Most conservatives will immediately understand there are virtues to a more military society that are not to be found in a merely more militaristic one. Militant populism that comes from people with no military experience is all but guaranteed to be dumb and dangerous in a way warriors are not.
You can see this in our police departments, where veterans in law enforcement are often apt to view their jobs in less theatrical or performative ways than macho civilians playing army on the force. Above all you can see it in the way we turn everything, rhetorically, into an “all-out war”—an absurdity for anyone who has actually seen even minor combat. Imagine how bad Jackson would have been without the discipline of having served.
Conservative, liberal, or neither, ridding the $20 of Jackson ought to pierce the fog of Trumpism—not only by rebuking a populist icon, but by reminding the populists that their militant vitriol is too lacking in martial virtue. In that sense, the proper presidential symbol of a politics more military isn’t hard to find. He’s graced our currency before—from 1971 to 1978, on the silver dollar.
For the good of the country, let’s replace Andrew Jackson with Dwight Eisenhower.