The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, fly over Bancroft Hall as midshipmen sing the Alma Mater, Navy Blue and Gold, during the fifth swearing-in event for the United States Naval Academy Class of 2020.

A ‘Woke’ Naval Academy Hurts Our Military

Americans have long been rightly proud of our military. But that might be changing. A recent Reagan Institute poll indicates that only 48 percent of Americans had “a great deal of confidence” in the military. Last year, confidence hovered at similar levels, around 45 percent. But compared with 2018, this is a precipitous drop — just four years ago, 70 percent of Americans expressed significant confidence in the military.

The reason for this decline? Sixty-two percent of Americans said the military had become politicized, thereby reducing their trust in it as an institution. Cultural questions are seeping into the last major nonpartisan institution in American life.

Indeed, in late November, Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chip Roy published a brief bulletin that provided further evidence of this disturbing trend: namely, that the U.S. military services, and especially military educational institutions, are increasingly incapable of avoiding culture-war questions. The issue is one of prioritization: The military in general, and the service academies in particular, cannot become cultural battlefields. The Navy is especially vulnerable to the pernicious, distracting influence of these nebulous cultural questions. If left unchecked, the Naval Academy’s new practices will sap readiness and competence from the future force.

The modern American culture war has become encompassing in scope. It now permeates every factor of national life. Fortunately, the past year has not seen large-scale instances of civil violence. But the reality remains that the United States is deeply polarized, split coastal blue and central red states with decidedly different views of human personhood, family life, gender and sexuality, and overall human flourishing.

The liberal polity, in its modern sense, is designed to survive these tensions. The American republic is politically, economically, and geographically expansive enough to enable individuals and communities to pursue happiness in diverging manners. The very fact that the American system has cracked only once, and then only over the most fundamental of judicial questions — that of human enslavement — is a testament to its durability.

But for the liberal model to work, a handful of questions must remain beyond the reach of political debate. Property rights and protections on speech, assembly, and belief are probably the two areas that require credible pre-commitment on the state’s part. If men can neither secure the means to their self-preservation nor pursue happiness as they define it, society will shatter like a wine glass struck by a hammer.

Read the rest at National Review.

Seth Cropsey is the founder and president of Yorktown Institute.

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