Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Military, Gays, and Campus Recruiting

The always reliable law prof Eugene Volokh has an interesting take on the efforts of some law schools to prevent the military from recruiting on campus:
[O]fficers coming from (say) Yale Law School would likely be more tolerant of homosexuality than the average officer. As a purely practial matter,
discouraging Yalies from joining the military may make the military slightly
less gay-rights-friendly.
And more:
And as a matter of symbolism, the symbolic message isn't "We detest discrimination." Rather, it's "Discrimination is so bad that we must wash our hands of the military, in spite of all the good the military does." The boycotters have weighed the military in the balance, and they have found that on balance it should be excluded, rather than included. The symbolism of that is pretty clear.
Read the entire article here.

Further: Volokh hedges his bets early in his article, saying that "a person's sexual orientation is none of the government's business," but that "[t]here are decent pragmatic arguments for why the military is different; and these arguments might be right, though I'm not expert enough to tell."

Let's consult then with a military expert, one who "served in the armed forces ... [flew] more than 150 of the best fighter planes and bombers this country manufactured ... founded the Arizona National Guard [and] chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee:" Barry Goldwater.

Goldwater, a senator from Arizona, was the Republican presidential candidate in 1964. In June of 1993, both the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times carried identical editorials where Goldwater critized the "don't ask-don't tell" policy. The piece was entitled "The Gay Ban: Just Plain Un-American," and it contains gems like this:
The conservative movement, to which I subscribe, has as one of its basic tenets
the belief that government should stay out of people's private lives. Government
governs best when it governs least -- and stays out of the impossible task of
legislating morality. But legislating someone's version of morality is exactly
what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays.
You don't need to be "straight" to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.
Read the whole editorial here. If you don't know about Barry Goldwater, read his Washington Post obituary here, and find out how libertarian this icon of conservatism really was.

1 comment:

Adam Scavone said...

And while we're at it, let's talk about why the hell the military bans people who smoke marijuana. Same ignorant rationale, I suppose.

Anyway - more to the point:
WHAT: A discussion, open to anyone with a CUID, of the merits and implications of the proposal to restore ROTC
WHO: The Senate Task Force on ROTC
WHERE: Davis Auditorium, Schapiro Engineering (CEPSR)
WHEN: Tuesday, February 15, 2005, 7-9 pm

FOR MORE INFORMATION: The proposal to restore ROTC, first presented to the Senate in March 2004, is available on the Senate homepage, at The task force
has been studying the proposal since October, has reached no conclusions, but hopes to present a recommendation to the Senate this spring.

A transcript of the February 15 town hall meeting will be on the Senate website.

To contribute to the discussion by e-mail, write to the task force at