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March of the Nannies In the Productivity Explosion, Government is Left Behind

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What Reenlistment Problem?

by Christopher Chantrill
August 23, 2005 at 11:45 am

BACK IN THE spring, the MSM was trumpeting the news that the U.S. Army was way behind in its recruitment goals. They didn’t say so, but you could read between the lines the awful prospects: understrength units sent to fight in Iraq, plunging morale, humiliating pullout, plunging poll numbers for President Bush.

But a few months later, everything looks hunky-dory, according to Ralph Peters. It turns out that the Army will meet and exceed its recruitment goals after all.

The standout results are the re-enlistment numbers. You could say, if you were a liberal, that continued first-time enlistment was due to the naivété of poor innocent young boys from underprivileged homes who didn’t have any other option but to serve themselves up as cannon fodder. Actually, first time enlistments are right about on quota. But the real story is in re-enlistments. And it is the elite combat units that are really turning in the numbers.

Every one of the Army’s 10 divisions — its key combat organizations — has exceeded its re-enlistment goal for the year to date. Those with the most intense experience in Iraq have the best rates. The 1st Cavalry Division is at 136 percent of its target, the 3rd Infantry Division at 117 percent.

Among separate combat brigades, the figures are even more startling, with the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division at 178 percent of its goal and the 3rd Brigade of the 4th Mech right behind at 174 percent of its re-enlistment target.

How could this happen? It’s going to take quite a bit of explaining away. But don’t worry. After the MSM has gone through it’s silence phase on the topic, we will start to see explanations. It’s not what you think, we will read. Things are really going badly. Some specialties are suffering such poor re-enlistment rates that it will soon affect combat readiness.

The truth is that, in the aftermath of Vietnam, the U.S. armed forces have spent a generation learning how to create soldiers according to the pattern advocated by the brilliant German General von Seekt: “self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility.” You could call the process making a band of brothers.

That is what the U.S. armed forces have learned to do, and that is why re-enlistment rates are sky high.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


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Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

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Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican


Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State


Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

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Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008


Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


Never Trust Experts

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
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Conservatism's Holy Grail

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Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


Class War

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Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


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