After 9/11, amid things like the Patriot Act and the new “War on Terror”, there came a bill that really caught my attention as a teenage Quaker – the Universal Military Service and Training Act of 2001. This was a proposed law that never made it to Bush’s desk (thankfully), that would have required all male citizens of age to enlist for basic training (including Pentagon-approved history lessons) and a term of service. The authors of the bill very kindly provided for contentious objectors to opt out of weapons training and direct combat roles. Needless to say, this freaked me out. I think it freaked out a lot of people, and I feel quite certain that if conditions allow, the idea will come up again.
So that’s something to look forward to…
Another way in which conservatives are trying to create the society in Starship Troopers is proposing that all teachers be armed. As usual, Beau of the Fifth Column has some words worth hearing on the subject, and on what that might actually look like.
This is not a solution. The problem is, that’s not going to stop conservatives from trying it. If you haven’t realized by now that reality is no barrier to the laws they want to make, then I’m afraid you’re very behind on your political education. The fact that they’re happy to legislate based on how they think reality ought to work, makes me think we need to consider that they’ll keep pushing for armed teachers until they get armed teachers. And if it comes to that, the scenario Beau discusses isn’t the only way that could go. There’s another possibility for what this could look like, and it’s a very, very grim one:
They could start requiring that all teachers either be veterans, or have completed basic training, or some other government-sanctioned combat training program.
At the end of the day, conservatives – and that’s not a category limited to Republicans – want to control things. They want hierarchies, and they want those hierarchies to be enforced. The tools they use for this – police, debt, redlining, etc. – are varied and sometimes fairly subtle, but they all seem to aim at creating a populace that will do as they’re told, and won’t rock the boat. It seems to me that this push to arm teachers may be closer than we realize to requiring teachers to undergo formal military training.
Do I need to make the case for why that would be a bad thing? Do I need to explain who would be most hurt by this path?