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annals of corruption
Elite Moral Decline Affecting Military
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  • Anthony

    The elitist theory presupposes or implies the theory of the “mass society”. WRM, one could hardly have an elite without a mass. So, shall we label it elite moral decline or societal moral decline as a function of Elite politico-economic influence?

    Ross Douthat has a similar moral take today in his column at the New York Times.

    • ——————————

      Societal moral decline is a function of many things…too many to list….

  • Charles Martel

    We live on the moral and cultural capital of our ancestors. Having jettisoned their moral foundations, is it surprising that ordinary moral virtue will fade also?

    • solstice

      Oh, please. If anything, the moral standards of our ancestors were far worse than ours. Are you forgetting that, in previous centuries, bloodbaths between rival European peoples, anti-Semitic pogroms, cruel and unusual punishments, and torture chambers were considered normal? Sure, modern standards of morality have many flaws, but people like you who glamorize the past don’t know what they’re talking about.

      • Charles Martel

        The behaviour of our ancestors, who were largely uneducated and incredibly poor by comparison to ourselves, was indeed worse than much of our contemporary society. But behaviour is not the same thing as moral capital, principles developed and asserted in a coherent and consistent manner.

        • FriendlyGoat

          We have, with the Fat Leonard case, a simple example of some officers behaving badly. You and several others here are using this to beat around other bushes and grind other axes. Why do we have to go there when what we need is simply the prosecution of the eight individuals indicted plus whomever else turns up in the same scandal?

          • Charles Martel

            The article itself links the scandal to “elite moral decline”. A comment that builds on that hypothesis is hardly off-topic or inappropriate.

            The irony is that you, a leftist and liberal, are criticizing an effort to address the root causes of crime and are instead arguing that all we need is criminal prosecution! I fear that both the right and the left prefer to ignore root causes whenever they find them inconvenient.

          • FriendlyGoat

            There ARE NO “root causes of crime” which bear on why naval officers up to an Admiral took bribes in the form of inappropriate “gifts” from a foreign-based defense contractor—–IF they did (let’s wait for trial proof, first of all).

            I’m aware that the article sort of invited you guys to go roaming all over the social-issue landscape, but that doesn’t mean you really needed to do it. OR—–if you are going to do it, real dots to connect would be nice.

          • Charles Martel

            Actually, corruption has a huge cultural component, just as paying taxes honestly does. To suggest that increased corruption is due to a change in the culture is not exactly rocket science, but apparently it needs to be said.

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s okay to say such things in general and we all do. It’s hard to see the exact tie-in with a few naval officers who decided to be plied with booze and hookers.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Perhaps it is you who do not. Yes, by any modern standards, our ancestors had barbaric habits that we (often correctly) find loathsome. This is hardly much of a surprise to anyone, and I rather doubt that you could find anyone over the age of about 10 who would suggest otherwise.

        With that said, there were (and in some places, still are) truths that were at the very least paid lip service that restrained the worst of our barbaric impulses, and these truths grew of respect for our religions, our traditions, and the essential duties of those at the top of the political ladder to those at the bottom. While many of these virtues were often honored in the breach (our ancestors, like ourselves, were human, with all of the flaws that entails), but generally there was at least some attempt to live up to, not down to, our better nature and our higher aspirations.

        The idiocy of multiculturalism, the rejection of religion and spirituality, the rise of toxic socialism all have been a part of this decline, made worse by the rise of technologies that allow us to put our worst impulses into practice. Of course there were evils in the past, and horrible ones that had to be extirpated at immense and horrifying costs (when they could be eliminated at all), but the notion that we have lost nothing by jettisoning so much of what has come before is short-sighted indeed.

        • solstice

          Congratulations on composing three exemplary paragraphs of white noise. You didn’t refute my argument; you used vague terminology such as “truths,” “virtues,” and “barbaric impulses” without clarifying what exactly you were referring to; and you didn’t specify how our ancestors were so superior to us vis-a-vis these “truths” and “virtues.” I can agree with you on the cancer of modern leftism, but I never argued that modern Western cultures and societies are free of serious flaws and pathologies — only that the past should not be glamorized because it was worse in many respects.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Religion provides something central for many to believe in beyond himself and his immediate desires. Tradition gives continuity to a culture and provides an understanding that ones acts last beyond ones life. Virtues, held and adhered to (even in the breach) provide for a code of conduct and a basis for evaluating behavior and one’s life beyond wealth and pleasure.

            If you cannot understand that, then you are already lost.

          • Rick Caird

            Actually, he did refute your points. The history of western morality is the history of western civilization. There are huge examples western philosophy and religious philosophy running from the Greeks to the Romans through the Middle Ages and the church. All of these were spent in trying to teach people how to live. In fact, do a little research on the Kipling “Gods of the copybook headings”. Western values were evident in the founding and expansion of this country. The protestant work ethic is still in vogue among the non elite. When you condemn the past because what was considered moral is not longer considered so, you are attempting to undermine the whole basis of our. civilization. You have failed.

        • D4x

          Do you think the moral decline started with Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962), ? “…a landmark United States Supreme Court case that ruled it is unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and encourage its recitation in public schools.” from wiki

          If not 1962, surely the moral decline started after March 25, 1973, the last TV episode of “Lassie”, where Timmy always learned to tell the truth and be helpful,

          “Lassie”, September 12, 1954, to March 25, 1973, educated an entire generation.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Actually, the big mistake was giving women the vote, but that is another story entirely….

          • D4x
          • f1b0nacc1

            Well, we know that the corgis are the ones really running the UK. Liz and Theresa are just figureheads…

          • D4x

            If only!

          • SineWaveII

            Even bigger was lowering the voting age to 18. That was a mistake of catastrophic proportions.

          • Rick Caird

            Soros is starting a campaign to lower it to 16. That is a very bad idea.

          • Concerned Veteran

            Totally agree. I had to wait until I was 21 to vote in my first election (Nixon’s 2nd term) although I had graduated from college, been in the military and had a tour in Vietnam behind me. I believe it should be 21 unless you are in the uniformed services on active duty or in the reserve component or National Guard (since they can be sent to war they should have a say in who sends them.) Sure would make appealing to all these “college students” by pandering politicians irrelevant. It makes me think of that line from the 50’s song summertime blues about the teenager having to work rather than party “I called may congressman and he said quote I’d like to help you son but your too young to vote”.

      • PennsylvaniaPry

        Not true. You err by equating morality with mere anti-violence, which is pretty much what most liberals now think today. But morality comprises such phenomena as virtue, honor, courage, just action, and much more, including piety. It is entirely conceivable that the violence you point to was engaged in on thoroughly moral grounds. And it is awfully convenient that you live in such an utterly safe society that you do not need to cultivate these other moral virtues, and can blithely toss them away in the name of non-violence. But your peace was paid for by the blood of others. Never forget that.

        • PennsylvaniaPry

          And seen in the broader context of morality that I cite above, yes, morals have visibly slackened in the West over the past century. Honor is regarded as quaint today, for example. And self-sacrifice is regarded as delusional by a great many now where it had formerly been held up as one of the key ideals.
          Empirical indices of this kind of thing are available when you observe such things as the crime and divorce rates over the decades since 1960.

          • solstice

            I agree with you that the breakdown of the nuclear family that has occurred in modern times has been a negative development, but it kind of pales in comparison to the countless innocent people who were sadistically tortured to death in previous centuries for imaginary crimes such as witchcraft and heresy, wouldn’t you say?

          • PennsylvaniaPry

            I wouldn’t characterize the killings as “countless”. Compared to the violence committed by the followers of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Korea’s Kim family, our pre-modern ancestors pale to insignificance in numbers.

          • Rick Caird

            Well, compare that to, say Pol Pot or Stalin, and tell me what you think is worse.

        • solstice

          It is awfully convenient that you live in such an utterly safe society that you can blithely dismiss and whitewash how brutal, savage, insane, and pitiless life really was in previous centuries. And perhaps you would care to explain how the violence I pointed to is compatible with virtue, honor, and just action as opposed to being the violations of those principles that they were?

          • PennsylvaniaPry

            I’ll refer you to The Song of Roland, Beowulf, the Iliad, etc. if you’d like to see how such violence and virtue are compatible.

          • PennsylvaniaPry

            I do not blithely dismiss that violence. On the contrary, I acknowledge how deeply indebted I am to those who suffered in the course of time as we humans learned to live peacefully in settled societies. Homo sapiens, like several other species of great ape, is not peaceful by nature.

          • PennsylvaniaPry

            What I won’t do is assume that I occupy some moral high ground as a member of a settled society merely because I’m not forced to defend myself constantly. Sure, people were sometimes a lot rougher with each other than any of us are, but they faced a far less settled world than we enjoy. To condemn them morally is just chronological snobbery, as C.S. Lewis once put it.

      • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

        I’ll give you a concrete example, then. In 2005, the Supreme Court produced a decision, written by Scalia (!), that set in stone the notion that the police have no duty to protect any particular person. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/justices-rule-police-do-not-have-a-constitutional-duty-to-protect.html See also, http://reason.com/blog/2014/10/22/man-gets-stabbed-on-subway-guess-how-hel

        Back during the time of the atrocities and bloodbaths to which you refer, and which, apparently, are you have learnt or care to learn about the past several thousand years of human history, any armed man who failed to protect a woman or an unarmed man would have been shunned as a knave and a coward.

        So how much have we improved? Is it better to have police who are sworn to “serve and protect,” however much they fail at both, or to have police who have no obligation, moral or otherwise, to do anything at all?

  • RedWell

    Scandals and corruption have always existed, and I have seen no evidence that they are more common now (only that it is easier for us to see them paraded in the media).

    The argument for decline is possibly valid, but it is also one of the most universal in every society. It is a standard presumption of moral entropy because, after all, things just ain’t as good as they used to be. However, the burden of proof, it seems to me, is on WRM to demonstrate this is happening because it is such an overplayed trope.

    • Nevis07

      Agree that this case as a example alone does not inform us of an overall decline of American morals and ethics. In fact, in my daily experiences, I find my neighbors and others I interact with to have good values.

      Having said that, I think it is fairly obvious to most people (at least of an older age) that America’s values and ethics have been sliding for some time. You just have to turn on the TV to see the things people are saying, the way they dress, the posts they leave on their facebook page, the number of fatherless families. It does add up over time and degrades our values with each succeeding generation. At least that’s my personal take on it.

    • PennsylvaniaPry

      Some random ordinary examples: 1)I hear and read four letter words in the mainstream media nowadays. That was not the case before less than ten years ago. 2) graffiti on freight trains was unknown before 1995. As a rail enthusiast, I can prove that with my photo collection. 3) when I was in high school in the 1970s, no one bragged about cheating on tests. In subsequent decades I’ve heard younger people brag about such cheating. 4) dress in public has declined precipitously 5) don’t get me started on cell phones and etiquette.

  • lukelea

    Has this ever happened before>

  • Angel Martin

    Senior military officers, just like the senior levels of gov’t bureaucracy, have a promotion process that emphasizes being able to talk a good line of bull on “diversity”, “inclusion” and general PC crap.

    What they don’t do so much anymore is look at actual past performance as well as instances demonstrating personal ethics – with predictable results.

    Any organization will have some corrupt people in it. But the promotion process needs to be built to weed them out – not accelerate the careers of especially good fakers.

  • Pete

    Right …. just look at the homosexual scandals of the Catholic clergy and ensuing cover up by the bishops. There was — and still is — precious little accountability there…

  • Eurydice

    Hmmm, so far 25 people have been arrested, which means we think what they did was wrong.

    • PennsylvaniaPry

      Such arrests would not have been necessary during WW2. That’s the point I think WRM is trying to make.

      • Eurydice

        There has always been profiteering in the military, even during WWII. What is different now isn’t morals, but the size and extent of the political/military/industrial complex – the budgets, the money, the leakage, it’s unprecedented. Billions disappearing in Afghanistan and Iraq, billions unaccounted for in the military books. Just last year it was reported that the Army made trillions of dollars of adjustments in order to balance their books – what does balanced even mean in the face of that? Basically, we’re leaving piles of cash around and out in the open and we expect people to have the super-human morals not to touch it. And we’re right to expect that; we have laws and these officials swore oaths – but we shouldn’t be surprised when people turn out to be only human.

        • ronchris

          You are wrong by the numbers. There was a lot more spending as a percentage of GDP and gov’t overall spending on defense in the 1940s through 1960s than now.
          Most of the thieving in government nowadays is from social spending – medicare medicaid SNAP disability the VA etc.
          Then there’s the fact that most gov’t employees are overpaid and under-worked and get massively unsustainable benefits and retirement.

          • Eurydice

            Well, we’re talking about the military here, and my point is about absolute dollars and lack of accountability, not percentages. Thieves don’t say “I won’t bother stealing that billion dollars sitting unprotected on the floor over there; it’s too small a percentage of GDP.”

  • Gary Hemminger

    the amount of money that can be gained by corruption, has in my opinion grown by a larger percent than inflation (similar to the way CEO salaries and athlete salaries have grown as well). this makes it more lucrative to cheat.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I blame Obama and all his fellow Leftists like the Clinton Crime foundation. Everyone in government circles knows these huge book deals like Obama’s recent $60 million deal, are the best way to launder bribes. The money from Large Purchases of Books (where the books are never delivered or printed), can be passed through almost untouched as royalties.

  • COLRET

    I’ve seen the slide over the nearly 40 years I’ve been associated with the military. It got much worse under the Obama Administration in which soldiers going down range were often given rules of engagement which placed the value of a bombed out mosque over that a fellow soldier’s life. The average grunt didn’t get that. Then when the administration lifted the don’t ask, don’t tell ban on homosexuals you suddenly had several senior leaders who came forward as gay. These “soldiers” were patted on the back and called heroes by the media. For many soldiers, who didn’t give a rat’s behind about who they slept with, the hypocrisy of these leaders who knowingly violated military regulations for years to be now, not only not punished, but now called heroes made us sick. These soldiers knowingly violated the UCMJ. Whether they agreed with the UCMJ or not is irrelevant (ours is not to wonder why, but to do or die…). They should have publicly apologized for violating the ethics of being a leader (lying, deceit). Many of these leaders have punished soldiers under their command for violating the UCMJ. I’m not calling for punishing these men and women, but I am calling them on their leadership abilities. I would never follow someone like them into battle–what else are they lying about. What other articles of the UCMJ do they feel that they are not obligated to follow. Heroes, no. Poor soldiers and leaders, absolutely. For those who came in after the ban was lifted, no problem.

  • S.D. (Bob) Plissken

    Author: WRM == Walter Russell Mead. Walter voted for Barack Obama both times. Why did you do that Walter? Talk about going over the morality precipice.

  • Robert Burke

    On the Eve of JULY FOURTH… Terror Attacks!
    By Robert Winkler Burke
    Book #12 of In That Day Teachings
    Copyright 3/14/17 http://www.inthatdayteachings.com

    (Hat tip to Led-Zeppelin IV: all of it played loud. And, thanks Alex Jones. – rwb)

    The President signed it,
    After both houses passed it in law,
    They would confine it,
    Wrong doers to get: shock and awe.

    All the military’s jets, in cover of darkness, fast flew!
    Thousands of unmarked, black helos! (Who knew?)
    Navy vessels, at top speed, plowing foam in dark night,
    Lights-out citizens, scared, having nothing but fright!

    Global Elite Progressives chuckling, smoking expensive Cuban cigars,
    Some at posh, five-star resorts in bullet-proofed: million-dollar cars,
    Others at sex with uber-high dollar, East European, tranny-whores,
    More still were eating murdered children, like campfire s’mores.

    Seal and SWAT teams suited up, uncountable their vast loads of ammo,
    Bombs in bomb bay doors, created for one thing, that thing: BLAMO!
    Snipers already in redoubts sniping away, one shot – yes, sir – one kill,
    All creation groaning, groaning: for revelations of Revelation still!

    Dear God protect us! Prayed the following archetypes,
    Preppers locked and loaded, gulped and said… Yipes!
    Rapture folk wanted rapture, but diapers: their highest of needs,
    Emergents… searched in vain for Acrostic Armageddon Creeds!

    Milk Christians everywhere full of fear: yes they feared fear itself: FEAR!
    Being reduced to jelly’s insanity as, HELL for the spineless came near!
    Afraid of cops and military men in black, each in black mood, up to no good!
    The four horsemen of the apocalypse galloped as Death’s very own brood!

    All the military’s jets, in cover of darkness, fast flew!
    Thousands of unmarked, black helos! (Who knew?)
    Navy vessels, at top speed, plowing foam in dark night,
    Lights-out citizens, scared, having nothing but fright!

    Global Elite Progressives chuckling, smoking expensive Cuban cigars,
    Some at posh, five-star resorts in bullet-proofed: million-dollar cars,
    Others at sex with uber-high dollar, East European, tranny-whores,
    More still were eating murdered children, like campfire s’mores.

    Seal and SWAT teams suited up, uncountable their vast loads of ammo,
    Bombs in bomb bay doors, created for one thing, that thing: BLAMO!
    Snipers already in redoubts sniping away, one shot – yes, sir – one kill,
    All creation groaning, groaning: for revelations of Revelation still!

    It was July Fourth’s Eve, an unholy night!
    British MI6 was fired up, the IDF alight!
    Good God, the CIA and every spy branch!
    One step ahead of the bad guys’ dance!

    All wondered (fearing Gitmo!) who would they first hit?
    Who would be tried, then locked deep in Guantanamo?
    For Guantanamo had been expanded, more than a just a little bit!
    One hundred stories underground… near to: Hell’s wretched pit!

    All the military’s jets, in cover of darkness, fast flew!
    Thousands of unmarked, black helos! (Who knew?)
    Navy vessels, at top speed, plowing foam in dark night,
    Lights-out citizens, scared, having nothing but fright!

    Global Elite Progressives chuckling, smoking expensive Cuban cigars,
    Some at posh, five-star resorts in bullet-proofed: million-dollar cars,
    Others at sex with uber-high dollar, East European, tranny-whores,
    More still were eating murdered children, like campfire s’mores.

    Seal and SWAT teams suited up, uncountable their vast loads of ammo,
    Bombs in bomb bay doors, created for one thing, that thing: BLAMO!
    Snipers already in redoubts sniping away, one shot – yes, sir – one kill,
    All creation groaning, groaning: for revelations of Revelation still!

    Terrorists on rugs, heads down: prayed to Allah,
    (As if Allah himself could even help!)
    Dogs meowed, then the cats barked: YELP!
    Children cried, cheerleaders: had no rah-rah!

    Mothers got real good and angry, as everybody knows: only mothers can,
    Men looked deep in themselves, saw nothing, and said… I’m not a man!
    This night was one of those ugly nights; it searched crevices of all human souls!
    Yet onward, onward went this military onward, onward in militaristic roles!

    All the military’s jets, in cover of darkness, fast flew!
    Thousands of unmarked, black helos! (Who knew?)
    Navy vessels, at top speed, plowing foam in dark night,
    Lights-out citizens, scared, having nothing but fright!

    Global Elite Progressives chuckling, smoking expensive Cuban cigars,
    Some at posh, five-star resorts in bullet-proofed: million-dollar cars,
    Others at sex with uber-high dollar, East European, tranny-whores,
    More still were eating murdered children, like campfire s’mores.

    Seal and SWAT teams suited up, uncountable their vast loads of ammo,
    Bombs in bomb bay doors, created for one thing, that thing: BLAMO!
    Snipers already in redoubts sniping away, one shot – yes, sir – one kill,
    All creation groaning, groaning: for revelations of Revelation still!

    The Christians all went berserk, first thing,
    Their false-Churchianity worship failed them: ring-a-ding-stupid-damn-ding!
    And Muslims lost it, lost their minds as well,
    If we survive this, they said, we’ll stop being bad all hell and gone pell-mell!

    But onward, onward ever onward: louder and moreso strong!
    The militaries and police of the Western world: acted as one!
    Every group in the world scared of just where Western bombs belong!
    But the Global Elite Progs, ensconced, said, My oh my, What FUN!

    All the military’s jets, in cover of darkness, fast flew!
    Thousands of unmarked, black helos! (Who knew?)
    Navy vessels, at top speed, plowing foam in dark night,
    Lights-out citizens, scared, having nothing but fright!

    Global Elite Progressives chuckling, smoking expensive Cuban cigars,
    Some at posh, five-star resorts in bullet-proofed: million-dollar cars,
    Others at sex with uber-high dollar, East European, tranny-whores,
    More still were eating murdered children, like campfire s’mores.

    Seal and SWAT teams suited up, uncountable their vast loads of ammo,
    Bombs in bomb bay doors, created for one thing, that thing: BLAMO!
    Snipers already in redoubts sniping away, one shot – yes, sir – one kill,
    All creation groaning, groaning: for revelations of Revelation still!

    Well sirs, madams, July Fourth came: the witches and warlocks were arrested,
    Christian, Jews and Muslims are happy now as all have happily attested,
    They’re now in Guantanamo, facing trial and certain permanent imprisonment,
    The Global Elite Progs ruled as they said and they said what they meant.

    The Global Elite Progs believed morals were relative, (making hearts small!)
    Therefore with no morals to fall, they would have gleefully killed us all,
    Down was Up, Debt: King, Banksterism Criminals… SHEESH! What a cabal!
    Thank God for the Fourth of July and humans who hearkened 1776’s call!

    All the military’s jets, in cover of darkness, fast flew!
    Thousands of unmarked, black helos! (Who knew?)
    Navy vessels, at top speed, plowing foam in dark night,
    Lights-out citizens, scared, having nothing but fright!

    Global Elite Progressives chuckling, smoking expensive Cuban cigars,
    Some at posh, five-star resorts in bullet-proofed: million-dollar cars,
    Others at sex with uber-high dollar, East European, tranny-whores,
    More still were eating murdered children, like campfire s’mores.

    Seal and SWAT teams suited up, uncountable their vast loads of ammo,
    Bombs in bomb bay doors, created for one thing, that thing: BLAMO!
    Snipers already in redoubts sniping away, one shot – yes, sir – one kill,
    All creation groaning, groaning: for revelations of Revelation still!

    Thank God Almighty, everyone on the planet is now free at last! Free at last!
    We love, all pledged allegiance, Western Enlightenment Truths standing fast,
    Yes, it turns out Global Elite Progressives were Revelation’s evil Babylon Whore,
    There isn’t a person on the planet who believes morals are relative anymore.

    Morals are relative was the lie Progs used to spit on our faces and slit our necks,
    Those perverts used that lie to make minds and souls and nations all wrecks,
    First thing every nation did was to defund Progressive anti-republic education,
    It had one design, one design only: killing human happiness in each nation.

    Western Enlightenment is the public education now for freedom’s choice,
    It makes minds brilliant and powerful, like jet engines from Rolls-Royce,
    The Idiocracy Prog Elites are locked up in prison: deep in stink-pit Guantanamo,
    Whom the Bell Tolls tolled not for us, but for Proglodytes: we all now know!

  • Mike Morgan

    Funny this wasn’t brought up with Zero in the White House.

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