Today is Veterans Day (Thanks!), and so many people are posting online their thanks for the work of our men and women.
We know why we thank veterans and active duty men and women, they “protect our freedoms and rights,” and that’s good because we like freedoms and rights. At the same time, more than a few folks I know and popular figures ask questions like, “Why does our society idolize war and guns and demonize the human body and sex?”
Let’s dive in to that. Why do we celebrate, value and idolize warriors?
In short, for the same reason we thank them, they protect our borders and the perks of living within those borders. That said, it’s important to note that every modern government, including our own, is the result of some form of rebellion. The ability to fight for a space has allowed those who wished to recognize rights and freedom is why we have them in the first place.
One of authors mentioned on the Fraternity Man reading list is Robert Anton Wilson. In his book, Quantum Psychology, he discusses reality tunnels. Every person lives in their own reality tunnel. Donald Trump was just elected: Many of this opponents’ supporters will suggest that he won by courting racist people. Many of Donald Trump’s supporters don’t believe themselves to be racist. Neither side will win this argument, they both operate in close-minded reality tunnels.
These aren’t necessarily bad. If we didn’t build into our reality tunnels not to trust and walk into a tornado, we would easily die as a species. But people tend to believe that whatever they support or believe is correct, whether they claim to be open-minded or not.
So when the armies of Alexander the Great marched across the Middle East, they were seen as heroes by those still on the mainland for two primary reasons:
- They had finally rebuffed the Persians for good, who had made consistent attempts to rule the Greek city states.
- Those in the Middle East were being exposed to the values of Greek philosophy and culture, and it was perceived to be a good thing to spread those values.
I’m not going to comment on whether or not that is the case. One could argue that the life of a Greek woman, even in ancient times, was far more “free” than that of a woman in Persia at the same time.
It is important to note though that warriors are a part of what allows us to be as we are. They protect our ability to maintain what we believe is right.
Whereas sex and the human body are deeply personal and intimate, often reserved for privacy out of the (natural) selfish desire for exclusive rights to reproduction with the best possible mate, fighting is how we have maintained all that is good. It was the superiority of the Japanese military over the Chinese military that resulted in mass rapings of Chinese women.
Simply put, the beauty of intimacy and the human body are nothing without the ability to protect oneself.
Thomas Jefferson referred to himself as a “Republican,” and is today an inspiring figure for Libertarians in the United States and around the world. Although he preached a limited government and limited powers, he used what power he had to eliminate the threat of pirates in the Mediterranean Sea.
Citizens of the young America were almost all self-sustaining, and protecting the routes of trade vessels meant a protection of their way of life: selling goods and services they (or their indentured servants or slaves) produced.
We value warriors because warriors are those who risk their life, the most precious thing in the world, to protect what we often take for granted.
We value and sometimes idolize war because war is the act of protecting what you believe to be right.
One does not need to support war to value veterans. Note that Ron Paul, during his 2012 campaign, received more contributions from active duty men and women and veterans during the Republican primary than all of his opponents combined.
How could that be? Ron Paul openly advocated for peace, an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a foreign policy many deemed “isolationist” and one that would diminish the role of the United States as a leader in the world. The answer is simple:
Valuing warriors, those who fight to protect us, is not the same as supporting the act of war. We should value warriors, as they will be the ones risking their lives to protect us if the time calls. Regardless of your positions on war and sex, we should also understand exactly why guns and warriors combined are so important to some people in this country: they are the only means by which we have rid ourselves of oppressive rulers.
Thank a veteran today. Thank more than one if you can. Just remember that it goes beyond the talking points of rights and freedoms. These people risk their lives for you to enjoy your luxuries.
They are not chess pieces; they are human beings who made the choice (so long as the draft is not in effect) to risk their lives when the time called. Do not take their choice for granted.
If you would like to do your part to truly thank our warriors, consider any of the causes/actions included here: (or comment with a link to an organization in support of veterans and active warriors!)