Tag: Old and New

Critical Corrosion of American Military, Pt. 2


You really do not want a military whose leaders are actually divorced from or in open opposition to civilian culture. That is the way of the old Kemalist Turkish military, holding itself the guarantor of a Turkish society held perpetually to Ataturk’s vision. That is a bit of colonels periodically ejecting corrupt generals and their presidents for life in Latin America. That is entirely alien to our constitutional republic. Yet, it is dangerous for that same constitutional republic when a professional military elite is corroded by critical theory. “Critical Corrosion of American Military, Pt. 1,” sketched the shifts, over time, in policies and programs addressing ethnicity, sex, and sexual identity. Now we turn to the shaping of military leaders’ outlooks relative to their civilian counterparts.

Underlying Conditions

America was born with a deep suspicion of a standing army on our soil. An army, mind you, not a navy, air force, or space force. The navy depended on ports and yet could not project power by itself into the interior. True, starting with the Battle of Britain and the attack on Pearl Harbor, the long-range fires of naval and land-based airpower, including missiles, are devastating. Yet, they cannot march house to house and drag people away to prison camps. A brief review of our fundamental law, the words voted upon by the people in their several states, outlines both the feared danger and the attempt at risk management in an imperfect world.

Critical Corrosion of American Military, Pt. 1


We are hollowing out our military again, placing Americans in danger, both those in uniform and the civilian population. In the 1970s, the military was wracked by equipment, training, and personnel problems. After two decades of not-so-small wars, the American military again faces equipment, training and personnel problems, with a new twist. The latest United States Service Academy (West Point) cheating scandal is one manifestation of a 21st Century personnel problem, created by senior leaders embracing critical race theory, a leftist assault on our Constitution and institutions. This leftist assault, embraced by elites, civilian and military, weakens the foundations of integrity and trust in our military at every level.

From January 2021 onward, the American military has shown very troubling signs of accelerated politicization, with attendant concerns about weakness in the face of a resurgent threat environment. This is more than a single post, so I will start with the “so what,” with why it really matters if our military becomes like a socialist military, with political commissars enforcing party doctrine as national interest. I will then briefly outline how training and practice of the military-styled “Equal Opportunity” changed over the decades. Finally, we will take a look at the case of critical corrosion at West Point, the United States Military Academy.


Old and New: Eternal Truths


When I think of the phrase “old and new,” God and the Bible certainly come to mind. One of God’s names is “the Ancient of Days,” referencing His eternality, and even the “youngest” books of the Bible are well over 1,000 years old. That being said, this is one of the most precious verses of Scripture, in my opinion: 

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!”Lamentations 3:23-24 CSB (emphasis added)

Old & New: Trash into Useful Stuff


One of my jobs, when I was a youth, was to take the “garbage” out and put it in the pig trough. The “garbage” was in one of those little bucket-type trash cans that had a step-on pedal causing the lid to pop up, and the container inside it could be lifted out by the handle. This was where my mom would put vegetable peelings, wilted lettuce leaves, apple cores, etc. Only food waste items went in there, and when it was filled (it only took a few days since she cooked all of the meals for our family of ten people) this bucket was taken from the screen porch to the pigpen out past the barn. There it was emptied into the wooden trough as a treat for our sows.

“Trash” on the other hand, went into the wastebasket. Anything put into this tall container had to be burnable. Each evening the wastebasket from the bathroom was added to this receptacle then carried out to the burning barrel in the barnyard where, yes, you dumped it into a large metal barrel, and then set it on fire. It burned quickly because anything that ended up in that trash container was flammable. Your job was to stand there and make sure it burned without anything floating out of it, and even in a light snowstorm it would burn and, frankly, was a really fun job for a 10-year-old. I got to set stuff on fire! With permission! The only non-fun part of this job was washing out the wastebasket because no plastic bags were involved.

Bryan at 51


This is part of the Group Writing for January

So, another trip around the sun, and I am 51. There is no “well I was just in my 40’s” arguments. That is now over a year ago. Nope, I am into my sixth decade of life. I lived through a near-crippling lower back problem that left me lame and needing physical therapy to learn to walk again at the end of my 40’s. I can wake up after a poor night’s sleep and feel almost as lousy as if I did not sleep at all. I take off my glasses to read. I have been on a statin for 11 years now. And, one knuckle in my right hand is starting to hurt for no reason about once every three days. We won’t talk about fighting the pounds. But, if I am honest, the sense of time passage has not really been based on physical age.

Old and New: In a Pickle


pickle fermentation2021 puts conservatives and anyone right of Jane Fonda in a pickle. Some very bad old ideas are back in new and far more weaponized forms. Yet, the future does not ultimately belong to the left, nor need the next few years. We can bend the arc of history with time and effort. Speaking of time and effort, let’s talk pickles.

I grew up in a family that had a large vegetable garden every year, yard space provided. This necessarily led to freezing and canning. For whatever reason, cucumbers were never, to my memory, a part of my mother’s garden. We had plenty of squash, and tomatoes in places where they would ripen. Zucchini squash was shredded and packed into small freezer containers for use all through the winter months, hopefully used up just about when the next season’s crop was small, tender squash. Tomatoes went into larger Mason jars as stewed tomatoes, or chutney or governor’s sauce for meat. It took me a few decades to follow the family canning tradition.

I started canning about three years ago, driven by a surplus of lemons from a friend’s lemon tree and a desire to reproduce a tomato jelly recipe I had discovered at a microbrewery. I like good beer and started home brewing after my initial Army tour in West Germany, when it was West Germany. Put a pin in the home brewing. Accordingly, I also like trying new small breweries’ products. The Sleepy Dog Brewery had a tasting room at the front end of their brewery and food trucks on high volume nights. This included a pizza oven trailer, supplemented with pretzel dough buns topped with cream cheese and tomato jelly. So, a great deal on the right kind of tomatoes merged with a recipe search, generating my first batch of tomato jelly.

Member Post


Clifford’s topic for this month gave me the opportunity to look at the many things I have collected over the years and refused to give up, and to look at those items that I have purchased more recently for practical purposes. I realized that the old items reflected a very different time in my life […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


January 6 is the twelfth day of Christmas, so I am not out of season with Christmas music. Yup, the Twelve Days of Christmas are not part of Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas. Rather, the Christian church, both east* and west,** commemorate this ancient feast day twelve days after commemorating Christ’s birth. To […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Auld and New Lang Syne


The song most associated with the (western) New Year is a Scottish tune with lyrics coming from Scottish folk roots. The words, as we know them, come from Robert Burns. The poet claimed he had found the words, yet he most likely wrote a significant portion himself, riffing on older sources. Here, then are a series of recordings, from the dawn of voice recording to this year, so that we do not forget the old times in the rush of the new.

The earliest recording I found was from 1910, performed by Frank C. Stanley:

Member Post


Hey you! Yes, you. Each month, Ricochet members like you share a few thoughts, a bit of knowledge or creativity, playing off a theme. Sometimes it is no more than a concluding line or a throw-away to shoe horn their post into the theme. We are very casual about that. The whole point is for […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.