Philip Ewing of Navy Times writes in New Command to Promote Navy History:

The Navy has a “culture problem” with its past, the service’s top historian says.

Neither sailors nor leaders have enough appreciation for how useful history could be in their day-to-day decision-making, said retired Rear Adm. Jay DeLoach. But he hopes to change that.

DeLoach said he has big plans for the newly renamed Naval History and Heritage Command, formerly known as the Naval Historical Center, at the Washington Navy Yard. It owns more than 1 million historical artifacts and hundreds of thousands of documents and pieces of art; runs a dozen museums; has control of every sunken Navy ship and aircraft in the world; and even owns two patches of forest from which engineers get the wood to repair the frigate Constitution — which the command also oversees. He wants to put all of those resources to work.

Full article here.

After decades of neglect, hope and change is coming to Naval History. Just needs the $$$$ since decades of neglect can’t be reversed overnight. For pennies on the dollar that is wasted by the bureaucracy, the Navy’s history program could be FIXED!

What advice do you have for the newly renamed Naval History and Heritage Command? How would you fix Naval History?

h/t Sid




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  • Spade

    From the article: “Instead of being introverted, we need to be extroverted,” DeLoach said. “We need to deliver history to the fleet and the Marine Corps.”

    Well, the USMC already has a very good Historical Branch, and a great museum that doesn’t require you to go through security stuff to get too (metal detectors vs WNY gates). And it has beer.

    I’d say they need to deliver history like the USMC does, as opposed to delivering it TO the Marines. Last time I was at USMC History I couldn’t talk to any oral historians because they were busy interviewing Marines just back from Iraq. In fact, the whole delivering info to commands is something that the USMC History Division already does.

    As an aside, the USMC Historians (who at that time hadn’t been in their new Quantico digs long) had nothing nice to say about the Navy Historians at the Yard and were thrilled to not be anywhere near them anymore.

  • Spade

    Forgot to say: Advice: Naval History and Heritage Command should take a drive down to Quantico and see what the Marines are doing.

  • sid

    This really is a healthy development. One way history can be used in a “forward” manner is to avoid flight into a conceptual box canyon where others have wrecked before…

    Take these excerpts from Capt Hughes’ Fleet tacs and Coastal Combat (pp60-61)…

    “The period from 1865 to 1914 rivals even our present age for sweeping technological development in peacetime…

    tactical analysis failed in two significant respects only: overvaluation of speed, and failure to forsee the effects that poor visibility would have on major fleet actions.”

    So, in theoretcial planning a century ago, speed got overrated and restrictions to the ability to see what the enemy is doing were not give due consideration.

    Now, check out this 2004 interview with RADM Hamilton, then PEO Ships NAVSEA…

    As you know from reading the requirements documents, the survivability piece on LCS is different than DDG 51 or DDX or several of our other combatants. And what we’ve chosen to do here is couple high speed and maneuverability and situational awareness in ways that allow LCS to be in the right place at the right time and to be out of the right place at the wrong time. Okay?

    So, high speed is highly valued in the very survival of the LCS…

    And, its operational viability will depend to a great extent on a “clarity of vision” to exploit that highly valued speed at critical times.

    “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”
    -George Santayana

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    Publishing the great stories of sailors and ships would be a useful starting point — not in some dusty tome only available from the GPO if you know to ask for it, either. Here’s a great example.

    Get it online!

  • RickWilmes

    The first step Naval Historians need to do is answer the following question.

    How is anyone going to take Naval History seriously when Midshipman are still required to memorize the Augustus C. Buell fabrication which is better known as “Qualifications of a Naval Officer”?

    Let me explain.

    In the 2008-2009 Reef Points, “Qualifications of a Naval Officer” precedes the Table of Contents with the following reference.

    -Written by Augustus C. Buell in 1900 to reflect his views of John Paul Jones.

    In the 1987 – 1988 Reef Points, “Qualifications of a Naval Officer” can be found on p. 28 with the following reference.

    -From a composite letter of John Paul Jones’ phrases and clauses as compiled by Augustus C. Buell.

    Notice the difference?

    In Appendix 6: Buell’s Fabrications from “John Paul Jones: A Sailor’s Biography”, Samuel Eliot Morison writes the following,

    “Augustus C. Buell is not the “father of lies” about Paul Jones. Nevertheless, his two-volume biography, which first appeared in 1900, tells more of them than all other writers put together; and although it has frequently been exposed,(1) copies classified as biographies on library shelves continue to mislead the young, as well as writers of articles, books, speeches and moving pictures.”(Jone Paul Jones: A Sailor’s Biography, p.425)

    (1) C. O. Paullin “When Was Our Navy Founded? U.S. Naval Inst. Proceedings XXXVI (1910) 255-261; A. B. Hart “Imagination in History,” American Historical Review XV (1910) 231-232: Mrs. Reginald De Koven “A Fictitious Paul Jones Masquerading as the Real” N.Y. Times, Sunday 10 June 1906, republished as a pamphlet; Milton W. Hamilton “Augustus C. Buell, Fradulent Historian” Penna. Mag. History LXXX (1956) 478-492.

    And of utmost importance Morison writes the following on p. 426.

    “The letter of 3 October 1775 to Hewes (I 32-37) is the most famous of Buell’s fabrications because, until proved to be false, it was required reading for midshipmen at Annapolis. This is the one describing the qualifications of a naval officer: to speak French and Spanish; to be familiar with international and admiralty law and the usages of diplomacy; to water the “feeble and struggling roots” of the Navy “with his blood”; and “do the best we can with what we have in hand.” Admiral Ernest J. King used the last phrase in his General Orders at the beginning of World War II, and the letter is also used in Farrow’s “screenplay” of 1959.”

    And I am only on Step 1.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    About fixing history:

    The USMC holds its history and traditions to be sacred. The instilling of a warrior ethos is fundamental to the creation of an effective fighting force. The Marines in Ramadi and Fallujah felt a kinship with the Marines who fought at Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Chosin, Khe Sanh, Hue, and a thousand other battles, big and small. The passage “Such as Regiments Hand Down Forever”, written in 1918, still resonates with them. That is because we have defined ourselves as WAR FIGHTERS, first and foremost. They know Chesty and Dan Daly and John Ripley, and see themselves as taking their places in that long line as safeguards of tradition and honor.

    Despite the superb traditions of the US Navy, it is hardly certain that today’s young sailor feels kinship with the men who fought at Coral Sea or Leyte Gulf, or on Yankee Station. A disturbing number have either never heard of those places, or have only the vaguest concept of what and when they were. And the commercials that tout humanitarian assistance as a core Navy mission do NOT help the situation. If today’s sailors do not think of themselves as war fighters ahead of all else, they will will never absorb the traditions and ethos that have been the hallmark of the US Navy in wars past.

    History is not important to a military organization merely for its own sake. It should instruct and inspire, and provide the link with tradition which drives men and units to extraordinary achievement. URR

  • NYMid

    One good point from the article was providing historical precedents to the Pentagon for difficult decision-making processes, but this can be expanded to the Fleet as well. One of the JOs of the SSBN I was on last June for my summer training cruise used to discuss naval history with the watchstanders during the midwatch, when there isn’t much else going on, and more than a few indicated its relevance to some of the issues they were addressing, and helped illuminate the importance of their mission and its continuing relevance.

  • Byron

    I’ve worked on the Samuel B. Roberts, and would you believe that barely any of the sailors know anything about the first Sammy B.? It’s enough to make you cry. I told the XO that “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors” ought to be required reading to get your enlisted and officer waterwings.

    It’s enough to make you cry.

  • UltimaRatioRegis

    Byron,

    Makes you wonder whether we could fight Samar today.

    URR

  • Bill

    Boy, is this subject near and dear…naval history books occupy at least half of my library. Some of my favorites are about how battles were still won – or at least well fought – with the wrong vessels operating at a disadvantage. Anyone read ‘Torpedo Junction’ by chance?

  • Byron

    Long time ago, back in middle 60′s (hey, I’m an old fart!)

  • SeniorD

    Naval history speaks primarily of and to Officers which is a non too subtle snark on enlisted personnel. How many enlisted personnel can one name as a ‘Hero’? I can count seven – Dorie Miller, Carl Brashear and the Sullivans (although they are famous for dying on the same ship). On the other hand, Naval History is replete with heroic officers such as William Halsey, Carl Spruance, Jimmy Flatley, ‘Butch’ O’Hare, etc.

    I’ve read biographies of Viscount Admiral Horatio Nelson, Stephen Decatur, etc. but rarely do I read of the contributions of enlisted men and women. I’ve read ‘Six Frigates’ which discusses the officers and captains of the first six true US Naval Warships, but again, enlisted men are there but never mentioned.

    The many battles won, the proud ships that sail into Harm’s Way, and the innumerable glories heaped upon the Navy could not have happened without the major contribution of the enlisted men and women whose memories are known but to God. When will Naval History start to record their stories?

  • http://www.jimdolbow.blogspot.com Jim Dolbow

    Senior D, well said.

  • http://www.jimdolbow.blogspot.com Jim Dolbow

    Amphib sailor, any other stories you recommend get on-line? PErsonal favorites maybe?

  • http://www.jimdolbow.blogspot.com Jim Dolbow

    Byron,

    the late CAPT Steve Davis (USNI Editorial Board Member and former CO Vella Gulf) used to require his crew to read The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors before they could qualify to wear the SWO pin.

  • http://www.jimdolbow.blogspot.com Jim Dolbow

    NYMID,

    Thanks for commenting! Sounds like you had a great JO on your SSBN last summer. He sounds like a great mentor! Thanks again for commenting. It is great to have your perspective

  • Mark Woolley

    I think a more interesting question, given the USNI charter, is how can USNI and the membership help the Naval History and Heritage Command? To this I would respond as follows:

    1. Provide all USNI publishings on CDs and as downloadable to MP3 and I-Pod formats. This would encourage members to order CDs to listen do during car commutes.
    2. Provide Navy Leadership incentives to award USNI published books (especially those on the Professional Reading List) in conjunction with achievement (eg warfare pin qualification, community selection for next career progression, sailor of the month/quarter/year, and promotion to the next paygrade). Much like command coins were an anomaly in the Navy 20 years ago, historical books could be a new tradition…especially meaningful if signed by the CO or the awarder.
    3. Encourage officer accession programs to incorporate USNI books into their required reading material
    4. Include on USNI website selected articles for NROTC and USNA courses by course number. Courses and objectives are readily available on line. By cataloging articles by course title, this may Midshipmen into USNI archives early. This semester I required all term papers include at least one source from USNI Proceedings, US Naval History, Naval War College Review or the Marine Corps Gazette in an effort get Midshipmen familiar with professional journals.
    5. Perhaps consider redesigning USNI website so it is desirable for Naval Officers to use as their default website vice just another website one has to go to. It could have a division officer planner and other useful tools for Naval Officer that are downloadable to MS Outlook. If this is too complex then include “Today in Naval History” tags that are linked to USNI Proceedings and Naval History articles. I am sure you must have an article for almost every significant naval event.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    SeniorD,

    Agree with Jim absolutely. Very well said. I was on a 3/c middie cruise out of Newport in the early 80s aboard USS Miller (FF-1091) and the GMG1 I got to work with told me that the ship’s enlisted personnel were very proud of serving on a ship named after one of the only recognized enlisted heroes in the Navy.

    What can be done to highlight the Navy enlisted heroes for these young men and women? Seems they could use a few Dan Dalys and John Basilones.

    URR

  • SeniorD

    Ultima,

    The only way to highlight Navy enlisted is to first stop thinking of us as the stereotypical ‘Drunken Sailor’ or the ‘Scrounge’ or the ‘Mooch’. Start giving us credit for having brains, skills and expertise equivalent to, and sometimes greater than, officers. Just because an enlisted man or woman doesn’t have a piece of paper that says we’ve been to 4 contiguous years of college prior to our service does not mean we’re stupid.

    In my library, I have a book on the US Navy in WWII that contains letters and stories from sailors in both Combat Theaters. We should be getting more stories from former WWII sailors as well as from Korea and Vietnam sailors. Get their perspectives on events major, minor and trivial. Have them tell how they or one of their buddies handled themselves in a conflict. Who did they look to for guidance and leadership. More importantly, WHY were those people looked to?

    That is something worth carrying forward to future generations.

  • RickWilmes

    Senior D,

    I think the best example the enlisted sailor or soldier can learn from is Anton Myrer. Myrer was a Corporal in the Marine Corps during World War II and wrote “Once An Eagle.”
    According to my understanding, “Once An Eagle” is required reading at the United States Military Academy. The fact that this blog now exists should provide the enlisted sailor and soldier a means to express their thoughts in a forum where individual people care and are listening to what you have to say. Whether or not that changes anything, time will tell?

    With that said, here is my recommendation for those individuals who want to get ahead of the game and acquire knowledge that your average Naval officer does not have concerning Naval History. Read the following books.

    Anton Myrer’s “Once An Eagle” — With this blog now in existence there is no longer an excuse for the Sad Sam Damon’s of the military not able to speak out and be heard.

    Samuel Eliot Morison’s “John Paul Jones: A Sailor’s Biography”– In a previous post, I have already indicated the importance of this book. Also in terms of Naval History, you have to start somewhere and it makes sense to start at the beginning with the “Father of the Navy.”

    Russel B. Nye’s “The Biography of George Bancroft” — Bancroft, the founder of the Naval Academy, was a noted historian of his time. Read this book and you’ll know more about George Bancroft than any graduate of USNA who spent four years living inside Bancroft Hall. Howz that for not knowing anything about a ship you spent time on :)

    Robert Seager II’s “Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Man and His Letters” — In this book, you will learn that Mahan (the Father of Naval History) validated Plebe Year, ran aground every ship he commanded and many other facts of important interest. Probably the most important facts you will learn about Mahan is directly related to the subject at hand, Naval History. Mahan’s theory of subordination is discussed in Chapter XVI: Historian and Philosopher of History. In order to “fix” Naval History, one must identify what is wrong with Naval History. I am prepared to argue that Mahan’s theory of subordination is what is wrong with Naval History and until that is recognized along with the fact that Midshipmen are still memorizing a lie, nothing will “fix” or change the sorry state Naval History is suffering.

    You can find used copies of these books at abebooks.com. If any sailor or soldier is interested in these books and having a hard time finding them, let me know. I will find a way to get them to you. It is the least I can do while you risk your lives on a daily basis defending your lives and mine.

  • sid

    Naval history speaks primarily of and to Officers which is a non too subtle snark on enlisted personnel.

    I’m not so sure it is really such a snark in the history itself SeniorD. The snark to which you speak is more in the perception of the larger public which hasn’t evolved from the WWII B movie cliches and Popeye. I have yet to watch all of Crimson tide because of what you are talking about (not to mention how the writers wholly ignored PRP to make the plot work).

    I can’t think of one widely read narrative from a skipper which doesn’t heap praise on those who worked for them.

    One issue is that most of history deals with events in the macro, and its the decsions that were made by the commanders that are the salient points discussed.

    Also, it may be the focus on officers has to do with the immutable fact that it is leadership that makes or breaks the game in battle. As that is no easy skill, it really does deserve alot of study to see what worked and what didn’t.

    But I do agree, it sure would be good to see more narratives from the deckplates.

  • sid
  • sid
  • Bill

    “Byron Says:
    Long time ago, back in middle 60’s (hey, I’m an old fart!)”

    uh..I was referring to the H. Hickam ‘Torpedo Junction’ published by USNI in ’89. Must have been earlier works with same title?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sid- I didn’t know Mickey Rooney was in the Navy!

    More characters like Jonesey in Hunt for Red October would be good to see.

    URR

  • Byron

    My memory (kinda dim, that far in the past) recalls a book with that name. I’ll take a peek when I get a chance.

  • Byron

    Actually, I read the one by Robert J. Casey:
    http://www.infibeam.com/Books/info/Robert-J-Casey/Torpedo-Junction/1931541582.html. It’s a little bit older…like me.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Lots of great and thoughtful responses here, so I’ll break the chain and be shallow. ;)

    The issue goes back a very long ways. The Naval establishment sees itself as a totally technological trade. NROTC scholarship applicants have to promise they will only pursue Bachelor of Science degrees. I’m not a graduate of USNA, but even to this day former grads are venting long rants decrying the “soft” sciences and, gasp, the granting of degrees in such lowly areas as History and English! Even at the senior officer and senior enlisted ranks it is rare one doesn’t get glassy-eyed stares and long sighs if one begins a discussion of naval history. Now of course I caught on to this early on in my career and learned that you could instill a sense of history by using a bit of bureaucratic baffle gab and call it “lessons learned.” That makes their ears often perk up.

    Of course, unlike someplace like Gettysburg, you can’t “walk” Iron Bottom Sound or Yankee Station. Yes, I have stood on the beach at Trafalgar and looked out to the southwest and imagined the sight of two battle lines, but it’s vastly different. It’s always been so, and thus we are often compelled to either look to the people who were in battle or to the technological histories of the man made objects that were used to fight the battle in question. Interesting stuff, if the tale is well told.

    But the tale falls upon deaf ears when the culture wherein you tell the tale has been told since they began their education in our profession that such things are of much lesser value than mastering the arcane and complex technologies now utilized. Until such time as the senior enlisted and officer leadership and our own in house educational institutions for enlisted and officer training and post-commissioning/boot camp training learn that a full education includes knowing how we got to where we are now, the teaching of naval history to our sailors and officers will often fall to those who have individual passion to learn and communicate such things.

    There are of course exceptions. I have found many SPECWAR members to be very mindful of their community’s past. Many surface warriors, a few subsurface and the odd aviation community member too will know their past well. But all too often knowledge of naval history begins with “John Paul Jones” and ends with “Midway.”

    V/R,
    Andy

  • Bill

    “NROTC scholarship applicants have to promise they will only pursue Bachelor of Science degrees.”

    Good point. I won one of those. No sweat off my back at the time because I was engineering bent anyway. But naval history has always been what I loved and read the most from a very early age..and it wasn’t until another 25 years went by that I realized I was definitely an oddball in a minority amongst my naval engineering peers.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Andy,

    If you are being shallow, you must be in the littoral. There’s a bunch of other posts here for you about that, too!

    I would say, though, that taking a “lessons learned” approach from Naval history is hardly “bureaucratic baffle gab”. The study of the history of a fighting organization, or military history in general, should be done with a critical eye, and a view toward relevance for current times. Without that perspective, it becomes a rather trite intellectual exercise.

    Savo Island: Bigger disaster than Pearl Harbor in some respects.

    For Officers, what were the decisions of the commanders? Who knew what and when? What mistakes were made and what fundamentals ignored? How could different actions/decisions have produced a different outcome? Could they have?

    For NCOs, what training and skills were US sailors lacking in vis-a-vis their Japanese counterparts? What lessons were learned about damage control procedures and fighting a night action from the standpoint of crew battle drills?

    One doesn’t have to have seen the village of Bouresche to study Belleau Wood. Or walked the sunken road to learn from Antietam. But the bosses have to consider it important enough to devote the time and thought to the process. Let’s hope they start.

    URR

  • sid

    The Naval establishment sees itself as a totally technological trade.

    This was a topic of conversation a while back that ran across the navy blogs. CDR Chap, the nuke bubblehead, and Neptunus Lex, the fighter pilot who pursued a soft degree at boat school, came to the consensus that it may well be best to pursue the hard degree first and then pick up the cultural stuff later. Its kind of ironic to see where their respective paths are taking them now.

    William McBride, in his Technological Change and the United States Navy, 1865-1945, delves into the struggle of the engineers to wrest cultural control of the navy from the “artisans” as personified by William D Porter.

    Given the kinds of decisions that are obviously based on narrow engineering grounds, and observations like yours, I would argue that the arc of the pendulum swing has pretty much reached its opposite limit.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    Our newest blogger, through much negotiation, as we understand it, for approval straight up to the top of the CHINFO Command will be a Midshipman – with the approval to use his name and identify himeself as a Midshipman…but with the promise from CHINFO that they will ‘be watching.’

    H/T to CHINFO: they never asked for his name. Certainly they will figure it out. Clearly they will follow this to see if it is viable/damaging.

    To the point of this post, he’s a History major (yeah!)…please, don’t slaughter him off the block! :) Help a young not-yet-sailor figure it out…

  • Conrad

    Mark,

    Your points are very well taken, your last point in particular. It is the responsibility of the Navy to educate its ranks. And as a federally-funded agency, the Naval History and Heritage Command has to effectively make the case that it needs more and better resources, manpower and technology to make this a reality.

    I believe the Naval Institute can and should be a very valuable resource for the Navy (and is happy that the Navy is taking its heritage seriously). But it only can be valuable to the Navy if the Navy wants its help.

    The Institute is not federally funded. Its relatively modest revenue is generated solely through member dues and subscriptions, donations and sales of its books, photos and other services. USNI, through its members, keeps its mission of honoring and preserving our naval heritage alive. But its heritage and publishing programs exist in the commercial world — they have to demonstrate that they can pay for themselves.

    Full disclosure: I am the Membership Director at USNI. Your ideas are exciting and some are right on with some of what we would like to make happen. But with limited resources, we can only do so much with what we have. Our eyes are bigger than our stomaches, so to speak.

    Our Oral History program has been recording naval heroes since the sixties. We’d love to make them downloadable to a new generation, but it’s a huge undertaking that requires resources. And again, we have to make sure we can pay for it.

    I’m not speaking on behalf of anyone other than myself, but if the Navy took a serious interest in what resources USNI has and what it can bring to the marketplace of ideas, many of the initiatives you mentioned could become a reality much sooner.

    But as you said, the ball’s really in the Navy’s court.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Bill:
    I sympathize. Try getting your ship/squadron mates excited about the fact you’re sailing the very waters Cunningham sailed against the Italians or flying where SBD’s and SB2C’s helped put an end to the IJN Southern and Central Forces. (insert yawns here, questions as to “where’s the nearest bar?” here)

    URR:
    I tried using pure “history” when teaching senior BG Staff’s. Taught the same material using beltway-speak and “lessons learned” and they stayed awake. Who knew? :) On a more serious note, while I actually cheerfully admit to spending lots of time just staring out to the horizon when at sea, it’s different than climbing Little Round Top or standing Topside on Corregidor. When you have the opportunity to “be there” for me it makes the understanding of what I’ve studied become visceral.

    Concur as to the framing of the historical inquiry to fit one’s intended audience.

    sid:
    Like buoyancy and stabilized flight, balance goes a long way. Although, given that Lex and I go back at least 10 years (he still owes me $20) I will submit the lad is a bit, er, unbalanced. (but in a good way) Seriously, I wound up in an incredibly arcane area of the EW/SIGINT community for a while but found having had a background in history, when balanced with the technological training I received post-wings, I was able to learn the analytical part of my job a great deal easier than many of my peers who perhaps came at the problems presented from a more technological angle.

    admin:
    While I mainly just lurk, because like Information Dissemination, there are people here waaay smarter than I (figure out what JADAA means) I promise to encourage the young lad. He needs all the sympathy he can get; after all you only can ruin your career once!

    V/R,
    Andy

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Andy,

    You sure are correct IRT “being there”. One can learn much from Antietam without walking the field. But if you stand in the sunken road on a humid September morning, and you let yourself, the mind’s eye can picture the Irish Brigade moving through the smoke… Methinks that is a much different level of “understanding”, however. URR

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com Ken Adams, Amphib Sailor

    Jim Dolbow,

    Two sailors immediately come to mind. I doubt one in ten thousand sailors know their names. All of them should.

    1. Mike Thornton. SEAL. MOH. Retired as a deck LDO around 1992.
    2. Herb Stephan. Enlisted 1958. Rose through the ranks to QMC. Multiple awards for valor in Vietnam. Ship’s bosun as a warrant. Commissioned as an LDO, multiple commands both at sea and ashore until retiring in 1996.

    USNI overlords, if you haven’t gotten these two in for your oral history project, get them on your list ASAP.

  • sid

    …delves into the struggle of the engineers to wrest cultural control of the navy from the “artisans” as personified by William D Porter.

    Sorry, wrong Porter. Should be David D.

    I think the best example the enlisted sailor or soldier can learn from is Anton Myrer.

    Don’t forget about Reuben James

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    They do have access to this blog and the USNI website. I don’t know about their computers, though.

  • RickWilmes

    Admin,

    I think it is great that a Midshipman will be given an opportunity to be a guest blogger. Does this mean all Midshipman have access to this blog and the USNI website? I am also curious about what kind of computer they are issued in 2009. I still have my Zenith 248 with 5.25 inch floppy disks circa the late 80′s :)

  • Mike M.

    Frankly, I’d be tempted to rename the organization again…to something like “Naval Strategy & Tactics Command”.

    History is worth studying for two reasons – Inspiration and Lessons Learned.

    The Inspiration side is obvious. Our forebears set an example and a standard. As the Marines will tell you, tradition is a very powerful tool to keep men motivated under very harsh conditions.

    But it is in Lessons Learned that historical studies pay off. There is a reason why the Strategy & Policy course at the Naval War College is 90% historical studies. Learning from the horrible examples of others is a very good way to keep from becoming a horrible example yourself. And situations tend to repeat themselves. Being able to draw comparisons, knowing what has been tried before, and what worked and what did not – that is a powerful tool.

    By the way, I will state from first-hand experience that an engineering degree does not interfere with being a good student of history.

  • RickWilmes

    Mike M.,

    Thank you for your post. I have several questions concerning your views on Inspiration.

    “The Inspiration side is obvious.”

    Obvious to whom?

    “Our forebears set an example and a standard.”

    What example was set and by what standard?

    My reason for asking these questions is because I think I hold a different view and would like to make sure I am not misunderstanding what you are saying before I express mine.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Mark Woolley

    Bill,

    I am the CO at an NROTC unit. NROTC scholarships currently do not have to promise they will pursue a Bachelor of Science Degree. It is correct that NROTC scholarship boards and the USNA both want students that are going to be tech majors. Right now about 50% of our graduates are tech majors. The Naval Academy is about the same. The NROTC program (and I believe USNA) are putting some stricter controls in place (starting with next years freshman class) to keep students who say they are going to be tech majors and are awarded a scholarship as tech majors.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Mark:
    I believe I’m the one responsible for the remarks about the BS degree requirement for NROTC grads; I was operating on information from the beginning of this century (now if that’s not a “historical” statement, I’m not sure what is!) and did not take the time to discover if it was still true; thank you very much for the update; mea culpa.

    Mike M:
    You are right; technological training does not necessarily preclude possessing or developing an interest in history and if I left such an impression then the fault lays with me for unclear communication about that.

    Before this discussion quietly exits stage left here at Short Attention Span Theatre I would like to reiterate one concept: It has been my personal experience that the best and most effective of my peers (not necessarily the most career “successful” whatever that means) were those who were able, like the fictional Jack Audbrey, to personally merge technological expertise with a knowledge of the liberal arts and “soft” sciences. The study of various histories, be it the history of nuclear engineering, strategic and tactical studies or broader social histories provides us the tools to analyze, the contexts within which we can structure our thoughts and the means to place events and their meanings into the fabric of the profession of the sea services.

    V/R,
    Andy

  • Mark Woolley

    Andy,

    Thanks…kinda of new to this blogging. My observations are in line with your thoughts that technological training does not necessarily preclude possessing or developing an interest in history. We as naval leaders need to “stretch” the minds of all of our students regardless of their major to develop an interest in history. Some of the things I am doing at my NROTC unit:

    We have included the requirement for all students to write term papers in all of our Naval Science courses. In my course I have required at least one of the five references come from USNI Proceedings or Naval History or another professional journal (Naval War College Review, JFQ, etc.)

    I am encouraging all my instructors to include in their supplemental reading lists books on the Navy and Marine Corps Professional Reading lists.

    Each week the Plan of the Week published by the Battalion opso recaps events for that week from Naval history. We are trying to go one step further and provide a list of books or articles for more information about those events.

    In the Leadership courses we will be including clips from USNI “Americans at War”.

    There are lots of good ideas…leaders will push them. I think when flags and general officers send out messages or video clips on important dates, it would be great to always quote from or mention a book from the professional reading list and encourage our all personnel to read more about the subject.

  • sid

    My reason for asking these questions is because I think I hold a different view and would like to make sure I am not misunderstanding what you are saying before I express mine.

    I’ll bite on this one Rick…

    How come you have a beef with “Duty to God”?

  • RickWilmes

    Sid,

    In what particular context do I have a “beef with ‘Duty to God”?

    And what does that have to do with my asking another poster for clarification on his views on a particular issue before I state mine?

  • sid

    I was reading your comments over at the Ayn Rand site and was trying to understnd your position…

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Mark:
    Hey, I’m as much a noob as anyone here. Great to hear you’re getting your Mids involved in looking at the broad continuities that will form the foundations of their careers. If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, I think they would gain considerable perspective from both the contents and the discussions on blogs such as Galrahn’s, CDR Salamander’s, SteelJaw, Neptunus Lex and this one. While sometimes the topics range far afield of naval science, they have become the nexus of the “new era” of naval discussion much as “Proceedings” used to be in the legacy media.

    I would also most strongly recommend adding, if it is not in your reading list “Shattered Sword,” by Parshall & Tully. (2005, Potomac Books, Dulles, VA) True proof that really authoritative and scholarly history is too important to leave in the hands of academics. I also encourage your more insightful Mids take the time to read the entire Audbrey-Maturin oeuvre by Patrick O’Brien. Beautiful literature and a long meditation on life at sea, leadership and the friendships among shipmates that shape entire life times.

    V/R,
    Andy

  • RickWilmes

    Sid,

    Since, for whatever reason, you are unwilling to provide a link to where I supposedly have a “beef with ‘Duty to God”‘, I am moving forward in the discussion.

    With that said, I think the following “address given to the graduating class of the United States Military Academy at West Point on March 6, 1974.” (Philosophy: Who Needs It, Ayn Rand, p. 1) is of particular interest for you to understand my position and is particularly relevant to this thread.

    Enjoy Philosophy: Who Needs It .

    “In March 1974, Ayn Rand faced the improbable task of lecturing on the crucial importance of philosophy—to the graduating class of West Point. She succeeded magnificently: she attracted three times the expected attendance, she elicited an enthusiastic ovation, and her lecture was reprinted in a new philosophy textbook published by the U.S. Military Academy. Relive this memorable occasion, and rediscover the irresistible intellectual power of Ayn Rand.”

  • Mark Woolley

    Andy,

    Great ideas…in fact I think I will get the entire Patrick Obrien series for our library!

    Mark

  • sid
  • RickWilmes

    Sid,

    Which argument are you referring? Once again you have taken a quote out of context and provided a link not to the actual quote but it looks like to all of my posts on one particular forum.

  • sid

    It wasn’t a direct quote; it was a summation of your posts there.

    What I pasted above seems to get to the heart of the matter.

    How can a military organization function with indviduals each pursuing their own Freedom?

  • RickWilmes

    Sid,

    I will leave it to the reader to decide if the quotes you pulled out of context are in fact a “summation of my posts on another forum.”

    The subject of this thread, which should be the heart of the matter, is Fixing Naval History. Do you care to comment on the Buell Fabrication and Mahan’s subordination approach to history? In other words, do you hold the view that Midshipman should continue to memorize a lie?

    Concerning Mahan, do you think Mahan’s deductive approach to history is the proper method of looking at history? If so why? How is Mahan’s approach superior to looking at the facts and than using induction to come to proper conclusions about past events?

    Concerning your question about individuals each pursuing their own Freedom in a military organization, I think the best example is our Founding Fathers. Self-less leaders they were not.

  • sid

    Concerning your question about individuals each pursuing their own Freedom in a military organization, I think the best example is our Founding Fathers. Self-less leaders they were not.

    And a right bickering bunch they were!

    Rick, as for the “Buell Fabrication”…It is only the opening stage of the point you are obliquely entering into here.

    Specifically…in the context of this thread and venue…You are building the position that the philosophical basis of the Naval Academy is fundamentally corrupt.

    And that those who have partaken of the “Bancroft Kool-aide” have driven this country off the rails.

    Seems you are headed to a conclusion that Objectivism is the ONLY way.

    Just trying to understand where you are trying to lead the discussion. So feel free to tell me where I am wrong.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, as long as the United States Naval Academy continues to teach the ethics of self-sacrifice or altruism as being a virtue than yes, I submit that the Naval Academy is a philosophically corrupt institution. As long as Objectivism is the only philosophy that is pro-reason, pro-individualism, and pro-capitalism than, at this time, Objectivism is the only solution to our problems. However, that decision is up to each individual to discover. For a further discussion on history I suggest the following.

    Ayn Rand Lexicon: History .

  • sid

    As long as Objectivism is the only philosophy that is pro-reason, pro-individualism, and pro-capitalism than, at this time, Objectivism is the only solution to our problems.

    Rick…Its important for all to understand the core of Objectivism.

    It is an inherently intolerant creed/religion/philosophy, and God knows there is way too much of this kind of narrow, “MY Way or the Highway” mentality loose in this world.

    “Fixing” Naval History should not be about repudiating all but one way of thinking.

    That is Stalinist History.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, it is true that Objectivists are atheists. It is also true that religion/faith are not compatible with science/reason.

    It is not true that Objectivism is Stalinist Russia. In fact it is the opposite and Ayn Rand was very explicit about the evils of Russia and the state control over the individual. See
    Ayn Rand’s novel: We the Living .

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Spade,

    Did you say that the Marine Corps Museum has BEER?!?!?!?! Hell, we’re a lot smarter than I thought we were. Someone damn sure should get a medal for that. I hope it is some Devil Dog Corporal who is 21 years and 3 days old…..

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, I have had the opportunity to think about and reconsider your latest comments and want to point out that not only have you been pulling quotes out of context but you are mischaracterizing Objectivism and Ayn Rand. Objectivism is not a religion or creed, it is a philosophy. This is how Ayn Rand describes her philosophy.

    “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” Atlas Shrugged. Each individual will have to decide who is correct on this matter. Sid or Ayn Rand?

    The Buell Fabrication and Mahan’s incorrect theory on history is not going to go away. Is there anyone else besides me that has anything to say about these two specific issues concerning Naval History?

  • jwithington

    How have I missed this discussion? I never ever thought I would read a disciple of Rand posting on a defense blog. I am not going to touch the denounciation of altruism or self-sacrifice in this posting.

    I think some perspective has been lost here. As a history major at the Naval Academy, I have never heard Mahan’s divine inspiration or subordination theory taught or even mentioned. In fact, I have no clue what you are talking about. I am NOT saying you are wrong; I am saying it is not part of our curriculum.

    Also, as a history major, am I bothered that we to come know a fabricated letter? Yes. What we are memorizing however is the spirit of the letter. Just call it Augustus Buell’s “Qualification of a Naval Officer.” For further discussion by an Academy history professor see: http://www.usna.com/Parents/SPPA/Library_Dir/Qualifications%20of%20a%20Naval%20Officer.htm

    I am more concerned that in their martial virtue instruction Marines are learning that Sparta was a popular democracy.

    I am in course on the philosophy of history, where we discuss questions such as whether there is a logic to history. I am also in the process of writing a 30-40 page history of ideas. It seems that Rand falls into the trap of believing philosophers and ideas are above what’s going on around them. They are influenced by the times.

  • RickWilmes

    Jwithington,

    A disciple of Ayn Rand, I am not. Feel free to address me as RickWilmes or as my friends from the Naval Academy call me Rack.
    I am a radical for capitalism and I am advocating a proper moral defense of capitalism and individual rights.

    The next time you are in Nimitz Library, look for the following book. “Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Man and His Letters” written by Robert Seager II. Since I know that your time is limited go directly to Chapter XVI: Historiam and Philosopher of History.

    Bonus Question: Who is the publisher of the book I have just provided?

    While you are at you might want to find the following book, it will also be needed. “Foundations of Moral Obligation” written by Joseph Gerard Brennan.

    Stockdale, Epictetus, martial virtue, Sparta, popular democracy??? Is there a connexion?

  • RickWilmes

    For the reader that does not have immediate access to Seager’s book, Chapter XVI starts with the following quote from Mahan.

    “Facts won’t lie if you work them right; but if you work them wrong, a little disproportion in the emphasis, a slight exaggeration of color, a little more or less limelight on this or that part of the grouping and the result is not truth, even though each individual fact be as unimpeachable as the multiplication table. From Sail to Steam.”

    Here is how Seager starts the chapter.

    “According to Mahan, he became a historian by act of God. His one great concept, the influence of sea power upon history, to which all his other ideas were footnotes, addenda, and variation, came to him, he said, from above.(p. 430)”

    When time allows, I will provide more information on his theory of subordination.

  • RickWilmes

    Jwithington, I think the more appropriate post to address the ethical issue of self-sacrifice should be at

    Brute Krulak’s question, forty years hence. I look forward to hearing your views on the issue.

    Here are my comments on the ethical question between self-sacrifice vs. self-interest.

    “RickWilmes Says:
    In essence, what is wrong with America, is altruism-the ethics of self-sacrifice. America was founded on the idea that each individual has a right to his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The ethics of altruism denies this fact. Instead, altruism says that man must be a self-less servant for others or serve a cause higher than oneself. Instead of asking what is wrong with America one should ask, why must one sacrifice his life or live for others? Why is that good and what happened to the idea that man has a right to his own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as opposed to sacrificing it for others?”

  • sid

    Objectivism is the only solution to our problems.

    Only?

    It is also true that religion/faith are not compatible with science/reason.

    “True”?

    What a crock Rick.

    This is where your scheme goes flub-flub.

    It is because you see your -whatever you want to call it- “way” is the ONLY True Path.

    Such an application of “only” and “true” is no different than how those concepts are being misused here.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, do you know of another philosophy that is pro-reason, pro-individualism, and pro-capitalism? At this point in time, the only philosophy that meets this criteria and defends my right to my life and liberty on a consistent, non-contradictory basis is Objectivism. If there is another, than I am all eyes since all I can do is read what you write and look at the pictures you provide. BTW, a picture is not an argument. Once again you have equated Objectivism with its exact opposite. The self-sacrificing fools holding up those signs are basing their thoughts on faith not reason. Their method to convince people that their ideas are correct is through force. Faith and force are corollaries. Through the use of reason, an individual is able to persuade those who disagree with his viewpoint. Also with the use of reason, an individual can identify errors and contradictions.

    With that said, I maintain my position that the only means to solve the problems we face is through the use of reason not faith.

  • sid

    Once again you have equated Objectivism with its exact opposite.

    Actually Rick, your zeal to supplant every other philosophy with Atheistic Objectivism makes it easy to show there is no daylight between them and what you propose

    The cultic flaw in Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism is not in the use of reason, or in the emphasis on individuality, or in the belief that humans are self motivated, or in the conviction that capitalism is the ideal system. The fallacy in Objectivism is the belief that absolute knowledge and final Truths are attainable through reason, and therefore there can be absolute right and wrong knowledge, and absolute moral and immoral thought and action. For Objectivists, once a principle has been discovered through reason to be True, that is the end of the discussion. If you disagree with the principle, then your reasoning is flawed. If your reasoning is flawed it can be corrected, but if it is not, you remain flawed and do not belong in the group.

  • sid

    But on a more practical level, a miliatary organization that embraced Objectivism would never produce heroes, who on faith, run into a situation and try to turn it around.

    Where is the self interest in that?

    Serving with courage, fortitude and deep spiritual strength, Lieutenant Commander O’Callahan inspired the gallant officers and men of the Franklin to fight heroically and with profound faith in the face of almost certain death and to return their stricken ship to port.”

    I’m not Catholic, but I’d much rather have Father O’Callahan as a shipmate than some Objectivist who is likely to only look out for himself if things got bad…

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, I have been wondering when the cult charge would be thrown at me. I am going to have to inform my friends and family that I have been brainwashed and need an intervention.

    In the mean time, look around Sid. The United States of America’s economy is collapsing. While our President broadcasts diplomacy to our enemy Iran, our Navy is doing circles and running into each other. I am one man speaking up and out on what I think might be the solution to our problems. History will decide who is exhibiting “courage, fortitude and deep spiritual strength” during the present crisis.

    Come on Sid, is this the best you have got.

  • RickWilmes

    OK Sid, I am done pussy footing around.

    In todays, current context, if a military organization was being run by Objectivists, we wouldn’t need a Commander Callahan. Speaking for myself I would identify our enemy, Iran, and use overwhelming force to kill them, if that means nuclear weapons than than by all means push the button. Instead, our military leaders think that fighting “The Long War” by bringing “Democracy” to our enemies is the solution.

    Sid, if you want self-less, self-sacrificing leaders running our Navy than once again look around, they are already here. Now look at the results.

  • sid

    In todays, current context, if a military organization was being run by Objectivists, we wouldn’t need a Commander Callahan.

    Why is that? Because you would have -through Perfect Reason- vanquished your enemies before they could inflict harm?

    Good thing you didn’t pursue the military arts as a profession.

    I have to question your real motives Rick. I will maintain that Buell is but a talking point in your agenda.

    It sure appears you want to eradicate all thought systems other than Objectivism.

    Its a scary world when one way of thinking is considered the “only” way.

    If you call that “Freedom”, then I want no part of it.

    And as far as “fixing” history goes…I guess killing the links to your comments above is one way to do it.

    But there is one Fact: The depth of your zeal is unmistakable

    “The question that several members might want to start asking themselves is if they are ready to deal with reality and the truth. Because I am only just beginning. I’m starting with the founder of the Naval Academy, George C. Bancroft. I will be ending when I am the last man standing.

    Welcome to my world.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, Heaven forbid my motivation is to provide the right ideas to the young skulls full of mush who lay their heads down to rack every night in Bancroft Hall. I would not worry too much about my passion for the truth, if Jwithington’s response to the Buell Fabrication is any indication of the Midshipmen’s current attitude. If they have no problem memorizing lies as long as the spirit of the letter is understood than nothing I can say or do will have an impact on that way of thinking.

    Here is some food for thought though.

    Atlas Shrugged Tops Amazon’s Bestseller List.

    I wonder where Mahan’s “Influence on Sea Power” ranks?

    Sid, I am willing to ignore all the smears and mischaracterizations on my position in order to let the USNI blog understand my viewpoints and ideas. I’ll say once again that I am not opposed to ideas and thinking and I honestly want to know if there are any other philosophies that are pro-reason, pro-individual, and pro-capitalist. So in an attempt to know if there are, I hope you can answer the following questions?

    Are you for or against reason?
    Are you for or against individualism?
    Are you for or against capitalism?

    A simple yes or no to each question is sufficient.

  • RickWilmes

    Heaven forbid Thomas Paine’s writings are number 18 at Amazon.
    Thomas Paine #18 in the classics..

    One of my favorite quotes is from Common Sense.

    “PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.”

    I am willing to let reality and reason run its course. Self-sacrifice will eventually fall flat. As flat as those who thought the earth was flat and not round.

  • jwithington

    “I would not worry too much about my passion for the truth, if Jwithington’s response to the Buell Fabrication is any indication of the Midshipmen’s current attitude.”

    Rick, I’m not sure what you think we are memorizing. You change the byline anyway you like it but I am not sure how that changes the truth of the statement.

  • sid

    Bet money the vast majority of folks buying Atlas Shrugged do not realize that to embrace Objectivism is to embrace Atheism.

    I know, its time they threw off their primitive beliefs, and saw The Truth Through Reason.

    They can be “Free”…

    Hmm…where have I seen the word “free” used in such a constricted manner?

    Oh yeah. Here

    Sure, the humanistic points are compelling, but in the end, the kind of “Freedom” that will be allowed is clearly evident in your comments above.

    It is a lesson in what happens when the truth becomes more important than the search for truth, when final results of inquiry become more important than the process of inquiry, and especially when reason leads to an absolute certainty about one’s beliefs such that those who are not for the group are against it.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, here is the Objectivist position on Atheism. Ayn Rand Lexicon: Atheism.

    Once again, a picture is not an argument.

  • RickWilmes

    Jwithington, was Qualifications of a Naval Officer one of your rates? Were you required to memorize and recite the Buell Fabrication? Did you require any of your Plebe’s to recite the Buell Fabrication and what did you do when said Plebe did not know his rate?

    Have the moral courage to answer my questions, it is clear that Sid does not.

    Rack

  • sid

    Have the moral courage to answer my questions, it is clear that Sid does not.

    The comments above are good enough to see where you are coming from.

    I drew you out for a reason.

    Let folks make their own minds up if an arrogant, intolerant, Atheisitc philosophy steeped in faux “reason” is the best way of thinking to guide the USNA.

  • jwithington

    1) Let’s all try to lay off personal attacks.

    2) I’ve responded to charges against altruism in your link.

    3) Yes, I memorized Qualifications of a Naval Officer. Yes, I recited it. No, I’ve never rated a plebe on it; I haven’t done plebe summer detail, and during the academic year we focus on other items. “Man in the Arena” is a far more popular rate.

    4) I’m not really sure why we’re debating Objectivism? I happy to do so, but I am not sure whether this is the place, especially with only 3 people participating in it the discussion. I’ll let the admin make the call on whether or not we need to move on from this.

  • sid

    I’m not really sure why we’re debating Objectivism?

    Once Rick opened the discussion on altruism, I thought it important to bring into the discussion his ultimate goal:

    “Naval Academy graduates will continue to have a direct influence on this country and it is time for Objectivists to get the right ideas and philosophy into the minds of these young men and women, our future depends on it.”

  • RickWilmes

    Jwithington,

    I have done my best to focus on the ideas being presented. If anything has been taken personally I want to apologize and will retract or try to rephrase anything that may have crossed that line.

    Concerning the discussion on Objectivism. Yes, I am an Objectivist and I came here with my full name Rick Wilmes. I have nothing to hide. Sid, has raised the Objectivism issue and I have done my best to respond to his queries and comments. I am willing to discuss what I believe are the issues at hand. My first example was the Buell Fabrication. Tomorrow, I will give a more in depth comment on my thoughts around this issue.

    I believe the reason there are only three of us participating is because of the seriousness of my claims. I am sure Sid is not the only one checking into my background and doing internet searches on me. If that was a concern of mine I could have easily used an anonymous name.

    For the time being, I am willing to put the discussion on altruism aside so that we can hash out these other issues.

    Now concerning the Buell Fabrication. You know first hand how limited your time is. In another post, there is a debate going on about poor ship handling skills and navigation skills.

    Don’t you think your time could have been better served by focussing on those skills as opposed to memorizing a lie? How much of the rest of your time at USNA has been spent on wasted non-sense? If you are willing to overlook the time required for that memorizing to get to the spirit of the letter, what other things are you willing to overlook?

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, my favorite nonfiction work of Ayn Rand’s is a play titled, Think Twice. If you think that you drew me out than good for you.

    I know otherwise.

  • R. M. Hayball

    Objectiveism is a philosophy of absolutes. Further down that road lies madness and diabolical evil. Make mine vanilla, thanks.

    I favor reason, don’t favor absolute reason. Select postulates carefully and reason can justify any horror.

    I favor individualism, don’t favor absolute individualism. Humans are pack predators (aka hunters and gatherers). Absolute individualism (aka rogue behavior)is counter-survival to our biological nature. See Heinlein on specialization.

    I favor capitalism, don’t favor absolute capitalism. Slavery, human trafficing, deathtrap machinery, Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Not Acceptable. Some regulation is necessary, the ones written in blood. It’s an ordnance thing. A shipboard thing. A Navy thing.

    Another philosophy that favors democracy, reason, capitalism?
    Weslyanism, you know, Methodists. Old main line Protestants of the Reformed tradition, them too. Roman Catholicism under John Paul II. The Torah? Near as I can tell, that too. They have a guide for the perplexed, I hear. Oh, and that mystical foggy region where Neptune is god, Mahan is his prophet, and the U. S. Navy is the one true church.

    Oh and what exactly did Ayn Rand’s alleged take on reason, democracy and capitalism have to do with HMS Glowworm, “Enemy in sight, engaging”? The charge of the small boys off Samar? The defense of Wake Island? Ripley at the bridge? Standing up in heavy automatic weapons fire so the SatPhone can send and receive?
    I have read more Kipling and Lewis than Rand. Makes better sense to me. Better written too.

    Excuse me sir, you seem to have the wrong address. This is the Navy, on the waterfront. Rough neigborhood. We’re mariners here, try to be capable, but also a great deal more. Who said that? Doesn’t matter, always worked for us. Were you badly hurt when you fell and hit your head? We can call you a cab so you can get back up the hill (yes sir, Mount Olympus, we understand, we know where academe is. Been there, visit sometimes, but I prefer the Horse and Cow, myself). Step briskly as you pass through the revolving door, now..

  • sid

    Sid, my favorite nonfiction work of Ayn Rand’s is a play titled, Think Twice.

    I don’t begrudge your beliefs Rick. Its a free country…But I will oppose your intolerance of any beliefs other than yours.

    And I will certainly oppose any attempt to institutionalize that intolerance at a service academy at every turn.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, I am not intolerant of other peoples beliefs. I’m just tired of paying for other peoples irrationality. As long as I am free to speak I will say what I have to say. Each individual can decide whether or not what I am saying is correct or not. So I think we have hashed this aspect of the issue out and we just need to agree to disagree and by all means don’t stop opposing me.
    Give me the best you have got.

    R.M. Hayball, I am a lifetime member of USNI and it is my privilege and right to speak my mind and defend my position. In other words, I am not going anywhere. Talk about intolerance.

  • Byron

    Mr. Withington, with midshipman such as yourself, and able to think clearly and not be intimidated by the thundering herd, I no longer fear for the future of the Navy. Just don’t let yourself be captured in the years to come, and you’ll do just fine.

    Mr. Wilmes, you must be getting a bit dizzy; the longer you pontificate, the thinner the air is getting, given your ascending altitude.

  • RickWilmes

    Byron, is the personal attack really necessary?

    Do you have any words of wisdom to offer the Midshipmen concerning their requirement to memorize the Buell Fabrication?

  • RickWilmes

    Before proceeding to make my comments regarding the Buell Fabrication, I think some context needs to be established. Below is the actual beginning of the letter taken from Buell’s book with the current version in the 2008-2009 Reef Points following.

    “Mr. Hewes laid the whole letter before the Committee without a word of revision, as follows:

    As this is to be the foundation–or I may say the first keel-timber– of a new navy, which all patriots must hope shall become among the foremost in the world, it should be well begun in the selection of the first list of officers. You will pardon me, I know, if I say that I have enjoyed much opportunity during my sea-life to observe the duties and responsibilities that are put upon naval officers.

    It is by no means enough that an officer of the navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.

    He should not only be able to express himself clearly and with force in his own language both with tongue and pen, but he should also be versed in French and Spanish-for an American officer particularly the former-for our relations with France must necessarily soon become exceedingly close in view of the mutual hostility of the two countries toward Great Britain.

    The naval officer should be familiar with the principles of international law, and the general practice of admiralty jurisprudence, because such knowledge may often, when cruising at a distance from home, be necessary to protect his flag from insult or his crew from imposition or injury in foreign ports.

    He should also be conversant with the usages of diplomacy and capable of maintaining, if called upon, a dignified and judicious diplomatic correspondence; because it often happens that sudden emergencies in foreign waters make him the diplomatic as well as military representative of his country, and in such cases he may have to act without opportunity of consulting his civic or ministerial superiors at home, and such action may easily involve the portentour issue of peace or war between great powers. These are general qualifications, and the nearer the officer approaches the full possession of them the more likely he will be to serve his country well and win fame and honors for himself.

    Coming now to view the naval officer aboard ship and in relation to those under his command, he should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness and charity. No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention or be left to pass without its reward, if even the reward be only on word of approval. Conversely, he should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate though, at the same time he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetency, and well-meant shortcoming from heedless or stupid blunder. As he should be universal and impartial in his reards and approval of merit, so should he be judicial and unbending in his punishment or reproof of misconduct.

    In his intercourse with subordinates he should ever maintain the attitude of the commander, but that need by no means prevent him from the amenities of cordiality or the cultivation of good cheer within proper limits. Every commanding officer should hold with his subordinates such relations as will make them constantly anxious to receive invitation to sit at his mess-table, and his bearing toward them should be such as to encourage them to express their opinions to him with freedom and to ask his views without reserve.

    It is always for the best interests of the service that a cordial interchange of sentiments and civilities should subsist between superior and subordinate officers aboard ship. Therefore it is the worst of policy in superiors to behave toward their subordinates with indiscriminate hauteur, as if the latter were of a lower species. Men of liberal minds, themselves accustomed to command, can ill brook being thus set at naught by others who, from temporary authority, may claim a monopoly of power and sense for the time being. If such men experience rude, ungentle treatment from their superiors, it will create such heart-burnings and resentments as are nowise consonant with that cheerfull ardor and ambitious spirit that ought ever to be characteristic of officers of all grades. In one word, every commander should keep constantly before him the great truth, that to be well obeyed he must be perfectly esteemed.

    But it is not alone with subordinate officers that a commander has to deal. Behind them, and the foundation of all, is the crew. To his men the commanding officer should be Prophet, Priest and King! His authority when off shore being necessarily absolute, the crew should be as one man impressed that the Captain, like the Sovereign, “can do no wrong!” (Paul Jones: Founder of the American Navy by Augustus C. Buell, p. 32-34)

    Here is the 2008-2009 Reef Points Version.

    “It is by no means enough that an officer of the navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.

    he should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness and charity. No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention or be left to pass without its reward, if even the reward be only on word of approval. Conversely, he should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate though, at the same time he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetency, and well-meant shortcoming from heedless or stupid blunder.

    In one word, every commander should keep constantly before him the great truth, that to be well obeyed he must be perfectly esteemed.

    -Written by Augustus C. Buell in 1900 to reflect his views of John Paul Jones.”

    The rest of the actual letter can be found on p. 34-37 of Bueller’s (oops not Ferris Bueller), but August C. Buell’s book. Buell makes these comments on p. 37.

    “It does not seem necessary to say that , as a whole, this letter of Paul Jones to the Marine Committee of the Continental Congress in 1775 embodies the logic and philosophy of naval organizations and the elements of sea-power to-day quite as fundamentally as it did then, or as they ever can be embodied under any conditions conceivable in the future.

    The letter was read by George Washington, to whom Mr. Hewes submitted it before handing it to the committee. Mr. Hewes records Washington as saying after he had read it:

    “Mr. Jones is clearly not only a master mariner within the scope of the art of navigation, but he also holds a strong and profound sense of the political and military weight of command on the sea. His powers of usefulness are great and must be constantly kept in view.”

    WRITTEN BY AUGUSTUS C. BUELL IN 1900 TO REFLECT HIS VIEWS OF JOHN PAUL JONES (Reef Points, 2008-2009)

    Now there is a crock if I have ever seen one.

  • RickWilmes

    Burma Shave:

    My advice for the Midshipmen who are required to memorize and recite the Buell Fabrication is to not think about Ferris Bueller while performing such a task.

    Bueller, Bueller.

    The first step to Fixing Naval History is to identify falsehoods and errors. I have identified the Buell Fabrication as one of those falsehoods. From here on out, I will be calling other such falsehoods and errors “Bueller’s”.

  • RickWilmes

    Here is what Wikipedia has on Buell the Lier.

    “Augustus Caesar Buell(1847-1904), employed by a major engineering firm, wrote several biographies of great Americans, following the success of a book about his experiences in the Civil War. Most material in these biographies that was not plagiarized was (as was discovered too late for many subsequent scholars) invented.

    In 1876 he was briefly arrested following an accusation of libel.”

    The Lies of Augustus Caesar Buell.

  • sid

    No one, except you Rick, see this as a dark and evil conspiracy.

    Except for the original fabricator, Augustus C. Buell, this story has no villains. Naval Academy officials who maintained the fabrication over the years as well as critics who periodically called attention to its fictitious nature all did so in the best interest of the Navy and its midshipmen.

    Nor is this the newly discovered shocker that you make it out to be. Immediately upon publication, Buell’s work was called into question:

    Therefore, when Buell’s biography of Jones cited newly discovered evidence proving that the naval hero deserved the coveted title, “Father of the Navy,” critics asked to see his documentation and questioned the mythmaker’s contention that Jones held progressive-era views on patriotism and professionalism.

    From here on out, I will be calling other such falsehoods and errors “Bueller’s”.

    Will that include calling Chritianity…along with other religions…prmitive falsehoods?

    When will you recommend that all Midshipmen become Atheists?

    What other secular philosophies -other than Objectivism which youu insist is not a proxy theology- DEMAND that one renounce their previously held religious beliefs?

    And (again) how will a military organization composed of individuals, each pursuing their own self-interest as each sees fit, maintain unit cohesion?

    Are you about to tell us that they will innately share a commenon sense of Reason?

    How will that happen?

    Lastly, how will an army of Objectivists dispanse with the need for a Father O’Callahan as you asserted above?

    I’m really eager to hear that one…Will your Objecitivist Military be so Perfect that enemies will lay down their arms in total awe?

    The first step to Fixing Naval History is to identify falsehoods and errors.

    What objective proof can you present that what you believe are not in fact “falsehoods” and “errors”?

    Bottom line is this Rick: Eradication of the Buell letter is but your first step.

    Again, lets reprise what your real motive is here:

    “Naval Academy graduates will continue to have a direct influence on this country and it is time for Objectivists to get the right ideas and philosophy into the minds of these young men and women, our future depends on it.”

    Despite your scoffing denials, you want to turn the Academy into an Objectivist Cult.

    A quite apparent fact, so just be upfront about it.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid,

    I want leaders who can think and make decisions on their own. I do not want leaders who think memorizing a lie will somehow instill group cohesion. The reason this issue keeps resurfacing is because there are self-less, self-sacrificing fools who keep making attempts to put this lie back into the curriculum.

    Simple solution don’t reprint this lie and don’t fall into the trap Prof. Horner has fallen into Challenges facing surface fleet..

    “Finally, we would do well to awaken the spirit of the guidance offered by legendary naval officer John Paul Jones, whose “Qualifications of a Naval Officer” are particularly poignant and relevant to the current challenges facing the surface fleet:
    “It is by no means enough that an officer of the Navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.

    “He should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness, and charity. No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention or be left to pass without its reward, even if the reward is only a word of approval. Conversely, he shouldn’t be blind to a single fault in any subordinate, though at the same time, he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetence, and well meant shortcoming from heedless or stupid blunder.”

    Leaders who mentor not menace, develop not demean, challenge not castigate — Jones’ prescription may be the starting point for addressing the problems at hand.”

    I agree with Prof. Horner, the proper starting point is with the Buell Fabrication.

    Finally Sid, I am not hiding or evading my desire to expose the right ideas and philosophy to the minds of our future leaders. Are you afraid of the right ideas or philosophy or afraid of the fact that I, Rick Wilmes, an egoistic capitalist who uses reason to survive in a world ruled by Objective reality is here to provide those right ideas?

    I am here to prove my case so by all means show me where I am wrong, we will both benefit from the discovery.

  • sid

    Lest parse out your statement here Rick:

    Are you afraid of the right ideas or philosophy or afraid of the fact that I, Rick Wilmes, an egoistic capitalist who uses reason to survive in a world ruled by Objective reality is here to provide those right ideas?

    You are well described here Rick.

    Remember, cults encourage and nurture a sense of certainty. Reasonable people, on the other hand, cultivate the courage to doubt. Certainty is a luxury available only in a fantasy world, not the messy one in which we live. So, by emphasizing, as she did, apodictic truths and a dogmatic philosophy, Rand provided the pearl of great price that cultists everywhere demand: certainty.

    You want to immpose a certainty of thought on others.

    That Rick, is nothing other than Fascism.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, it has taken me a while but I think I have figured out what our fundamental disagreement is over. If reality is not objective than what is it? Is it subjective, or something else? I think if you explain your view on reality than we will be able to move forward in the discussion.

    Once again you have mischaracterized Objectivism. Ayn Rand and Dr. Leonard Peikoff have been very explicit on what the differences between Objectivism and Fascism are. For further information I suggest the following.

    Ayn Rand Lexicon: Fascism-nazism.

    Finally, I would like to ask again that you refrain from the personal attacks. Statements like, “You are well described here Rick,” is personal and should have no place in the discussion. Please focus on the ideas not the messenger.

  • RickWilmes

    According to the article Jwithington cited, it is hoped that the Buell Fabrication will slowly be phased out with authentic quotations.

    The Best Quote Jones Never Wrote.
    “After a memo brought the issue to his attention, then-Commandant of Midshipmen Marine Corps Colonel John Allen considered the need for historical accuracy while also recognizing the positive impact the forged texts traditionally had played in the education of naval officers. The colonel’s prudent solution was to retain the quote in the 98th edition of Reef Points while changing its attribution to read as follows: “Written by Augustus C. Buell in 1900 to reflect his views of John Paul Jones.” Directly following this ascription are four authentic quotations by the Revolutionary War hero that now-Brigadier General Allen hopes will in time replace the forgery.

    Whether this will end the controversy is debatable. Corporate memory is notoriously short, and heritage (or “collective memory” as the shared memories of a group or institution are known to scholars), once incorporated, is very difficult if not impossible to alter. Unless serious discussion accompanies the recent changes in Reef Points, Buell’s fabrication likely will be reinstated at some later date. Past attempts by Academy officials to remove “Qualifications” from the curriculum failed when subsequent administrations, enamored by its effectiveness in building group cohesion, re-instituted the much beloved prose. ”

    In the 2008-2009 Reef Points, there is only one quote–

    “It is the Work of many years study and experience to acquire the high degree of Science, necessary for a great Sea Officer.”

    4 quotes have become one and the Buell Fabrication is front and center after the title page. If our self-less, self-sacrificial leaders have no problem reinstating this lie than is it any wonder why our self-less, self-sacrifial leaders can come up with intelligence for weapons of mass destruction?

    If you are a Midshipman and know the history of this lie, will you do your duty and memorize and recite it? Will you expect your Plebe to memorize and recite it? These are moral ethical questions of utmost importance? How you answer these questions will determine the course of your career as a self-less, self-sacrificial leader?

  • RickWilmes

    sid Says:

    “No one, except you Rick, see this as a dark and evil conspiracy.”

    Nice argument from intimidation, Sid. I missed that the first time around.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, thank you for providing the Proceedings article. I knew I would eventually find evidence of a pragmatic justification to keep the Buell fabrication in place.

    The upper classes’ response, however, has been dramatically different, with few supporting any change. Some second- and first-class midshipmen expressed annoyance and anger, perhaps a natural response to a perceived outsider’s debunking of cherished traditions. Comments such as, “but it works,” and, “the words are so good it doesn’t matter who said them,” frequently have been made during class discussions. Considerably less often, bewilderment has been directed toward the Academy’s administration for employing, in these individual students’ evaluation, a fabrication to reshape their character.39 As historian Glenn May has aptly remarked, “[t]he exposure of hero myths invariably causes pain, since all of us . . . have a deeply felt need for heroes.”

    In order to stop your next mischaracterization, here is the Objectivist position on pragmatism. Ayn Rand Lexicon: Pragmatism.

    So after almost a century of self-less, self-sacrificial pragmatism, Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy still memorize the Buell Fabrication because IT WORKS.
    _____________________________________

    [The Pragmatists] declared that philosophy must be practical and that practicality consists of dispensing with all absolute principles and standards—that there is no such thing as objective reality or permanent truth—that TRUTH IS THAT WHICH WORKS, and its validity can be judged only by its consequences—that no facts can be known with certainty in advance, and anything may be tried by rule-of-thumb—that reality is not firm, but fluid and “indeterminate,” that there is no such thing as a distinction between an external world and a consciousness (between the perceived and the perceiver), there is only an undifferentiated package-deal labeled “experience,” and whatever one wishes to be true, is true, whatever one wishes to exist, does exist, provided it works or makes one feel better.

  • RickWilmes

    Burma Shave:

    The following quote should be attributed to Ayn Rand.

    [The Pragmatists] declared that philosophy must be practical and that practicality consists of dispensing with all absolute principles and standards—that there is no such thing as objective reality or permanent truth—that TRUTH IS THAT WHICH WORKS, and its validity can be judged only by its consequences—that no facts can be known with certainty in advance, and anything may be tried by rule-of-thumb—that reality is not firm, but fluid and “indeterminate,” that there is no such thing as a distinction between an external world and a consciousness (between the perceived and the perceiver), there is only an undifferentiated package-deal labeled “experience,” and whatever one wishes to be true, is true, whatever one wishes to exist, does exist, provided it works or makes one feel better.

  • Byron

    No offense, but haven’t we heard enough of this? We get it: you want the truth.

  • sid

    Rick…In the interests of full disclosure, make sure you inform all that youare a proseylite for the Peikoff brand of Objectivism

    And that the Peikoff brand is the much more exclusionary strain and has the most apparent cult attributes.

    Peikoff and the ARI hold that Kelley is not an Objectivist. They cite, for example, Ayn Rand’s opposition to libertarianism in the 1960s as a reason to condemn Kelley’s work with libertarians, and his explicit identification of Objectivism as libertarian. Further, Libertarianism as an umbrella political philosophy encompasses mutually exclusive views: from atheism to Christianity, from limited government to anarchism. Thus, it is seen by Peikoff that Kelley’s position amounted to an alignment with groups that are incompatible with Objectivism’s fundamental tenets. Kelley and TOC counter by saying Peikoff and the ARI are taking Rand’s opposition out of context.

    Before you continue on with all this babble about absolute truth, it would be better that you retreat back into your own house of Objectivism and figure out all these pesky details.

  • sid

    We get it: you want the truth.

    Rick has made it abundantly clear that the only truth he wants all to know is his truth, which he deems absolute.

    Or more correctly, the truth as ordained by Peikoff and his followers…

    Otherwise, they will label you “irrational.”

  • sid

    (replaced broken link)

    Rick…In the interests of full disclosure, make sure you inform all that you are a proseylite for the Peikoff brand of Objectivism

    Peikoff informed Kelley that he was no longer welcome at the Ayn Rand Institute and that he had violated the tenets of Objectivism. Kelley responded by founding the Institute for Objectivist Studies, later renamed The Objectivist Center. Kelley worked with the libertarian movement in the United States and other associated groups that Peikoff refused to work with. Nathaniel Branden, Ayn Rand’s former lover and associate, who had been “kicked out” of Objectivism by Rand herself for personal reasons, later joined with David Kelley and The Objectivist Center.

    Kelley, Branden, and TOC claim that Peikoff and the ARI tend to diametrically oppose Objectivism by identifying “individualism” as conformity to the words and writings of Ayn Rand. This opposition is essentially the same opposition first stated by Kelley in “A Question of Sanction”. Branden claims that this view is a consequence of the cult-like thinking mistakenly encouraged by Rand herself.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid and Byron,

    You can stop with the argument from intimidation, it is not going to work. As long as I am free to speak, I am going to have my say on this issue. The more you throw at me the longer it is going to take but I will have my say.

    Dispense with the we, you do not represent all the individuals reading this blog or the USNI membership or the United States Naval Academy Alumni, or the United States Senate.

    In other words, stop with the we get it nonsense. I am speaking up and out. Sid, feel free to bring in every smear job on Objectivism you can find. Each individual will have to than determine what is true and what is not true.

    My name is Rack and I approve this message :) I will be away from the office for a while going snowboarding so I will resume the discussion at a later time.

  • RickWilmes

    Burma shave:

    United States Senate above should be United States Citizen. As my daughter would say, “Just waken up???:)”

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Wow. And here I was just happy that people could find out about Oldendorf at Surigao Strait…

  • Byron

    Rick, I don’t care if your intimidated…this discussion is getting really old, has been beaten to death, and I personally could care less. Personally, it’s a waste of bandwidth. Let’s move on to something else.

    URR: Surigao; THAT’S history!

  • R. M. Hayball

    What, he’s still here? He says I’m intolerant? Of him, yep.

    Well I guess he’s quicker than I thought. He forgot to mention scornful, too. Of him. Not too good at the riposte, no fun at all. Too much Rand, that stuff kills brain cells like rotgut.

    Byron: Oldendorf’s Trap? Revenge of the superdreadnaughts! Darter to Dace: “Have contact, let’s go”! Wow, is it ever.

    URR: Have you tried this stuff? If bourbon was history, this would be the good stuff, prime sippin’ whisky. Try some.

    Gotta run.

  • Byron

    I’m a Bombay Sapphire man myself: two shots of the finest gin in the world, a dash of tonic water, a slice of lime, I’m in heaven.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Byron and RM,

    You guys are some high-class fellas. Marines usually go for the cheap crap. Ignoring RK’s sound advice:

    “Firstly, steer clear o’ the grog-sellin’ huts,
    They’ll serve you ‘fix bayonets’ to rot out your guts,
    A drink that’ll eat the live steel from your butts,
    An’ its’ bad for the Young British Soldier.”

    When at CLNC, I knew an interesting man who had some GREAT stories about Samar. He was on the Natoma Bay. Said they gained an extra three knots by dogging four Hellcats to the deck and running them up at full power…..

  • R. M. Hayball

    Byron: Nothing wrong with a good G & T.

    URR: Well, there’s a reason why they say “spends like a drunken sailor”. Great story; the initiative, inventiveness, and industry of the motivated sailor/marine are a joy to behold.

  • RickWilmes

    Byron,

    I am not intimidated and it is clear that you don’t care to think. An argument from intimidation is a logical fallacy used to derail a debate hoping that one’s opponent is not morally certain or full of self-doubt. I am neither.

    I have a couple of more points to make about the Buell Fabrication and than I will honor your request and move onto George Bancroft.

    See you bright and early tomorrow morning.

  • sid

    I have a couple of more points to make about the Buell Fabrication and than I will honor your request and move onto George Bancroft.

    Now we get into why its best to be selfish, and why altruism is “irrational”….Even “evil”

    I always get a chuckle when an atheist evokes the term “evil”.

    Also we can expect to hear the word “bizarre” applied to any views opposing the “only right” way of thinking.

    Rick, your parroted Peikoff world view is an intellectually corrupt one…

    Peikoff, deriving all his intellectual inspiration from the corrupted sources of Rand’s quasi-leftist view of human nature, is not fit to give advice on any important question of social policy. Lacking any knowledge of the fundamentals of realpolitik, his proposals can only serve to distract the individual from confronting the real problems at issue. Randian idealism about human nature and morality is incapable of providing guidance in a world that is far different than either Rand or Peikoff imagines it to be. By following it in their own lives, Rand and Peikoff have brought ignominy and ruin upon themselves and their cause. We should all be wary of taking advice from anyone inspired by such polluted intellectual currents.

  • RickWilmes

    sid Says:

    ‘Otherwise, they will label you “irrational.”’
    ______________

    I missed that statement this morning.

    Sid, do you hold the view that a self-less, self-sacrificial pragmatist is in fact rational?

    A simple “Yes, I do” or “No, I do not” will answer my question.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, do you know what a boatswain’s punch is?

    How about a Plebe on the run?

    Let’s also throw in sea-lawyer?

    If the answer is yes, than do you know how to identify the on-line equivalent of a Plebe sea-lawyer on the run looking for a boatswain’s punch?

  • sid

    Sid, do you hold the view that a self-less, self-sacrificial pragmatist is in fact rational?

    Could go either way Rick. Thats the flaw in your narrow world view.

    Note that I was quoting one of your Objectivist bretheren in the comment above Rick. Seems Peikoff, and the other cannonical leaders that you blindly follow don’t have a lock on the philosophy. their leadership is not absolute.

    You are taking the notion of the absolute truth of your philosophy on Faith.

    Quit demanding that everyone else abondon their beliefs and adopt yours exclusively.

    It makes you no different than those we are in combat with in faraway places for the exact same reason.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, all of your assertions are arbitrary. I have made no demands on anyone. I am hear to speak my mind, no one is making you read my comments or respond. As I said before, it is up to each individual to look at the evidence and than decide who is right and who is wrong.

    Ayn Rand Lexicon: Arbitrary.

    As I told Byron, I’ll make my final points concerning the Buell Fabrication and than move on.

    In the mean time, feel free to link to more “Bueller’s” about Objectivism.

  • sid

    Sid, all of your assertions are arbitrary.

    A subjective view that your are entitled to.

    As are you entititled to state your beliefs. What raises my dander is your attempt to conceal your intent in stating them here:

    “The question that several members might want to start asking themselves is if they are ready to deal with reality and the truth. Because I am only just beginning. I’m starting with the founder of the Naval Academy, George C. Bancroft. I will be ending when I am the last man standing.”

    Be upfront about the fact that you want to eradicate all beliefs at the USNA other than the Peikoff brand of Objectivism.

    Some folks at the aynrand site have chided you on taking so long to get to the point. Some here have as well.

    So, let me save you the step of explaining “altruism” in your subjective way as you ease into your discusion on Bancroft.

    (Note the use of the word “bizarre” at the 0:59 mark. Its part of the cannonical language…)

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, is there a reason why you are not providing links or providing sources to the quotes you are attributing to me?

    Also, if you have an issue with what I am saying on another forum don’t you think it would be more appropriate for you to debate those issues in the proper threads as opposed to here? I refuse to respond to quotes attributed to me that are taken out of context and not properly sourced. Those quotes were said to individuals who have a particular body of knowledge and understanding of basic philosophic fundamentals.

    Once again, I am not hiding anything and for the moment your actions are far more effective in making my point than I could ever do on my own?

  • RickWilmes

    Final Point #1 of the Buell Fabrication(there will be three)

    I find the following information about the 1987 Reef Points revision interesting.

    “A further modification occurred in 1987, undoubtedly in response to Bradford’s excellent study a year earlier, enlarging the attribution to read “from a composite letter of John Paul Jones’ phrases and clauses as compiled by Augustus C. Buell.” (The Best Quote Jones Never Wrote By Lori Lyn Bogle and Ensign Joel I. Holwitt, U.S. Navy).”

    On the title page of the 1987 edition is the following quote from Thomas Paine,December 1776.

    “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman…we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

    The Oxford World’s Classics book, Thomas Paine: Rights of Man, Common Sense and other political writings attributes the above quote to “American Crisis 1.”

    The full quote is the following.

    “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sun-shine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now deserves the thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered: yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” (p. 63)

    TYRANNY, like hell, IS NOT EASILY CONQUERED.

    I will quote Paine again from Commen Sense(p. 3)

    PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor: a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

    As I move along in my discussion, I will do my best to provide my reasons and I know I am up against a formidable outcry. Reality, reason, and time will determine the outcome of this debate.

  • Byron

    ” Reality, reason, and time will determine the outcome of this debate”. No, more like the rapidly diminishing patience with your incessant arguing about this letter. We get it. Now for the love of God, will you please shut up on this and move on to another topic of DISCUSSION. I don’t give a rat’s ass about this topic, and I strongly suspect most of the members don’t either. Given the upcoming budget fights there’s lots of things of great concern to the future of the Navy, and I really doubt this Bueller thing is going to break it’s back.

    Move ON.

  • sid

    Sid, is there a reason why you are not providing links or providing sources to the quotes you are attributing to me?

    You mean a link to your “last man standing” statement, which was in a thread entitled, “Kant and the Naval Academy”?

    Are you denying you wrote it, or that I quoted it verbatim?

    Those quotes were said to individuals who have a particular body of knowledge and understanding of basic philosophic fundamentals.

    Oh I see… They were meant for those who find the tyrannical Peikoff brand of Objectivism palatable…

    (Note the use of the word bizzare at the 0:06 mark, by the affable Peikoff himself)

    Are you saying I have somehow misquoted you here?

    Naval Academy graduates will continue to have a direct influence on this country and it is time for Objectivists to get the right ideas and philosophy into the minds of these young men and women, our future depends on it.”

  • R. M. Hayball

    Call for the question (naval history in the current century).

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, as soon as you dispense with the ad hominems, pulling quotes out of context, and not providing easily available links to your sources than and only than will I debate the ideas being expressed in your comments. Until that time arrives your comments are a hodge podge of personal attacks, arbitrary assertions, and floating abstractions and will be dealt with accordingly.

    With that said, I am interested in your views on Kant. Should Kant’s ideas be taught at the Naval Academy?

  • RickWilmes

    R. M. Hayball Says:
    “Call for the question (naval history in the current century).”

    This is easy. Do you honestly think any professor(ex. Professor Horner) or commenter on this blog is going to use the Buell Fabrication as a source in an article or comment without looking ignorant about the subject at hand?

    If the answer is no, than hopefully my final two comments on the Buell Fabrication will persuade you to change your mind. Stay tuned to this noisy bandwidth.

  • R. M. Hayball

    We all know the itty bitty teeny ultimately pointless asssertion that one item in the catechism is not a direct quote from the dead sea scrolls. Yawn. Naval history in the current century is not the study of academic squabbles about recruit training maxims in the previous one. People with a lifetime of sea experience (me, for example) know if a maxim is true, and don’t care if JPJ or Billy Michell or Ayn Rand or Vlad Tepes wrote it. People who don’t (in the absence of CV to the contrary, you), don’t, and don’t matter.

    Which has nothing to do with naval history in the current century, which you have yet to diplay any grasp of at all.

    Call for the question (naval history in the current century).

  • RickWilmes

    R.M. Hayball and Byron,

    Who is the “WE” you keep referring too. Is it the two of you and Sid, is it more, how many more? 10 people, 100 people, 1000 people.

    I am a very patient man and individuals who appeal to the group and demand that I move on in the discussion are a distraction and only slow down the process.

    So keep saying, “We all know,” because the fact of the matter is that you, (R.M. Hayball, Byron and Sid)do not know what I have to say and what it means for naval history in this current century.

  • sid

    and not providing easily available links to your sources

    Look again. After the permissions at the aynrand site were changed and shut down the original links, I provided the google cache…

    See the link in the comment dated: March 23rd, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    pulling quotes out of context

    the context of each is quite clear.

    Should Kant’s ideas be taught at the Naval Academy?

    Yes, as a process of engendering critical thinking.

    There is no one all encompassing belief system in this world…And that includes Objectivsm.

    Should every Plebe renounce their religion in order to overcome the philosophical deficeincies you perceive at the Academy?

  • sid

    Yes or No rick: Do you desire to see Objectivism adopted at the USNA as the only fundamental philosopy upon which to base all doctrine and precepts?

  • R. M. Hayball

    Rick:
    1. We=anybody who has logged into this thread=reads the Proceedings regularly=reads Naval History regularly=stood more than 12 midwatches. Rough SWAG 5+ million folks in the USA between the ages of 17 and 75.

    2. We (anybody who has logged on into this thread) do not know what you have to say(if anything)about naval history in the current century because… you have yet to display any grasp of it at all (you really have to work on that reading comprehension). If you can recognize pertinicity (undemonstrated) by all means demonstrate it, post something pertinent, and then allow others the opportunity to the discuss the question.

    3. Your cab back to Olympus is still waiting and his meter is running, so please be brief and to the point.

    4. Call for the question (naval history in the current century). Anybody.

  • sid

    Sid, as soon as you dispense with the ad hominems, pulling quotes out of context, and not providing easily available links to your sources than and only than will I debate the ideas being expressed in your comments.

    What are the odds of Peikoff, Brook, and their faithful followers will cease demanding an eradication of all religion, in particular Chritianity?

    Cease labelling any who disagree with their gospel, bizzare and irrational?

    And cease insisting that their philosophy of Objectivsm is the “only right” (your words) way to look at this world?

  • R. M. Hayball

    naval history please

  • RickWilmes

    sid Says:
    “Yes or No rick: Do you desire to see Objectivism adopted at the USNA as the only fundamental philosopy upon which to base all doctrine and precepts?”

    Sid, this is an improper question. It is a logical fallacy using a form of argumentum ad hominem(circumstantial).

    In other words, you are appealing to my beliefs and not looking at the ideas that I am presenting as being true or false on their own merit.

    Fact: The Buell Fabrication is a lie that continues to be a required rate at USNA.

    Fact: Professors at USNA still quote the lie in articles that are published this century. In fact this month March 9 if my memory is correct. (See Professor Horner’s article linked above.)

    Another example of an improper question is “Do you beat your wife?”

    The last time I checked, the United States Naval Academy is a government funded institution being payed for by the tax payer. Our founding fathers were very explicit about the seperation between church and state.

    It is my understanding that religion is a personal matter and should not be taught at government funded institutions. Sid, is my understanding on this matter correct. If not by all means correct me if I am wrong on this issue?

    Once again, my desire is that the right ideas should be dicovered by our future leaders. If they are learning the ideas of Kant than they should also be learning the ideas of Ayn Rand. Each individual can than decide who is right or wrong.

    It is very clear that you have been doing your homework on Ayn Rand? How much do you know about Immanuel Kant?

  • R. M. Hayball

    naval history please.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “It is my understanding that religion is a personal matter and should not be taught at government funded institutions.”

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Nowhere there or anywhere else did the founding fathers demand that the government deny the existence of religion, or God.

  • RickWilmes

    Hayball, Sid has already opened the Objectivism debate. Are you sure you want to delve into my history with the Navy and Marine Corps.

    In case you are frothing at the mouth on this one, this is the only personal reference I will make concerning this matter and than I will go back to focussing on the ideas.

    Here it goes, I sat next to Alton Grizzard(Class of ’91) in Electrical Engineering 301. I know more than you think about the current state of the Navy and Marine Corps.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “I know more than you think about the current state of the Navy and Marine Corps.”

    Do tell.

  • sid

    Info on Alton Grizzard

    How does his sad death have any relation to Kant?

    Rick, as for the Objectivism issue, I lost patience with your coy references, so decided to bring it front and center into the discussion.

    Because -for you- it is.

    What is your replacement?

  • sid

    Sorry…

    What is your replacement to Kant?

  • R. M. Hayball

    That’s your CV? An electrical engineering class 18 years ago? Did you graduate? Serve in the fleet? Master’s thesis topic? Any reasonably pertinent professional experience since? Pray say on!
    Then given your(stipulated for purpose of discussion)incredible life experience why don’t you know that the assertion that “It is by no means..” may be one with the George and the cherry tree is really old news, and ultimately about sea state 2 in a doll house tea set teapot. Boring. Off topic. Irrelevant.

    If you want to make your personal life guru a depression era courtesan and novelist with endless intellectual pretention, feel free. I’m sure dear olde Canoe U. can defend itself from your life mission of making all its graduates subservient to her revealed truth. They run a pretty tight shop up there from what I can tell, and I never set foot on the grounds until after I screened for submarine command. If they were to make the philosophical legacy of dead broads once on the make a graduation prerequisite, I’d give better odds to Clare Boothe Luce, she was prettier, wittier,a better writer, had a sense of humor and was reputedly amazing in the sack, not to mention marrying better and being far more successful in her own career after her beauty faded in her old age. Just can’t connect them with anything useful to a navy. Boring, pretentious, irrelevant, off topic.

    Could I point out that the question is “saving naval history in the current century” Can you link any one thing in any one post of yours with the topic, in no more than 3 sentences organized into a paragraph? So far you are just boring, pretentious, irrelevant and off topic. Dullsville, Dobie. Call for the question.

    You are running quite a bill on the meter of that cab.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    RM,

    EXCELLENT Maynard G. Krebs reference. So few out there.

    (“WORK!?”)

  • R. M. Hayball

    I’m channeling Dennis Miller. If I’m going waste my day here, I may as well have fun.

  • Byron

    Personally, I think someone needs to get a life. This has about as much to do with history as that neat model of a Fletcher I built when I was 12 years old; NADA.

    Like the man said, Rick, just what do you bring to the table that should make all of us stand in awe of you, besides the glaring light of objectivity, whatever that is. For myself, you started pegging my BS meter a long time ago.

    Admin! Time to flush the system! :)

  • sid

    Rick, keeping this pertinent to the thread and venue, I really would like you to expand on these thoughts…which are yours and properly linked to… and how you would fix the problem:

    I submit that Alfred Thayer Mahan and his theory of subordination and his divine inspiration from God concerning sea power is the single most evil source of irrationality to plague the earth in recent history. All one has to do is look at how his ideas influenced the build up of the world’s navies prior to World War I and World War II and then look at the results.

    Previously you didn’t want to respond to this. Seriously, if possible, I was wondering if you can provide a succinct statement on what your solution is.

  • R. M. Hayball

    The final returns just in.
    Results are:
    Naziism: deservedly dead.
    Soviet Union: ” ” .
    Colonialism ” ” .
    Communism: in hospice.
    USA; richest, most free, most safe, most secure, most scientifically advanced nation ever. Recent slippage arguably related to lack of understanding of source and effects of Pax Oceana Americana 1945- date.
    USA navigated 20th (bloodiest century ever)with least damage of any nation.
    Note all of the above impossible or wildly unlikely absent USN/USMC, especially decency, altruism (for lack of a better word). courage, endurance, skill and sacrifice of enlisted sailors and marines. Assistance of US Army, USCG, USAF, where and as occuring gratefully acknowleged.

  • R. M. Hayball

    Byron:
    Sad but true on both counts, but I’m just poking the troll cause he doen’t comply when I call for the question. Roberts Rule free zone, alas.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, from my end there is not a link to the quote you provided. I recognize the change in your tone so I am willing to overlook that fact.

    I will directly deal with your question after the proper context and knowledge has been set. That is what I am in the process of doing. The illogical attacks on my position have only delayed that process.

    I will address Mahan only after I have finished what I have to say about the Buell Fabrication, and George Bancroft.

    I teach snowboarding and I always have these kids that want to learn how to do 360′s off of 40 ft. table tops. They have to learn how to skate before they can jump. The same principle applies here. I can not discuss Mahan until I finish with Bueller and than Bancroft.

    In the interest of this venue, the same principle applies when learning how to jump out of a plane. The first week or two(my memory is fading) of jump school is spent learning how to land. Before you fast rope out of a helicopter onto the flight deck of a helicopter in the Pacific Ocean, you practice in the well deck.
    At this point in time, we are learning how to lace up our boots.

    I want to bring this discussion to an end with a happy landing so for now be patient Mahan is coming.

  • sid

    Sid, from my end there is not a link to the quote you provided.

    Its there…easy enough to find….

    I will directly deal with your question after the proper context and knowledge has been set.

    We are all big kids here…lay it on. Reeducation isnn’t needed.

  • RickWilmes

    Final Point #2 on the Buell Fabrication

    I want to focus on the idea that the Commandant recognized that the forged text had a positive impact on the education of naval officers. I believe a logical fallacy has been committed. It is an appeal to authority or tradition to think that this lie should still be in the curriculum after several attempts have been made to correctly have it removed.

    The Best Quote Jones Never Wrote.
    “After a memo brought the issue to his attention, then-Commandant of Midshipmen Marine Corps Colonel John Allen considered the need for historical accuracy while also recognizing the positive impact the forged texts traditionally had played in the education of naval officers. The colonel’s prudent solution was to retain the quote in the 98th edition of Reef Points while changing its attribution to read as follows: “Written by Augustus C. Buell in 1900 to reflect his views of John Paul Jones.” Directly following this ascription are four authentic quotations by the Revolutionary War hero that now-Brigadier General Allen hopes will in time replace the forgery.”

  • Byron

    Yawn….

  • RickWilmes

    Well, I am glad to see the parrot gallery is falling asleep after they started to drink too early. Despite Sid’s attempt to discredit Ayn Rand and her ideas this week, America is thinking otherwise.
    Twist and Shout.
    “According to Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, “The explosion of interest in Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand’s ideas that we’re seeing right now is remarkable. As the United States’ economy deteriorates and the free market takes the blame for the disastrous consequences of government policies, Americans are increasingly turning to Atlas Shrugged, whose parallels to the current crisis are truly breathtaking.”

  • RickWilmes

    Burma Shave: The above link should be “Atlas Shrugged Tops #1 Best Selling List at Amazon.

    Bueller Shave: In an attempt to make my comments more interesting and entertaining, I would like to end the week with the following. See you on Monday.

    Twist and Shout.

  • sid

    LOL…you are so predictable

    Despite Sid’s attempt to discredit Ayn Rand and her ideas this week, America is thinking otherwise.

    Rick, just quit the “pussyfooting” around and get to the point. You want your atheistic, exclusionary Cult to supplant all thinking…Starting at the USNA.

    Cut the verbosity, and just get on with your “Ominous Parallel”.

    Thats where you are headed next.

    FACT

    And don’t deny the below is from you

    QUOTE(PhilO @ Sep 8 2007, 08:43 AM)
    Christianity might be better than the New Left, but smallpox is also better than Ebola. Neither are a philosophy that ought to be taught in an ethics class. Perhaps someday somebody will introduce a rational philosophy at the USNA. I hear that there might be one available. But clearly the author of that article would not consider it, given (bolded) that he blanketly condemns “intellectual philosophers” and wants to introduce more faith into the Academy.

    [Rick's statement]

    I agree. One of the ironic things about that essay is the criticism about the different philosophies not being taught within their historical context. What the author doesn’t mention or may not know is the history about the founding of the Naval Academy. George C. Bancroft, a historian, who founded the Naval Academy studied under Hegel in Germany. It was only a matter of time before Kant found his way into Bancroft Hall, the home of Midshipmen, better known as Mother ‘B’.

    The fact that this issue has been raised in Proceedings is a big deal. This is of the same magnitude as Dr. Peikoff’s election statement. I am in the process of forming my thoughts, creating an outline, and developing a response to the Proceedings article. My response will highlight the points that you have made. The proper solution is not Christianity but Objectivism. I don’t know if it will make it into Proceedings, but it will be distributed.

  • Byron

    “Distributed”? Like pigeons and seagulls? Admin, time for time out. This discussion has no bearing on Naval History. It’s about a personal vendetta. Strongly suggest that action be taken now.

  • RickWilmes

    And what is the issue, Sid? Where am I wrong and why?

    I guess I won’t come back on Monday.

    If you can provide a logical counter argument or identify my errors in my reasoning than I am eagerly waiting for your reply?

    As in the past, I will ignore any arbitrary statements, personal attacks, etc. It is time for you, Sid, to bring out your counter argument and identify my errors. The parrot gallery can squak all they want, they have already demonstrated their intellectual bankruptcy and I am not intimidated by their arguments from intimidation and myriad cliches that I have already heard before.

    In otherwords, it is time for some rational debate on this thread.

  • sid

    Your stance is full of contradictions you are blind to Rick.

    Keep the dialogue navy centric, and you won’t hear from me…but push it inot what you believe to be “the only right” way ,a href=”http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/aynrandandtheintellectuals.html”>in the Peikoff brand of Objectivism, and I will counter you.

    But odds are, you can’t help but very quickly move back into that fold.

    In fact…you’ve proven it.

    Objectivism today has two major factions, about even in strength. One faction is run by her “philosophical and financial heir, Dr.Leonard Peikoff. Peikoff was a member of her “collective” and, in my opinion, is an “opportunist,” who took advantage of Rand’s fall out with her original protégé, Nathaniel Branden and took over her fortune as well as the “mantle” as “The Voice of Objectivism.” This faction, running the Ayn Rand Institute, and claims to be the only source for Objectivist information and ideas. But it is this group that operates somewhat as a cult in that Peikoff’s contention that Objectivism, as Ayn Rand proposed it, was, and is, complete and not subject to any changes. To be an Objectivist to him, is to accept everything Rand said, as “gospel” and not deviate from it in any way. It is this which gives rise to the “cult” accusation.

  • RickWilmes

    Sid, I never brought Objectivism into the debate you did. I have taken issue with the fact that the Naval Academy continues to teach a lie to its Midshipman. That is as navy centric as you can get. As a United States citizen who pays for its existence, as a lifetime member of the USNI, and as an Alumni of USNA, which by the way solicits more money from me on a yearly basis, I have every right to demand that the administration of the Naval Academy stop teaching a lie that supposedly “Qualifies for the qualifications of a Naval Officer.”

    You brought Objectivism into the debate. You say its false, prove it.

  • RickWilmes

    Identify my contradictions, Sid.

    I will consider each and every one.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    Gentlemen, I require you to keep the discussion on topic. You have hijacked the intent of discussion to satisfy an argument that neither of you will win I strongly urge you to cease and desist

  • sid

    You brought Objectivism into the debate

    Lets start there. You were the one who started in with the issue of “inpsiration” in Mike M’s comment above. You were easing into it already when I forced you to come out of the closet on the subject.

    You say its false, prove it.

    LOL!!! That whole “logical fallacy” stuff is a one way street to you Rick.

    Freedom. You claim individual rights. Nothing in Kant demands that one renounce their beliefs. Your brand of Objectivism demands that one renounce their faith…In particular Christians. Peikoff’s book “Ominous Parallel” is for all intents an autobiography.

    I have every right to demand that the administration of the Naval Academy stop teaching a lie that supposedly “Qualifies for the qualifications of a Naval Officer.

    Yes you do. You have ZERO right to demand that Objectivism become “the only right way” to think at the Naval Academy.

  • sid

    Apologies admin…Sidn’t see that…I’m done.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    Burma Shave (though not sure what means – since I’ve never been to Burma, nor do I have a beard, but I do shave)

    What I will say is this: I will have to kill you (painfully and slowly) if this does not get back on topic.

    I am invoking my She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed card here.

    Have a great weekend!

    Mary

  • Byron

    (smoky temple, lot’s of monks going ‘ooommm’)

    “All hail, She Who Must Be Obeyed!”

    Mary, I didn’t know you were in the next room watching a movie? Damn, girl, you move fast! Let me go check…

  • RickWilmes

    Admin,

    For clarification purposes to get back on topic.

    1. May I make my final pont concerning the Buell Fabrication?

    2. May I discuss the ideas expressed in Russel B. Nye’s book, George Bancroft: Brahmin Rebel? This book is listed in the further reading section of Chapter 5: An Uncertain Passage: The Bureaus Run the Navy, 1842-1861(p. 106) from the book titled, “In Peace and War: Interpretations of American Naval History, 1775-1984, A Second Edition, Edited by Kenneth J. Hagan.

    3. May I discuss the ideas expressed in Robert Seager II’s book, Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Man and His Letters, Published by the Naval Institute Press?

  • Chap

    Time to click off the “enable comments” button, perhaps…

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