Thursday, July 20, 2006

Indictment of Schools, of Society, or Both?

From FrontPage Magazine:

What does it say about America that the killed and wounded soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to hail from Prattville, Alabama, Lincoln, Nebraska, Mansfield, Ohio, or Klamath Falls, Oregon, than New York City, Beverly Hills or Cambridge, Massachusetts? (cut to the stats--Darren)

  • Of the Princeton University Class of 1956, more than half of the graduates went on to serve in the military (400 of 750); in 2004, that number was less than one percent (9 graduates). Sadly, among Ivy League schools, Princeton is in the lead for ROTC participation.
  • During the 1956 school year, Stanford University had 1,100 students enrolled in ROTC; today, there are only 29.
  • In 1969, seventy percent of the members of Congress were veterans; in 2004, only twenty-five percent were, with that representation falling rapidly.
  • The percentage of members of Congress with children serving in the military is only slightly above one percent.
  • While the old political clans of the Kennedys, Roosevelts and the Bushes have had many family members previously serving in combat, none of these privileged families (Democrat and Republican alike) has any relative in the military today.

I have statistics from the Army that show that the middle class carries the largest share of military service in our country, not the (commonly cited and probably hoped-for by liberals) lower classes. But that is beside the point, which is this--why is military service no longer something which the upper classes value? Why and how have our schools turned into such anti-military fortresses that the Solomon Amendment was needed?


Anonymous said...

Hi Darren,

Presumably part of the reason the reason that in 1969 a large proportion of congress were veterans was that they had served in World War two? Or the Korean War?

Certainly, growing up in NZ and the UK, 95% of people were in the military when universal conscription was in force, parliaments were therefore dominated by ex-servicemen (and it was usually men) for several decades after.

This has ebbed away, particularly now we're beginning to have more women in parliament (although we're still a long way off 50%).

25% of veterans sounds like a lot to me.

Why do you think people join the military now?

Darren said...

I'm sure the reasons people give for joining the military (as opposed to required service) are the same as they've always been, some combination of patriotism, wanting a challenge, steady paycheck, see the world, excitement/escape a boring life, family expectations, etc.

Yes, thirty years ago there were still WWII veterans in the Congress. In less than 40 years, though, the percentage of people who had served their country in uniform has dropped by almost 2/3. That's a precipitous drop, IMHO.

None of this answers the question, though: why is military service no longer something which the upper classes value?

Thank you for commenting. Y'all come back again now, y'hear?

EllenK said...

Although they would hate to admit it, the upper classes have always allowed the middle class to carry the military except in a few cases of military school officers. Heck, there were riots in New York regarding the draft during the Civil War. What bugs me is the race card being thrown around by some members of Congress. I know a number of kids who VOLUNTEERED to enlist and are currently serving all over the world. On one hand, it's got a potential for danger, but not one of these kids ignored that fact, because as one put it, "anything you do in life has the potential to end your life. And for me, the rewards after service outweigh the danger." That kid, who was constantly hacking into website in our area including the district site, is now hacking into Iraqi insurgent sites in the "safest tent in Iraq." Those are his words. If he is willing to take the chance, then who has the right to take that potential away? But the self-perceived "elite" schools find it fashionable to cast off the military as an option in life. I predict you will see a whole new political breed of voter ten years down the road. And they will not be kind to those who made their military jobs harder.

Katherine B. said...

Perhaps people are finally realizing after two world wars, a brutal campaign in Vietnam and now the police action in Iraq, that war is not a solution to the world's problems. Perhaps students around the country are finally considering that maybe it is not brave, courageous or honorable to kill other people. Maybe people today realize that there are other options in life, other things to do than simply join the military because thats what is "done" in their family. I really don't know, these are just theories.
I just hope that people, through studying the history of mankind, realize that war is never a permenant solution but rather a catalyst for more violence.

Katherine B. said...

By the way Mr Miller, the comment above (aside from being as you would put it "ridiculously hippy") is just a way to put forth a different opinion and...what's the diplomatic phrase? "foster discussion". Anway I hope you're having a good summer and not suffering too much from the weather (I hear it's rather warm). See you next year.

Darren said...

As this seems to be more a Western phenomenon, I'm more inclined to believe that our wealth and prosperity has bred complacency and entitlement. Want to talk about history? See the end of the Roman Empire.

And yes, it's mercilessly hot here. Are you in Geneva, or did those plans change?

rightwingprof said...

I know how to stop the cycle of violence! Let's all hold hands with the Muslim terrorists and sing kumbayah, and then they'll all love us and we'll live in peace and harmony! This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius!

What utter hokum. Thank God there are still Americans who aren't castrated by that nonsense.

EllenK said...

After just finishing an art history course that delved into the Roman Empire, it's very very very scary. And the complacency and sense of entitlement of "citizens" who demand services but refuse to have any part of the shoring up of the republic mirrors Rome's demise far too closely.

EllenK said...

Right Wing Prof-Read The Search for Zarathustra-I can't remember who it's by but it is a study of the underlying cultural bias that pervades all of the Middle Eastern peoples and religions, including Christianity. While the text is somewhat liberal and preachy, the message is that these cultures are very different, have alternate views of the universe based on an ancient history and that compromise is never ever an option. There's a reason no Hittites or Assyrians are running around today.