Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Mercenaries and Soldiers

Eugene Volokh alludes to a question that has been puzzling me ever since the Kos controversy erupted: what is the difference between mercenaries and volunteer soldiers? Evidently Kos and his ilk haven't heard that the draft has been repealed, probably because they are still living in the 70s. Which strikes me as a highly significant clue into the mind of the left.

Volokh's commentary seems to assume that there is consensus that this is a just war, which is not a valid assumption when dealing with most of the left. My take on the issue is that most of these people saw themselves as heroes during the Civil Rights and Vietnam protests, and wish like anything that those days would come back so they can be heroes again. Of course the corollary to this is that the country, and indeed the world, would have to be plunged back into repression and tyranny so that they would have something to protest, but this does not seem to bother them much. If revolution is an end in itself, obviously there will always need to be an Oppressor to revolt against. This is the key insight that we owe to Orwell:

    "Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever[...] And remember that it is for ever. The face will always be there to be stamped upon. The heretic, the enemy of society, will always be there, so that he can be defeated and humiliated over again."

And the reason for this is that in a world in which God has no authority, tradition is risible and human nature itself is called into question, only power can have any meaning. There can be no compromise because there are no grounds for shared goals, no ultimate values upon which to agree.

Of course, these comments only apply to the most extreme leftists and most would like to think that there is something valuable beyond themselves. But the sort of man who can see the murder and desecration of human beings and only see an enemy to be reviled, has already traveled far down the road to tyranny.

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