Required Military Service: Where’s The Logic?
There are so many flaws in that logic I don’t really know where to start. So let me try by picking apart the mood, nature, and cause that would move a person to have such a sediment. I often ask why they feel that it should be required. The responses vary but a few are common. One is "kids these days are not disciplined and it would instill some sense of respect in them." Another common sediment goes along the lines "the country needs to ensure it has ample people to ensure the freedom." Neither of these two statements logically lead to the requirement of military service for the male population of the country.
Looking at the assertion that children are disorderly, one thing jumps out right away. Is it just boys that need instilled a sense of discipline? What if he is gay? Should he still be required to join the service, even though the service still rejects openly gay members? What attributes constitutes a lack of respect, discipline, and/ or self-control? They stay out all night, sleep in, don’t get jobs, and waste money on clothing, music, and gadgets? Is it because they use drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes? They are having sex, making babies, dropping out, and committing crimes. If these are the attributes that one is hoping to correct, then why would one feel that forced military service could be the solve all, or even a possible approach for all boys. Many will claim, "it worked for me." However, they chose to join. The very act of volunteering removes an obstacle in the way of changing a degenerate juvenile into a well-rounded productive member of society. If you ask me, they ought to be forced to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, be exposed to all the popular drugs of the day, and stay up for days on end just parting and playing music. That is what worked for me. SO maybe every kid should be forced into the life of a struggling wannabe rock star with a back up plan of being a pirate. That is how I got here.
The claim that "children these days lack discipline and respect" is a farce that has been said by every evolving generation of the following generations since probably time began. I can hear it now, "these kids these days go out and whoop it up listening to that ‘Mozart’ music. Back in our day we listen to ‘Bach’ and we didn’t go around spoiling the place like the kids these days. They just have no respect." Your parents said it about you, and their parents said it about them. The 90’s had the "Generation X" and lollapalooza. The 80’s the punk rock/ heavy metal, crack, and MTV. The 70’s well "disco" is all I have to say about that. The 60’s was the age of "free love", communal living, and of course Woodstock. The 50’s had Elvis and the Ed Sullivan Show. I could keep going.
The shrinking of the world through media coverage combined with the population growth seems to help re-enforce the "lack of respect" concept. There is a "law of records" that also plays a part. We all know it as, "records were made to be broken" assertion. This is a fact true whether you are talking about a sports accomplishment or a heinous crime. No matter how ridiculous you think the worst crime of your time was, someday an even more unexpected and horrifying crime will be perpetrated. Media coverage of these incidents and population explosion seems to only have speed up the process.
Of course that is not the most perplexing part of the "children are so out of control these days that they should be forced to join the military" assertion. We can expect that the "non-respectful kids" referred to include kids in gangs, using drugs, getting in fights, or any other form of childish, dangerous, or rude activities they might engaged in. They engage in these activities that demonstrate a lack of regaurd for the law, remorse, and self-responsibility. So a valid response is to this behavior is to give them guns and teach them to be killers? Then under pay them, expose them to risks, and group them with other like minded individuals. I don’t want a kid who has the inability to understand American history enough to make it through a high school class being forced to defend the Constitution. Whatever reasons you have for considering the kid "undisciplined" are probably valid reason. I don’t want them to be trained to use firearms and combat tactics. What if you don’t change them into more disciplined individuals? Now you have an undisciplined well-trained hooligan. We need only to look to John Allen Muhammad to see the result of that situation.
The second most prominent notion is the need to force people into servitude to retain freedom is so counterintuitive that my head spins. So let me get this straight, in order to ensure freedom, we have to force you into near tortuous conditions, brainwash you, dictate your morality and restrict your movement. If the military is such a great form of government, why even have a democracy with freedom. Why not run the country as a military state. I mean it is so great right?
So let us say that you can run, jump, exercise, clean, scream, sleep deprive, haze and shoot these boys into a well chiseled version of a disciplined American. Whose vision of an American do they become? The idea of freedom is the ability to become an individual manifest of your own choices. In system design we have a term known as "pinch points" or "single point of failure". There are points in the system where if the system fails, the whole thing will be brought down. Forcing Children into military service at a time when they are very susceptible to influence provides a "single point of influence." There is no doubt that the military produces a base more supportive of conservative agendas. There is no denying that the views on issues like gun control, freedom of speech, meaning of patriotism, approach to foreign policy, and personal privacy are very conservative (and very aggressive for that fact) in nature. The training and restructuring of boot camp directly leads to this type of thinking. For example, If you and all of your buddies sleep eat and live with a gun everyday, your views on the right to own one, as a private citizen would change.
What has given America its strength is its diversity. That has lead to very different approaches to solving problems and creating inventions. More unified cultures have a hard time thinking their way out of complex problems. Military boot camps attempt is to break that individual spirit and rebuild a conforming, team oriented piece of a larger unit. Great qualities, however I wouldn’t want everybody to be that way. The thinking outside the box and resistance and confronting of the authority kind of thinking that is indicative to being a Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, or any of the great inventors created by our culture. The military is not very tolerant of insubordination, homosexuality, physical weakness, unfocused thought process, or passive diplomacy to name a few.
Forcing military service takes a child away from other options that could be equally crucial to continued strength of the community. College, tech school, a family business may all be required paths for some emerging adult citizens. To address the issues of concern I would agree that some kind of program that would force a young adult to at least pick a direction to take after school should be required. If they are not going to go to college, then other "service" programs that are governmentally sponsored. Forcing non-college bound students to spend 2 years in their choice of medical, culinary, trade, technical, or even, yes military internships would be acceptable.
So give kids a choice. Choice is the very definition of freedom. In order to kill a monster you can not replace the monster. The sum of that equation still results in the existence of a monster.
"I had other priorities in the 60's than military service" -Dick Cheney