|At first, I found this passage patronizing, no, fucked up:|
"A family friend named Don recently decided to join the army. Everyone was shocked, but it actually makes sense. We all acknowledge that Don has—for many years—had a pathetic life. He has no friends. He rarely has a decent job. He’s on the chubby side. He’s a musician, but he’s a lousy musician. He has an extremely low opportunity cost—he’s the perfect candidate for the army. Plus, he has this whole patriotism thing going on, which is good since it makes him happy to be in the army."
How could someone with a cute photo possibly be wrong about something? Then, after some thought, I realized Heidi was right. He can be a perfect candidate for the military. I know of men who were pathetic when they were civilians whipped into shape after enlisting. In my own way, I was one of them. I am a far better person now than I could ever have been before I enlisted. Some of the men I know that we hail as heroes today were men whom, in another life, nobody suspected would amount to anything.
This is where I have a problem:
"If they offer, say, a $20,000 stipend, then that tells us what a soldier is worth to society. I personally think I’m worth more than that, so I don’t go into that market. Don apparently thinks he’s worth less than that (and to all appearances, he is), so he migrates there."
First, my recruiter never told me about a $20K stipend (darn!), but even if there was one, the majority of the men and women I serve with don't do it for the money. The ones who do don't stay for long. Personally, I do it for the pride and the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing something worthwhile with my life. That is worth more to me than any stipend.