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  • A Huge Patriotic Component

    Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner picked up on some of the conclusions in our recent study “Who Serves in the U.S. Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers” yesterday. Dubner quoted the report: “The facts do not support the belief that many American soldiers volunteer because society offers them few opportunities. The average enlisted person or officer could have had lucrative career opportunities in the private sector.” Dubner responded:

    Point No. 3 is almost an ideological argument rather than a factual one. But still, this much is clear: when discussing the U.S. military in the aggregate, the common notion that the military is a stop of last resort, increasingly staffed by low-income desperadoes with slim future prospects, cannot be right.

    If the report has one significant ideological point to make, it’s that military participation has a huge patriotic/service component that is commonly overlooked, especially in portions of the country where military representation is far below average. (In the Northeast, for instance, the recruit-to-population ratio is just 0.73, compared to 1.19 in the South.)

    Hey, speaking of the Northeast, here is video of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry talking about U.S. troops and education levels in 2006:


    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to A Huge Patriotic Component

    1. John, south central says:

      The problem is that we do not have enough people in our volunteer army forcing us to use National Guard people which disrupts our economy because they are part of our civilian work force.

      We need to supplement our professional army with draftees. The 18 yr olds just out of high school are not yet in the work force and cause no disruption. Bring back the Draft.

    2. Kelly, Castle Rock C says:

      John from south central is wrong. It would be a gross violation of individual rights for any government to force any individual into the military. The reason our army is the best in the world is because the vast majority of those who serve in it, do so because they want to. (And the ones that don't must have at one time or they wouldn't have voluntarily signed up.) The only proper, moral role of government is to protect man's rights, not to force men to protect other's rights.

      And for what it's worth, John is also mistaken about 18 year olds not being in the work force. I have been working since I was 16 years old, and people in high school and college fill a very important role in the economy…they take those low paying, part time jobs that no one else wants. Who is going to serve John at the drive thru or at his grocery store?

      Perhaps John should volunteer for the military if he feels the military needs him, but it is not his right to force someone else to do so.

    3. Tom - California says:

      I am in favor of compulsory service. Working as a unit as you

      must do in the military is in valuable to young persons entering

      the work place. There isn't enough patriotism today. This

      country needs young people to understand how wonderful this

      country is. None like it.

    4. Will Gaefcke says:

      People forget too much. I enlisted in the USMC the day after my 17th birthday because the first of the month was for inductees. When I enlisted the pay was terrible 50-60 bucks a month, you couldn't vote until you were 21 or drink until you were 21. The voting age was reduced to 18 years of age because if "YOU WERE OLD ENOUGH TO DIE FOR YOUR COUNTRY, YOU WERE OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE A VOICE IN POLITICS AND VOTE". Too many people don't remember this is why the voting age was lowered. While a completely voluntary military is a nice idea on paper, it's also leads to the potential for military cover-ups of illegal war crimes and other activities. While I don't agree to a "DRAFT" to provide personnel to continue the war in Iraq or other regions in that area, I do believe it's a duty of every citizen to give something back to OUR country. As JFK once said, Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. I am sure that he wasn't referring to the government but to our common people and fellow Americans.

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