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Old 10-19-2019, 01:07 PM
Dr_Paprika is offline
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The Greatest Generation Today? (Have We Gone Soft?)


I have been watching Ken Burns “The War” about four American towns and their efforts towards winning World War II from 1942-45.

Hundreds of thousands volunteered to fight. Factories stopped producing domestic goods; one 40 acre factory stopped making cars (with 1500 parts) and instead made a plane every 63 minutes (with 1550000 parts); making only 150 cars during the years above. It was a mind boggling effort to save democracy. Mostly every family pitched in.

The times were unique. People had suffered during the Depression and wanted work and adventure. A lot of small town folks had never been to a big city or another country. Information was more controlled. People broadly trusted their government and institutions. Groups unfairly marginalized were eager to prove their loyalty to their country.

If a similar hypothetical situation were to occur today, would the people be capable of responding with the same remarkable optimism, sacrifice and efficacy? Or was it remarkably well-timed and not repeatable? I genuinely don’t know, people surprise you and remain hardworking and innovative, but it seems to me a sense of common commitment was long ago lost. Your thoughts?
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:20 PM
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Kids today smdh.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:25 PM
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Thanks to 50 years of constant propaganda designed to divide the US into two distinct groups, I think the answer is no. Everything that we do on a national level is zero-sum. The best we could hope for is half of the population pulling together and the other half complaining and attempting to sabotage the first half.

OTOH, maybe the multinationals and political think tanks would re-tune the propaganda to bring us back together. This would only happen if lots and lots of money were on the table for corporations to gobble up. And I suspect the pulling together would last until the money was gone and then the messages would go back to pulling us apart again.

There is no concept of the common good anymore in the US. We're a bunch of scared, isolated, tribal, bigoted sheep.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:04 PM
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This isn’t about “kids”. Americans of all ages pitched in to a communal effort. Young soldiers made huge sacrifices, but so did every other part of society.

But there was a degree of leadership, cohesiveness and naïveté which seems to have been lost. Over promotion of “being a brand” and self-esteem, and reduction of physical activity may not have helped. I don’t think my generation could have done it, and perhaps even less so now?
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:19 PM
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I dunno, I think maybe we could and would. It would depend on what and what level of threat to the nation. In fact I think it would look remarkably similar to the time of internment camps and what have you, just with different faces.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr_Paprika View Post
If a similar hypothetical situation were to occur today, would the people be capable of responding with the same remarkable optimism, sacrifice and efficacy? Or was it remarkably well-timed and not repeatable? I genuinely don’t know, people surprise you and remain hardworking and innovative, but it seems to me a sense of common commitment was long ago lost. Your thoughts?
At the time of the WTC attack, I thought the US should have done something similar to what the home front did during WWII; sacrifice, reduce consumption and contribute to the war effort. Except that I thought the country should have made a concerted push to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels, improve energy efficiency and made a major push for solar and wind power generation. Instead, the US didn't do any of that and yet we still spent trillions of dollars.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:59 PM
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Kids today smdh.
As for this, what the heck do you mean?
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Old 10-19-2019, 05:59 PM
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I don’t mean to speak for Chignon, but I read that as a fairly oblique way to say, “this question implicitly asks whether the people alive now are fundamentally less awesome than the people alive on December 7, 1941. This question is effectively the same as muttering derisively about ‘kids today,’ which is an unoriginal slander each generation applies to the next.”

If that’s what Chignon meant, I tend to agree with it. When Tom Brokaw entitled his book The Greatest Generation, he probably meant that phrase as an homage to his parents’ generation for rising to an extraordinary cluster of occasions.

But I often hear people use this phrase with a subtle inversion; they confuse the effect (greatness) with the cause (extraordinary circumstances). In other words, the phrase gets used to imply that one generation happened to be ambiguously “a lot better” than most generations, so they were uniquely equipped to handle extraordinary circumstances when they arose. This line of thinking risks a quick devolution into into “kids today.”

However one defines greatness of character, I believe it’s hard to judge in the absence of circumstances that demand it. And when we’re talking about an entire generation of Americans, we’re using numbers so large that there’s an inevitable regression to the mean. My take: if generation was “great,” then greatness was thrust upon it.

I think any arbitrary-but-large collection of individuals would have risen to those unique circumstances under the same conditions. Human beings do extraordinary things in response to existential threats.

In short: the kids are all right.
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:21 PM
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Human beings do extraordinary things in response to existential threats.
I think what's gone away is the public trust that when the government says a war half a world away is an existential threat, that it actually is such. The current generation would respond the same way to an existential threat, but after Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, it would be hard to convince enough people of an actual personal danger.
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:42 PM
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No. America is deeply divided by race, class and ideology.

It always was, but the out groups accepted their role as subservient before. Now that they want true equality things are more divided and many majority people are more loyal to their race and beliefs than they are to the country as a whole.

If you watch the rest of the war documentary they talk about riots when blacks wanted equal treatment in factories.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:27 PM
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This is not meant to say any generation is “more awesome” than any other. I suspect generations have always been much more similar than different. I have seen credible historians say there is a four generation cycle of generations being more classically libertine or conservative.

The series emphasizes the remarkable commitment, though. This includes lack of other non-War opportunities, being relatively ignorant about the wide world, religious faith, trust in government institutions, homogenous peer groups and a history of struggle. It is not just a comment on character, although it embodies that too to some degree. It is not necessarily “awesome” to be ignorant or naive.

In Korea, Vietnam, The Middle East, Yugoslavia or Rwanda, more people widely questioned to what degree local interests were at stake.

But could people today react to a tough situation?
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:29 PM
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Kids so soft, smdh.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:40 PM
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Something a bit comparable might be natural disasters--hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, massive wildfires. I think in those kinds of situations a significant number of people rise to the occasion--and take significant risks to save other people.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:42 PM
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Kids so soft, smdh.
So you're still not making sense?
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:53 PM
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This is not meant to say any generation is “more awesome” than any other. I suspect generations have always been much more similar than different. I have seen credible historians say there is a four generation cycle of generations being more classically libertine or conservative.

The series emphasizes the remarkable commitment, though. This includes lack of other non-War opportunities, being relatively ignorant about the wide world, religious faith, trust in government institutions, homogenous peer groups and a history of struggle. It is not just a comment on character, although it embodies that too to some degree. It is not necessarily “awesome” to be ignorant or naive.

In Korea, Vietnam, The Middle East, Yugoslavia or Rwanda, more people widely questioned to what degree local interests were at stake.

But could people today react to a tough situation?
The four generation cycle implies that the millennial are the next greatest generation.

I think millennial would welcome taxes and self sacrifice to deal with serious issues like plutocracy, climate change, resource depletion, lack of universal health care or affordable college, overpriced housing, etc.

But millennial won't be dominant in politics until the 2040s or so.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:57 PM
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So you're still not making sense?
"smh" is an internet acronym for "shaking my head," so I'm guessing "smdh" is "shaking my damned head." My guess is that Chignon is saying that the OP is no different from generations of older people saying disparaging things about "kids these days."
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:38 PM
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Barring any explanation from Chingon, I think I'll go with my guess, which is that Chingon is telling us that they can be safely ignored as they have nothing to contribute to the dialogue.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:18 PM
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This isn’t about “kids”. Americans of all ages pitched in to a communal effort. Young soldiers made huge sacrifices, but so did every other part of society.

But there was a degree of leadership, cohesiveness and naïveté which seems to have been lost. Over promotion of “being a brand” and self-esteem, and reduction of physical activity may not have helped. I don’t think my generation could have done it, and perhaps even less so now?
what you're ignoring is that back then there was an enormous threat (the Nazis/Axis powers) who could credibly take over the world. Yes, that was a serious threat to humanity. we haven't had such a threat since then.

Honestly, if you want another devastating world war just to prove your point, you should not be listened to.
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:45 PM
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The four generation cycle implies that the millennial are the next greatest generation.
Strauss-Howe generational theory is bunk. It’s something they came up with to sell books, then used a combination of non-representative studies and cherry-picked historical events to fit their theory.

In fact, it’s not even a theory, it’s a hypothesis. It’s still bunk.

To the OP, I would say yes, were a similar threat to arise today, and were leaders to call for it, we could have a similar response*. Just because divisions are more publicized today (owing to traditionally underrepresented groups having a greater voice on the national stage than they used to) doesn’t actually mean those divisions are new or stronger.

Tangentially related, I wish people wouldn’t overplay the combined "sacrifice" of the WWII generation(s). I’m pretty sure that the owners of all those factories that transitioned to supporting the war effort still got paid in the end. Ditto with those who stayed home and didn’t actually have to go into combat. They thumped their chests and said "we stand by you!" well enough, but they obviously weren’t literally standing by them, otherwise some of them might have gotten shot or blown apart by the Nazis. I don’t think people should be credited as heroes just because they were around at the same time a bunch of other people got drafted (or even volunteered) to become heroes.

*ETA: Being in my senior year of high school on 9/11, I honestly believe the Bush administration could have gotten a similar level of support if he had called for it as needed. But of course it wasn’t. The problem wasn’t that the US military wasn’t big enough or well enough supplied for Afghanistan, the problem was that it wasn’t used appropriately to achieve the desired end.

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Old 10-20-2019, 05:00 AM
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A difference between December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001 is that when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor there was a clear enemy government in a defined and easily determined location to respond to. When a bunch of extra-national thugs in a dessert cave perpetrated the attack on New York city, the Pentagon, and the airplane that wound up going nose-first into a farm field there wasn't a clearly defined government/nation and we didn't even know where the hell those responsible were holed up. The two situations were a bit different.

Absolutely, I think if we had an existential threat folks would pull together. Because we don't, folks have the "luxury" of remaining divided. Humanity hasn't changed that much in just a couple generations, but thank Og we aren't fighting WWIII.
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:36 PM
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I agree humanity hasn’t changed that much over 50 or 100 years. I think people are getting smarter over time and are up to future challenges.

But the challenges, as mentioned, are much more diffuse and nuanced. Smarter people ask more questions. Not accepting quasi-official views at face value means society is more divided. An important enough cause could probably bridge many of these divisions. People have always been more similar than different, race (for example) is literally a few millimetres deep.

I’m not that fond of terms like “the greatest generation” and real heroes never use the term. Nevertheless, I was pretty impressed by the horrible conditions endured by good people who could not have foreseen the chaos and complexity of a thousand tough issues. I don’t think these sacrifices should be soon forgotten.
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:44 PM
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The four generation cycle implies that the millennial are the next greatest generation.

I think millennial would welcome taxes and self sacrifice to deal with serious issues like plutocracy, climate change, resource depletion, lack of universal health care or affordable college, overpriced housing, etc.

But millennial won't be dominant in politics until the 2040s or so.
I'm a millennial and I wouldn't welcome taxes, especially not to fight the things you listed, but if there were a real existential threat, something like another Nazi war machine gobbling up European countries every couple of weeks, and a Pearl Harbor, or another 9/11, or some nuking of American cities, I'd be on-board with serious sacrificing to kick the shit out of the responsible party.

Hell, I'd buy war bonds tomorrow if it meant we starting killing the IRGC.
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:51 PM
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Kids today smdh.
Some Mothers Do Havem?
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Old 10-21-2019, 12:40 AM
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Hell, I'd buy war bonds tomorrow if it meant we starting killing the IRGC.
Why stop at war bonds? Why not enlist today? Even if we don’t go to war with Iran, there’s always ISIS, Al Queda, the Taliban, etc, etc. and if we do go to war, you’ll be all trained up in time to go boots on ground as part of the initial invasion.

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Old 10-21-2019, 01:47 AM
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IMHO most "generation" labels are bogus unless we count birthrate spikes following any casualty-filled wars. Even there, and way beyond, a US "generation" is by no means monolithic, deeply divided by ethnicity, religion, class, education, politics, location, etc.

Let's measure "greatness": count military members at any point in time. What is the ratio of volunteers to draftees? How does an eligible age group that must be compelled to join compare to an all-volunteer military? Which is braver?

As 100% volunteers, the current US military forces are obviously the bravest in history. Yes, it's a loaded metric; the draft ended way back when (just before I enlisted) and the last US draftee retired five years ago. I'm open to any better "greatness" measure. Whip it out if you've got it.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:33 AM
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I much prefer your "bogus" label. In fact, I’d go so far as to say not only is the 4-generation cycle bunk, but the very notion of labeling individuals according to generational membership is dubious. Some millennials are in Iraq. Some millennials are in jail for drug offenses. Some millennials are on Wall Street. And there’s even a few millennials working minimum wage and living with their parents.

What do all of these people have in common? Honestly, apart from being born inside a largely arbitrary 20-year span, I haven’t a clue. Some may well be soft, some may be broken, and others may be unwavering to a fault.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:49 AM
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Why stop at war bonds? Why not enlist today? Even if we don’t go to war with Iran, there’s always ISIS, Al Queda, the Taliban, etc, etc. and if we do go to war, you’ll be all trained up in time to go boots on ground as part of the initial invasion.
I'm too old to enlist
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Old 10-21-2019, 05:33 AM
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I don't see why current generations couldn't do what the WW2 one did. It's just that the external circumstances aren't there to require that level of commitment. You could say that climate change might be one, but unlike the attack on Pearl Harbor, the climate change message doesn't cut deep enough to reach each and every single American.

It's easy to forget that before Pearl Harbour, America itself was divided as to whether to join the war or not, and the non-interventionists were the majority.
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:04 AM
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I'm too old to enlist
Not for the Air Force -- maximum age for enlistment is 39.

Further, if you have a college degree, there are officer programs in which you probably meet the age limits (or could apply for a waiver), and could apply to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS).

If you do go the OCS route, I'd be happy to provide some advice -- I attended Navy OCS in the early 'aughts and it was, by far, the most physically demanding and stressful experience of my life. I'm sure other Doper vets would be happy to give you advice and encouragement as well.

Please keep the board updated as to your progress in your desire to serve in the military -- it can truly be a very honorable and rewarding experience. We'd be very interested to see how it goes for you!

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Old 10-21-2019, 09:40 AM
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Kids so soft, smdh.
I think your brains gone soft from SYDH too much.

As mentioned upthread, "The kids are alright". They're not hard charging 17 year old warriors with a Garand in their hands and Nazi guts in their boot soles, but they've never had to be. I can't remember my neighbors' first names because we're all at work during the day and doing evening family/household stuff afterward. Industries aren't shifting their production to entirely new hardware because they've not had to (and the unions would go apeshit if they tried anyway). If the USA got legit attacked and there was a real threat of ongoing attack (like, "War" attack, not "refugees begging succor after a perilous journey through deserts & banditos" attacked) the kids would bitch for maybe 7 days about having to put away their PS4/XBone and start doing adult stuff, and then they'd rise to the occasion and kick unprecedented ass because overall they are smarter, wiser, and better nourished than their post-depression counterparts. Yeah, the kids have it easy, but if you've ever seen 'em riled up you know the best thing to do is step out of the way.

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Old 10-21-2019, 09:43 AM
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I'm too old to enlist
You had 18 years post 9-11 to choose to serve your country but now you're going to post a sad face emoji because you're "too old"?

That's fresh.
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:55 AM
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Absolutely, I think if we had an existential threat folks would pull together. Because we don't, folks have the "luxury" of remaining divided. Humanity hasn't changed that much in just a couple generations, but thank Og we aren't fighting WWIII.

If by “pull together”, you mean “screaming hysterically together as everyone melts ”, then yeah I guess.
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:57 AM
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You had 18 years post 9-11 to choose to serve your country but now you're going to post a sad face emoji because you're "too old"?

That's fresh.
Now hold on. It’s possible HD has already served. I wouldn’t want to assume anything. I should have been more careful about that.

The point is, and in addressing the post, It’s just that I’ve only ever encountered such rancor toward the IRGC among people who’ve had to interact with their naval component in the Gulf, or gone up against their suspected handiwork (they’ve been, uh, suspected of supplying aid to insurgents, including with the construction of some really nasty IEDs). Beyond that, I don’t know why someone would be so enthusiastic about killing off the IRGC.

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Old 10-21-2019, 10:18 AM
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The changes described in the OP really came from the government and the business owners. Families definitely did sacrifice when a family member went to war, or when a woman went to work, but the American People weren't all "hey let's build plane noses instead of baby dolls!" Like ASL pointed out upthread, the business owners still got paid (who doesn't want to work for the government on military projects in times of war?) and the people who worked got paid too.

I've long thought that we could have a new "greatest generation," this time fighting Climate Change rather than Nazis. Have mines that dig silicone instead of coal, factories that make solar panels instead of cars, wind turbines instead of planes.

I thought "what if people did recycling in the same vein as they did tire drives and nylon drives for the war effort? What if we had ration books for fossil fuels and plastic bags?"

I did some digging and wasn't able to find any info on how people were super stoked about ration books and scrap drives. All I found were mentions of how people didn't really like that stuff at all and it was really hard to get them to do it, and they weren't too successful.

So, pretty much like if you presented it today.

I see a path for us to build a new "Greatest Generation" but it's not going to be possible through people. It's not even really going to be possible through business owners and billionaires. It has to come from the government in a way where we're ("we" as in business owners on down) forced to live and work and make money in a different way, and we all have to be rallied to accept it, and it has to be beneficial to all. It's absolutely possible, the markets are there. But it will never happen without strong, unified and passionate leadership from the top down.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:25 AM
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You had 18 years post 9-11 to choose to serve your country but now you're going to post a sad face emoji because you're "too old"?

That's fresh.
We had this debate in one of iiandyiiii's threads, and my opinion was that it's not cowardice when a hawk hasn't enlisted, so long as they register for selective service (if male) and don't dodge a draft, and encourage their children of age to do the same.

~Max
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:30 AM
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We had this debate in one of iiandyiiii's threads, and my opinion was that it's not cowardice when a hawk hasn't enlisted, so long as they register for selective service (if male) and don't dodge a draft, and encourage their children of age to do the same.

~Max
Fine, but once they age out it seems... silly to express regret over having not... been drafted?

Sad face, I was never called up against my will to serve my country and now I'm too old!
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:39 AM
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Fine, but once they age out it seems... silly to express regret over having not... been drafted?

Sad face, I was never called up against my will to serve my country and now I'm too old!
Our friend in question may actually regret not having ever served. Maybe he had young children or other things going on. Now maybe the children are grown up but he's too old to volunteer. I know people who feel that way, and I don't see room for mockery.

~Max

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Old 10-21-2019, 10:39 AM
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I was having a similar discussion w/ someone IRL recently.

I think several factors contributed to the "unity of purpose" exhibited by "the greatest generation." First, a great percentage of the population was affected by the significant phenomena of the Depression and then WWII. The limited media contributed to more consistent reactions to those phenomena. So, in one respect, they were "fortunate" that the challenges they faced were so significant, and seemingly so universal.

However, I question the "deification" of someone just because they are of a certain age. Yes, a great number of people in the early 20th century seem to have accomplished a great deal. Of course, it helped to NOT be black, or female. And, even of the white male achievers, I suspect there were a good percentage who were downright assholes.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:56 AM
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every contemporary account I've ever read by Americans serving in WWII or living in America during the war is pretty honest about the shirkers, the draft dodgers, the war profiteers, the lazy and selfish, the opportunists, the goldbricks, the greedy landlords, the black marketeers, and the loudmouth rear-echelon MF'ers. Pretending America was marching in lockstep with eyes shining with patriotism, everyone sacrificing equally for Victory, well, that's a nice Hollywood B-picture, but I don't believe it accurately reflects the facts.
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:00 AM
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Our friend in question may actually regret not having ever served. Maybe he had young children or other things going on. Now maybe the children are grown up but he's too old to volunteer. I know people who feel that way, and I don't see room for mockery.

~Max
If you know millennials who feel that way, see iiandyiiii's information about the Air Force. They can still enlist!
  #41  
Old 10-21-2019, 11:20 AM
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I see a path for us to build a new "Greatest Generation" but it's not going to be possible through people. It's not even really going to be possible through business owners and billionaires. It has to come from the government in a way where we're ("we" as in business owners on down) forced to live and work and make money in a different way, and we all have to be rallied to accept it, and it has to be beneficial to all. It's absolutely possible, the markets are there. But it will never happen without strong, unified and passionate leadership from the top down.
In my opinon, that could easily be warped rightward into Führerprinzip, or leftward into Dictatorship of the Proletariat. I'll pass, thank you.
  #42  
Old 10-21-2019, 11:21 AM
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We had this debate in one of iiandyiiii's threads, and my opinion was that it's not cowardice when a hawk hasn't enlisted, so long as they register for selective service (if male) and don't dodge a draft, and encourage their children of age to do the same.

~Max
Who said anything about cowardice? It’s just that when I see that kind of rancor, where one thinks it would just be fine to see a bunch of people go and kill a bunch of other people, I’m surprised they’d stop at merely paying for the brawl. I’d want to be a part of something like that, if I were so eager to see such people killed.

Similarly, when I hear about a member of "the greatest generation" who somehow never served, I think it’s fair to at least wonder, even if only privately, why they’re so happy to take credit for beating back the Nazis or talk like some kind of hero, and yet they never actually took on the level of personal risk that others did. Not saying they’re cowards, just that maybe they should make more of a concerted effort to distance themselves from being labeled as "the greatest" when in fact most of them did next to nothing for the war. Feel-good measures like scrap metal drives and victory gardens notwithstanding.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 10-21-2019 at 11:24 AM.
  #43  
Old 10-21-2019, 11:45 AM
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Who said anything about cowardice? It’s just that when I see that kind of rancor, where one thinks it would just be fine to see a bunch of people go and kill a bunch of other people, I’m surprised they’d stop at merely paying for the brawl. I’d want to be a part of something like that, if I were so eager to see such people killed. ...
I was eager to see Osama bin Laden killed too. Lots of people were, and most of them couldn't / didn't volunteer for military service. *shrug*
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:47 AM
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Wait, so are you sad that you're too old to enlist (which is factually false, by the way, unless you're older than 39), or does your age have nothing to do with why you don't join the military?
  #45  
Old 10-21-2019, 11:51 AM
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I was eager to see Osama bin Laden killed too. Lots of people were, and most of them couldn't / didn't volunteer for military service. *shrug*
That’s a fair point. I guess I’d differentiate between wanting to see a mass murderer killed vs wanting to see a whole bunch of people wiped out, and the generational war that such an endeavor would likely entail. I mean, Afghanistan’s bad enough, but Iran? That could get really messy, and I don’t think we have the same kind of cause as we did to go after either OBL or the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. If g-you want to open that can of worms against Iran, I think g-you should be prepared to go yourself.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 10-21-2019 at 11:51 AM.
  #46  
Old 10-21-2019, 11:59 AM
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Wait, so are you sad that you're too old to enlist (which is factually false, by the way, unless you're older than 39), or does your age have nothing to do with why you don't join the military?
The sad face was mostly at the realization I'm getting old. It was ambiguous and not terribly relevant to the point at hand, which is that you apparently want to rehash your name-calling thread that went over like a lead balloon last time.

Yes, you're correct about my mistake on the age limit. I didn't realize it was older for the Air Force. Thanks for that information. My age was only one factor in my decision regarding military service, and one that only recently became even a partial impediment anyways.
  #47  
Old 10-21-2019, 12:02 PM
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Well if you change your mind and decide that you'd like to serve in the US military, me and other Doper vets would be happy to give you our perspective and advice.
  #48  
Old 10-21-2019, 12:07 PM
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That’s a fair point. I guess I’d differentiate between wanting to see a mass murderer killed vs wanting to see a whole bunch of people wiped out, and the generational war that such an endeavor would likely entail. I mean, Afghanistan’s bad enough, but Iran? That could get really messy, and I don’t think we have the same kind of cause as we did to go after either OBL or the Japanese after Pearl Harbor. If g-you want to open that can of worms against Iran, I think g-you should be prepared to go yourself.
Certainly going to war with the IRGC entails risks, probably more, or at least different ones, than a single raid into nuclear-armed-but-nominally-allied Pakistan. And you're right that it doesn't have the level of justification provided by 9/11 or Pearl Harbor (but that's true of almost all the wars we've entered in the last few decades).

I can see reasonable "we shouldn't start shit with Iran" arguments on the merits:
- that it might be Iraq-War-levels-or-worse of messy and drawn out
- that they haven't provided as clear a casus belli as Japan did in WWII or Al Qaeda did on 9/11
- etc

I find arguments that one shouldn't opine about such matters unless one is / has served in the military significantly less convincing.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 10-21-2019 at 12:08 PM.
  #49  
Old 10-21-2019, 12:10 PM
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Well if you change your mind and decide that you'd like to serve in the US military, me and other Doper vets would be happy to give you our perspective and advice.
That's great. I'll keep it in mind if I suddenly get interested in a career in the Air Force.
  #50  
Old 10-21-2019, 12:13 PM
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I find arguments that one shouldn't opine about such matters unless one is / has served in the military significantly less convincing.
I find that one shouldn’t express a personal desire to kill other people without just cause, and yet expect (or even hope for) other people to do the killing without one's personal involvement. It smacks of a desire for cold-blooded murder (as opposed to just plain old murder, which is still bad).

And to be clear, even if you had stated a desire to personally participate in the killing, I would still take issue with your statement. Just slightly less in the same way I think a would-be second degree murderer probably isn’t quite as bad as a would-be first degree murderer, other things being equal.

Or, alternatively, if you had come down and slammed me with a revenge motive (ie: they provided the materials and expertise insurgents used to kill my friends) then I would weigh that in my opinion too, and we’d be a lot closer together than you might think. Though I’d still say another war would be going a bit too far at this juncture, and the cost to people on both sides would be... excessive.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 10-21-2019 at 12:15 PM.
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