We generally try to avoid out and out mention of our friends in our blog. This is a departure from past experience where our folksy attempts at a Top 10 list often included references to family and friends. In the recent case of Matt Berry, we simply can’t help ourselves.
Consider first the “botched joke” of John Kerry. Everyone has heard about how Mr. Kerry essentially called the military dumb and poor. We wrote about it here. Congressman Charles Rangel has been making waves with his call for a draft and has been even more explicit in his contempt for the troops:
“If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq,” Mr. Rangel, a Democrat representing Manhattan and Queens, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“If there’s anyone who believes these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No bright young individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment,” the congressman said.
Even our moronic hometown newspaper has picked up on the theme. The liberal elitist worldview reads that only poor, uneducated–mostly minorities–serve in the military. As recent reports about the overall intelligence of our military as compared to the general populace show, this isn’t true. But even if it were true, when did it become bad that people surveyed their list of choices, and then decided to join the military? They see opportunities to get ahead–just the same as someone who attends community college. It is typical of liberal condescension that they look down on those who, without a trust fund, do what they can to get educated and get ahead.
Back to Berry.
Mr. Berry’s experience, highlighted wonderfully in an article in the Salt Lake Tribune by Patrick Kinahan (hat tip: Matt Lybbert), shows perfectly that even the “advantaged” are joining the military–and for purely virtuous reasons. Just because some liberals don’t include patriotism in their list of priorities, doesn’t make those who volunteer irrational.
The recently deceased Milton Friedman made a passionate case for an all-volunteer army. He surmised, based on economic research, that an all volunteer army would most effectively and efficiently allocate the nation’s manpower. Sure, many would join because it gave them economic opportunities. So what? Others like Mr. Berry join because they are patriots. Whatever the motivation, these young men and women are hardly stupid or ignorant for joining. They aren’t being duped.
Mr. Berry lists among his many accomplishments being a former BYU QB who graduated with a degree in history. He even wrote for this blog(!). He was also a co-founder of Consource where he worked with Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and others (Justice Scalia) to make primary source documents relating to the creation of the Constitution available online to everyone. After completing basic training and officer candidate’s school, Mr. Berry intends to pursue a graduate degree.
And Mr. Berry is hardly an anomaly. There are others like him. When we spoke with him just before leaving for basic, he mentioned that there were several others in his induction group who had families, were older, and had degrees. These volunteers were established. They hardly fit the profile of young, ignorant, uneducated, minorities like Mr. Rangel would like you to believe.
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