We weren’t able to do an episode for our regular Saturday time slot last weekend because Steve was on the road, so we’re doing this mid-week show with a special return guest, philosopher Spencer Case, who in a previous life served in the U.S. Army in deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. While supportive of our military mission, he had misgivings about how it was all going during his Afghan deployment in 2009 and 2010.

Then Steve and Lucretia discuss at length whether conservatives should turn against the military, or at the very least the politicized and bureaucratized military leadership. They spend a lot of time discussing a savage article by an anonymous serving general officer posted by Glenn Reynolds on Instapundit, which says, among other bracing things, “Unreformed, the Department of Defense is an inscrutable labyrinth which invites fraud, waste, and abuse.” To which Steve proposes: maybe we should cut the Pentagon budget in half. The left has always hated the military, while the right always defended it and wanted to spend more, even with its waste and extravagance. But perhaps that support was a contingent relic of the Cold War? What does it mean for the American military if both the left and the right dislike it?

Almost exactly a year ago I had Spencer Case on the show from Wuhan, China, where he had a front row seat to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spencer is now back in Wuhan, finishing up a post-doc fellowship at Wuhan University, where he is working on two books and a pile of academic articles. Spencer has also started his own podcast, Micro-Digressions, and it is worth a listen if you have even a passing interest in philosophy.

In this episode we not only talk about Spencer’s ordeal getting out of China last year, but his ordeal getting back into China a few weeks ago, and what Wuhan is like today. From there we take a brief tour of heroes and villains among modern philosophers.