Great Parents?

Written by Lynn Atherton-Bloxham on Friday, 31 May 2013. Posted in Opinion, Lynn Atherton-Bloxham

Our militarist society, that celebrates the group over the individual and incessantly calls for self-sacrifice, enables the growth of empire and puts our youth at unnecessary risk. The fault for this starts with parents.

Great Parents?

Well you see, said the devoted Mother, looking at her husband proudly, we are great parents. We really believe in what we did. For our Nation, you know. We encouraged Jimmy and told him he would be honored and respected. He would get to wear a uniform and shiny buttons. I think he understood, don’t you dear? she asked her husband. He silently nodded his head but one could detect a little hesitation. Finally he cleared his throat and said, “Most all the other parents feel this way, and sometimes it works out good and sometimes,” he glanced down nervously, “sometimes not as good.”

The sympathetic reporter asked, “So he did it because he was good patriot, right?” 

“Oh, my yes,” said the Mother. “Most of his friends were also going. They carried little flags and wore their uniforms. They all looked so handsome and adorable.” 

The reporter nodded his head sympathetically and said, “Well we all appreciate his courage and sacrifice, and your sacrifice also. You are great parents and so brave.”

The Mother nodded her head vigorously but the father nodded his head slowly and thoughtfully, his eyes sad and distant.

The reporter laid a sympathetic hand on the Mother’s hand, Only “Great Parents” would take their toddler out of their stroller and send them out into the highway traffic and on Memorial Day too, as you did little Jimmy. All of us here in the USA are so proud of little Jimmy and appreciate all the parent’s sacrifice of their little children. We lost some brave little soldiers today but a few came through, thank God.

Now back to you Tom. Can you give us that weather report?  

**********************

Unlike many of the anti-war people, I do not blame the young enlistees. Unlike many of them,  as much as I appreciate their writings and efforts, I will posit a different viewpoint: I emphatically blame the parents. When parents encourage the idea of going into the military, they are supplementing the ongoing and tremendous pressure put on many children from their first awareness. Glorifying the military and war, relatives bragging about their stint in the military, media extolling the honor and courage of the heroes, schools glorifying “national interest” and shaming children for holding ideas that are selfish (self interested) in any areas.  The individual should be subordinate to the group. The group is a smaller part of the large  national interest. Right?

The very clear message is that their own interests, indeed their future, is nothing compared to the importance of society’s needs. To cinch the feeling of duty, over the whole land hangs the constant drum beat of the evil intent of the “Others” always lurking in strange lands. They are, we are all told, ready to sneak over here and murder us if we do not (honorably, of course) kill them first.  

These enlistees are indeed like toddlers, the boys barely needing to shave. Besides a lack of maturity physically, most have not been taught logical, critical thinking. Many of these young people have never held a job, managed their own money, had to make life and death decisions or even contemplate them. Most are simply not able to make the kind of decisions to go or not go into the military. 

Even if they were mature in one sense, no generation has been immune from immersion in the nationalistic brainwashing. They hear a constant barrage of messages calling for sacrifice of one kind or another. It comes not just from their own parents. Surrounding them is continual noise from the media, schools, and relatives that their ”service” is needed to protect the Nation. We will praise their sacrifice. If they have the bad luck to come home without legs,  blind, or disfigured with scars from burns, well, that is too bad but necessary. They had better fight them there than over here. They will be doing it for the rest of us. 

What is one life compared to the many lives they will save. Their own life cannot compete in value to the whole. Nationalism, not some selfish individualistic ideology is above all, pragmatic. We are all depending on you now; off you go.

About the Author

Lynn Atherton-Bloxham

Lynn Atherton-Bloxham

Lynn Atherton-Bloxham has been an enthusiastic pro-freedom activist for many years.  As a former registered commodity and stock broker, her work has included conducting financial and economic evaluations for businesses. As a writer and political and social analyst, her work has appeared in many publications, starting with the Johnson County Missouri Conservative Newsletter in 1962 and continuing since with the Kansas City Business Journal, The Heartland Institute, the California Libertarian Journal, and the Oklahoma Libertarian Forum.

Copyright © Lynn Atherton-Bloxham. Used with permission.

Comments (5)

  • Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume

    Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume

    01 January 2014 at 08:35 |
    Years ago, I read a simple statement: "War is good business. Invest your son."

    I understood the words but didn't understand the real meaning--until much later.
  • Brian White

    Brian White

    07 August 2013 at 15:45 |
    As I have two adult age children in my late 40s I am terrified that not too long ago I too would have been proud had they chosen to enlist or go the ROTC route. I believed America was rightfully involved in these foreign entanglements. I could not be more terrified of losing one or more of my children to such a wasted fate now.

    I cringe to think what would happen to these parents emotional states that come to realize this. I agree that these parents are responsible to sagely direct their children, but generations of patriotism overrides true wisdom. Hopefully the growth of the Libertarian movement and excellent contributors like Lynn will help end this support for using our children to further the ends of the political class.
  • matagordagreg

    matagordagreg

    31 May 2013 at 19:10 |
    I went to S. Vietnam in the late 60`s , all of the heroes went to Canada.
    They were not responsible for anyone`s death.
  • PaulTheCabDriver

    PaulTheCabDriver

    31 May 2013 at 18:44 |
    When my son was about to graduate from high school, I received a phone call from some Marine corps recruiter. I asked why he wanted to speak to Junior, and the Marine recruiter said that he wanted to discuss the career opportunities the military offers. I told him, "Hang on a second,' then held the phone away from me and said, to my son across the room in a very loud voice for the Marine to hear, ""Hey Junior, some guy on the phone wants to teach you how to drive a jeep, then send you to some God-forsaken country to kill brown people and get your ^&%&^ blown off when you run over a land mine." Junior looked up at me from his game, and laughed. "Sorry," I said to the recruiter, "He's busy playing Nintendo."
    They didn't call back.
  • MS_34

    MS_34

    31 May 2013 at 13:11 |
    Great article and perspective. If we want to end this madness, we must shun the military and see to it that the GI Bill is repealed in full. Incentivizing our children to kill for profits and power is a remarkably destructive force for evil.

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