I am a prolific reader, if I say so myself. My goal for 2021 is 36 books, and according to my spot on Goodreads, I'm two books ahead. And I subscribe to eight magazines. In both my professions, I believed reading was essential. Two of the best books on the subject was The Leader's Bookshelf by Admiral James Stavridis, and Call Sign Chaos: Leading to Lead by General, and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
One thing I do love is all four of the services have professional reading lists, organized by ranks and area. But today I read an article from National Review which should scare any military professional.
Roger J. Maxwell
How will reading Ibram X. Kendi help us fight our enemies better?
...Over the past several weeks, it has become quite apparent that the United States Navy is no exception to the relentless onslaught of “woke” politicking.
On February 23, the chief of naval operations Admiral Michael Gilday released an updated version of the Navy’s Professional Reading Program. The program, a long-standing tradition that curates suggested readings for all members of the Navy, has a stated aim of educating and training the sailors that compose this branch of the Armed Forces. According to the Navy’s official website on this program, Admiral Gilday believes that in order to “outthink our competitors, we must study and apply lessons we’ve learned from the past.” He further holds that “one of the very best ways to do that is to foster an environment where every Sailor deepens their level of understanding and learning...” Many of the 48 books listed in the newly released reading checklist cover topics relevant to the Navy’s overall mission of becoming a more lethal fighting force: naval strategy, deep-dives into future world superpowers, leadership development, technology changes in the domain of warfighting, etc.
Very good point Admiral Gilday. However, do you really want a 19 year old reading this propaganda.
...However, the checklist also included several books that are overtly political in nature, threatening what should be the apolitical nature of our nation’s fighting forces. As just one example, Ibram X. Kendi’s overly wrought screed How to Be an Antiracist somehow landed on the admiral’s book list. Writings in a similar vein appear on the list as well, including Jason Pierceson’s Sexual Minorities and Politics, as well as Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. The inclusion of these books, especially given the hot-button topics they cover (and the controversial takes they provide) seems to place the Navy squarely into the realm of politics, which it has stridently attempted to avoid in the 200-plus years of its existence.
The inclusion of these books on an official DoD website is an embrace of partisan politics by a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. One need only look at the contents of these pieces of literature (“literature” being used loosely) to understand just how true this statement is. Kendi’s book argues that capitalism is a racist construct. Alexander’s obfuscates real issues of violent crime in order to argue that incarceration rates for minorities are predominately, if not exclusively, based on race. Perhaps most egregious of the three, the openly partisan nature of Pierceson’s “textbook” practically hits the reader over the head with its agenda. Each piece of writing offers its own particular viewpoint; it just so happens that each is of the woke, left-leaning variety....