These slavery analogies betray a profound indifference to, if not ignorance of, the tragic plight of bondsmen and women. Yet Americans--from Patriots and Loyalists during the Revolution to Ben Carson today--have felt comfortable likening human bondage to high taxes, unjust laws, black enfranchisement, or, in Carson's case, national healthcare and abortion.
I was struck by this small moment because it encapsulates the lie of militarism where it is most invulnerable: at the humanity of the men and women who protect us, putting their lives on the line. When all else goes wrong, the troops remain sacred. In a broken economy, the troops are sacred. Militarism is the god we can manipulate.