Monthly Archives: September 2008

Uncle Sam doesn’t want the fat, stupid and criminal?

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam

I smelled something funky right away in Larry Littlefield’s post that includes the tiresome phrase “Youth of Today” in the title (so we know right away where this is going).  He’s gracious enough to qualify his finger pointing by suggesting that while the 70% youth are apparently too slack to be military material, it may not be ALL their fault:

So there you have the youth of today. They are starting out bankrupt in a bankrupt country. That’s what I was worried about before. In addition, a majority are stupid, fat, sick, addicted or criminals. But others are more socially engaged as citizens, and as Grimm [Dr. Robert Grimm, the Director of Research and Public Policy for the Corporation for National and Community Service] pointed out, those who are socially engaged as citizens, statistically, are far more active and healthy. I had heard that all the social indicators – from teenage pregnancy to drug use to high school graduation rates – had improved compared with 30 years ago when I was in high school, so the 70% figure came as something of a shock. It sounds like the uneven distribution of income and institutional collapses are just part of the problem. We have a personal collapse as well.

Can we back up a minute? Littlefield is concerned about this figure given by Lt General Benjamin C. Freakley (I love the surname), a recruiter for the U.S. Army. I suppose this guy has it tough right now, trying to defend a poor recruiting rate. If you were him, would you blame it on today’s youth being unattracted to the situations they see our troops facing (roadside bombs, “100 more years” in Iraq, high survival and amputee rate of injured troops), or would you blame the low signing rate on kids playing too much X-Box and eating too many Doritos? Continue reading


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