By Austin White
January 10th, 2012
I graduated high school in 2008 and now, three and a half years later, I would confidently wager that eventually 20% of my entire graduating class will end up in the military. The majority of my own high school buddies were snagged by recruiters in less than a year after graduating.
Not a single one of the many people I know who joined the military ever mentioned anything about how excited they were to defend my freedoms, uphold the Constitution, or even defeat the Omnipotent Intergalactic Muslim Empire as they were leaving for basic training. No, they joined because they were afraid of being in control of their own lives and wanted to thrust themselves into a system that would make all of their decisions for them.
Young people are more coddled than ever. Unless home-schooled, young people go through thirteen years of the American public school system where ,for seven to nine hours a day, they are told what classes to attend and when, where to sit, when they can eat, and when they may use the restroom (after you beg for permission, of course). For the majority of a young person's waking lives they are having their daily lives planned out by bureaucrats. Before they know it they are graduating and for the first time have the complete freedom to make their own decisions and plan their own lives - and they're terrified of this freedom.
They're so used to administrators bossing them around all day that they have no confidence in their own decision making abilities. They've never thought about planning their own lives before; they thought the bureaucrats would handle this task forever. And so many join the military, where they can go back to the control of the bureaucrats. Once again they will be told when to eat and what to wear, but now with the additional command of who to kill.
Cowardly people are afraid of freedom because it means they are fully responsible for any bad choices they make. They're much more comfortable having the option to shift the blame for their mistakes elsewhere.
I would say most military men are cowards. Sure they're signing up to grab a rifle and run into whatever battle they're ordered to, some will even jump out of airplanes, but this is recklessness, which is very different from courage. Modern American soldiers aren't rushing into any kind of heroic battle; they're occupying innocent peoples and imposing dictatorial martial law at the barrel of a gun so they can get their college paid for. How is this a respectable act? Courage is not blindly and unconditionally carrying out whatever order you're told to; the courageous soldier is the one who questions his orders, speaks out against them, and as a last resort refuses to obey regardless of the consequences.
I do sympathize with military recruits. They are regularly bombarded with big budget military recruitment propaganda, they see the yellow "Support the Troops" stickers everywhere, country music stars write songs praising the troops, and the troops are always the good guys in American movies - it's no wonder they struggle to see the evil in what they're a part of.
Once they're in the military all of their expenses are covered. They're provided with food, shelter, a salary, free college, and healthcare - ALL of which is funded by the government forcefully taking money from us mere civilians here at home without our consent. It probably is indeed hard to give those welfare freebies up.
But none of this matters and it doesn't matter that the troops mean well, because the same could be said of the Nazis. Nazi soldiers believed they were doing a good thing, that God was on their side, that their wars were defensive, and that Jews really were an evil force in the world (similar to how Muslims are viewed by modern Americans) that must be stopped. The great majority, if not all, Nazi soldiers probably had the full support of their families, friends, and neighbors just like American troops do.
The majority of people in the military are there because they didn't know what to do with their lives and instead of taking a deep breath and facing the opportunity to carve out their own place in the world head on they ran with their tail between their legs into a recruiting office so some guy who doesn't care the least bit about them can make those decisions for them.
Joining the military is not a respectable decision; it is a pathetic one. It is a cheap and artificial way for young men to gain undeserved respect and admiration. For most men it is no more than a remedy for unemployment. The longer this is denied, the longer it will be before young men stop marching into the recruiting offices.