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Freedom of speech in the military

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Black Wolf
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In light of the recent move (or lack thereof on Obama's part) to get rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell, I always wondered about the Objectivist position on the Military Personnel Act of 1993 (Don't Ask, Don't Tell).

I'm quite sure that it's contradictory to reason to have a law like this. But.. would it in anyway be contradictory to restrict the freedom of speech of military personnel?

On one hand, military personnel would be employees of the government. In order to have free individuals, the government must be controlled and act on the permission of the people and constitution. But do soldiers have the same freedom of speech as civilians? What is the political position on military political freedoms?

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Don't Ask Don't Tell (a.k.a. the most immoral policy ever imposed on the military by the left) has not one damn thing to do with freedom of speech.

Now, on to the question of whether it is contradictory to restrict the freedom of speech of military personnel, not even civilians are allowed to engage in fraud or espionage, or yell "Fire" in a crowded theater. So freedom of speech is not an absolute. There is no rational basis for the military to force soldiers to campaign for Obama, to deny them the right to protest taxes, etc. Maximus, it is simply false that slavery is the consequence of joining (or being drafted into) the military. The only justification for restricting speech when in the military pertains to objectively demonstrable needs of the job.

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It isn't about freedom of speech, a gay soldier is free to be gay, they will just get discharged from the military for being honest. It's about not faking reality as a matter of policy.

"A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."

I don't see a "unless you're gay, then lie or we'll discharge you" in there.

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Don't Ask Don't Tell (a.k.a. the most immoral policy ever imposed on the military by the left) has not one damn thing to do with freedom of speech.

Ouch, way to make the left butthurt. Clinton's DADT can be construed as "A step in the right direction", which is really just a softer way of saying "Pussy ass compromise". You have to remember, gay people weren't allowed to serve before 1993. And considering the discharge of Lt. Victor Fehrenbach, Dan Choi, and Joseph Rocha, gays still can't. It just makes gays think they can. But Clinton did it to compromise. And accomplished nothing, which is why he shouldn't have even bothered. It's a shame he wasn't as compromising on raping the economy.

Now, on to the question of whether it is contradictory to restrict the freedom of speech of military personnel, not even civilians are allowed to engage in fraud or espionage, or yell "Fire" in a crowded theater. So freedom of speech is not an absolute. There is no rational basis for the military to force soldiers to campaign for Obama, to deny them the right to protest taxes, etc. Maximus, it is simply false that slavery is the consequence of joining (or being drafted into) the military. The only justification for restricting speech when in the military pertains to objectively demonstrable needs of the job.

Here's something I can agree on. If a soldier reveals confidential information, that could be construed as treason.

I can't say I agree with Maximus either, as it goes against the morality of joining the military. What's the point of fighting for freedom if you don't get to enjoy some of it?

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I don't know about the US military (up here in socialist Canukistan gays are allowed to serve... and get married) but Maximus is right. Joining the Army you sign a contract in that contract is says a lot of stuff you aren't allowed to do. Some people might consider these caveats as impingements on their freedoms. Well if that is the case, don't sign on the dotted line dummy.

A Contract is a contract. If I agree that I won't be gay (under contract during my contracted time) then I ought not to be gay during that period. If I am I am in breach of contract and deserve to be charged for breach of contract.

Think of it this way. Your employer has demanded (in writing) that you not use the word superfluous on the job. However ridiculous that request if you sign the papers you are agreeing not to do that. If you do it is grounds for dismissal under your contract.

Yes, don't ask, don't tell is stupid... just as stupid as those people who sign the contract nd then somehow think that they can ask and tell.

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A Contract is a contract. If I agree that I won't be gay (under contract during my contracted time) then I ought not to be gay during that period. If I am I am in breach of contract and deserve to be charged for breach of contract.

First, I question the validity of the phrase: "I ought not to be gay." This makes no sense to me. Do you mean that you should find a way to stop having emotions and physical responses to certain stimuli, just for a period of time? Or that you shouldn't engage in homosexual acts during that time? The first is absurd, and the second is just kind of redundant -- i.e., shouldn't it be obvious that you're not supposed to be boinking while in the armed forces? I recall Tammy Bruce (a political commentator) once remarked that she supported DADT in the same way that she supported military regulations which discharged women who became pregnant while in the service -- basically, the military isn't the place you go to in order to express your sexual individuality or find love or whatever. My idea is: Do it on your own time.

Second, I don't think it's a good idea to equate private contracts with government contracts. For instance, I believe that, while racism is immoral, private individuals and corporations should be able to discriminate based on racial criteria. They have a right to do as they wish with their own property. But what about government positions? Should the government be able to discriminate in the same (or similar) way that DADT does? I would say that any regulations the government puts in place on its own agencies should be demonstrably and rationally related to the agencies' purposes. For instance, telling members of the armed forces that they are required to attend Sunday Mass is entirely unrelated (and even counter) to the purposes of a military in a proper society. (I believe similar examples have been given by DavidOdden in this thread.)

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I don't know about the US military (up here in socialist Canukistan gays are allowed to serve... and get married) but Maximus is right. Joining the Army you sign a contract in that contract is says a lot of stuff you aren't allowed to do. Some people might consider these caveats as impingements on their freedoms. Well if that is the case, don't sign on the dotted line dummy.

A Contract is a contract. If I agree that I won't be gay (under contract during my contracted time) then I ought not to be gay during that period. If I am I am in breach of contract and deserve to be charged for breach of contract.

Think of it this way. Your employer has demanded (in writing) that you not use the word superfluous on the job. However ridiculous that request if you sign the papers you are agreeing not to do that. If you do it is grounds for dismissal under your contract.

Yes, don't ask, don't tell is stupid... just as stupid as those people who sign the contract nd then somehow think that they can ask and tell.

The monopoly on force should not have the same contract rights as private enterprise. Government should be neutral to the personal lives of it's prospective volunteers. There should be an objective physical requirement and criminal record, but that's it.

If Halliburton wanted to tell people that they can't be gay, then they can make such a contract.

Edited by Black Wolf
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The monopoly on force should not have the same contract rights as private enterprise. Government should be neutral to the personal lives of it's prospective volunteers. There should be an objective physical requirement and criminal record, but that's it.

The Military has every reason to be concerned with the private lives of it's members. Any act which could effect unit cohesion and morale directly impinges upon the effectiveness of the units combat capability. Except in certain circumstances, such as in ancient Greece, homosexuality, like it or not, is not a part of military culture. I seriously doubt that there are large numbers of homosexual individuals clamoring to join up. My middle son is Gay and wouldn't touch the military with a ten foot pole. I served for eight years and never met anyone that I suspected was homosexual. I think a much bigger deal is being made out of this than the reality warrants.

If Halliburton wanted to tell people that they can't be gay, then they can make such a contract.

Haliburton is a private contractor. IMO they should not be involved in functions that our military should be doing, such as food preparation, etc. (there have been problems), and should stick to construction and other civilian concerns. They can hire whomever they wish, homosexual or not.

Edited by Maximus
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First, I question the validity of the phrase: "I ought not to be gay." This makes no sense to me. Do you mean that you should find a way to stop having emotions and physical responses to certain stimuli, just for a period of time?

He means keep your damn pants zipped up. :)

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There should be an objective physical requirement and criminal record, but that's it.
That's clearly wrong, because that implies that if a person were an Al Qaida operative without a criminal record that the military should simply suck it up; or, under that reasoning, pacifists would have a right to serve in an arm of government who function is to kill the enemy. There should be whatever objective requirements there are for the military to do their job; and then those requirements should be enforced. If they are not necessary, they should be dropped.
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Any act which could effect unit cohesion and morale directly impinges upon the effectiveness of the units combat capability. Except in certain circumstances, such as in ancient Greece, homosexuality, like it or not, is not a part of military culture.
Historically speaking, being black, female or atheist was also not part of military culture. Military culture may be significantly influenced by the irrationality at the bottom end of the chain of command, but it is also supposed to be deliberately shaped by the brass. Turns out, having blacks and whites serve in the same unit, even combat units, did not result in the collapse of our defensive capability. Even today, there are racists who can't stand the idea of blacks in the military. They have to learn to deal with it -- don't join, man up and suppress your problems for the duration, or be a problem and get bounced out.

I agree that a much bigger deal is being made of the exclusion of gays than is waranted, and they should simply repeal the law. But nowhere near enough of a big deal is being made over DADT, which is an appallingly dishonorable policy.

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The Military has every reason to be concerned with the private lives of it's members. Any act which could effect unit cohesion and morale directly impinges upon the effectiveness of the units combat capability.

The Unit Cohesion argument has been beaten to death. It's simply not a valid concern that unit cohesion will be affected, especially today. In 2006, a Zolgby International Poll found that 73% of the military personnel would not mind serving with a homosexual. The 27% that would would just have to get over it. And they will, because that's what happens in the military. After a while, you stop caring about who you serve with. There are no skinhead soldiers, no gay soldiers, no jew soldiers, no black soldiers.. just soldiers. If you are in Iraq, are you really going to be worried about another soldier lusting after you when there is the impending possibility of a nuke? I certainly wouldn't care about someone lusting after me, if so much as taking a shit in the porter potty can be a risky move.

I'd hate to argue with someone who actually served with what military life is like, but tell me: do people not get over their legitimate reservations, let alone childish ones, with their cadets? Does war not give perspective to most soldiers?

Eric Alva, the first marine to be wounded in the War in Iraq, told his cadets he was gay. They didn't care, and it didn't distract unit cohesion. Which A) brings me on the verge of tears and B) helps me look at marines in a new light.

Except in certain circumstances, such as in ancient Greece, homosexuality, like it or not, is not a part of military culture.

Eating korean food is not part of military culture, but it happens.

I seriously doubt that there are large numbers of homosexual individuals clamoring to join up.

Uh.. me?

But even if that's true, a lot of people tend to find out about their sexuality during their service, not after. Considering that 600-1000 people get DADT discharges per year, I'd say that a lot of homosexuals do want to join. And they should be able to if they have the qualifications.

http://dadtarchive.org/wp-content/uploads/...hart-94-081.png

My middle son is Gay and wouldn't touch the military with a ten foot pole. I served for eight years and never met anyone that I suspected was homosexual. I think a much bigger deal is being made out of this than the reality warrants.

You can't really "suspect" if someone is homosexual, especially when they're trying so hard not tell you. I know a soldier that looks like Duke Nukem, you would never be able to tell that he was gay.

You could probably say that a bigger deal is being made out of this than necessary, if you ignore the individual factor. Lt. Victor Fehrenbach was an airman for 18 years, and he was outed by a civilian. He was discharged.

That's clearly wrong, because that implies that if a person were an Al Qaida operative without a criminal record that the military should simply suck it up; or, under that reasoning, pacifists would have a right to serve in an arm of government who function is to kill the enemy. There should be whatever objective requirements there are for the military to do their job; and then those requirements should be enforced. If they are not necessary, they should be dropped.

Thank you for better illustrating the point I was trying to make.

Edited by Black Wolf
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First, I question the validity of the phrase: "I ought not to be gay." This makes no sense to me. Do you mean that you should find a way to stop having emotions and physical responses to certain stimuli, just for a period of time? Or that you shouldn't engage in homosexual acts during that time? The first is absurd, and the second is just kind of redundant -- i.e., shouldn't it be obvious that you're not supposed to be boinking while in the armed forces? I recall Tammy Bruce (a political commentator) once remarked that she supported DADT in the same way that she supported military regulations which discharged women who became pregnant while in the service -- basically, the military isn't the place you go to in order to express your sexual individuality or find love or whatever. My idea is: Do it on your own time.

I was being flippant. I don't believe that being gay is something someone should be ashamed of or that is it something a person can stop any more than I can stop loving women. My so subtle it was missed point is that if you are gay and your country is stupid enough to have such a policy then don't serve in a military.

If you do serve your own desire to ignore the reality of the situation (that you are serving a military that views what you are as an aberration and makes your very being illegal and that you wilfully signed a contract to that effect) means that you get what you ask for.

Second, I don't think it's a good idea to equate private contracts with government contracts. For instance, I believe that, while racism is immoral, private individuals and corporations should be able to discriminate based on racial criteria. They have a right to do as they wish with their own property. But what about government positions? Should the government be able to discriminate in the same (or similar) way that DADT does? I would say that any regulations the government puts in place on its own agencies should be demonstrably and rationally related to the agencies' purposes. For instance, telling members of the armed forces that they are required to attend Sunday Mass is entirely unrelated (and even counter) to the purposes of a military in a proper society. (I believe similar examples have been given by DavidOdden in this thread.)

Your choice is the same be it a corporation of a government. I would no more grace a racist corporation with my business than I would serve a racist government.

Just think of how quickly this idiotic policy would have changed if people stood by their principles and said "This is not only stupid it is wrong and I will not serve in the military as long as this law is in place." Now multiply that principled stand by all the decent non-bigoted people in your country.

This is a case of people compromising their principals, from Clinton on down to the guy that knows its wrong but serves anyway, and especially the homosexual who allows himself to be shoved back into the closet like he's living in 1950.

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Or, it can be construed as saying "Integrity isn't worth a half a shit in the military".

Just curious.. what was it like for gays in the military before? What was the policy before the Military Personnel Eligibility act of 1993? I know they had to disclose their sexuality on the application (which means, they'd still essentially lie, and still they'd essentially kicked out).

I mean, don't get me wrong, Bill Clinton's "step in the right direction" definitely is horrible. It's almost as if his administration tried really hard to fuck gay people over. I read the actual statute, it says you can't get married to another guy, you can't reveal your sexuality off-duty, etc. I just want perspective on what it was like before, to truly judge if Bill Clinton made things worse for gay people

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And what has the legislation before it done for honor?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Clinton. He could've simply repealed the ban in 1992, and left it at that.

First, Clinton could not repeal 10 USC 654. That is a federal law, one of the federal statutes, and please don't tell me that you were unaware that this is not a dictatorship where the president can rewrite laws as he pleases. Please, please; I would like to believe that people still at least know the basics of government in the US. Congress can repeal the law (wit presidential approval or a procedure for veto-override). Before DOD Directive 1304.26, there was a clear statement under the law of what was allowed, so whether or not you agreed with it, there was a definitive statement of what the law is.

The consequence of the Clinton edict was to require the military to act dishonorably, by acting explicitly contrary to US law. This introduces a profound contradiction, that on the one hand a soldier is supposed to be willing to give his life for certain principles including the rule of law and the US constitution, but on the other hand is required to completely disregard the law and the Constitution, elevating the President's personal whim over a very fundamental principle.

In other words, on Dec. 21, 1993, it became a matter of administrative edict and federal policy that the military is not actually subject to the law of the land, and that we can pretend the law does not really say what it says. The law is, in reality, fluid and open to many equally valid interpretations. Just as, orders a fluid and a matter of individual interpretation.

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In response to the original post, I have to say from the perspective of an Airman in the Air Force that DADT just seems stupid. When we are indoctrinated in Basic one of the first things we are taught are the Air Force's core values, one of which is Integrity First. DADT essentially throws integrity out the window. Now, while I do think gays should be allowed to serve, I do understand that it could cause some dilemas for certain situations that exist in military service.

In particular with basic training, you have a communal situation where a bunch of men (or women) have to live in barracks, with communal showers. We do not place women and men together in the same barracks because of the problems that would cause, and frankly if I got to look at naked women every day Basic would have been a lot more pleasant than the angry sargents in smokey the bear hats would have liked. Some would argue that having a gay man in a male barracks would be like putting a straight male in the female barracks. However, I don't think this is as big of a problem as some would make it out to be. After all, we still have gays in the military serving secretly and they all went through Basic like the rest of us. If we do allow gays in the military I think the best advice would be to just not bring it up during Basic, since your main job is to learn to be a soldier, not to discuss social issues. As for showers, you get so little time to shower that you don't have much time to look at each other's dicks anyways. Frankly it is so much of a non-issue that one of the jokes that went around the barracks was the one about the trainee that keeps going into the shower room with a clipboard and a huge grin on his face in order to take "accountability."

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In response to the original post, I have to say from the perspective of an Airman in the Air Force that DADT just seems stupid. When we are indoctrinated in Basic one of the first things we are taught are the Air Force's core values, one of which is Integrity First. DADT essentially throws integrity out the window. Now, while I do think gays should be allowed to serve, I do understand that it could cause some dilemas for certain situations that exist in military service.

In particular with basic training, you have a communal situation where a bunch of men (or women) have to live in barracks, with communal showers. We do not place women and men together in the same barracks because of the problems that would cause, and frankly if I got to look at naked women every day Basic would have been a lot more pleasant than the angry sargents in smokey the bear hats would have liked. Some would argue that having a gay man in a male barracks would be like putting a straight male in the female barracks. However, I don't think this is as big of a problem as some would make it out to be. After all, we still have gays in the military serving secretly and they all went through Basic like the rest of us. If we do allow gays in the military I think the best advice would be to just not bring it up during Basic, since your main job is to learn to be a soldier, not to discuss social issues. As for showers, you get so little time to shower that you don't have much time to look at each other's dicks anyways. Frankly it is so much of a non-issue that one of the jokes that went around the barracks was the one about the trainee that keeps going into the shower room with a clipboard and a huge grin on his face in order to take "accountability."

I highly doubt that most gay people would even want to bring up their sexuality during basic training, but I also would highly doubt that anyone in basic training would be anything more than too tired or to nervous to start shit with gay people. Course, I'm not even enlisted yet, so what do I know?

Sure, several people scoff at the idea that a gay person is not going to even think about lusting after the other guys during basic training, including people who have served themselves, but that doesn't stop this former Marine from being philosophically skeptical:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/f...scipline/print/

Remember, always pretend as if isolated incidents are empirical evidence!

Edited by Black Wolf
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Don't Ask Don't Tell (a.k.a. the most immoral policy ever imposed on the military by the left) has not one damn thing to do with freedom of speech.

Now, on to the question of whether it is contradictory to restrict the freedom of speech of military personnel, not even civilians are allowed to engage in fraud or espionage, or yell "Fire" in a crowded theater. So freedom of speech is not an absolute. There is no rational basis for the military to force soldiers to campaign for Obama, to deny them the right to protest taxes, etc. Maximus, it is simply false that slavery is the consequence of joining (or being drafted into) the military. The only justification for restricting speech when in the military pertains to objectively demonstrable needs of the job.

Woah woah woah, slow down there, DADT was a compromise with unjust ideology that was and remains that of the right wing. There obviously should not have been ANY compromise whatsoever, but what's worse, continuing to tolerate injustice because the compromise is also injustice, or comprimising to a lesser injustice? No offense, and I mean this, but I think you are dangerously close to intellectual disingenuousness.

Also, the issue shouldn't be about whether or not the military can 'handle' outed homosexuals, it should be about whether or not it is just that they have to either remain closeted or leave the military. Keep in mind that if you say that it is just, you now have set yourself against the US civil rights movements of the 60's and 70's.

Edited by Rawls was Right
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Woah woah woah, slow down there, DADT was a compromise with unjust ideology that was and remains that of the right wing. There obviously should not have been ANY compromise whatsoever, but what's worse, continuing to tolerate injustice because the compromise is also injustice, or comprimising to a lesser injustice? No offense, and I mean this, but I think you are dangerously close to intellectual disingenuousness.
No offense, and I mean this, but I think you are dangerously close to pragmatism.
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