Friday, January 16, 2015

I'm Going to Require a Little Math, Here

While I value my military service and do wish fellow citizens could gain the perspective one can gain from serving in uniform, it simply can't be a universal tool to solve our societal ills.

What can you say about this statement?

With decreased exposure to opposing political views, tolerance shrinks. A once fluid and freewheeling American society is petrifying as opportunity evaporates and people exist in political echo chambers of their own creation. While the government searches for policies to staunch the middle class' decline and to rebuild trust among Americans, the solution may be simpler: foster and incentivize increased military service.
I can say one thing about the idea that "widespread" military service can help the middle class and rebuild trust between politically polarized Americans.

But first, two facts.

Fact one: Each year, 180,000 people enlist in the United States military.

Fact two: Each year, more than four million Americans turn 18.

The one thing: If our current practice of recruiting volunteers to serve in our military isn't the way we should go, who decides which 180,000 of those 4+ million new adults puts on a uniform each year?

And why should changing the faces of the fewer than 5% of new adults the military accepts each year do anything about the fate of the middle class or lack of trust?

So two things. Sorry. I appreciate the man's good intent (and he surely did far more than I did in uniform), but this notion is still nonsense whether you want to discuss military effectiveness or impact on American society.

I know math is hard for some (move the GDP decimal point 3 more places right, eh, and note the author wrote the wrong numbers incorrectly, too)--even aside from the fallacy of comparing total wealth with total annual "income."