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mkl654321
mkl654321
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August 30th, 2010 at 5:38:08 PM permalink
Quote: cclub79

One argument that I always thought was the most flawed yet most overused argument for lowering the drinking age to 18 (and I don't see why it wouldn't work for gambling, either): "If he can go to war and die for his country, then he can have a beer." First, if there were a way to make it legal for just military personnel to drink at age 18, fine. But you don't just "go off to war". You are trained for weeks if not months to become a different person. For better or worse, that training matures most men. I'm fine with 18 year-olds drinking, if they are willing to take a 2-3 month non-stop course on alcohol and the responsibilities that go with it, or any commensurate non-stop course similar to military training.



The only valid argument, but a compelling one, for using young people as soldiers is that only young people (with their undeveloped brains) will have the lack of judgment necessary to obey a suicidal order without even thinking. If the trenches in WWI had been filled with older men, they would have flatly refused to go charging "over the top" into certain death. Even the threat of being shot by their superior officers would not have been sufficient as that would still have been a superior outcome to being ripped apart by bullets or shells and left to die in the mud.

On a macro scale, a mature person would be far more likely to tell the politicians to go screw themselves, and work out their disputes with diplomacy, rather than send people to die because they can't reach peaceful resolutions. Without willing soldiers there would be no wars, which is why we get 'em before their brains mature to the point where they realize what a shitty deal they're being offered.

BTW, I would doubt very much that military training matures anybody. You learn to become an automaton, to obey orders reflexively and without thought, and buy into a macho culture that glorifies violence. The soldier is in fact obsolete; machines can do a much better job of applied violence, and at much less cost.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
SanchoPanza
SanchoPanza
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August 30th, 2010 at 6:30:25 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

The only valid argument, but a compelling one, for using young people as soldiers is that only young people (with their undeveloped brains) will have the lack of judgment necessary to obey a suicidal order without even thinking.



As if strength and stamina had nothing to do with soldiering.


Quote:

On a macro scale, a mature person would be far more likely to tell the politicians to go screw themselves



Gee, and us fogies always thought that it was the young 'uns who were ever eager to tell everyone to go to hell. Ever hear their music?

Quote:

I would doubt very much that military training matures anybody. You learn to become an automaton, to obey orders reflexively and without thought, and buy into a macho culture that glorifies violence.



From someone who has clearly never experienced or witnessed what he's writing about.

Quote:

The soldier is in fact obsolete; machines can do a much better job of applied violence, and at much less cost.



Iraq and Afghanistan are showing that remains to be seen, even with drones.
SanchoPanza
SanchoPanza
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August 30th, 2010 at 6:35:16 PM permalink
Quote: rdw4potus

I think you're right if you assume that more 18 year olds would drink or gamble if it were legal. In that case, the activities are best left illegal for the 18-20 year-old crowd (note: 18 is the gambling age here in MN, and our largest casino is dry). If you think that 18 year olds will drink and gamble whether it's legal or not, then I would argue that it's better for them to have a safe and regulated environment for those activities



People who theorize that youngsters under the age of 21 are not drinking alcohol have not been around any college campus (except Brigham Young and its ilk) on a Friday night.

Maybe some writers would like to reorganize the WCTU.
mkl654321
mkl654321
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August 30th, 2010 at 6:48:39 PM permalink
Quote: SanchoPanza

As if strength and stamina had nothing to do with soldiering.
Gee, and us fogies always thought that it was the young 'uns who were ever eager to tell everyone to go to hell. Ever hear their music?
From someone who has clearly never experienced or witnessed what he's writing about.
Iraq and Afghanistan are showing that remains to be seen, even with drones.



In fact, strength and stamina DO have very little to do with soldiering. A 110-pound guy can kill someone with an M-1 just as easily as a 300-pound guy can. "Soldiering" is more about mindless, reflexive obedience--it is a mental skill, rather than a physical one.

The point I was making is that mature people resist the idea that throwing away human lives is the optimal method of conflict resolution; young people just say "booyah" and go paddle around in the testosterone.

I've never been in a war, no, but I'm a historian, a scholar, a student of the human condition, and I have talked to many, many soldiers and ex-soldiers, all friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

Iraq and Afghanistan are, in fact, PROVING that many missions can be accomplished without risking soldiers' lives.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
SanchoPanza
SanchoPanza
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August 30th, 2010 at 7:07:05 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

In fact, strength and stamina DO have very little to do with soldiering. A 110-pound guy can kill someone with an M-1 just as easily as a 300-pound guy can. "Soldiering" is more about mindless, reflexive obedience--it is a mental skill, rather than a physical one.



Well that explains all those 275-pound marines.

Quote:

The point I was making is that mature people resist the idea that throwing away human lives is the optimal method of conflict resolution; young people just say "booyah" and go paddle around in the testosterone.



As if following military practices has never been instrumental in achieving good ends throughout all of history.

Quote:

I've never been in a war, no, but I'm a historian, a scholar, a student of the human condition, and I have talked to many, many soldiers and ex-soldiers, all friends, relatives, and acquaintances.



And not one of them has ever said that training helped to mature raw recruits. It might be time to enlarge the circle so that the sweeping generalizations hold up better in the eyes of people who have actually experienced what we are writing about.
Garnabby
Garnabby
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August 30th, 2010 at 8:04:42 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

That's actually not true, in the somewhat unique case of humans. The human infant is the most helpless of all mammalian offspring; contrast with a horse or a dolphin infant. Likewise, the attainment of sexual maturity happens VERY late in the life cycle for humans. What significance this has from an evolutionary standpoint is that "slow development" has been selected for, at the expense of high birthrates. This means that what makes the human species viable is the establishment of strong social contacts and kin relationships: four or five strong, healthy children that are cared for by the peer group is better than ten children that receive uneven attention and allocation of resources.



That's actually not what i wrote, "... each species tends to produce more off-spring which mature faster and live longer". (Where did i compare the species?) Anyway, humans are very relatively-new on the evolutionary scene, far behind the other animals which have long ago "weeded out" most of the defective genes in those branches.

Why on earth would one expect our evolutionary cycle to be any different in the long-run? And thank goodness, even though we "think" we're genetically altering, etc, ourselves... that too is only a product of what we were, are, and will be.
Why bet at all, if you can be sure? Anyway, what constitutes a "good bet"? - The best slots-game in town; a sucker's edge; or some gray-area blackjack-stunts? (P.S. God doesn't even have to exist to be God.)
mkl654321
mkl654321
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August 30th, 2010 at 8:11:52 PM permalink
Quote: SanchoPanza

Well that explains all those 275-pound marines.
As if following military practices has never been instrumental in achieving good ends throughout all of history.
And not one of them has ever said that training helped to mature raw recruits. It might be time to enlarge the circle so that the sweeping generalizations hold up better in the eyes of people who have actually experienced what we are writing about.



No, what explains all those 275-pound Marines is the obsolete BELIEF that a chunkier soldier is obviously a better one--a misconception that is behind the fierce resistance to recruiting women soldiers. To repeat myself, it's brains, not brawn, that matters, except perhaps in the rare instance of unarmed hand-to-hand combat with the enemy.

Following military practices, i.e., war, has achieved good ends--for the winners. It has also achieved horrible ends--for both sides. The latter result has been more common than the former. War itself is obsolete, and in a sense, it always has been, in that trade and interaction with one's neighbors has always been a superior strategy.

It is not necessary to have been a soldier to understand what military service is all about, nor does having been a soldier necessarily confer that knowledge. In fact, an "outsider"'s perspective may be more accurate. To use an appropriate analogy, one need not be or have been a baseball player to know all about baseball.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
mkl654321
mkl654321
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August 30th, 2010 at 8:18:24 PM permalink
Quote: Garnabby

That's actually not what i wrote, "... each species tends to produce more off-spring which mature faster and live longer". (Where did i compare the species?) Anyway, humans are very relatively-new on the evolutionary scene, far behind the other animals which have long ago "weeded out" most of the defective genes in those branches.

Why on earth would one expect our evolutionary cycle to be any different in the long-run? And thank goodness, even though we "think" we're genetically altering, etc, ourselves... that too is only a product of what we were, are, and will be.



More than what? More than previously? If that's what you mean, recent human history disproves that as human birthrates have been dropping dramatically for the last two centuries--due to factors that are as much behavioral as genetic, but that is still a valid Darwinian marker.

And humans aren't all that new on the scene--our family tree goes back about five million years. And there are no "defective" genes--only unsuccessful ones (a subtle but vital distinction).

Our evolutionary cycle IS unique among animals because we influence our environments more than any other animal, and our behavioral and social structures both evolve rapidly and rapidly affect our physical evolution.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
ahiromu
ahiromu
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August 30th, 2010 at 8:21:49 PM permalink
Deleted.
Its - Possessive; It's - "It is" / "It has"; There - Location; Their - Possessive; They're - "They are"
RonC
RonC
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August 31st, 2010 at 12:32:43 AM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

The only valid argument, but a compelling one, for using young people as soldiers is that only young people (with their undeveloped brains) will have the lack of judgment necessary to obey a suicidal order without even thinking. If the trenches in WWI had been filled with older men, they would have flatly refused to go charging "over the top" into certain death. Even the threat of being shot by their superior officers would not have been sufficient as that would still have been a superior outcome to being ripped apart by bullets or shells and left to die in the mud.



I thought about this statement and also about what I have heard from combat veterans about battle. You don't hear a lot about patriotism, etc. in their battle experiences (if they are even willing to share it), but you do hear them say they would do anything to save their fellow soldiers. I disagree with the whole "lack of judgment" statement and the comment about getting them "before their brains mature"...

I did a few minutes of internet research on this and most of the information I found said that the average age of US WWI soldiers was 26 or so. The average of US KIAs in Vietnam was 22. I guess they weren't so young after all.

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