Saw an article over at The Week.com today about how Cosplay is an indication of just how bad our economy is going. The author made some good observations about how the younger folks in the U.S. are increasingly staying at home with parents into their late 20’s and early 30’s. He compares it with the way the Japanese society has evolved since their big crash in the 90’s.
After all, it’s not that these young adults in Japan are resisting becoming productive members of the economy — it’s that there just aren’t enough opportunities for them. So an increasingly large number of them spend an increasingly large amount of time living in make-believe fantasy worlds, pretending they are someone else, somewhere else.
Since our crash in late 2007, our economy has averaged a meager 1% growth, which is putting us in the same basket as the Japanese have been in for over 20 years. So far, the Japanese have not been able to solve this problem.
Then I read another article on The Week.com which may solve this problem but at the same time absolutely horrifies me.
The author proposes that all officers be mandatory retired at the age of 50. Never mind the age discrimination laws that we have on the books, he is adamant that old generals and admirals are the reason for all our failures since Afghanistan. Following the same simple formula as the last author, he compares the ages of Napoleon’s generals with ours.
Naturally, I was aghast at the author’s reasoning. Looking at the comments, I see that I wasn’t alone.
This is a ridiculous stretch of imagination. Macaurthur was well over 50. Stillwell was well past 50. Schwarzkopf was over 50. Eisenhower was over 50. Patton was over 50. Bradley was over 50 by the time the war ended. Of course there have been obviously good generals who were under 50. But the education in military sciences that generals attain by the age of 50 is not to be lightly dismissed. During war, the cream rises to the top, generally being discarded by the politicians after hostilities cease.
I couldn’t have said better myself. Then there is this:
This guy’s articles should come with a warning: “Caution! Insufficient thought put into the following article. Provocative horseshit.”
… that most of our military mis-adventures since WW II have been the result of politics vice military acumen. Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq were not shining successes because we turned war battles into occupation, before the enemy was vanquished. In most of those, we should never even had been involved.
But then my twisted and meandering mind started to make connections between the two articles. Since 1993, the military has been subjected to social engineering projects. Oh hell, it’s probably been going on for a lot longer than that. Yep, just remembered that the Navy didn’t let African-Americans be anything but cooks until WWII. But I digress, by my personal experience in the military, it all started with Bill Clinton and the infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
My point is that politicians will try a social experiment on the military first that most likely wouldn’t go over too well with the general populace. Why the military? Mostly because they can as soldiers and sailors have to follow orders. These social experiments usually don’t go over too well in the military, but eventually, people either get out or they adjust to them. Five, ten, or fifteen years later, it seems that what was a social experiment in the military is now an established fact for the general populace. Of course, I’m generalizing quite a bit, but stay with me for a moment.
Suppose that some damn politician figures that it is a good thing to retire Officers at the age of 50 and figure out a way to get past the age-discrimination ban. You have young men and women with more opportunities at a young age without old fogies clogging up the promotion pipeline. Yes, there will be massive upheavals in the military, but as time goes on, it will become accepted.
Then ten or twenty years later, they go from just retiring officers at 50 to retiring everyone else also. Gee-whiz bang! Unemployment for twenty year olds will fall through the basement. Being the cynic I am, I fully expect some policy maker in Washington D.C. trying to explore doing just this.
Let’s say they did do this and used the military for a test-case first. By the time it moved on to the general populace, all those twenty and thirty year olds will now be pretty damn close to 50 if not over. So it ain’t going to help the younger folk we have now at all. Not to mention the drag on the economy we would have with many millions more now having to be retired and sitting at home. The young folk would be taxed an arm and a leg and most of their other appendages as well.
And now you know why both of those articles absolute horrify me. Not to mention that I have a twisted mind that keeps me up at night.