At Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux sent a letter to the editor in response to an obituary for Howard Zinn. Don accused Zinn of being inconsistent for having a low opinion of the government when it engaged in foreign policy but a high opinion for its domestic policies. I replied that Zinn was actually an anarchist and that Don had misrepresented him, presumably out of ignorance and assumptions about what a leftist must believe. I ended up having a long conversation with the commenter vidyohs, which I don’t feel like copying all of here. If I had been aware of Gary Chartier’s post on how libertarians should view Zinn, I would have linked to it when I engaged in that discussion.
I left a comment at Will Wilkinson’s that has been held up for review. Just the sort of thing which justifies having a blog of your own. Here is what it said:
Are those two mistakes created equal? Does the respect given to soldiers outweigh the murder they participate in?
Personally, I side with Steve Walt on the issue even though I see even less value in U.S primacy. I want the most competent possible (leaving aside comparative advantage) military even when it engages in pointless destruction. If the hapless foreigners we attack for no reason can be reduced to abject surrender before we waste more time in their countries, all the better. But to take a pluralist-over-rationalist perspective, I’d recommend it be implemented through delegation. Gays apparently are disproportionately found in some sectors of the military (medical, translators). The commanders of those units probably don’t like losing personnel, so they could elect to allow the practice, others complaining about how no pointy-headed liberal is going to be trying out social experiments in the goddamn military can continue with DADT, and the President would duck some political backlash. Everybody wins, except for moralists who hate compromise.
Right, it doesn’t matter to gays whether or not they are accorded equal status by the laws they live under. I suppose it doesn’t really matter to blacks or women either. That’s just something that bothers moralists who hate compromise.
Women are currently not treated equally by the military. They are not eligible for the draft, and I believe are not placed in combat positions (except as aircraft pilots). The last person I recall complaining about that was Mel Feit, who is not a woman though he sometimes wears a dress. Blacks don’t have equal status under other laws: there are certain set-asides only they qualify for. I don’t think many are too upset by that, so divergence from equality per se doesn’t do it.
Another opportunity for de facto integration amidst du jure discrimination: I recall hearing that the majority of people kicked out under DADT were actually women. Assuming that’s true, then if the rule was specified to only apply to men, conservatives could retain their officially fairie-free man’s zone while avoiding most of the actual effects of the rule. My guess is also that there’s more animus to gay men than women broadly speaking and that women are more interested in marriage, so we could also allow gay marriage for women only.