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Dishonouring the fallen

An interesting question for those concerned about creating a more free society is how such a society, be it a model of constitutional, limited, minimal government, or even an anarchist one, would actually defend itself from attack. What sort of practical ways would such societies employ, and would such societies require armies, navies, air forces and the like?

It seems pretty fair to me to assume that outside some sort of pacifist utopia, any such model requires defence and people with the skills and willpower to serve as soldiers, pilots and the like. That is why in the absence of the draft, which libertarians rightly abhor, we need people who can volunteer to serve in the armed forces, giving up the comforts of home. That is not sentimental military-speak, but hard reality.

Hard reality is something of a stranger to the author of this diatribe, full of twisted logic, presumptiousness and lies against the late American soldier and former NFL star, Pat Tillman.

I will not bother to fisk the piece. The illogicality of it is so glaring, its vile intent so obvious, that a line by line response would merely insult the intelligence of this blog’s readership. Suffice to say that a man gave up the promise of a fat paycheck and the comforts of a loving family to go and join the army, knowing that in so doing he might be called upon to fight in situations those moral perfectionists in our academic world would find abhorrent.

Whether one agrees with the war against Saddam and the Taliban or not, on a broader point, it seems obvious to me that we will need people willing, like Pat Tillman, to defend us. This is a point that about which a “chickenhawk” like me who is too old to serve in the forces any more is only too painfully aware.

Remember the name of the woman who wrote this shabby article. As the years go by no doubt she will continue to enjoy the benefits of a world made rich by a model of free enterprise she hates, and defended by “macho” men she despises. But I will not forget. This sorry excuse for a human being has not just traduced the memory of a very brave and good man; she has done so against all those who believed they were fighting to defend the freedoms we enjoy.

(Please post comments on the Daily Collegiate website I linked to. They deserve to hear what you think).

28 comments to Dishonouring the fallen

  • Susan

    I abhor violence of all kinds. Years of Christian indoctrination and PeeCee have done their work on my psyche that I seriously doubt I would be able to take another person’s life even if they put my own life in danger. Okay, I admit it: I am far too passive and pacifistic to ever be a trustworthy ally in a situation calling for self-defense.

    Nonetheless, I am not a hypocrite. I know full well that my current free, prosperous lifestyle has been built upon the wrecked bodies of the “rough men” who have guarded me in my sleep, some of the my own ancestors who wore blue uniforms in the Civil and Independence Wars of our nation.

    That’s the difference between me and Rene Gonzales.

  • chthus

    Rene is actually a male. Here’s a quote about him from another collegiate article:

    ‘Rene Gonzalez of the University’s Student Government Association’s ALANA caucus spoke at the event. He said most Americans have a feeling that laws that make a totalitarian society would not happen in the United States, but his disdain toward the government was clear.

    Gonzalez compared the type of government in the United States to fascism. He also said that the little opposition of U.S. citizens to the policies of President George W. Bush is not dissimilar to the rise of Adolf Hitler in World War II.

    “In Germany, the [support of Hitler] happened first with little things. Then they had a politician with the unquestioning support of his people,” he said. “That’s what fear in a conformist nation does. That’s what’s happening [in the United States] today.” ‘


    A google search of (“Rene Gonzalez” umass) will give more info. There was also a photo, email adress and listing of his musical performances, though it could be another Rene Gonzalez at UMASS. He also appears to be a member of the Palistinian Action Coalition.

  • Pete (Detroit)

    I am stunned that you guys (ok, and gals) could make it through that article – 3 graphs in, I was frothing…

    The other obvoius answer to ‘draft’ and ‘volunteer’ armed service is universal enlistment. Certainly, there are issues that would need to be worked out, but think of the benifit of EVERY house having at least one assualt rifle in pristine condition and a person skilled in it’s use. Yes, you would still need ‘career military’ personnel, but I’m thinking it would go a long way towards curbing gang violence.
    Incidently, the (US) body count in Iraq for the calander year finally passed the body count in Detroit – Where are the people screaming to see THOSE body bags?
    And that’s JUST the (Greater Metro) Detroit area – never mind LA, DC, NY, Chicago, Atlanta, etc, etc…
    DAMN it’s easy to slide off topic sometimes…

  • Once people bring up analogies Adolf Hitler, you know they were not born when he was around. You will never hear someone who lived through those days compare someone to Hitler.

  • eric

    More blather from a self-important and immature college student looking for attention.

    Well, he’s got it alright.

    I hope this follows him around for a good long while.

  • David Beatty

    Johnathan, the words disgusting and vile do not do justice to that flaming pile of manure spewed forth by Rene Gonzalez.

    By the way, you can’t read or post comments, you get a message that the site is experiencing high traffic. I wonder why?

  • To me it’s twice as insulting to read RG’s garbage and hear him talk of “my neighborhood in Puerto Rico”, and watch him gasbag his way through some sort of perspective about “those living outside the (sic) American borders”.

    In my neigborhood in Puerto Rico we appreciated the sacrifice of our compatriot Americans (may I remind you that Puerto Ricans are American citizens from birth) so we could live in liberty. Even in the liberty to sound like a Rene Gonzalez.

  • Godwin’s law was written for USenet, but I think I applies anywhere on the Internet. After all, this is just one big distributed conversation.

    Godwin’s Law prov. [Usenet] “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin’s Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin’s Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.

  • Petro

    “…and join the army, knowing that in so doing he might be called upon to fight in situations those moral perfectionists in our academic world would find abhorrent…”

    ITYM “…that in doing so he would be fighting in situations…”

    Tillman graduated with a 3.8 GPA. He knew exactly what he was doing.

    May he Rest In Piece.

  • Euan Gray

    Tried to reach the site, but it is “experiencing high traffic”. I’ve heard of sites being Slashdotted, but maybe being Samizdatted is a new one?


  • Here’s(Link) the punk’s web page (it’s old).

  • chthus

    There’s a CNN/SI story about the article linked on CNN’s homepage. AP has been trying (unsuccessfully) to get a comment from Rene. He’s got his attention alright. The president of UMASS has chimed in, and rightfully criticized the piece as immature among other things. My guess is that he will become a posterboy for the anti-war crowd, but he will find his 15 minutes to be less than enjoyable.

  • Drudge picked up the story, and so has Sports Illustrated with “UMass president rips student column on Tillman”.

  • Nearly every Libertarian and Right blog has torn this article to shreds today. I actually posted it with the disclaimer “RightGirl and girlontheright.com are not responsible if your blood pressure shoots through the roof from reading this article”!

  • Well, I can’t speak for the college part, since I am also a college student, but I still think that criticizing Pat Tillman is a mistake. He defied common logic, walked away from a $3.6 million NFL contract, and died while serving his country. That, IMO, takes dedication. If anything, he was a model citizen, placing the country’s military needs above his own personal luxuries.

  • Andrew X

    Well, went to comment on it just as you asked….

    “This site is experiencing high traffic volume at theis time. Please try again later.”

    heh heh heh heh heh

    Me-thinks the author is getting an earful.

  • Brian

    Rene’s home phone number is on the U-Mass website. Click on the “people finder” link and plug in his name. You know, for educational purposes.

  • M. Simon

    How about the rarely mentioned Simon’s Law?

    Simon’s Law prov. [LGF] “As a LGF discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving the Jews as the cause of a problem approaches one.” There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Jews has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

  • John

    The Tillman thing was an opinion layout in that day’s edition of the paper. Andria at Rational Explications posted the other (better) commentary in the post One Masshole Doesn’t Ruin It For the Whole Bunch.

  • Johnathan

    Thanks for the comments. BTW, I did not know this person was a woman — I read a few other sites and thought people were talking about the writer in the female sense. Oh well, doesn’t matter.

    Sorry if posting this story has raised anyone’s blood pressure unduly.

  • Ben

    Rene Gonzalas is a male. I won’t say he is a man, as there is something so unmanly about scorning and ridiculing Tillman that I think the writer has lost his humanity, if not his masculinity in saying what he did.

    A local liberal radio talk show was discussing the column and the general consensus on this show was that Rene was an abject jerk. Even though the show’s host (and most of their listeners) oppose the war on terror, they recognize what bravery and sacrifice Tillman displayed for all of us.

    You know you suck when even those whom you support don’t want nothing to do with you, or even willing to join the line to kick your sorry ass.

  • Several people have slagged him off as a dumb jock who got himself killed. As far as I am concerned (well known jock loather that I am) the minute he enlisted in the military he ceased being a jock and became a soldier. A jock serves no useful purpose in society, a soldier clearly does.

    He is a hero not a jock.

    May he Rest in Peace.

  • I’ve seen the news coverage, but I still get the “This site is busy…” message when I try to view the article. Either it’s a cover for the story being removed, or this guy(?) sure is hearing from quite a few angry readers. Anyhow, is it important that I read the actual article, or has the media done a good job of summing it up?

  • Johnathan

    Alex, I suggest you give it a day or so and try and hit the site again. If you have the stomach to read it, you may want to have a shot of brandy afterwards to help you calm down.

    have a good weekend everyone. Now off to Cornwall for a few days.

  • Alan Furman

    Go to this link:


    for an account of a fallen US Marine’s funeral.

    What starts out heavy on the technicalities of military protocol becomes the powerfully moving story of a dedicated, benevolent, and resilient culture.

    The media/academic elite who still think they can denigrate and marginalize that culture at no cost are living in a September Tenth fantasy.

  • A_t

    “The media/academic elite who still think they can denigrate and marginalize that culture at no cost are living in a September Tenth fantasy.”

    What cost would you have them pay then?

    Also, no elite can marginalize a culture; only the people of whom the culture is composed can do that.

    Also, any culture which one is not allowed to denigrate is not one I would want to live in. However craven, cowardly or ignoble my comments might be, I should suffer no more than loss of readership/having to argue hard with people.

  • Robert

    Rene Gonzalez is as entitled to his viewpoint as you are to yours. The First Amendment protects ALL free speech; especially free political speech. I
    don’t like what Gonzalez said about Mr. Tillman either. But he should be allowed to question people’s motivation to “blindly” follow President Bush and his military campaign in Iraq. He’s allowed to guess the motivation of Mr. Tillman to join the army and turn down an NFL contract and not come up with the same answer that everyone else does. Vietnam taught Americans that they have a right to question the government’s activities and not just blindly follow them. We are NOT one nation under one patriotic viewpoint.

    Even hate speech is protected by the Supreme Court (R.A.V. vs City of St. Paul 112 S .Ct. 2538). The Constitution protects all kinds of speech because the framers realized the value of debate in a free society (however offending that speech is to anyone). You are entitled to disagree with Mr.
    Gonzalez and blast away back at him in an op-ed piece like you have. The public can certainly trash Mr. Gonzalez all they want. But the UMass President is not allowed to pressure Mr. Gonzalez into making an apology for something he wrote, just because he happens to disagree with the viewpoint and is in a position of power to do something about it. That is against the law of the land.

    I’m stunned to this day how many people in public life still don’t understand the First Amendment. I am going to do whatever I can to see that
    Mr. Gonzalez is able to get an attorney to pursue his First Amendment rights in this case because he will win.

    The moment anyone has the right to singlehandedly silence dissent in a society, that’s when all the freedom the military is out there
    defending, is all for naught. The real dishonor to Mr. Tillman’s memory is not Rene Gonzalez, its people like UMass President James Wilson.

  • Johnathan

    Robert, you will not find on this blog — in terms of the main writers like yours truly anyway — anyone who dissents from your absolute defence of freedom of speech. I was not, let’s get this clear straight away, denying the jerk who slagged off the late Mr Tillman the right to air his views. Being a libertarian means often defending the rights of speech to folk I despise, such as this young idiot Gonzales.

    However, I should also add that free speech does not give the Gonzaleses and Ted Ralls of this world the right to demand that some news or media outlet broadcast their views, or demand that a town hall gives them a platform. They cannot bleat “crushing of dissent” if, for example, Samizdata were to deny them a platform.

    It says a lot about the basic resilience of America and for that matter Britain that it gives rights to people who, given half a chance, would let those rights disappear in a puff of smoke.