republican security thinking for the republic

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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6 Responses

  1. Bob Cheeks says:


    I think your point about “losing the republic from within” is spot on. The devolution from a republic to a social democracy to whatever it is that Obamanation will become is a direct result, I think, of the libido dominandi, a kind-a moral entropy or worse, i.e. we’ve become a nation of helpless victims and we actually need the Magnificent Merckle and his minions to care for us.
    I plead guilty to a simplistic overview of the problem. I see you’re well read on the subject. With that in mind a question: what, then, do you see in our national future? A prescient blog would be most helpful, then I can “borrow” a theme or two for PoMoCon!Report

  2. Bob says:

    “Five years after a world war has been won, men’s hearts should anticipate a long peace, and men’s minds should be free from the heavy weight that comes with war. But this is not such a period– for this is not a period of peace. This is a time of the “cold war.” This is a time when all the world is split into two vast, increasingly hostile armed camps–a time of a great armaments race….

    “I have here in my hand a list of 205 [the number is often listed as 57] . . . a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. . . . ”

    Selections from the speech Sen. Joseph McCarthy delivered Feb. 9, 1950.

    As Atrios sometimes implores, “Make it stop.” Or Frank Constanza demands, “Serenity now!”Report

  3. Chris Dierkes says:

    Bob (Cheeks),

    wow–interesting question. i’d have to give it a lot (a lot) of thought.

    A good deal depends (in my mind) on what happens with the economic global situation. And longer term whether renewable energies actually deliver on their promises. If Obama & Dems are seen to (or actually manage to) in any way right the economic course, then they will be in power for a decade and a half. If they don’t, the Republicans could steal a victory I suppose, but they strike me as having no new ideas for the current problems.

    On the more social side (less the nat’l politics), I would like to see a move towards more de-centralized networked towns/villages/cities that are built around a much more distributed localized energy infrastructure and gift economy which could help create a more communal sense. They would be something like I dunna a 21st century polis (but linked to other polises? what’s the plural of polis?). They would likely be slightly autonomous to or possibly even disconnected from larger state realities.

    I see states (assuming they don’t collapse) heading the way of being essentially corporations or corporate-like entities. I know Jonah Goldberg wants to call that Liberal Fascist. I don’t think that’s the right word; James’ Pink Police State is better. Neutrally or descriptively, the best work on this is Philipp Bobbitt’s book Shield of Achilles where he describes the trend beyond nation-states to market-states. Market-states gain their legitimacy by not by monopolizing violence/promoting national identity/creating entitlement realities (the hallmarks of the nation-state) but by creating economic opportunity for people. More and more opportunity; what they do with it is largely up to them.

    I have to confess the market-state while not Liberal Fascist in my book is not an entirely appealing idea to me.

    The alternative to the market-state is John Robb’s idea of resilient communities. If those were to spring up then a more republican way of life could return. At least I think (hope?) so.Report

  4. Chris Dierkes says:

    Bob (not Bob Cheeks),

    I have a sense (vague) of why you posted that quotation. Just because Joe McCarthy was Joe McCarthy doesn’t mean that first paragraph is wrong. Basically he was right there (a coming Cold War). I have no desire to create a list of “un-American” or have a purity political witch hunt, so I have no idea why that’s there.

    As I said in my piece, The Soviets had both an alternate political conception and an actual different/rival economic system. There is no equivalent today. This is not a Cold War. It’s not WWIII or WWIV. It’s not even a Long War. It’s a Long Peace–but a peace that has to be stabilized and more broadly and deeply connected across the planet. I haven’t yet got to my critiques of Barnett post, which will come shortly. But to quickly say I’m far less sanguine about interventions than he is. I do agree with him that the only way they would ever work is to create a SysAdmin force. I think that force could (and should) be created anyway, since I think that is very valuable work. I wish it could be created without the military backdrop, it could function effectively in many places without the need of a military intervention. But I’m guessing American politics such as it is would never be that smart or agile.Report

  5. Bob says:

    Chris, there is good reason why you “…have [only] a sense (vague) of why [I] posted that quotation.” It’s because I was vague.

    My comment was directed at Mr. Cheeks comment. Specifically his first line, “I think your point about ‘losing the republic from within’ is spot on.” Typical right-wing nuttery I think. It’s more of the left is anti American meme. McCarthy might be the most easily recognizable example of this syndrome, hence my comment.

    But more recent examples are easily found. Michele Bachmann’s rant on “Hardball” where she talks of the “anti American nature” of then candidate Obama and his supporters. Seconds later she call for the press to investigate members of Congress, “are they pro America or anti America?” And within the past few days she tried to creates some sort connection between swine flu and Democratic presidents. She is an outrage.

    Then there is this from Politico on April 9, 2009:

    “Bachus says there’s 17 ‘socialists’ in House

    “Rep. Spencer Bachus, the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, told a hometown crowd in Alabama today that he believes there are several socialists in the House.

    “Actually, he says there are exactly 17 socialists in the House of Representatives. According to the Birmingham News: He said, ‘Some of the men and women I work with in Congress are socialists.’

    “Asked to clarify his comments after the breakfast speech at the Trussville Civic Center, Bachus said 17 members of the U.S. House are socialists.

    “Searching the POLITICO style book and the official U.S. House listings, we don’t see a category for socialists — just a lot of Ds and Rs next to lawmaker names. And Bachus didn’t name names of the socialist 17.”

    And this.

    Writing in The Washington Monthly, 4/9/09 Steve Bennen and Hilzoy make this point regarding the anti American trope so beloved by the right. “It’s hard to overstate how tiresome this is. The right’s approach to the political discourse, too often, hasn’t progressed at all since 2002. If you disagree with Republicans about national security, you necessarily can’t be patriotic. You’re either with Newt or you’re with the nation’s enemies.”


    “Make it stop.” “Serenity now!”Report