Peter J. Munson a major in the Marine Corps, is the author of “War, Welfare & Democracy: Rethinking America’s Quest for the End of History.” The views expressed here are his own.
.... In our increasingly paranoiac discourse, we too have lost focus on the positive, creative tasks that continuously remake American power, resilience and vitality. We cannot agree to invest in education for our children or in infrastructure for our commerce, to rationalize the regulations that underpin our markets or to act collectively to create value. Instead, we hunker in a defensive crouch.
Defense is an act of negation. It brings no victory, instead making us fearful, paranoid, angry and uncooperative. Our negative, defensive outlook has colored our politics, hampered our economy and hamstrung our strategies. Individually, many Americans retain inner go — the unswerving view of our changing world as an endless fount of opportunity. Collectively, however, we must regain our lost focus on a positive vision for the future. We must exalt those who create value in our society: parents, teachers, workers, builders, entrepreneurs, innovators. We must go forth confident that we can lead a changing world by continuing to create, by working together and by living the sorts of fearless lives that our fallen lived.
A nation cannot survive on defense alone. Militaries and wars produce nothing. They only consume — time, lives, resources and hope. That day in the classroom in 2010, looking across the sea of young, diverse faces and hopeful eyes untainted by cynicism, I saw promise for a positive, creative America. When I decided to focus on that promise, the darkness lifted. It can lift for all of us. America, thank your military by building something worth defending. Banish the fear, paranoia and dissension. Lead again.
Read the whole piece... it's worth it.
Any thoughts on the "defensive malaise" brought on by a decade or more of war?