Lesson # 5 from Starship Troopers

Today, we’re going to cover the fifth lesson I learned from the Starship Troopers book.  This is the fifth lesson in the mini-series.  If you haven’t read the previous post yet, please do so right now and try to follow it in order.

Lesson # 5: You can’t force someone to be patriotic and love their country.

Quote: “You would find it much easier than to instill moral virtue – social responsibility – into a person who doesn’t have it, doesn’t want it, and resents having the burden thrust on him.  This is why we make it so hard to enroll, so easy to resign.  Social responsibility above the level of family, or at most of tribe, requires imagination – devotion, loyalty, all the higher virtues, – which a man must develop himself; if he has them forced down him, he will vomit them out.”

starship troopers bookMy Take: You can’t force people to be patriotic and want to serve their country.  One of the reasons I am AGAINST the draft and Selective Service is that I don’t want to be in a foxhole with someone who doesn’t want to be there.  I don’t want to go on dangerous missions and potentially risk my life, serving aside someone who was FORCED into military service.  I’d rather serve with someone who VOLUNTEERED to serve and knew the risks that came with it. 

I understand some of you will disagree.  The most common argument is that everyone should serve their country for two years, like Israel does with its citizens.  While there are many merits of serving in the military (discipline, team work, loyalty, doing something great for your country) I don’t believe the experience will be valuable for a person if it was forced upon them.

I personally believe the US should abolish the Selective Service and keep our military a volunteer military

If you read the quote above that I posted above from the book, you will quickly see that his reasoning is that you can’t force social responsibility on someone who doesn’t want it.  I couldn’t say it better myself.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.

8 thoughts on “Lesson # 5 from Starship Troopers”

  1. I have a friend who likes to say “You may not be able to force a horse to drink once you’ve lead it to water, but you can salt its oats to make it thirsty”, and I have to say I lost a great deal of respect for that friend as a result. From that day on I figured every interaction was some sort of salt-in-the-oats manipulation, even when something good came out of it.
    Offering up incentives to serve for two years, staged terrorist threats, and media frenzies designed to press the emotional buttons of the American public simply isn’t a noble way of filling our military ranks. Just as you cannot force someone to love another if their heart isn’t in it, you cannot spark the flame of patriotism in someone with no interest.

    1. That is why the United States Army is the greatest VOLUNTEER Army on the face of the Earth. Our Country has so many people who LOVE our Country and are willing to defend her and her interests!

  2. Daniel Slone

    At the height of the Iraq war, when there was talk (none of it overly serious) of reinstating the draft to bring “fairness” to military service, I told everyone who asked that I absolutely DID NOT want to see that happen. Disciplining Soldiers is a necessary part of leadership, but normally it’s a fairly small one. The last thing I would want is to have to deal with a bunch of people who did not want to be serving in the first place. There are much better uses for my time as an NCO.

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