Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Friday, October 22, 2004

A Note to College Students

My, how important we've become! Both Presidential candidates pursue you as if you were all Adonis, or Helen of Troy. The entire world is just waiting with baited breath for the brilliance displayed by those who have finally escaped the halls of public secondary schools, and now wander the halls and grounds of institutions of "higher learning", surrounded by an aura of superiority. After all, each and every one of you is an intellectual genius - Big Media has said so!

What a load of outhouse offal!

Most of you have finally mastered the art of absorbing the information shoved into your ears and before your eyes well enough to regurgitate enough to get a passing grade on a multiple-choice test, or to make enough lucky guesses on a true/false exam to beat the odds. A fraction of you- maybe as much as a third - have learned to follow directions well enough to write a simple computer program, mix things together in a chemistry lab without causing a nuclear meltdown, or to calculate the statistical average of a string of random numbers. Some of you, of course, have gone well beyond that - you've even learned to write decent research papers, solve complex mathematical problems, and follow the course of history that shows how what was considered a good idea at one point led to disaster at another.

That doesn't make you a genius. A hundred years ago, all of this (except the computer programming) was EXPECTED of the average high school JUNIOR - along with a fairly high minimum level of proficiency in English grammar and literature, geography, Civics, and a half-dozen other subjects. Depending on the school and the community where it was located, such subjects as animal husbandry, mechanics, plumbing, and woodworking were required for boys, while "home economics" - cooking, sewing, cleaning, preserving food, and similar subjects were required for girls.

Some of you are geniuses, at least at one subject or another. Most of you, however, are robots - wound up and set in motion, fed a steady diet of drivel and dogma, and considered "educated" at the end of four or five years of this. You've learned a lot, most of which you'll promply forget in the next five years, and you'll end up using about a third of what you DON'T forget. The big problem is that, you've learned a lot of facts, you've learned to meet the (very low) expectations of your professors, but you're still totally incapable of doing the one thing that will make it all USEFUL.

You can't think.

Of course, the last thing the majority of your college professors wanted you to do was to learn to think independently. THEY would do your thinking for you, and feed you both the questions and the approved answers.

I've visited the Democratic Underground a few times, and looked at Daily Kos perhaps three times in my eight years on the Internet. What a horrendous display of lock-step sheer stupidity! Even worse, the inmates seem to feed on it as if it were French silk pie, and spew it back (and out to others) in voluminous quantity.

Frankly, if I didn't have any better cognative abilities than what I've seen exhibited at these and other far-left websites, I'd never say a word - anywhere. One of the many little wisdoms my father taught me was "Better to sit quietly and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt". The further these young people are from the sources of factual information, the louder, more shrill, and more lacking in any grounding in reality their words become.

Let's take the draft, for instance. "Everyone" is positive that if re-elected, George Bush is going to reinstate the draft. There's not a chance in hell of that happening, for several good reasons.

Reason number one is that the volunteer military is working. There are enough recruits, they meet the necessary criteria to fill the slots the military needs filling, and they are capable of learning to do the job, and do it well. Most of these volunteers ask for the job they end up with, because they have an interest in the subject, making it just that small bit more likely they'll work hard enough to succeed.

Reason number two is because it's not worth drafting people into the military, unless there are other changes to the law that will allow the government to keep these people trained and available far longer than they've been in the past. It takes a lot of time, effort, dedication, and money to train our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines today. The time is past when we can draft a soldier, train him or her for six months, and shove them into the field and expect them to do the job.

By the time the average combat arms soldier - the "easiest" and "cheapest" soldiers to train - is ready for integration into an existing unit, he's undergone four or five months of basic training and physical conditioning, two or three months of advanced infantry training, and another month or two learning to do the job he needs to do within his squad. That's seven to eleven months, just for training to get READY to go to a combat unit. Once he gets there, it'll take him another two or three months to become fully integrated into the unit to the point where he'll be an asset, rather than a liability.

If the soldier's going to be trained in a particular specialty - communications, supply, intelligence, maintenance, aircrew, tank warfare - he may have to receive another month to six months learning that job. Part of that time will be doing things for his specialty that he would have been doing after advanced infantry training, but a lot of it will be just added on. That leaves the average draftee between eight and fourteen months of real service to his country.

All of that training costs the government between $150,000 and $500,000 per soldier. Enlistees are going to be around for at least four years. It's economically feasible to spend that much on someone that will have two years plus of commitment left after training, but not for someone who's going to be around a year or less. Besides, there's a much higher probability that the volunteer will re-enlist than there is the draftee will.

Finally, we just don't want you. The military doesn't need a bunch of spoiled children in its ranks. If you're mature enough to volunteer, to understand that you're NOT joining the Boy Scouts, that you HAVE to take orders from people who you just might hate, and that you have a distinct probability of being on the receiving end of someone trying to kill you, you'll be welcome with open arms. If you are NOT that mature, we don't want you, we don't need you, and please, for the sake of the REAL adults who do understand, go on and finish your college degree program.

In the meantime, the adults of this world will continue to provide you with a nice, cushy cocoon against reality, until you graduate and leave that cocoon. Once you have to start looking for a way to pay for your own necessities, you'll discover very quickly that fancy piece of paper your alma mater gave most of you is nothing but a certificate of fraud. That piece of paper is the key to the real world, not the fantasy world of the college campus. There's no more hiding, no more having others pick up the bill, pay the price. The only thing that counts in the jungle of the real world is the ability to think. People who don't know how to think, how to make decisions, how to not only do a particular job but how to balance that against daily living, will discover themselves unarmed against reality, and there be tigers there.


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