By Commander Phillip J. Keuhlen, US Navy ret, USNA ’71
By Capt. Brent Ramsey, US Navy ret
STARRS Board of Advisors
Over a century ago the Progressive leadership of the Democrats seceded philosophically from the Founding Principles of the American experiment.[i]
Rejecting the principles of natural law and unalienable individual rights, they adopted the statist relativism of Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarianism and that of his philosophical heirs.
They embraced the State as the arbiter of a changeable ‘common good’ and government by the State as preeminent over individuals, regulating personal liberty bestowed by government so long as it supports the state-defined ‘common good.’
Founded upon Woodrow Wilson’s paradigm of a “living constitution” with law making by judicial fiat or Executive Order and day-to-day governance by an unelected, unaccountable, administrative state, the proponents of Progressivism have unceasingly advanced a vision and values directly opposed to, and profoundly irreconcilable with, those the country was founded upon.
They have mounted a Second American Civil War by a long march through the institutions of governance, education, culture, commerce, and more recently science and the military, their Grand Strategy to incrementally subvert the Madisonian Constitution and the Founding Principles it was designed to protect.
Their strategy is supported by tactics of lawfare, carefully calibrated civil violence, and institutional subversion.
Americans have a sense that things have gone wrong, but their perception is fragmentary, focused on one tactical issue or another.
Their focus on individual issues inhibits understanding of how one relates to another and how all support the profound Progressive subversion of American constitutional governance.
Shellenberger and Boghossian’s “WOKE RELIGION: A Taxonomy”[ii] demonstrates the scope and interconnectedness of different fronts in this Civil War for the soul of the American republic. Readers are urged to view this link.
In the field of governance Progressives have mounted sustained legislative, judicial, and executive programs that have the aim of compromising essential elements of Madisonian constitutional governance, effectively replacing it with an antithetical political philosophy that seeks to divide and conquer.
In much of public life and discourse that philosophy is represented by Critical Race Theory and allied movements, implemented via programs of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
Now, this poisonous ideology has captured our military to the detriment of focus on readiness and lethality.
The background and experience of our authors tends to focus on what is happening in and to the military and why it is a danger to our nation.
However, it is important to not lose sight of this battle as part of a greater strategic effort to subvert the Madisonian Constitution and the Founding Values it was designed to protect.
By functionally choosing sides and thrusting the entire military establishment into a conflict pitting our founding values against progressive ones, the Civilian & Uniformed leadership of DoD have made a fiction of the principle of an apolitical military that has been the basis of civil-military relations throughout the second half of the 20th Century.[iii]
To the extreme detriment of readiness, lethality, retention, morale, and recruitment, the military has been transformed into a political organization with
- racial quotas;
- degraded ground combat unit readiness by lowering standards to allow assignment of women;
- gay pride celebrations;
- transgendered individuals recruited, placed in limited duty status degrading unit readiness, and provided transitional surgery while in service;
- promotion of abortion for service members and family members in contravention of long-standing US law; and
- the embrace of climate change as an existential crisis and top Department of Defense priority.
This political fight for the soul of the military has not only devastated morale, but eroded the esteem in which the military has been held since our founding.
Trust and confidence in the U.S. Military has dropped precipitously, from 70% in 2018 to 46% five years later (-24%), according to a recent Reagan Institute survey.
Exacerbating this troubling situation, much of the youth of American no longer wish to serve, having been indoctrinated in false history by our nation’s public schools with such revisionist anti-American works as the 1619 Project and Kendi’s “How to be an Antiracist”.
Even cadets and midshipmen at our service academies are exposed to these and similar works as recommended reading.
To top it off, the progressive ideology now in vogue throughout the military has alienated the prime source for recruiting, young people brought up with traditional patriotic values who are now staying home in droves…thus creating a severe recruiting crisis that gets worse each year.
CALL TO ACTION:
The authors embrace the viewpoint of President Ronald Reagan,
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Now is the time for all citizens of like mind to stand up, be counted, and fight for the soul of the nation, our liberties, and the preservation of our Constitutional Governance.
Armed Forces Officers must return to the promises made when they took the Oath of Office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. There is nothing in that oath about diversity, equity, and inclusion. That oath stood us in good stead for over two hundred years.
Citizens, Officers, Retirees and Veterans must remind military leadership that “just following the civilian leadership’s orders” has never been an adequate defense of the indefensible, whether it be DEI as a putative need or benefit with respect to military effectiveness[iv], or subversion of the Constitution and the fundamental American values it protects. EEO is still the law of the land, and it mandates equal treatment. Orders/indoctrination that are counter to that are not lawful orders[v].
Serving Flag and General Officers must repudiate the politicization of the military, resigning if necessary.
Retired Flag and General Officers must acknowledge the active politicization of the armed forces that is underway in support of Constitutional subversion, stop hiding behind the myth of an “apolitical military,” and speak out and LEAD in defense of the Madisonian Constitution and the founding American Values it protects.
Medical and Legal Professionals, particularly in the Armed Forces, must challenge DEI indoctrination as an unethical form of thought reform (i.e., brainwashing) …the application of psychological manipulation without informed consent.[vi]
Like-Minded Citizens must resist Critical Race Theory and its associated DEI programs aimed at destroying American Constitutional Governance. Fight Back![vii]
- Understand CRT/DEI
- Challenge CRT/DEI under the law
- Build grassroots resistance movements
- Build broad coalitions
- Get the word out to peers, and especially to legislators
- Engage the Churches
- Confront woke institutions
- Stand up to Big Tech censorship
- Monitor Federal, State & Local agencies to oppose taxpayers do not subsidize organizations that are hostile to America and American Values
- Develop alternatives to DEI training.
Perhaps it is time to recall the passages that George Washington had read to the soldiers of the Continental Army at Valley Forge on the eve of their battles at Trenton and Princeton:
“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
“Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”
“I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake.
“Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it.”
—Thomas Paine, The American Crisis Number 1, December 19, 1776
This work is about Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
We need to restore the concept of Honor to our Armed Forces.
We need to show Courage and call out to the nation and its leaders that we are on the wrong course with the embrace of the false doctrine of DEI.
We need a nation-wide Commitment to call upon senior military and political leaders to restore the Armed Forces to its traditional values and eliminate divisive identity politics that weakens us and makes us vulnerable to defeat at the hands of our enemies.
If citizens stay silent, our traditional values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment are undermined and the Progressive enemies of Constitutional governance win.
It is up to you… SILENCE IS CONSENT!
Phillip Keuhlen is a retired naval officer and nuclear industry senior manager. He was educated at the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School and had the privilege to command USS Sam Houston (SSN-609), a nuclear submarine. He writes on topics related to governance and national security.
CAPT Brent Ramsey, (USN, Ret.) has written extensively on Defense matters. He is an officer with Calvert Group, Board of Advisors member for the Center for Military Readiness and STARRS, and member of the Military Advisory Group for Congressman Chuck Edwards (NC-11).
[ii] https://boghossian.substack.com/p/woke-religion-a-taxonomy retrieved 1/1/2024
[iii] Swain & Pierce, The Armed Forces Officer, NDSU, DOD, 2017 (https://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/armed-forces-officer)
[v] Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 (https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/title-vii-civil-rights-act-1964)
[vi] Sturman & Keuhlen, No Institution is Safe: DEI Thought Control in the Military, 2023 ()