One of the most important characteristics of a military leader is that they gather a lot of information. They have to be able to evaluate situations, and they need a lot of information to make the best decisions that they can.
So, gathering information is a good thing. Getting a variety of viewpoints, even those that you don’t agree with, can be valuable to give you perspective and insight into what your opponent may be thinking.
But recent statements by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in America, indicate that, instead of trying to understand his opponent, he may actually agree with reading material from anti-American authors. Lee Smith writes,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley says he is interested in theory. This past week he defended teaching critical race theory in U.S. military academies because he thinks our troops should understand “white rage.” He said that he himself wants to understand why the American families who send their children to serve under him are angry. And so he believes that it’s a good thing to read books by authors like Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi that call white Americans racist. He says it’s good for the military and the country, but in fact it’s just good for Mark Milley and the rest of the senior officer class that is making its retirement plans.
Milley told the committee that he’d read Marx, too, but that doesn’t make him a communist. He’s right, but it signals his ambition clearly. Outside of the faculty lounges of American universities, no one reads Marx because Marx is unreadable. You could fit everyone who has read all three volumes of Marx’s masterwork, “Capital,” into a small prison cell.
Milley said he reads to understand what other people think, but people who boast of having read Marx are trying to shape what other people think about them. He is addressing the kind of people who think reading Marx is part of the foundation of a well-rounded education. In America, these are the men and women of the establishment left who not coincidentally sit on the boards of big corporations and decide who gets to earn a million-dollar paycheck simply by occupying the board seat next to them. Saying you’ve read Marx shows that you’re ok, even if you’ve spent your career with an American flag on your shoulder.
Maybe Smith is being too hard on Milley, but maybe he’s not. Why would it even come up that he had read Marx, and DiAngelo, and Kendi? How would that help the military? Or is he bringing that up to impress others that he is a secret leftist as Smith implies?
I don’t know Milley personally, so I can’t say, but it is troubling that these are the reference points of reading material that he is looking into instead of useful reading material that supports liberty and thinking as a responsible person.