Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier: How Critical Race Theory Is Undermining the Military
“I spoke up and said we need to remove the politics from our military environment. And I was relieved of my command,” says Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier.
How has critical race theory made its way into the U.S. military, and what is at stake? We sit down with Space Force Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Lohmeier, author of “Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest and the Unmaking of the American Military.” Soon after he spoke about the book publicly, he was relieved of his command, and his status in the military remained uncertain—until recently.
Jan Jekielek: Matt Lohmeier, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Lt. Col. Matt Lohmeier: Jan, thanks for having me on, I’m happy to be here.
Mr. Jekielek: Matt, tell me, what are you seeing in the military?
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: Let me say upfront that these are my opinions and I don’t speak for the Defense Department. What I’ve been seeing in the military during the past year specifically has been what I’ll call the hyper-politicization of our military forces in our diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings. I’ve recognized in those trainings both the vocabulary and the narratives of the Marxist revolutionary impulse.
I’m also seeing a double standard at play. What I mean by that is it seems that service members are allowed to advocate for the revolutionary agenda narrative and cause, but to either disagree with talking points or ideas, or to point out the partisanship is to have a finger wagged back at you, and to be accused of being politically partisan.
Our service members are trained that they’re supposed to be apolitical, and for good reason. Yet, every aspect of their lives at the moment is becoming politicized.
I spoke up and said we need to remove the politics from our military environment. And I was relieved of my command for being politically partisan again. So where does that leave our young service members right now who are supposed to be apolitical, but yet want to retain their beliefs, values, and be able to speak freely?
Mr. Jekielek: Almost three months ago, you were relieved of your command in the Space Force after you wrote your book “Irresistible Revolution.” Before we talk about the book, which I’ve really enjoyed reading, where are things for you right now?
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: First, I’ll say upfront, I am still active duty, though I’m on terminal leave. Terminal leave means I’m separating from the service. My last day in the service is September 1.
Where things stand for us at the moment is that for the past three months, we’ve heard that there was an alleged investigation that was ongoing in the Pentagon. But I’ve not had any communication about that, either from my chain of command or from the Air Force inspector general’s office, who is the one that I was to be conducting an investigation.
So, I wrote a letter to then acting secretary of the Air Force, explaining certain circumstances which I don’t plan to make public, but also requesting an early retirement and a separation honorably from the service. They’ve denied me an early retirement, but agreed that they would separate me. And so, my family and I have decided that that’s the best course of action for us right now, given the circumstances.
Sometimes, whether you want to call it tongue-in-cheek or not, the news just said I was fired, or you’ve seen it show up in that way. Some people had presumed that meant I was no longer in the service, or that I’d been kicked out of the military. And that wasn’t true either.
I was in command of a space-based missile warning unit in Colorado. At the time that I published the book and spoke about it publicly on a podcast, my chain of command deemed my behavior politically partisan in nature. That was the allegation at the time when I was relieved of my command of the space-based missile warning unit. Now I was still a lieutenant colonel on active duty in the space force from that day on.
But the day that I was relieved of command on the phone, the general officer who had relieved me of command asserted that it was because I was politically partisan while acting in an official capacity, which I’ve always denied. Then the investigation was opened to determine whether or not I was actually politically partisan while acting in an official capacity, which seems ironic because perhaps it is.
So, I never did hear an outcome from that investigation. I read in the news, whether it was several days later or a week later, that the investigation had been stood down by the department of the Air Force, and that the department of the Air Force’s inspector general’s office, at the highest level, in the complaints office in the department of the Air Force, had opened their own investigation into these issues or these matters. It was about that vague.
Whether it was me or a whole host of people that were a part of that investigation, I just can’t pretend to say. I still don’t know and haven’t heard. But in case there are some viewers or listeners that would be quick to think that I’m just some disgruntled service member who decided this was my issue I was going to pick a fight over, they’d be wrong.
I had attempted, before ever writing a book, to use my chain of command and the internal mechanisms available to every service member for these kinds of complaints for many months, before I ever put pen to paper and began writing what became “Irresistible Revolution.”
I had used every member of my chain of command, in fact, to the very top. I had both in-person and phone conversations with them about some of what I was seeing, expressing my concern that it was dividing our force. Then I filed a formal inspector general’s office complaint in writing, a seven page memo that happened to go to the same three-star general that ended up later relieving me of my command duties.
They sat on that through the election cycle, in November, December, and January, waiting for an outcome, it seemed to me, before they made an adjudication of my own complaint about the teaching of critical race theory at my base, which was in direct contravention of President Trump’s executive order at the time, banning such trainings in federal agencies.
And so, I felt nearly no other option other than to write a book and discuss the issues publicly, so that we could invite many people into the discussion.
Mr. Jekielek: You mentioned diversity, equity, and inclusion being a theme that’s taught extensively in the military now. This doesn’t seem to many to be problematic, and seems in fact to be quite laudable. What’s the issue with this?
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: It can seem like a laudable goal. The issue was well stated by Carol Swain, who several times has said that the diversity, equity, and inclusion industry is steeped in critical race theory, which is rooted in Marxist ideology. That’s a hundred per cent correct.
The trouble with that is Marxist ideology. A particular aspect of Marxist ideology that I focus on in both my writings and in understanding this issue, is the oppressor versus the oppressed narrative that is developed by Marx and Engels in their 1848 “Communist Manifesto.”
When you start to lump people, either into economic class stratifications or into race identity groups, and insist that one group, by virtue of their identity, is inherently an oppressor—and in our race dialogue discussions, that is the white group—and another group, based on their racial identity, is an oppressed and victimized group of people, then you start to breed division and animosity in between those groups of people, and breed distrust. Critical race theory does exactly what I’ve just described.
It has capitalized on race essentialism, and race division in our dialogue, and has redefined terms that that are a large part of the diversity, equity, and inclusion industry. And their redefined terms and vocabulary are now showing up in our military training sessions.
Instead of unifying people and helping us solve some of the problems or issues we’re currently facing, it actually plants new ones. It causes greater division. I’ve seen that as an active duty service member. I’ve seen it as a commander in our armed forces.
Mr. Jekielek: Could you give me some examples of what you’ve seen. How this is changing how the military is operating, in your view.
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: Here’s a few examples of what I’ve seen in the past year. When I showed up for command in Colorado, it was shortly in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. The Black Lives Matter Movement was actively crafting a narrative that was proliferating throughout Western society. It had been around since at least 2013. But in 2020, they were wildly successful at capitalizing on an anti-American narrative.
Many of the themes that you saw showing up in these anti-American narratives were also used in projects like The New York Times 1619 Project. The narratives that you see showing up from groups like that began to infiltrate U.S. military bases in our diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings, that we were no longer having just maybe semi-annually.
We occasionally have other trainings like sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention trainings and suicide prevention trainings. Those have been around in the military for a very long time.
These diversity or race discussion down-days that we were having, and I’ll specifically speak to my base, were happening frequently, now, all of a sudden. We were being shown videos, that I would call propaganda videos, that demonized the Constitution of the United States.
You shouldn’t be allowed to serve in uniform if you’re going to, from your official position, push out anti-American, anti-Constitution videos to the people at your base, and say that they should watch them in preparation for a down-day where we were going to discuss race.
I participated in a reading club that was advocated for by base leadership, in which we read a book by Ijeoma Oluo called “So You Want to Talk About Race,” in which not only were the United States founders and its founding documents demonized, but the discussion guide in the back of the book encouraged that whoever was going to facilitate the discussion, to make sure that if white people want to center their feelings, they separate themselves from the group and go find other white people to center their feelings, so that people of color do not have to share their burdens.
The book also recommended which organizations they should be donating their excess money to if they weren’t sure who to give donations to, what type of political candidates they should be supporting and what issues they should be voting for. It’s exceptionally partisan.
I pointed out in a formal complaint that these things are going on, and it’s dismissed. I write a book about these things going on, and I’m fired from my command position for being politically partisan. I want to make that point really clear too. Because, yes, you can say I’m partisan for taking an opposing stand for my own personal values.
But the whole reason this came up is because I was trying to get rid of the partisanship in our active duty military service organizations. That doesn’t belong in the military. Our young people don’t want to have this stuff jammed down their throats. And it was showing up often.
To bring it up was to be labeled politically partisan. So where does that leave a good chunk of your service members in uniform who don’t want politics in the workplace? Are they allowed to speak up and say, “Hey, I identify that as offensive and politically partisan.”
I was seeing things like that. I had a young female come into my office as a result of these trainings that we were having on the base, and say that she had never been raised to believe that she was an outsider in this country. But because of the trainings that she was receiving from the base and from the chaplain—political trainings, race trainings—she had learned that she was an outsider not just in her own country, but also in the military and in uniform.
That’s false. No one’s an outsider in the military because of their race, but we’re teaching people to start thinking that way.
And so, when I start seeing that, as a commander in charge of young people, who has a stewardship for their well-being, and a mission to accomplish, that has no place in my organization.
To bring that up to my chain of command and to see no real attention paid to those issues, it necessitated making the discourse go public. There’s a reason people trust our military. It’s because, historically speaking, we’re not politicized.
Mr. Jekielek: Why did you join the military in the first place? I’m going to ask you more about the motivations for the book, but it would be good to understand your general motivations for being there in the first place.
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: Motivations change with time. I was a poor student in high school. I wasn’t interested in understanding or taking my schooling seriously, let’s put it that way. But I was a very good basketball player. And so, the Air Force Academy basketball coaches came and happened to watch me play a basketball game early on in high school, when I had one of the best games of my life.
Every time the Air Force showed up to watch, I had a fantastic performance. And every time other colleges I was really hoping to go to showed up, I had some of the worst games of my high school career. So, I ended up being recruited to play basketball at the Air Force Academy.
I took a recruiting visit out the there and really was impressed with the different lifestyle and discipline of the young cadets at the Air Force Academy. Because of, thankfully, the insight of wise parents, they kind of nudged me in that direction.
I joined the military by going to the Air Force Academy. Now, I didn’t play basketball for very long there. That was a hard balance, doing military life on the one hand and being an intercollegiate athlete on the other. But over time, at the Air Force Academy, they had an honor code. We do not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.
For the first time in my life, perhaps, I started to take certain values or principles very seriously, like not lying or cheating. From there, it kind of evolved into taking my studies more seriously and not just trying to get by, but actually starting to read and understand history a little bit.
The more that I learned about history, the more I learned about other countries, and the more I learned about the history of our own country, the more patriotic I became.
And I’ll clarify, sadly, that you have to, because there’s a new category of extremism these days— it’s called patriot extremism. It’s someone who’s overly zealous in their patriotism. Not in an overly zealous way did I become patriotic, I simply became a lover of my country. By the time I graduated from the Air Force Academy, I was happy to stay in the service, and sign up to commission as an officer.
With each passing year or certainly decade, I’ve been more and more grateful to serve in uniform, to defend our nation, to defend our allies and the rights of liberal Western democracies in the world who insist upon the worth of the individual, and who insist that men and women have rights that shouldn’t be violated. We stand for a great thing in uniform, and we’re willing to defend the constitution which preserves those liberties.
Mr. Jekielek: You’re making me think of this moment in the book where you’re presenting a thesis topic to the room. It was in a class where multiple students are doing so, and you were kind of shocked. Can you describe that a little bit?
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: The Air Force has a program where it selects a group of officers who the Air Force hopes will have great prospects for leadership potential in the future. These are senior level majors, probably about to pin on lieutenant colonel, or people who have already pinned on lieutenant colonel, who are at a strategy school. Jim Mattis considered it the Defense Department’s premier strategy school.
You read a book every day. And you show up for two hours in a seminar in a very small group setting, maybe 8 to 10 people. You sit in a round table setting, and you argue about ideas that you read about in international relations. We studied irregular warfare and civil wars. We study a range of topics—technology, cybertechnologies, and space power. And we go through that day after day, month after month for that year that you’re there.
It’s a master’s program. You write a master’s thesis as a part of that program. I had elected to write my master’s thesis about—I’ll put it generally speaking—it was about the decision to stand up an independent space force, and how there was some cultural, organizational opposition within the Air Force to that idea for some time.
And I wanted to trace through organizationally, culturally speaking, why it is that human beings have resistance to ideas that might threaten their cultural identity, for example.
One of the books that I had recently come across, at a professor’s recommendation, mind you, that I found phenomenally interesting and insightful, was Jordan Peterson’s earliest publication. It was done in 1999. I’m guessing most people hadn’t heard about it, and maybe even until recently when he became far more well known. It’s a book called “Maps of Meaning: the Architecture of Belief.”
In there, he offers up a very simplistic model of this idea that when organizations or groups of people, whether they’re nations or otherwise, have their cultural identity threatened, it causes emotion to rise to the surface. It causes people to be very interested in the defense of that cultural identity, almost at all costs, depending on the group you’re talking about, and depending on how much it’s threatened. So I offer this up in a group setting, where the students were presenting their thesis outlines to faculty.
I mentioned Jordan Peterson’s name and his book “Maps of Meaning.” One of the professors leans over to the other professor, who happened to be my thesis advisor. And in front of the class, while I’m giving the presentation, she’s whispering something in her ear. Then they interrupt my presentation and she asks the other in front of the class, “Do you want to tell him or do you want me to tell him?”
That effectively stopped my presentation, and the whole class was wondering what they’re talking about. They took the liberty of informing me, one of them did, that citing Jordan Peterson in my thesis work was like referencing Hitler in my thesis work. Both emotionally and as little as I understood about the man at the time, I thought that was an absurd claim.
But I really got interested in hearing what this guy had to say after that. There are very few Western intellectual voices currently that speak so forcefully against the totalitarian impulse as someone like Jordan Peterson. And whether it’s a Hitler or a Mao or a Stalin, he’s all about attacking the totalitarian impulse and identifying perhaps the psychological, the human nature influences that combined to give rise to that impulse.
Here at a military strategy school, mentioning even the name of Jordan Peterson gave rise to fierce opposition very quickly from people that seem to me weren’t even familiar with his work. There was a growing sense that I began to have, even at a military institution—you could call it woke culture or cultural Marxism—the spirit of that influence was not just prevalent in broader institutions of higher learning across the country, but even in our military education system.
That was a wake-up call to me. We were also being corrected for using words like man or mankind or manned space flight, in a historical sense. We weren’t to use the word man anymore because that was potentially offensive to somebody. That bothered quite a few of the students in the classroom, myself included.
Mr. Jekielek: This thesis was kind of a precursor in multiple ways to you needing to write in your own words, needing to write “Irresistible Revolution.” Why don’t I ask this question now. Why is it irresistible? What is the revolution, of course, is the other question, but why is it irresistible?
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: Irresistible revolution comes from a quote from one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Janaya Khan. Janaya Khan goes by Future Khan, deliberately so. If you think about that, Future Khan, that’s an interesting name title that they’ve chosen for themselves. Future Khan said that the role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible.
I want everyone to think about that for just a moment. They think they’ve got some artists mixed up with those who have organized the Black Lives Matter Movement. They are trained Marxist organizers. They’ve admitted as much as early as at least 2015 in interviews.
Now they’ve got self-professed artists among them whose sole purpose in the movement is to craft the rhetoric in such a way that the revolutionary impulse sweeps across the nation, because people will buy into the aims of the organization as almost a foregone conclusion.
Who doesn’t love freedom? Who doesn’t love equality? Who doesn’t love liberty and fairness and these words that are thrown about so quickly? There is even the potential that compassionate people can be swept up, at least initially, into what they would perceive as a virtuous cause in liberating other humans from some oppressor class.
That narrative, you recognize from 1848 “Communist Manifesto.” It used to be economic stratification into classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. That’s morphed over time with other Marxist academics who have changed the narrative over and over again based on what country they sit in, to whichever particular narrative will have the most staying power within whatever nation they happen to sit in.
In America, perhaps the most powerful narrative you can capitalize on is the narrative of racism, of slavery. Those institutions and historical follies are at odds with our founding principles.
Frederick Douglas knew it. Our founders, many of them knew it too, and were trying to pave the way for its abolishment, because our nation and our founding philosophy is at odds with those ugly historical artifacts, let’s say. People try and resurrect those and bring them to the forefront of people’s minds in order to create a kind of ideologically driven narrative of American society that people can get angry about once again.
We’re losing our ability to get angry about what America is, if you actually understand what it is and what it’s done, because it’s become great and it’s done great things for humans. We try and resurrect Thomas Sowell. I quote this in the book, Thomas Sowell said, “Racism is not dead, but it’s kept alive by race hustlers and politicians and people of the like who profit from keeping it alive.”
I see that in these narratives that are constantly spread about like The New York Times 1619 Project and in our diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings. In these narratives we’re insistent upon demonizing America as a country, its foundings, its founders and its founding documents so that we can get people energized around a revolutionary cause.
They don’t exactly word it that way, but if you trace through all the details, you understand very well that there are those who are interested in a revolutionary change to this country.
Marx and Engels would say that a communist revolution can’t possibly be fully brought about in a place like America without violence. If you start to understand those themes in The Epoch Times “Nine Commentaries,” as well as in, “How the Specter of Communism is Ruling our World,” and if they read my book, what they’ll see is that they’ll start to make a great deal more sense of some of the events that they saw unfolding in this country in the year 2020, after George Floyd’s death.
A lot of that revolutionary fervor is fueled by these ideas. They know those who are interested in the revolutionary cause and in undermining American society are not going to do that in an instant.
Even though there have been revolutionary changes that have occurred in a year alone, the soils have had to be prepared for decades. This is something that has been in the making for many decades in the universities, in politics, even, unfortunately, in our churches. The changing of language, the changing of terms and definitions can subtly remake a society and a culture if you give it enough time.
So the soils have been prepared for a very long time. And of course, the revolutionary cause thrives when a crisis occurs. Whether or not the crisis is actually a justifiable revolutionary cause, revolutionaries can make it such. George Floyd’s death, which we mentioned earlier, was one such example of an opportunity that people capitalized on.
They destroyed cities, they destroyed businesses. The COVID pandemic—no one can argue with the fact that the crisis itself has presented an opportunity for people to make radical changes to society economically, socially, and politically.
Mr. Jekielek: One of the vignettes—and maybe I’ll just get you to speak to this briefly—which really kind of surprised me was your interaction with the chaplain that was assigned to your unit.
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: One of the things I mentioned earlier was the divisive nature of critical race theory. Whether or not a person understands that they’re being indoctrinated into the tenets of critical race theory, it has a sinister impact on one’s worldview. Unfortunately, it seems to me that a good chaplain at my base happened to be victim to some of these ideas.
This chaplain had come into my unit shortly after I had taken command, and explained that he was interested in providing the service members under my command with “Race in America” lectures that he and base leadership were developing.
I expressed some hesitation at that, but admittedly, didn’t understand exactly what was in those training sessions. I asked if I could set up a time with him where he could explain to me what exactly it was that he was hoping to train my people to understand.
So we set up for a later meeting and he says, “The overarching aim is to help us solve systemic racism in this country.” And I said, “Okay, please define for me systemic racism.” He shared with me a very unclear vignette, kind of skirting the issue because it seemed he was uncomfortable sharing with me what he really believed. And so, I asked him one more time to help me understand what it was that was the problem that he was trying to solve.
And he said, “Basically, all whites are racist.” That was his answer. And that’s a quote. We had a respectful conversation, but I was very clear. I said, “That’s a great example of racism, to impugn guilt to people based on the color of their skin.” And I said that kind of racist discrimination wasn’t welcome in my squadron, and that he wasn’t welcome to give those training sessions to my troops.
He didn’t like that very much. And so, we had a conversation together about what, in my view, he was trying to accomplish wasn’t to share accurate history, but rather a political ideology that was intent on undermining our service member’s faith and trust in their oath to support and defend the constitution.
He disagreed with me on all counts. He explained that he had the support of base leadership in the courses, and had worked on developing those courses with base leadership. Some of my service members had in fact sat down with this chaplain, and had these conversations with the chaplain, and had come back with a new found worldview that they were outsiders in their country and in their service based upon their race.
It was such an unhealthy divisive impact that I was seeing even within my own unit, that I began to reach out to other friends of mine at other bases who were in leadership positions elsewhere. You’ve probably seen, there are some congressmen, Senator Tom Cotton and Congressman Dan Crenshaw have stood at Whistle Blower Forum, essentially allowing service members to anonymously report these experiences that they’re having at their own bases.
As of a month ago, they had received hundreds such complaints. I forwarded on to them complaints that come to me every week. This is not a non-ubiquitous unique circumstance at my base. It seems to be a common experience among service members elsewhere.
Mr. Jekielek: In your book, you also referenced another author, someone who actually lived actively through the Cultural Revolution in China. The suggestion I think, that you’re making, is that we’re experiencing, as we speak, a kind of Cultural Revolution here.
And so, there’s a lot of people that would say that’s preposterous. What happened in China, you can’t even compare that to what’s happening here. So, defend that for me here if you will.
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: Yes. I can unabashedly say what we’re experiencing here is a cultural revolution that is akin to Mao’s Cultural Revolution that began in 1966. The book that you referenced is Fan Shen’s “Gang of One.” I pull some excerpts from that book because they really hit me hard.
I read about military personnel in uniform being dragged out onto a stage during the Cultural Revolution, and being forced to bow before the angry mob, lest they either be a victim of violence or worse, about the raising of the fists and shouting angry slogans, about the anger of the mob, the insistence on tearing down monuments and changing street names and building names, the insistence that the great leader is who we need to listen to and obey and follow, and if you have or share any information that’s contrary to the great leader, then your ideas aren’t worth a darn in the new society.
What’s fascinating to me is that the only people I have ever heard dismiss the claim that we might be experiencing a Marxist cultural revolution of our own in the United States are people who live here and who seem to have a very short memory.
I’m receiving letters from people across the globe. Just as recently as the end of last week, a man in Estonia wrote to me, sympathizing with everything I’ve written in the book. He said he heard an interview of mine that I had done a month ago, that he happened to find in Estonia. He wanted to thank me for speaking up about this and said, “Everyone over here recognizes the truth of what you’re talking about.”
I’ve just received a text message before I got on the call with you from a woman from Romania or Lithuania—I apologize, I don’t remember from where. I’m speaking with someone tomorrow from Romania, and so maybe that’s why I’m getting it mixed up—reaching out to me, expressing that she and her family know exactly what I’m talking about. We came to the United States because we wanted to get away from all of this. And we’re shocked at what we’re seeing take place in this country.
I know another gentleman who lived in the Soviet Union, in fact, two families that lived in the Soviet union before it fell, who have said, “We can’t agree more with the idea that there is a cultural revolution taking place in this country, because we’ve seen all of this before, and there’s nothing new under the sun.”
The people who have experienced these things don’t dismiss the idea that this is exactly what we’re looking at. It’s a Marxist cultural revolution. It’s just that those who insist upon their political ideology not being disrupted, or their particular worldview not being disrupted want to be quick to dismiss the idea.
Mr. Jekielek: There’s a whole lot of people who, frankly, probably just don’t know, or who aren’t thinking about all this stuff in this way at all. They haven’t read Solzhenitsyn or Jordan Peterson, or any number of people writing about Marxism and related ideologies or this critical social justice ideology.
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: That’s probably right. One of the questions I was asked early on is how many people do you think willingly participate in the revolutionary cause? And how many people unwittingly are participants? That’s an evolving answer. Because with each passing week and each passing month, many more people are speaking up about this.
It’s getting a lot of attention in books, pamphlets, and in the media. Even parents are showing up at their school boards talking about this. Someone who is an unwitting participant perhaps six months ago, in and what might be a Marxist revolutionary cause, are beginning to be left without an excuse today.
You’ll hear stories occasionally if you’re paying attention, of people saying, “Hey, I was an advocate for (pick your movement or your organization.) But I’ve really learned in the past few months that I was wrong, and I’m engaged in something that will absolutely divide society.” So, they’re changing their view.
I mean, some of the greatest black conservative voices that we have in the country, some of the biggest names, like Thomas Sowell, for example, or Clarence Thomas, have admitted, “Hey, in my youth or in my college days, I was an activist, I was a Left-leaning activist. But I learned a little bit more about history and I’ve become quite conservative in my views.”
That is a part of the problem. People need to learn a little bit more. And if they’re honest souls, and if they’re willing souls, then I think that they’re willing to transform their views.
I’m not saying that they will leave one political party for the other per se. I think that they’d be willing to admit that what we’re talking about here shouldn’t be a partisan issue. This is a threat to the American way of life, and America’s founding philosophy, the idea that individuals have inherent worth.
And when those ideas come under attack, those aren’t partisan issues, or they shouldn’t be in this country, because those are America’s values.
Mr. Jekielek: You argue, and I think this is one of the simpler ways I’ve seen this idea presented, that this is like a fundamental transformation of the core morality of society.
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: I came upon a statement earlier today, probably we most often quote Abraham Lincoln when we say it, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Now, I’m going restate it. I’m going to state it the way that it shows up in the Bible, because it’s slightly different.
Jesus originally said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.” That’s the King James version. Then it goes on to say, “Every city or house that is divided against itself shall not stand.”
The difference is slight, but I’m going to point something out because I’ve been asked before if I have hope that we can reverse course. And my answer to that is, “Yes, I do, if we change our course.” It takes people changing the course that we’re on. It takes people having courage and standing up, and speaking up against this perverse course that we’re pursuing, which is a revolution.
If we pursue ideas that divide our house, if we pursue ideas that divide our military, and allow a politicized military environment, which will divide our military, if we talk about identity politics and oppressor versus oppressed narratives in the military, that will divide our military. If we pursue ideas and ideology that is intent upon dividing American society, we will fall. That’s what the original words say.
I believe those words because history seems to prove that’s the case. It’s not just the idea that you cannot stand, but maybe you’ll make it through. The fact is division will destroy you. And one of the great things about America is that we’ve been able, regardless of race, politics, cultural backdrop, or the country of origin, come here and assimilate into a set of core values that make us American and make us united.
We’re getting away from that at the moment as we pander to Marxist ideological themes. We are retreating into a tribal mentality, insisting that certain groups have more rights or less rights than the individual and society. And if we pursue that path, it will just divide us further still. You’ve probably heard this too.
Diversity is our strength. That saying is prevalent in the military at the moment. I’m going to say first that unity is our strength. But I also say that it depends on what you mean by diversity. Of course, if we bring a diverse set of ideas to the table, unique perspectives to the table, which happened to be incidental to people in a free society, by the way, then of course, that brings strength to a team.
But if we’re talking about racial and gender based quotas, for example, there’s no strength in focusing on our differences. That’s not what brings people strength. It’s always been about, regardless of our differences, uniting in the same cause. Our military forces have always been tremendously united regardless of race, for a very long time, much longer than the country’s been united, by the way.
It didn’t matter if you had a black airman leading a white airman or vice versa. This was not a thing that was dividing our force for a long, long time until just the last, I’d say, frankly, the last year or so, as these narratives have started to bubble up. I want to be clear on that.
Diversity is a strength if you understand, if you define the term properly. But unity is our strength. We need to focus on the things that unify us, and stop training our people in ideas that will divide them.
Mr. Jekielek: As you’re just speaking, it actually reminded me of something else that you wrote. It’s after the Korean War. The Chinese had actually taken a number in the range of 300 POWs that were returned to America. At which point, extensive studies were done about how these people were, tortured, and worn down. You make some really interesting observations with respect to this.
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: Of course, American officials were very interested in understanding communist captor interrogation techniques to extract information from their prisoners. The thing that a prisoner likely fears the most is physical punishment, torture, and physical pain.
And yet, the communists captors seemed instead to extract information over time using a very different technique, to insist upon the guilt of the prisoners for things that they weren’t actually guilty of, to extract confessions of guilt from their prisoners, and to get them to repeat back to them ideas implicating them as guilty, and crimes that they didn’t commit.
One of the things that shows up in these studies after the Korean War, it was a common theme. It was a tactic that was used, in the hope that they could generate a kind of conformity among the prisoners, getting them over time to simply conform, to obey the regime, if you will.
And the psychological impact upon some of the prisoners with time, was that if you keep it up long enough, they’ll actually begin to believe in their own guilt. They’ll begin to willingly confess their own guilt.
The tactics that are used are actually outlawed by the Geneva Conventions, and are not a legal way to treat prisoners of war. Yet, some of the tactics that you see showing up in Western society as a whole or in American society at the moment are nearly as abusive.
Some of these books that are being written by the social justice activists, essentially insist upon the guilt of groups of people in our society, white people. You know, Ibram Kendi’s book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” is a great example of this. “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo is also a great example of this.
You are a racist if you are white. Now you’re left with two options, you can either admit to it and confess your guilt, and then take up the mantle of anti-racism, which is activism. Or you can deny it and further implicate yourself as a guilty racist, and remain on the wrong side of the revolution, essentially.
I’ll put it that way. But there’s no way around it. You are a racist, you can’t escape the fact. But it’s a false dichotomy. And it’s a really eerily similar tactic as the one communist captors have used in the past half century, at least. That’s been well-documented.
Mr. Jekielek: Matt, as we finish up, you’ve decided to leave the service, you’ve been given an honorable discharge. You’re going to be going out and and speaking. What about the typical person out there who’s listening, who’s concerned about critical race theory in the school, in the workplace, and the whole social justice movement that exists right now. What are your suggestions on how to approach this?
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: People need to continue to pay attention, get educated, and get courageous. Because activists will continue to steamroll you if you do not. I’ve seen so many good parents standing up in videos that are showing up all over social media, who have learned something in the past few months, and they’re standing up boldly for the rights of their children, or disagreeing with the school board, or saying that they’re going to write their elected officials.
It’s good that we continue to be active. We need to be courageous, and we need to speak up and, “fight back.” I know people are quick to twist words. What I mean by that is not to get violent. What I mean by that is that people actually need to take a bold stance. I am encouraged by the number of people I have seen doing just that in both media and in letters that they’re writing to me.
Share the word. Teach other people and do so as respectfully as you can. That’s probably our best hope moving forward to create unity and not division, and to encourage and foster an environment in which healthy dialogue can take place.
Mr. Jekielek: Matt Lohmeier, it’s such a pleasure to have you on.
Lt. Col. Lohmeier: It’s been a pleasure being with you Jan. Thanks for having me.
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