Thursday, November 06, 2014

"Responsibility": That word doesn't mean what you think it means.

From the Colorado Springs Gazette, via

[USAFA Commandant BGen Stephen] Williams said a key to improving behavior in cadets is giving them more responsibility.

This year, cadets have gotten more control over their lives, with seniors allowed to leave the campus when they are done with classes.

That kind of responsibility teaches cadets what kind of behavior is expected rather than mandating it. And it changes a command climate that may have hampered cadet growth.

"We became the helicopter parents as they go through the Air Force Academy," Williams said.

Except . . . that's not actually "responsibility". The essence of responsibility is, first of all, paying your own way. Very few college students do this, which is why a lot of their misbehavior -- binge drinking, random sexual hookups -- seem unique to the "college experience". No, what Williams is giving his charges is more license, of which non-military schools give their students quite a bit these days, and which they apply to . . . binge drinking and random sexual hookups. Now, if this is part of a late-in-the-program weed-out strategy of giving students enough rope to hang themselves, its a pretty expensive way to do it considering the expected damage to USAFA's reputation and the sunk cost of having funded the seniors' education for three-plus years. But my prediction is that this is not going to improve cadet behavior. I guess we'll see.

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