Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gaps

Farmers - Food Eaters

Bankers-Investors

Doctors-Patients

Energy Industry-Energy Consumers

Congressmen-Constituents

Retailers-Consumers

Diplomats-Citizens

Hollywood-Movie Goers

The fact of the matter is that many professionals, trade organizations, low-density occupations, etc. are all fairly removed -- geographically, intellectually, or mentally -- from the people they support. I don't understand the nuances of agricultural policies even though they probably affect me in many ways. I don't understand all of the regulations and decisions that bankers make that affect our entire economy. I don't live next door to diplomats, I don't know what they do every day, and they make decisions for our nation. Congressmen aren't usually like the rest of us and we don't have much contact with them either in spite of the major decisions they make for us every day. Frankly, I haven't heard a lot of complaints about this. There are divides between "the people" and nearly every group that ensures our society maintains itself and almost all of us are okay with this. We don't have the energy or time to really wade into the details of these policies to force ourselves and our ideas into these groups.

Which is why I often scoff at the Chicken Littles of the civil-military divide. To describe the gap between the military and the rest of the country as a crisis is just plain silly. No valid arguments have been put forward that show that this gap is worsening or has any worse effects than any of the gaps I listed above. To include the last one in many cases. Thoughts to the contrary, particularly of this form (which I won't waste any time dissecting because it really is that terrible), are exercises in egotistical scare-mongering.  So next time someone warns about our civ-mil crisis, ask them where the food they ate today came from and what was in it. Ask them when was the last time they had the influence to reduce risk in financial markets. Ask them when they last wrote to their representative to get them to vote for what's right instead of the party line. Yes, the military is as world apart. But this country is full of figurative gated communities along with the real ones. Until we expect our citizens to become experts on essentially ever major category of public policy (something that is not only impossible, but also probably unwise), we should stop beating the drum that our category of public policy is what will undo the Nation and then use the those threats to substantiate the abridgment of our fellow citizens' freedoms.

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