Is it Remembrance Day?

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Susan [email protected], etc. You confuse different types of “institutions”, whether intentional or not.

It took a bit of research, but this is a good description of the kind of “institutions” liberals mean when we mourn their loss:

Institutions are the formal or informal “rules of the game” that facilitate economic, social and political interactions. These include such things as legal rules, property rights, constitutions, political structures, and norms and customs.

Oddly, this seems to come from an “Austrian” economics perspective, which is libertarian, but that in itself makes the description useful as a baseline (and beats having to cook up my own).

The military is of course an “institution”, but it generally does not serve the above purpose. For example, in cases where the military takes control of the government (far from rare), this is generally considered a breakdown of institutions in the sense above. It can be justified by its proponents as resulting from the failure of these institutions, often combined with a weak promise to relinquish control once the failure is corrected.

So listen, I’m not “too cool” for anything (believe me, I’m far from cool). I grew up in a pacifist family. “Military” mostly corresponded to this possibility of my older siblings being conscripted (they weren’t) (and as Catholics, conscientious objection is a tough case to argue). I didn’t grow up with positive feelings about the military.

This does not mean that I do not accept the basic concept of national defence. It just means that I don’t get any warm fuzziness about it. It is not an act. And yes, I get moderately warm fuzziness about voting or even jury duty. Taxes, hmm…maybe not, but useful services provided by taxes, of course. I’ll take a well-paved road above a Blue Angels air show any day of the week.

What has happened at least since the 1980s (assuming it didn’t happen very early) was the simultaneous distrust of political institutions and the rejection of the broad notion of good citizenship, and its replacement with a quasi-reverence religious for the military. Sorry, but I have no use for it.

My condolences to all who have lost loved ones in war. Luckily, I didn’t. I have a nephew who served in the war in Iraq, came back alive and well. I have a few friends who were in the military at one time. I respect their personal choice and I’m just glad none of them got killed.

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