I put it in scare quotes
because I oppose its reification. Serving the country would imply the
country has a defined interest to be served, which is simply not true.

If by "country", one means not "state" but rather "civilization", then I support its respect (the word "reification" is loaded). Just because a concept includes more than one person is not a reason to oppose it.

As for living off other people's taxes, I have a pretty simple moral
criterion: scale down the taxes from what they are to 0, do you keep
your job or not? People like firefighters may be payed in taxes, but I
think they come last in "living of other people's taxes". Military
don't come first, but as the amount of taxes payed shrink, so does
there number.

Whereas I see the military as one of the few (only?) public goods providers out there. Firefighting can be a private good; geographic security cannot.

Although the morality of shooting doesn't depend on the distance, the
fact that you travel a long distance to shoot someone make it doubtful
that you did it in self defense.

That might have been a legitimate argument 100 years ago. But with air travel, intercontinental missles, aircraft carriers, and the like, all the world is a battle theater. Remember, 19 men from the other side of the world were able to kill 3000 people in NYC (my argument has nothing to do with whether the response from the US was justified). The Japanese flew across an ocean to surprise attack Pearl Harbor, and that over 60 years ago. Technology has made your argument void.

But I do respect the 

But I do respect the  notion of country. I don't consider it bad or  even empty. What I oppose is the idea of "serving the country", stated like this its meaningless.

Of course firefighting can be privately provided. The real question, is "would it be provided". To the question, would people in a stateless society pay for firefighters, the answer is most probably  yes.  Would they pay for custom officers enforcing tariffs? I doubt it.

I also don't think people would buy expensive wars thousand miles from home, which makes it very likely that the soldier is living through extorsion.

As for the SCUDS, do you think all the people being killed in Iraq have the means to do send those ?

I also don't think people

I also don't think people would buy expensive wars thousand miles from
home, which makes it very likely that the soldier is living through
extorsion.

They would if there was a danger to their lives. Thousands of miles would be irrelevant to their decision making.

As for the SCUDS, do you think all the people being killed in Iraq have the means to do send those ?

Right, but now you're getting into the specifics of THIS war, whereas what I took issue with was a general statement by you about far away wars: "There's nothing honorable in serving "the country" *, and especially not when it involves living off other people's taxes shooting people thousand miles away."

You're getting into the

You're getting into the specifics of THIS war

As opposed to which?

Anarchism and volunteering

Micha on anarchism: Tis news to me that this was an anarchist website (been commenting irregularly for years, though moreso when it was catallarchy). I'll keep that in mind. More specifically, I had written a longer response before I realized I had misread your comment, but we're going to have significant first principle differences so it'll be fruitless.

Arthur: The original post is not decrying that taxes are inherently theft (a point against which I would not strenuously argue), it's decrying that the ad is lying. Last I checked the folks "buying" what the "lying" ad is "selling" are doing so *voluntarily* as conscription is not yet again the law of the land.

If an advertisement is

If an advertisement is fraudulent, and claims to be selling good A while really selling good B, can we honestly say that the consumers are voluntarily purchasing good B, when they really thought they were purchasing good A?

Your post was so short, yet

Your post was so short, yet so correct. Good job.

Last paragraph missing

Dear readers,

The last sentences of my piece are missing from the above posting. Here's the missing section.

"I do not advocate yelling protests in crowded theaters like I did. My angry rant was boorish. It left me embarrassed and so frazzled that I could barely focus on the movie. Instead, I urge you to call your congressmen weekly (or daily) and inform them that you are aware of the real price of this war and it’s way too high."

Thank you for posting and discussing this piece. I appreciate your thoughts and criticisms. Some of you might want to respond to the Atlanta Journal. If so, please submit your letters to: letters@ajc.com
They prefer them to be less than 150 words.

If you want to send a larger rebuttal (650 words or less), dbeasley@ajc.com

Take care,
Don McAdam