Our Lefty Military

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by HMQ, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. HMQ

    HMQ Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    I suspect this will create some sparks on this forum, but I think there are some very good points here. And it speaks well, I believe, of our military as a whole:thumb:

     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    Our society can't operate like our military.

    1. Most military members join/enlist/commission/etc... for reasons beyond having a job. For many, it's for selfless reasons.
    2. In the military, it's not a true socialist society. Classes aren't aligned the same. e.g. an E-5 electronics technician, with a lot more aptitude and training, make exactly to the penny the same amount of money as a cook or someone who works as a gate guard.
    3. In the civilian world, your success, rewards, pay, etc... is only limited by your own choices. Not so in the military.
    4. Military takes away many of your freedoms. You are not allowed to have the same level of freedom of speech as you can as a civilian. You aren't allowed to come and go as you please. You can't even just quit if you don't like it.

    The military isn't so much socialist as it is contractual. Funding for the military comes from tax payers; that's why it's possible for them to operate and perform the way they do. Tax payers write off their tax contributions as a "Cost of freedom so they can live as they do". In the military, the government and the military member have short term contracts. "Many unwritten". The government/military provides certain things to the military member, and in return, the military member agrees to a term of service. "That's why it's referred to as (Being in the service)". Civilian society can't operate that way. It's profit motivated. As an employee, you negotiate pay for labor. You perform a task and you get compensated for it. If you or the employer don't like the arrangement, you're free to leave and find something else. Not so in the military.

    The problem, which Kristof is guilty of believing, is that somehow the civilian employee feels they are ENTITLED to "Profit Sharing". That is a crock of shiite. If I own a company, and I have 10 employees, including myself, and I net $1 million a year prior to wages, there is no reason in the world that I should have to pay every person equally at $100,000. This is MY COMPANY, Not Theirs. It's MY CAPITAL that I have invested in starting this company; NOT Theirs. If the company goes under, the employee simply goes and finds another job. The owner of the company will still be liable and responsible for their debt.

    The civilian world is NOT SUPPOSE TO BE FAIR!!! If i work harder than you, I'm suppose to be compensated MORE than you. If i'm willing to obtain a higher education, more skills, training, experience, or more expensive INPUT on my part; e.g. paying for college, grad school, etc... I should make more than someone without the same level of training, skills, commitment, etc... Socialism SUCKs. Communism SUCKS. It takes away motivation. That's why a minimum wage is such a bad thing. Those who have invested more time and money in making themselves BETTER and more SKILLED, shouldn't have to compensate for those who don't try as hard. And that's why socialism and communism in the real world doesn't work.

    The reason it works somewhat in the military, is as I mentioned earlier; most individuals in the military are there for reasons other than money. And because the military is contractual to the point where you can't just quit over night or go on strike or not produce; employees are subject to disciplinary actions. Including and up to INCARCERATION. In the civilian world, that is not possible. The WORST that can happen, is you are fired or you quit.

    I heard Clark mention the socialism of the military. It was taken out of context. Military "socialism" is not the same as a civilian national economic socialism. And it can NEVER be the same, because of the nature of the "Employees". I would say the military operates closer to communism than socialism. Yes, it's government controlled, (Socialist), more than collectively without a government (Communist); however, the basic concept of true communism is that people work collectively for the betterment of all in the community. (Hence, the concept of living in a "COMMUNE"). Not because they have to or out of fear, but because they really believe in it. That's what true communism believes in. People working together because they believe in the common good of all in the community. Most military members do their job and contribute because they have the sense of camaraderie with their fellow military members. Anyway; even that's a stretch, because the military isn't 100% voluntary. You willingly give up certain freedoms to belong to this community.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301
    I don't think there are too many sparks to be generated other than the basic premise that some of the things that the Military does well are the province of "Liberals" at all. I don't think that caring for personnel (employees) is fundamentally a liberal or conservative issue- it's a practical and good leadership practice. The military provides good health care because it's an operation necessity (ie... in corporate speak- it's part of our core competency- it's a preservation and maximization of resources issue, not just a feel good thing to do). Again the military provides Day Care not just because it's a feel good idea- it does because soldiers and sailors are not just employees- personnel are the military's Raw Material. Basically well trained people who can win wars are our product, so bringing in and retaining trained people is the imperative- just like raw material cost and availability, scrap, waste and process loss are the bread and butter of a manufacturing company . The military is a leader in social mobility because it's a huge employer that has a very large requirement for first and second line supervisors in very skilled positions. Guys don't get promoted becasue it's a touchy feely thing to do- they get promoted becasue there is a defined measure of competence and a defined sequence to advancement- and if you don't advance You are Fired (Now that's not a liberal concept:eek:). The difference in civilian companies? Well in a manufacturing company- you basically can spend your whole life running a machine without ever being required to assume more responsibility if you don't want to do so and because the same is true of foremen, supervisors etc... there is often not that much mobility available.

    The Military does most of the things Kristoff lists- but it does so because we have defined measurable objectives and these attributes measurably contribute to success. Calling them Liberal is baloney, and extrapolating that what is good for the Army is necessarily a template for vastly different situations is a mistake (although kind of indicative of "liberal thinking" to compare two different scenarios that way). Some of the stuff that the Army does works great in society & Some of it doesn't work worth a darn because it's not designed to do so under different conditions. .
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  4. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,852
    Likes Received:
    342
    "... Some of the stuff that the Army does works great in society & Some of it doesn't work worth a darn because it's not designed to do so under different conditions."

    Yeah...calling in arty :rocket: and armor :tank: to resolve a business conflict IS sorta frowned upon in the civilian sector.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  5. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    I posted this article to my facebook last night.

    I think many people are taking it out of the context it should be. The military is equal opportunity with regard to race, provides excellent training an education, values continued education, and sees the importance of taking care of children early in life and families in general.

    It does many things well and has proven they work well.
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    Hornet; I understand what you're saying, and in "Principal" i agree. But in reality, it can't work in the civilian society. There will always be different classes of people, and there needs to be. There will always be different economic classes of people; and there needs to be. Only in a pure communistic environment, which is not possible, could you give everyone exact equal opportunities. It has to be self motivated and "Worked for". That is the only way self satisfaction and appropriate self esteem can be achieved. There are going to be 40 year olds who are still working at the mini-mart or subway sandwich shop. This is their choice and for many of them, their level of achievement that they want to aspire to.

    The military has certain mandatory requirements. The child care, training, health care, etc... that we provide our military members and their families are out of necessity. We don't provide many of the same things to our civilian employees who work for the government. The actual military members need to be 100% proficient and ready at all times. In the civilian world, you can't just offer anyone a college/grad school education just because they want it. If you do, then you'll waste a lot of money and resources on individuals who either can't handle the education, or if they did, a market that is flooded with employees and can't hire them all at the level their education makes them qualified for. You'll just wind up with a lot of mini-mart workers and wal-mart greeters and cashiers with a master's degree.

    Individuals need to learn that they, and ONLY THEY, are responsible for the outcome of their life. Opportunity needs to be available to all, but that's all. Individuals need to make their own future. Get their own education. I believe that the most basic education is all that we should provide anyone.

    So yes, the military does a lot for their "People", and they do them well. But it's out of necessity for what the military requires of their employees. Not because they "Like Us". I've worked for civilian companies like Qwest Communications who when they hire you, will happily pay for extended education. They paid for me to get another college degree. Mini-mart will pay for kids to go to college if they agree to work for them in the summers and holidays, and manage one of their stores for 3 years upon graduating college. McDonald's does the same exact thing. So there are a lot of private industries that will take care of their people, but it requires the individual to take responsibility for their own lives. The military does it out of necessity.
     
  7. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    He wasn't advocating for us to become a socialist country based on the military model. He was pointing out the "principles" you were talking about. Based on looking at the military, we can see the outcomes of continued education, early childhood care/education, that pay is not the only carrot, and racial prejudice can be overcome. His point is that we see successful outcomes when the military invested in these things.

    The point is that at the individual or policy level, investment in education (both young and old), race blind choices, and culture pay dividends in productivity, social mobility, happiness, and outcomes.
     
  8. Packer

    Packer Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    5
    If you compare apples and oranges you can draw any conclusion you want to. The comparison between civilian society and the military is exactly apples and oranges. The military is a select group of people. Not everybody can or should be in the military. Everyone is in society. The military invests in things that benefit it but only with a select group of individuals.
     
  9. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    Sometimes I feel like talking on these forums is like repeatedly walking into a brick wall.
     
  10. AFAMOM08

    AFAMOM08 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    3
    :bang:
    I agree with you Hornet--:bang: Paradigms are hard to change.
     
  11. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301
    That point is exactly what he's saying - but it's just not valid to make it for society just because it has done a lot for the military. The military doesn't educate guys to an unlimited "knowledge is good" standard. It has sharply focused career schools which educate military members in specific career paths and then utilizes them in those specific fields. Early childhood care helps specific military members do their jobs- AT A high cost to the military. Where is the that same demand in the outside world ? And in the places where there is that demand- it's frequently provided.
    Racial prejudice can be overcome. The military does it by forcing people to live and work in places and with people even if they initially dislike them- they learn that the value of a man is his integrity and performance. Where would that translate into civil society? Society doesn't measure performance, competence etc.. the same way and in this country at least we don't involuntarily assign people to places and positions in which they choose not to be.

    The real lesson to be drawn from looking at the military this way is that it teaches a lot about organizational (not societal) effectiveness.You learn that an organization can be very successful- if selective enough and with enough measurable tools for evaluating people and performance. Looking at the military highlights successful organizational dynamics and imperatives- broadly shared and definable missions, good leadership, understanding objectives and understanding the needs of the people in the organization. Most successful enterprises follow exactly these same traits now.Nicolas Kristoff doesn't know that though because he looks at programs without looking at why they are effective and why they were adopted. "Good" countries don't have the same dynamics at all and not much transferrability of those lessons to the national level IMO- as Packer says : apples and Oranges are being compared here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  12. HMQ

    HMQ Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    On the contrary, I believe that the military actually represents a broad spectrum of people from all walks of life - just as in civilian society at large. Remember, the military is an equal opportunity employer, and is made up of individuals with all levels of skills, education and experience. I think the point of the article is that worthwhile programs within the military which provide education, healthcare and daycare, are cost-effective and beneficial to servicemembers and veterans, and should be recognized as a good model.
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    I don't think there's any head banging into wall here. I also don't believe that the military can be used as a model/example for civil society. If a study found certain climate issues were associated directly with the fact that our sun has changed in the way it is operating; we could all agree, but there's not a single thing we can do to "Change" the way the sun operates. So agree or disagree, the discussion becomes rhetorical. Same here. We can all sit here and agree that the military provides the perfect social model on how society should operate and live. And that IF SOCIETY COULD, that life would be so much better for everyone. The problem however is that it's not possible. Society can not live the way our military lives. Society can not educate, house, feed, care for, etc... it's citizens the way the military does for their troops. It's not possible.

    So the head banging is really that we're comparing "Wouldn't it be nice" with "It not possible, so why are we discussing it". You can't compare the two.

    And for those who want to know WHY it's not possible for society to use what the military does in the areas discussed as an example for them to use; the answer is that they are 2 different societies. The military is it's OWN society. The military is only a representation of the larger society in their physical makeup. Not their social makeup. Military members WILLINGLY give up many of their rights. Military members willingly agree to being disciplined for actions their employer doesn't approve of. Military members willingly agree to being totally controlled on their behavior, where they live, their speech, what work they do, the pay they receive, etc... They are also willing to be imprisoned if the don't abide by their OWN SET OF LAWS. (UCMJ). In the civilian world, no individual would ever put up with any of this from ANY employer. So; if you're going to look at the military as an employer, and what they provide for their employees; then you have to look at the employees. Military employees are NOT the same as civilian employees. Therefor, you can not look at the military as the same type of employER as a civilian employer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,749
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    People who don't hold up their end of the deal in the military are marched out. They have some of the things mentioned because they work for them, without overtime.

    Transfer this to the private sector...if someone in society isn't holding up their end of the deal...march them into the sea? Get rid of them? Or would we be forced to continue to give them this?

    It's doesn't translate. I haven't been especially impressed with the healthcare system in the military, with the exception of it being free and having great individuals.... I drive from my work to Bolling AFB to get an xray, the xray tech says it may be a few days to get a read on the xray. Really, a few days for a possible broken arm (it wasn't broken).

    Took me two years to get the correct diagnosis on a shoulder tear, and that came when I had an MD from Vanderbilt check it out during a race we were running in Oregon (Hood to Coast). I asked my MD at CGHQ to refer me for a specific type of MRI, a year after Walter Reed found nothing. The referral went to the private sector provider, and they found it no-time flat. I thanked my doc who has been great, but the process leaves a lot to be desired (as I'm sure that doc would agree).
     
  15. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    Messages:
    647
    Likes Received:
    313
    CC I see your point as a whole it cannot happen but it is happening in the private sector. The company I work for will pay for your college education up to a certain dollar amount (from what I heard it ends up being like 90% depending on the degree) if you get a degree in a field they can use and they expect you to stay with the company for 3 years after you finish. If you leave the company earlier than that you pay back the company for that degree. It’s a program that’s similar because they pay for your education and they expect an ROI just like the Academies. Now granted it’s a Fortune 100 company and not all companies can afford to do that and it is budgeted for so if “too” many apply not everyone gets it... So it is being done today in many companies but once again it could not work for all of society.
     
  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    I mentioned the same thing in my earlier post on this subject. Mini-mart here does similar with education; McDonald's, and a number of others. I'm simply saying that you can't use the military as a model for how society "could" operate and take care of their people. We are talking about 2 distinct and different societies of people. One poster mentioned that the military was made up OF members of the other society. No they aren't. When you become part of the military, you become part of a different society. No different than if you moved from the united states to say russia, china, germany, france, etc...

    A private company "May" provide their employees certain "incentives" such as tuition assistance or more specialized training, IF the company feels it will attract better employees and it gives them an incentive to be more productive. Thus, more profitable for the company. The training, care, benefits, etc... the military gives their "Employees" (For a lack of a better word), are a necessity. They must have this training to do their military job. Health care is provided because they must stay healthy to be mission capable. The difference between the 2 societies is that one (Civilian), the individual interacts individually and their actions are by choice. They can come, go, work, quit, etc... They maintain their rights to do whatever. In the military, the employee voluntarily gives up many of their rights. They accept consequences for NOT performing. Including incarceration.

    This topic is no different than when people say things like: "Well, in France...... we should be like them". You can't compare 2 distinct societies like that. Our society revolves around certain freedoms. It's designed "Supposedly", so that the government works for the people. In a socialist society, the people contribute to the collective under the authority of the government. The U.S. military by contrast is a society of people who willingly give up, or allow, some of their rights to be tempered or even temporarily removed, so that others may enjoy their rights.

    It might sound good that some think civilian employers/government could take care of it's employees/citizens like the military does theirs; but unless you can find the civilian employees/citizens who are willing to in return, give up some of their rights and live by a set of rules/laws that could put them in jail/prison for not doing their job; and doesn't allow the employee to quit..... I don't think you can compare the two. Basically, the ONLY reason the military is able to care for their people the way they do, is because the military society (citizens) allow the society to work this way. The civilian society would never allow it; therefor it's not possible; therefor you can't compare it. Would it be nice; in a utopia world? Yes, most definitely. But in the real world, (Our representative republic, based on our constitution), it can't exist.
     
  17. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,236
    Likes Received:
    272
    I think a lot of the biggest issues are helped by the fact that the DoD has a HUGE budget. American Taxpayers pay a lot of money to have the best military on the planet.

    Could you institute similar programs without a large base population of taxpayers and a much smaller population of recipients?
     
  18. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    Before I get more irritated I'm going to make one last remark then leave.

    "Apples and oranges" CAN BE COMPARED. Eliminating considerations of the military, France, whatever because they aren't exactly "us" is something that gets researchers, professors, etc. laughed out of rooms. We have developed some incredible methods for comparing programs/people/societies which are different but the techniques allow us to figure out how what works well for them will help (or hurt) us. Anyone who cares enough to learn about this can read "Mostly Harmless Econometrics" if interested.

    Again, say these excuses in a room where I am and you will be dismissed outright. Kristof (Rhodes Scholar btw) understands this stuff as well. His points, in this context, are important and meaningful. The model is realistic and provides some insights which would improve the private sector society.

    Anyone that is further interested in my thoughts can PM me. Otherwise, I'm leaving this thread.
     
  19. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,601
    Likes Received:
    35
    We live in a time now where there are very few corporations that look after their employees. Tough times tend to wring the generositiy out of the best of them.

    It wasn't that long ago when people talked of the silicon valley startups where in order to squeeze a few more hours of productivity out of their workers, they would provide things like on-site daycare, free meals onsite, etc.

    And in decades past you saw "company towns" (although some were not so good) that built everything that was necessary for their workers. Many of the great businessmen of past generations had visions of how a utopia should work and invested a lot of their profits in that vision. Usually, it didn't last as the competitive advantage of the parent slipped against competitors.

    Even after utopian "company towns" went out of fashion, many employers who went the extra distance to provide superior benefits and job security (IBM comes to mind here given its 100 year anniversary) to their employees. I spent many years working for EDS both while Ross Perot (a guy who was influenced by both the military and IBM) ran the place and afterwards. Night and day. Ross never laid a soul off during the 25+ years he ran the show. You may have to relocate your family (which he made sure was done 1st class), but if you worked hard, you could rise quickly and always knew you had a job. Soon after he left, the bean-counters started deciding that it was cheaper to lay off where you didn't need folks and hire the same skill set elsewhere. And when that started, the employee loyalty (working long hours and committment to the company) went out the door. Ross sent in a crew to Iran to rescue his hostage employees and even went under cover to scope out the situation. I don't think too many employers would operate that way today.

    I think the military has become the ultimate "company town" that aside from threats of funding has little to keep it from staying that way. It has had the time and money to build a cocoon that many find worth the price in terms of risk and liberty.

    As to whether the country could work that way (getting back to the original article's theme), certain countries with a few dominant employers have a large degree of that (think Japan). European socialism (like in Sweden) has tried to institutionalize it, but that depends entirely upon a population that has very close social cohesion. The melting pot of the US doesn't seem to have that social stability necessary to support this type of social cohesion, although many of our institutions (think medicare and Social Security) function in that matter (supporting social cohesion and stability) for the whole society.

    As much as we complain about this lack of the big brother looking out for us, Americans don't like to bind themselves to institutions, the military being the one exception to this. There will always be those looking for that tradeoff and for those, joining the military will be a great thing. However, that type of tradeoff isn't for everyone and those who think it can and should be done are pushing uphill against American cultural history because a large slice of America doesn't want to be tied down.
     
  20. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    1
    I was wondering when this would be mentioned...the US spends an estimated $687,105,000,000 on a military of approximately 2.8 million people....that's around $245,000 per person if all of that was spent on the people.

    That's an enormous budget. To even consider multiplying that by 100 (if we say the US population is 300 million people) would require a budget of 687,105,000,000,000 per year...

    It's not realistic.
     

Share This Page