Sunday, June 12, 2005

Enlisting Equality

"Life isn't Fair."

And with those 3 words, my dear mother would deep-six my standard, "that's UNFAIR" argument against what I considered excessive housework, unjust school grades or Saturday afternoon grass-cutting sprees. God, what a crude case to make. So simplistic in the face of great complexity. And yet, very friggin true whether one likes it or not.

William R. King, professor of Equality, Justice and a Bigger, Brighter World at the Katz School of Business had a grand idea in today's Post Gazette. Annoyed with the injustice of a volunteer military primarily recruited from the ranks of America's poor and working-classes, King proposes an obligatory national boot-camp of sorts for all Americans youth. (The Post Gazette apparently thought a cute picture of 20-somethings getting examined before their ship-off to Korea embodied this ideal... got me.) His intention? Level the field of life.

While I sympathize with King's observation that the world is rife with inequality, and that military service does primarily recruit among the nation's poorest, his argument is almost as bad as his solution. King begins antecdotally (apparently a valid citation only after one holds a professorship) talking about how he spoke with 'poor folk' about their children in the military. The majority of these (and I'm quoting) 'poor dumb animals' didnt realize sending your kid to Bagdad instead of Berkeley is a bad idea. He then talks about his wine-and-cheese socilite pals never mentioning military vocations for their spawn.

I think the great divide here that Mr. King doesnt see is there is a difference in values between these two socio-economic groups. Limo Liberals often don't think the military is EVER a valid occupation, whereas working classes often feel it is. Though many working class that I associate with (I call them my family) might disagree with the war in Iraq, and think now might not be the best time to go into the service, I remember clearly that before Iraq the Military was a completely valid path to take. And, this might be a shocker to some outside of King's circles, often some of the poor folk will get the dumb notion that military service in defense of their country is an honorable thing. I mean, how dumb can these mules be?

King suffers from a malady that I commonly attribute to country-club housewives that become clergy in the Mon Valley or Waspy Ivy League college professors that cry over the plight of the poor: The Judging Christ Complex. King's gonna fix the problem for all us Plebs that 'don't know well 'nough to do it for ourselves.' He is going to level the playing field with a big government program, and take some of the bloody burden of fighting and dying in wars from us poor people. What he doesnt realize is that people in a Volunteer Army obviously thought (at some point) that going into the evil army was a good idea. Admittedly, I never thought it was, and would never send my kid into combat... BUT SOMEONE CLEARLY THOUGHT IT WASNT A BAD IDEA, and their family quite frequently supported them in that path. Hey King, quit looking down your nose at other peoples' decisions, you pretentious twit.

As for his solution to the problem... is it worth me even addressing the absurdity of a silver-bullet proposal for the levelling of economic inequity in America, especially one as stupid as this? I cant believe it made it into print outside of that rag published at the Merton Center, and I can't believe it got the Kennedy-esque title "Our Nation Needs Everyone." This guy is the epitome of the chief antagonist in an Ayn Rand novel!

The fact the Post Gazette let this one pass the editor's chopping block either evidences a scary sympathy with social engineering, or a desperate need to fill blank space in the paper. If it's the latter... next time fill the space with a Kauffman's ad.


darnnews said...

You'd be surprised how often that's the case: newspapers are made or broken by what happens at 1 a.m. before the presses roll.
But give the guy some credit. At least he's using his God-given role as a philosopher-king to explore the human dilemma. Just because his goodwill manifests itself as ever-more-inane expressions of white guilt while killing thousands of trees to print it on, doesn't mean he isn't a nice guy...

darnnews said...

Whoooops.... That was Celanie. Andrew is signed in here, and I don't know how to turn it off.

JD said...

Good post. I like how King starts out his article speaking as if he's presenting new ideas, when these things (class inequality in the military) have been debated thousands of times.