|"Military Might" |
(as in "the military might be an occupying force within its own borders.")
Ayn Rand said that a government must have police forces (and an army) as well as courts of law. I just finished reading the new biography of John Adams by David McCullough. Adams felt that among his greatest accomplishments was the creation of the U.S. Navy. As president, faced with a war with France, Adams called up a national army -- and then disbanded it when the threat subsided. The United States kept its navy.
When speaking perhaps too casually, Ayn Rand could have meant "navy" as being part of the "army." There was no sense in splitting hairs. In her lifetime she had seen the air plane invented, made a weapon of war, and then the Air Force (Luftwaffe) created as a separate military arm, co-equal with the army and navy. In her prime, the U.S. Air Force lobbied Congress for money to create an orbiting platform. This could have become the "space force" a separate branch of the military, though we would have to ask: from whom does a "space force" protect us?
Why get bogged down in senseless details? Rand said -- in case the point was lost -- that the purpose of an army is to protect the citizens of a nation from invasion. She may have been deeply affected by her Russian childhood. Historically, in America, the navy protected us from invasion. The purpose of the army was to kill Indians... who were unlikely to have invaded New York or even Denver by the time there was a Denver, which was (logically enough) after the army killed off enough Indians to make Denver possible.
One of the complaints about the proposed London Metropolitan Police Force was that in uniform it would be an occupying army. (Without uniforms they would be "secret police" as in France and the German states: damned if you do; damned if you don't.) The point is not accidental or trivial. Generally speaking, city police departments in America became popular only after the Civil War. After the Civil War, blue uniforms carried a positive message... except, perhaps, among native Americans...
At any rate, the U.S. Army had very little role in protecting America from invasion. Historically, it was the navy. It was the navy for the colonial founders of our republic who built and maintained both a navy and a separate "coast guard" though allowing the army to lapse into disuse.
Even today, do we need an "army" -- as opposed to a navy, air force or space command? In whose care should ground troops be placed? If the navy has its "marines," (including marine aviators) would the "army" not, then, be part of the navy in a rational military?
Ayn Rand glossed over this. She was not a military person. Fortunately, Objectivism benefits from many people who do have military experience. I am not sure that any of the so-called "leaders" of Objectivism, from whatever, school, magazine, or institute, has such experience. Certainly, none has given the matter much rational throught.
(Personally, believing as I do that violence is the last resort of the incompetent, I think that "rational thought" about the military is ontologically impossible, in the same set of arguments as "rational thought about God." But, I've been wrong before...)