June 19, 2024

There remain deep and lingering anxieties about diversity… Military and civilian leaders should confront this cultural pathology head on.

In April 2017, U.S. Army War College faculty and students attended a mandatory training session on the recent Department of Defense policy regarding open service by transgender people. I watched an auditorium full of students and faculty squirm their way through it. The discomfort in the room was palpable, and no better at the end than at the beginning. I left feeling that the 45-minute training might have done more harm than good.

The open integration of transgender personnel is controversial. But as policy revisions go, it’s well-crafted and sensible, and has significant resources for commanders and service members, even though there will be many details to work out. Although rolled out sooner than anticipated, it is designed to maximize fairness and respect, and to minimize turmoil and churn within units. Importantly, the policy is sensitive to the diverse needs and perspectives of individual soldiers, units, commanders, medical professionals, and to the military mission.

But the policy isn’t the problem. It’s not really even the topic of this essay.

Rather, the training and the audience’s responses to it were symptomatic of two deeper concerns about how the U.S. military confronts socio-cultural issues and about how its institutions train and educate leaders about them. This training, and responses to it, made plain that there remain deep and lingering anxieties about diversity in general, and specifically about the role of women in uniform. Military and civilian leaders should confront this cultural pathology head on. However, doing so will be difficult. The training also illustrated a consistent failure to develop an appropriate working vocabulary and knowledge to engage in such discussion. This deficiency is amplified in an educational setting by the inability to merge the requirements of training into a viable educational construct. Together, these failures result in countless lost opportunities to educate and engage military officers in thinking about issues of broad social, cultural, and political significance.

The new transgender policy lives at the nexus of gender, sex, and sexuality. In the current political and cultural moment, these particularly salient topics have always prompted some anxiety and insecurity about sexual identity, experience, and normative behaviors, especially among young recruits.

The military remains (in popular and professional discourse, at least) a highly masculine space. Women, until very recently, have been categorically excluded from certain jobs and assignments, and this change has met with significant debate, opposition, and even open hostility from serving and retired service members. One needs to look only as far as the Marines United scandal or to the data on sexual harassment and assault to understand that the military has yet to make peace with the idea and reality of women’s service.

Policies about women in combat and open transgender service fundamentally disrupt the military’s binary treatment of gender and challenge deeply-entrenched values about masculinity, femininity, and gender roles within the service. Discussions about physical fitness standards, uniform requirements, grooming and appearance, maternity leave, breastfeeding, and which jobs women could (and should) fill have taken place for most of the 20th century and continue today. Policies regarding sexual orientation have likewise proved challenging, but while the military underwent significant change with the repeal of its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, these changes did not challenge binary conceptions of sex and gender, even though conservative opponents were concerned it would degrade military masculinity.

Most of the questions asked in this training involved male-to-female transitions or pregnancy, which is typically associated with women. The association of women with reduced readiness was borne out in the questions: could a male soldier claim to be transgender in order to qualify for lower physical standards? Could a transman get pregnant to avoid deployment? Won’t soldiers transitioning from male to female lower readiness?

The underlying assumption in all of these questions is that women fundamentally degrade military effectiveness. Digging more deeply into the sources, validity, and consequences of these assumptions and arguments will further the discussion about the experiences, contributions, and expectations of not only transgender people but also of cis-gendered women in the military.

Furthermore, these sorts of questions reflect a misunderstanding about the “ease” with which a currently-serving soldier might be able to transition to a new gender status. The policy requires: diagnosis of gender dysphoria by a military medical practitioner; a treatment plan signed off on by the soldier, a military medical provider, and the commander; a period of transition, during which the service member, medical team, and commander work to sort out issues related to timing and exceptions to policy; the changing of legal documents such as a birth certificate and passport; and finally, a switch in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. This long and complex process, involving some of the most intimate details of a person’s identity, opens up a number of vulnerabilities for transgender service members. Concerns that soldiers will claim to be transgender to make their lives easier seem misplaced, especially among senior leaders.

The questions and comments further suggested that trainees lacked the foundational knowledge required to facilitate serious discussion about contemporary social and cultural issues. Even if the military were fully committed to engaging in such conversations, many of its people are unprepared for discussions about gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, mental health, and disability. Instead, we rely almost solely on anecdote, personal experience, emotion, and gut feelings to guide discussions about complicated matters. Training glosses over foundational definitions and knowledge in order to move directly to discussions of policy.

This is absurd. It would be tantamount to conducting live fire training on a weapons system without appropriate familiarization and simulation first, or sending a pilot trainee up in an aircraft without sufficient academic instruction in physics, flight line operation, or aviation regulations. Yet with regard to social and cultural matters, we too often expect leaders of diverse organizations to lead with a woefully inadequate intellectual toolkit. In order to have the difficult and important discussions about the recruitment, composition, training, effectiveness, and mission of the 21st century military, our senior leaders must have a working knowledge of contemporary American society.

Imagine a world in which training on a new policy was scaffolded with a common, professional vocabulary and a foundation of facts and evidence drawn from relevant scientific, medical, psychological, and social-scientific literature — even if, or perhaps especially if, that body of literature is contested. On this issue, as with many others, there’s no consensus within scientific, psychological, or sociological communities, and standards of medical care for transgender people continue to evolve. This variance accurately reflects the way knowledge is developed and deployed in the real world, but it does not absolve institutions of delaying action until everything is “settled.”

But at an even more basic level, if we are going to talk about implementing a policy regarding transgender military personnel, let’s first make sure everyone knows what “transwoman” signifies. What if, before we started talking about pregnant transmen, sex reassignment surgery, or hormone therapy (which may not be medically required), we spent a few minutes considering the difference between biological sex, social gender, and sexual orientation? What if this training included a refresher in biology and the incredible complexity of sex differentiation in human beings? What if we looked at the diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria or at the literature that provides estimates about the number of transgender or intersex individuals globally and within the military?

In one sense, this is extraordinarily difficult to imagine — it’s so very different from most of the training we encounter in the Department of Defense. But it would not be impossible. It would, however, require more time and engagement with civilian communities and experts, deeper use of historical examples, and the possibility of delivering more targeted training materials to different audiences.

In the midst of teaching about international relations, Clausewitz, decision-making models, the elements of national power, operational design, senior leadership, the budget process, and the importance of understanding culture (for other places, of course), and being sensitive to local needs — we are neglecting to educate our senior military officers about the socio-cultural and political ideas and forces that shape the United States and its military in the 21st century. If one of the great strategic dictums is to “know yourself, and know your enemy,” then we are failing spectacularly at the first.

One needs to look only as far as the Marines United scandal or to the data on sexual harassment and assault to understand that the military has yet to make peace with the idea and reality of women’s service.

When professional military education fails to encourage study and discussion about social, cultural, and political issues related to gender, ethnicity, generational change, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status, we fail to prepare students for senior leadership in a diverse force. The joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environment is diverse. The U.S. military is already a diverse team of people — comprising males and females (cis- and trans- gendered); urban and rural; immigrant and native-born; straight and bisexual; gay and lesbian; believers and atheists — all at work together. That’s the simple reality of America in the 21st century; it’s the reality of our all-volunteer force and of our international coalitions. Leaders will be more effective if they engage with diversity rather than ignoring it, or trying to blend it away so that only Army green or Air Force blue matter.

The senior service schools and the service academies are particularly well-situated for this task. West Point has made significant strides in adding a “gender and sexuality” thread to its core curriculum, ensuring cadets receive important inter-disciplinary education in such matters. Because if these conversations don’t happen in these classrooms — in space set aside, temporally and physically, for students and faculty members to engage in rigorous analysis and critical debate on issues of vital national importance — then where will they happen? They must start early in an officer’s’ career and continue through his or her senior-level professional military education.

We should be talking about the role unit cohesion might play in enhancing or degrading effectiveness. We should talk about how physical training standards are set, evaluated, and understood, and why, for example, gender-norming elicits significant consternation but age-norming does not. We should talk about how diversity affects team performance. We should talk about uniforms and teamwork representation, and leadership. We should talk about why women and minorities remain chronically underrepresented in the highest ranks of the military. We should talk about what reasonable accommodations for religious practice look like. All of these are critically important conversations, about which a variety of viewpoints exists. But we can’t do this kind of serious talking without the vocabulary and commitment to education that it demands.

To put it bluntly, what if we demanded the same rigorous, analytical thinking about social, cultural, and political topics that we demand students apply to complex scenarios for advising on a military strategy, understanding a regional crisis, or recommending a course of action for a budget exercise?

How we define diversity and how policies are implemented to support it are important questions for discussion, and there’s certainly disagreement among military professionals and academics. There remain, for example, real questions about the physical and mental attributes required for success in combat. There are significant cultural and policy issues to be worked out about the best way to handle cases of harassment, sexual assault, and rape. There is further room for discussion about military effectiveness — both about what it means and about how best to achieve it in the 21st century.

But few people in the room seemed ready to have those conversations. And that’s what’s so concerning here — putting the merits of the policy aside for a moment—we have senior military officers who cannot, in a meaningful sense, engage in the conversation because they lack the tools to do so.

These discussions are vitally important. We ought to demand that our officers and senior leaders be well-prepared for them. But it goes beyond a liberal-academic concern for diversity and inclusion — leading diverse groups and interacting with new ideas are key skills that military leaders must develop, even during wartime. It’s not a tradeoff. It’s a necessity.

Jacqueline Whitt is an Associate Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor-in-Chief of WAR ROOM.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo: Transgender military personnel from Sweden, New Zealand and Australia listen to Corporal Natalie Murray of Canada. 

Photo Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

9 thoughts on “SEX, GENDER, & THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE MILITARY’S CULTURAL CONVERSATION (RE-RELEASE)

  1. As to this such discussion, might we start with a grand political objective, for example, the grand political objective of the U.S./the West, which is, I believe, to cause/to bring about — both here at home in the U.S./the West and there abroad elsewhere — such revolutionary political, economic, social and/or value changes as are considered necessary; this, so as to provide that the states and societies of the world (to include our own) might be made to better interact with, better provide for and better benefit from such things as capitalism, globalization and the global economy.

    From that such (“controlling” might we say?) point of view, to discuss such things as “Sex, Gender, and the Transformation of the Military’s Cultural Conversation”?

    1. I’ll start the ball rolling: From the article “Gender Perspectives and Military Effectiveness: Implementing UNSCR 1325 and the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security,” by Robert Egnell, at PRISM Vol. 6, No. 1. Therein, see the major section entitled “Military Effectiveness and Fighting Power in a Changing World:”

      “While conventional inter-state warfare can never be declared dead, it is nevertheless fair to say that in the contemporary context, different forms of complex stability and peace support operations, as well as limited wars, are the most common military tasks. The aims of such military operations have changed from the pursuit of concrete military strategic objectives to the establishment of certain conditions from which political outcomes can be decided. 4 In this context, military activities often play a supporting role in so called “comprehensive,” “integrated,” or “whole of government” approaches and operations that involve a large number of actors and activities aimed at achieving more far-reaching political goals of stabilization, democratization, economic growth, and the implementation and maintenance of respect for human rights and the rule of law. Key tasks of military organizations in this environment therefore include the protection of civilians (PoC), including humanitarian and diplomatic activities, the establishment of order, and the prevention of sexual and gender based violence. The political objectives are indeed the most important, and military organizations must not only operate to provide the platform from which civilian actors can achieve these aims—they must also take great care not to violate the principles that tend to govern the larger endeavor: respect for human rights, ideals of democratic governance, and gender equality.”

      4. Rupert Smith, The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (London: Allen Lane, 2005), 269.

      1. Question: As to Robert Egnell’s thoughts immediately above — re: gender perspective and military effectiveness, etc. — (a) re: these such thoughts (b) do we believe that Dr. Egnell subscribes to my “revolutionary change to support capitalism, globalization and the global economy” grand political objective thesis — that I provide in my initial comment above?

        The answer to this question appears to be a resounding “yes,” as Dr. Egnell discusses below:

        “Robert Egnell: Analysts like to talk about ‘indirect approaches’ or ‘limited interventions’, but the question is ‘approaches to what?’ What are we trying to achieve? What is our understanding of the end-state? In a recent article published in Joint Forces Quarterly, I sought to challenge the contemporary understanding of counterinsurgency by arguing that the term itself may lead us to faulty assumptions about nature of the problem, what it is we are trying to do, and how best to achieve it. When we label something a counterinsurgency campaign, it introduces certain assumptions from the past and from the contemporary era about the nature of the conflict. One problem is that counterinsurgency is by its nature conservative, or status-quo oriented – it is about preserving existing political systems, law and order. And that is not what we have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, we have been the revolutionary actors, the ones instigating revolutionary societal changes. Can we still call it counterinsurgency, when we are pushing for so much change?

        Dhofar, El Savador and the Philippines are all campaigns driven by fundamentally conservative concerns. When we are looking to Syria right now, it is not just about maintaining order or even the regime, but about larger political change. In Afghanistan and Iraq too, we represented revolutionary change. So, perhaps we should read Mao and Che Guevara instead of Thompson in order to find the appropriate lessons of how to achieve large-scale societal change through limited means? That is what we are after, in the end. And in this coming era, where we are pivoting away from large-scale interventions and state-building projects, but not from our fairly grand political ambitions, it may be worth exploring how insurgents do more with little; how they approach irregular warfare, and reach their objectives indirectly.”

        (See the Small Wars Journal article “Learning From Today’s Crisis of Counterinsurgency” — an interview by Octavian Manea of Dr. David H. Ucko and Dr. Robert Egnell.)

        Bottom Line Thought — Based on the Above:

        As Dr. Egnell notes, in the last sentence of his last quoted paragraph above, (a) our revolutionary grand political objectives; these, (b) have not changed.

        Thus:

        a. Should we wish to view and discuss such things as “Sex, Gender & the Transformation of the Military’s Cultural Conversation” today, then:

        b. We still must do this from the “revolutionary change in support of capitalism, globalization and the global economy” grand political objective point of view — that I outline in my initial comment above?

  2. While our U.S. armed forces are required to obey the orders of the Commander-In-Chief, i.e., the President of the United States of America, others in the chain of command, it is not true that they should affirm statements which deny the science of humans, both male and female. This “Conversation” ignores the science.
    First, sex is binary and it is immutable. There differences between men and women where women excel in verbal fluency. While males are more variable, at the high end of abilities men exceed women in math and sciences. Also, we have more mental illness among women than men even if not diagnosed.
    The U.S. Marine Corps tests of all male units and mixed male and female units showed that the all male units exceeded the mixed male and female units. Those findings would still hold for a woman, having undergone the surgery and hormone treatments, serving in an all male unit.
    Suppose a woman serving in the U.S. Army had six children during her enlistments. According to the Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP), she would be excused, for one year, from a recorded physical fitness, a bodily composition test, “deployments, mobilizations, field training, and other types of military assignments.” Thus, the woman could retire in 20 years but having been excused from “deployments, mobilizations, field training, and other types of military assignments” for six of those 20 years.
    In trying to raise a child, the woman would want to breast feed the child for one year because that influences the child’s IQ. The woman would want to care for the child for the first three years of the child’s life because that is important to the child’s neurological development.
    To the men, who are not exempt from deployments, mobilizations, field training, and other types of military assignments” this is unfair. Too often, men complain that they are deployed and unable to obtain advanced degrees in night school, while the women have that option. Also, the women could make themselves known to senior officers while not “deployments, mobilizations, field training, and other types of military assignments” but those options are not available to the men soldiers.
    In Humans, Sex is Binary and Immutable by Georgi K. Marinov
    https://www.nas.org/academic-questions/33/2/in-humans-sex-is-binary-and-immutable
    Army Having Second Thoughts About Gender-Neutral Fitness Test
    https://dailycaller.com/2021/02/11/army-reconsidering-gender-neutral-fitness-test-combat-acft-military/
    Men and Women Seeing Different Failure Rates on Army’s Gender-Neutral Fitness Test
    https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/10/15/men-and-women-seeing-different-failure-rates-armys-gender-neutral-fitness-test.html
    Women’s Mental Health 101: Statistics, Symptoms & Resources
    https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/womens-mental-health/
    The Most Authoritative Review Paper on Gender Differences
    https://heterodoxacademy.org/blog/the-most-authoritative-review-paper-on-gender-differences/
    Orchestrating false beliefs about gender discrimination
    https://jsmp.medium.com/orchestrating-false-beliefs-about-gender-discrimination-a25a48e1d02
    Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP)
    https://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/Benefit-Library/Federal-Benefits/Military-Parental-Leave-Program-(MPLP)?serv=123
    Breastfeeding and Other Early Influencers on Children’s IQ By Alexandra Sifferlin July 30, 2013
    https://healthland.time.com/2013/07/30/breastfeeding-and-other-early-influencers-on-childrens-iq/
    Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters by Erica Komisar

  3. From Dr. Whitt’s article above — see the paragraph that begins with this sentence:

    “The questions and comments further suggested that trainees lacked the foundational knowledge required to facilitate serious discussion about contemporary social and cultural issues.”

    This observation, by Dr. Whitt, begs the question:

    a. What ARE some “foundational ideas” which might:

    b. “Facilitate serious discussions about contemporary social and cultural issues?”

    In this regard, consider the serious “foundational idea” — re: “national security” — that I provide below:

    “We agree with (now Sir Philip) Bobbitt that a global transition from Nation States to Market States is now well underway. The chief thesis of this Article (“Moral Communities or a Market State …”) is that the (U.S.) Supreme Court has embarked on a program of reshaping constitutional doctrine so as to encourage and facilitate the emergence of a fully developed Market State in this polity, with a view to positioning the United States to be successful in meeting the competitive challenges of a new, post-Cold War order. In taking this course, the Court has increasingly aligned itself with the perspective views of American business and political elites, for whom globalization is understood ‘not merely [as] a diagnostic tool but also [as] an action program.’ From this perspective, globalization ‘represents a great virtue: the transcendence of traditional restriction on worldwide economic activity .., inherent’ in the era of Nation States. Proponents of this vision of a globalized economy characterize the United States as ‘a giant corporation locked in a fierce competitive struggle with other nations for economic survival,’ so that ‘the central task of the federal government’ is to ‘increase the international competitiveness of the American economy.’ (Items in parenthesis above are mine.)

    (See the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, paper “Moral Communities or a Market State: The Supreme Court’s Vision of the Police Power in the Age of Globalization,” by Antonio Perez and Robert Delahunty.)

    Q: So — with this such national security-oriented “foundational idea” now before us (“today, the central task of the federal government is to increase the international competitiveness of the American economy”) — what are the “normal” — and indeed the more “routine” — “dragons” that the U.S./the West military — both here at home and there abroad — is often called upon (both by example and by deed) to “slay?”

    A:

    a. Those individuals and groups — here in the U.S./the West — who cling to certain traditional social values, beliefs and institutions (examples: re: slavery yesterday, and re: sexism, racism, etc., today) and who, thus, prevent the U.S./the West from achieving our (national security required) economic competitiveness goals. And:

    b. Those states and societies — there abroad/elsewhere — who, likewise, cling to certain traditional social values, beliefs and institutions and who, thus likewise, prevent the U.S./the West (via commerce and trade) from achieving our (national security required) economic competitiveness goals.

    (Re: other states and societies, Joseph Schumpeter, in his “State Imperialism and Capitalism,” described this “traditional social values, beliefs and institutions” problem — which stood directly in the way of “normal economic intercourse with other countries and his country’s national security — as follows. Note the “fix” to this such problem, back in Schumpeter’s day:

    “Where the cultural backwardness of a region makes normal economic intercourse dependent on colonization, it does not matter, assuming free trade, which of the ‘civilized’ nations undertakes the task of colonization.”)

    Bottom Line Thought and Question — Based on the Above:

    Today — much like in Joseph Schumpeter’s day — national security depends upon slaying the “traditional social values, beliefs and institutions “dragons” — those both here at home and there abroad — that stand in the way of “normal economic intercourse,” and, thus, that get in the way of “economic competitiveness” and “national security.”

    Does this such “foundational idea” help; this, in (a) providing a WHY which (b) might facilitate serious discussion about contemporary social and cultural issues?”

    1. The two additional quoted items — provided by me immediately below — and which appear to be in the same vein as my comment immediately above — these, also, may help (a) provide the “foundational knowledge” which might (b) “facilitate serious discussion about contemporary social and cultural issues:”

      “Capitalism is the most successful wealth-creating economic system that the world has ever known; no other system, as the distinguished economist Joseph Schumpeter pointed out, has benefited ‘the common people’ as much. Capitalism, he observed, creates wealth through advancing continuously to every higher levels of productivity and technological sophistication; this process requires that the ‘old’ be destroyed before the ‘new’ can take over. … This process of ‘creative destruction,’ to use Schumpeter’s term, produces many winners but also many losers, at least in the short term, and poses a serious threat to traditional social values, beliefs, and institutions.” (From the book “The Challenge of the Global Capitalism: The World Economy in the 21st Century,” by Robert Gilpin, see the Introduction.)

      “All in all, the 1980s and 1990s were a Hayekian moment, when his once untimely liberalism came to be seen as timely. The intensification of market competition, internally and within each nation, created a more innovative and dynamic brand of capitalism. THAT IN TURN GAVE RISE TO A NEW CHORUS OF LAMENTS THAT, AS WE HAVE SEEN, HAVE RECURRED SINCE THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY: Community was breaking down; traditional ways of life were being destroyed; identities were thrown into question; solidarity was being undermined; egoism unleashed; wealth made conspicuous amid new inequality; philistinism was triumphant.” (Emphasis added. From the book “The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought,” from the section therein on Friedrich Hayek.)

      Bottom Line Thought — Based on the Above:

      From the above, we can see that:

      a. What the countries of the world (to include the U.S./the West) are dealing with now (the need to sacrifice certain traditional social values, beliefs and institutions; this, so as to become and/or so as to remain economically competitive); this, in truth:

      b. Is what the countries of the world (to include the U.S./the West) have had to deal with SINCE THE 18TH CENTURY (see my Muller comment above).

      Accordingly, if this does not qualify as (a) appropriate “foundational knowledge” which might (b) “facilitate serious discussion about contemporary (and, indeed, past) social and cultural issues,” then I do not know what would.

      We should also note — as I illustrate below — that certain of our opponents/competitors/enemies, today; these folks are now working “by, with and through” those individuals and groups — here in the U.S./the West — who would (a) cling to certain traditional social values, beliefs and institutions and who would, thus, (b) jeopardize our economic competitiveness and national security:

      “Liberal democratic societies have, in the past few decades, undergone a series of revolutionary changes in their social and political life, which are not to the taste of all their citizens. For many of those, who might be called social conservatives, Russia has become a more agreeable society, at least in principle, than those they live in. Communist Westerners used to speak of the Soviet Union as the pioneer society of a brighter future for all. Now, the rightwing nationalists of Europe and North America admire Russia and its leader for cleaving to the past.”

      (See “The American Interest” article “The Reality of Russian Soft Power” by John Lloyd and Daria Litinova.)

      “Compounding it all, Russia’s dictator has achieved all of this while creating sympathy in elements of the Right that mirrors the sympathy the Soviet Union achieved in elements of the Left. In other words, Putin is expanding Russian power and influence while mounting a cultural critique that resonates with some American audiences, casting himself as a defender of Christian civilization against Islam and the godless, decadent West.”

      (See the “National Review” item entitled: “How Russia Wins” by David French.)

      In this regard, just how much more “foundational knowledge” — which might “facilitate serious discussion about contemporary social and cultural issues” — do I need to provide?

      1. Note: The book “The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought” — that I reference above — this is written by Jerry Z. Muller. Apologies.

  4. If we are to talk about foundational ideas, then we should also talk about which resources can give insight and where appeals to say science are of no use.
    University of California at Berkley posted a web page really for high school students. It said that science doesn’t make moral judgments, make aesthetic judgments and tell you how to use science.
    Science has limits: A few things that science does not do
    https://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_12
    People have heard the term “Money Laundering.” What passes for “research” on some topics like “social justice” is similar but really idea laundering.
    Idea Laundering’ in Academia: How nonsensical jargon like ‘intersectionality’ and ‘cisgender’ is imbued with an air of false authority.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/idea-laundering-in-academia-11574634492

    After Sir Issac Newton published his works on gravity and the planets, thinkers and scientist decided that they could establish the laws of morality. In all most four centuries, all such efforts have failed. When a moral value is stated in its own terms, scientists have failed to construct an experiment to either confirm or refute the moral value. Instead, other subjects must be studied including the three great religions if one wants to understand morality in its own terms.

    Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality by James Davison Hunter and Paul Nedelisky
    Unfortunately, many gush about the wonders and benefits of diversity. Unfortunately, when we have a multicultural society as some desire to have, this will be the undoing of the United States of America. When, in a multicultural society have differences in their “fundamental preferences” then a culture, a society, or a nation can have gridlock where nothing can be accomplished. See page 37 of
    The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies – by Scott E. Page
    https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691138541/the-difference
    This is why unlimited immigration or illegal immigration threatens the social cohesion of the United States of America.

  5. Much as with RACE, ETHNICITY and MULTICULTURALISM discussed below — likewise with such things as SEX, GENDER and MULTI-SEXUALISMS(??) — should we, today, consider these matters from the post-Cold War/globalization new strategic perspective offered below? Herein, to note that:

    a. When referring to “the Court,” below, this is the U.S. Supreme Court and

    b. The items in parenthesis, below, these are mine:

    ” ‘Grutter’ reflects the Court’s deference to elite concerns in yet another way: not so much in forming a national elite that possesses ‘legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry’ as in meeting the business (and military) needs created by competition in ‘today’s increasingly global marketplace.’ The Court seems to have accepted the elite judgment that in order to remain vigorously competitive in the international arena, American business (and military) must select its leadership cadres from the entire range of racial and ethnic (and sexual and gender) backgrounds found within the Nation’s population, so that the increased diversity within those cadres would at least roughly match the diverse population of the ‘global marketplace’ at large. Elite formation would still be conducted in terms of ‘merit’-based selection principles, but ‘merit’ would now be defined in terms of a competitive advantage in an expanded, more thoroughly globalized, market. Thus, affirmative action, understood and applied in this manner, has fundamentally different goals from the Court’s Cold War-era project of desegregation. Desegregation served the needs of a Nation State that was attempting to be ‘the provider and guarantor of [individual] equality.’ In large part, desegregation was an effort to assimilate minorities into the dominant national groups, thus forging a national people that could meet the external Communist enemy with a united front, and so denying that enemy an opportunity to exploit potentially dangerous rifts within the Nation. Affirmative action, as upheld in ‘Grutter,’ is also thought to serve the Nation’s strategic needs, but in an international environment that is markedly different from the Cold War. No longer does the Court feel a need to foster a national unity that transcends racial (and sexual and gender) consciousness or to further the assimilation of racial (and sexual and gender) minorities. Such strategic needs have passed, together with the passing of the Cold War’s chief external threat. Thus the ‘Grutter’ Court could view the prospect of multiculturalism (and multi-sexualisms) with equanimity despite the fact that, as Bobbitt correctly perceives, multiculturalism (etc.) makes it ‘increasingly difficult’ for a Nation State ‘to get consensus on public-order problems and the maintenance of rule-based legal action.’ Rather than regarding the rise of multiculturalism (etc.) as a liability that had the potential to weaken or even fracture the Nation, the Court saw it as an asset to be exploited for all the advantages it could bring American businesses (and military) in their international transactions. And again, race-conscious (and sex-conscious) governmental action is viewed through the prism of its usefulness, not its morality.

    (See the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, paper “Moral Communities or a Market State: The Supreme Court’s Vision of the Police Power in the Age of Globalization,” by Antonio Perez and Robert Delahunty; therein, look beginning on Page 702.)

    Bottom Line Question — Based on the Above:

    Is the reason why we seem to be unable to easily and readily discuss and deal with such things as SEX, GENDER, & THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE MILITARY’S CULTURAL CONVERSATION today,

    Is this based on our inability to see and understand the new strategic environment — as is discussed in the quoted item I provide immediately above?

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