Tag: Eisenhower

Military Leadership in Two Brief Messages

 

General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, prepared two messages in preparation for D-Day, 6 June 1944. One was issued as his Order of the Day for June 6, 1944, to be read to all the troops. The other was jotted in pencil on a single page. Both messages teach us what military leadership under our constitutional republic should look and sound like.

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS
ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for July 18, 2018 it’s the Trump Industrial Complex edition of the show with your suave and fascinating hosts, radio guy Todd Feinburg and, holding down the left coast, AI-guy Mike Stopa.

This week we bring two topics of very intellectual weight and concern. The first involves the military industrial complex, the deep state and the fate of the Republic. The second concerns the nature of Man and the importance of the Will to Power in Man’s survival. Must Man always struggle to be higher in order to still remain, in his essence, a Man?

Do You Like Ike?

 

dwight-eisenhowerWith the unexpected direction this election cycle has taken, I’ve found myself repeatedly asking “What kind of president do the American public/Republican primary voters/Tea Partiers/Trump supporters really want?” Whenever we compare contemporary presidential candidates to historical figures, we tend to refer back to a short list of 20th century figures: Wilson, FDR, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton. But one name is conspicuously absent, a name associated with both the period of fastest growth and the most popular presidency of the 20th century: Dwight Eisenhower.

From the perspective of today’s politics, it’s hard to see how someone like Ike could even exist: A fairly non-partisan leader who was genuinely pragmatic; A supporter of the New Deal and public works projects who, nonetheless, didn’t want to cram the government down every throat; A staunch Cold Warrior who still warned against military excesses; And, of course, a man willing to use his executive power to deploy the US military into an matter of social politics. Indeed, the period of his presidency is constantly cited by members of all ideologies as the benchmark of American success and the American Dream. But if Eisenhower was such a success, why do we rarely ever mention him anymore, while we invoke Reagan’s name more frequently than the Lord’s at church?

I think part of the blame falls on Reagan himself. From an intellectual perspective, Reagan aligned himself closely and conspicuously with William F. Buckley and National Review, which — I have been told — was created during the 1950s partly as a counter-reaction to Ike’s affinity for big government. But here’s the essay question: Was Reagan more like Goldwater or more like Eisenhower?

The Ends Justify the Memes

 

Pictured: Infuriatingly Willful IgnoranceSometimes I’m kind of amazed by what the Democrats can get away with. Like this little meme here to the right. I’ve seen it a few times on my Facebook feed in a few different forms. They all follow the same theme: Executive orders like the one Obama just signed are awesome, because look, Eisenhower used them to desegregate schools. Check and mate, Republicans.

Of course, these memes depend entirely on one’s ignorance of history, willful or otherwise.

School desegregation had little to do with executive orders save in one, specific instance. Desegregation was initiated at the federal level by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. I know this because back when I argued against judicial activism, my progressive friends used this as their Ends-Justifying-Means Hammer. In fact, anyone could know this because a Google search on the history of desegregation will generally highlight this as the big moment. In 1955, a second case — Brown v. Board of Education II — declared that federal district courts had jurisdiction over lawsuits to enforce the desegregation decision, and mandated desegregation proceed “with all deliberate speed.” The Civil Rights Act was signed into law on September 9, 1957. Eisenhower gets a small mention.