Thursday, November 08, 2012

Today’s Military

I wrote a post a while back quoting without comment one day’s worth of headlines from articles collected by, a site that, whether they intend to or not, documents the armed forces’ apparent slide into leftism.  This prompted the following exchange in the comments.

Elusive Wapiti:  A depressing collection. [These events] are indicators that the military is rapidly moving away from being the "bastion of conservatism" it was alleged to be when Clinton was president.

Samson:  Really? Colour me overly optimistic, but it seems to me that these are policies enforced from on high, not necessarily in line with the feelings of the rank and file.

This called to mind several observations I’ve made about young people in the military recently.  As you know, I started a new job last year.  For the first few months, while I awaited my security clearance, I was sequestered away with a score or so of new hires, mostly civilian, and mostly recent graduates.  This was a fairly novel experience for me, at least in the 15 years I’ve been married.  And it exposed me to a few cultural trends that I hadn’t especially noticed before.

As regular readers may recall, I’ve mixed it up with commenters about the prevalence of premarital cohabitation.  So I might as well start by admitting that it’s a lot more common than I realized.  It’s less common among junior officers, although I’m not sure if that’s moral or structural:  officers are expected to move every 3-4 years, which makes it more difficult for relationships to just hang in limbo.  The pressure is on them to close the deal if they expect a woman to follow them from one end of the country to the other.  But I’m pretty sure that almost every one of the civilians had an LTR story that involved cohabitation.

Young civilians are also much more candid with politically incorrect racial views than when I was a twenty-something, and not just among whites.  They expect to discuss these things openly, and even in the presence of minorities, in a way that I would have been afraid to.  The cry of “RACIST!” is now more often a punch line than a charge to be taken seriously.  That said, I reserve judgment about whether these kids are the shock troops of HBD awareness, or rather they just get a thrill out of shocking grownups in general.

But the military guys are another matter.  They were all very professional – and I don’t mean that as a compliment.  In all the joking around and wide-open political discussions we had, I can’t recall once where they joined in.  They were straitlaced, humorless, and . . . kinda boring.  If the lot of them had an independent thought in their lives, they had it beaten out of them.

The Christians among us have our secret handshakes, as you can imagine, and thus we enjoy a bit more opportunities for the camaraderie of shared culture.  But in general, I don’t see much evidence of resistance.  They think whatever they’re told to think.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As regular readers may recall, I’ve mixed it up with commenters about the prevalence of premarital cohabitation. So I might as well start by admitting that it’s a lot more common than I realized

I don't mean to poke fun at you, Phi, but I do have to laugh. I didn't think you were *that* old! "Cohabitation" - already an archaic term! - is THE norm, and NOT living together before marriage is almost unheard of here in 2012. I see that you've gotten a taste of this reality.

They think whatever they’re told to think.

Well, I suppose this is not entirely incompatible with what I originally said... but I do believe you, certainly about the officer class. As in every other facet of life, the "proles" (enlisted men) are free to be more honest.

I think that partly my comment sprang from an ever-present hope that somehow, somewhere in America, there are some young white men who are a little more conservative than young men here.

It's also worth bearing in mind that, in my experience anyway, military guys may be more *masculine* than other guys, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're more "traditional" in any other ways we might care about. Certainly not sexually!