August 1, 2007

A Fine Future Marine

A friend's phone number is one digit off from the local recruiting office of the U.S. Marines, so their dinner is occasionally interrupted by young men calling to enlist. His daughter ordered the last caller to "Drop and give me 50!" Huffing and puffing ensued out of the phone.

In related news, the Sikhs are the War Nerd's kind of guys: "Sikh to Death."


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

19 comments:

Ross F said...

I find that the War Nerd is generally less impressive on subjects I know something about, the Sikh war is an example of that. The Anglo Sikh war was deliberately sought by the regents of the Sikh kingdom as a means of breaking the military caste, the Khalsa, that was running amok. The Sikh armies lost because their political leaders wanted them to lose.

There was talk in the UK last month about creating a Sikh regiment on the British army, which sadly the MOD rejected on the grounds that it was racist. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/06/24/nsikh124.xml

jody said...

people who enlist in a volunteer military are not very smart on average, but don't tell that to hardcore war supporters or real gung ho republicans. they flip out when you try to explain that all those guys who barely finished high school and are now joining the army and navy at a recruiting office in a strip mall are not brainiacs.

as far as war nerd goes, i'm not a big fan of his recent penchant for bashing new technology in war. he doesn't really know what he's talking about.

Bill said...

jody said...

people who enlist in a volunteer military are not very smart on average, but don't tell that to hardcore war supporters or real gung ho republicans. they flip out when you try to explain that all those guys who barely finished high school and are now joining the army and navy at a recruiting office in a strip mall are not brainiacs.


I don't think you've done your research. Our all-volunteer army in the early-mid 1990s was comprised of people who were smarter on average than the general population. It probably still is, despite lowered standards to fill the ranks for the unpopular Iraq War.

How about this:

People who go to college are not very smart on average. Maybe just a little smarter than the average person, but not much. I'd be willing to bet that your average volunteer in the armed forces could hold his own on an IQ test against your average state college student.

In fact, probably fully half of the people in college don't really belong there. It's becoming a place for parents to park their daughters in hopes that they won't get knocked up during their most fertile years by the thugs hanging out at the strip malls; you know, the kind that the army wouldn't take.

Meanwhile, perfectly good men, suitable for the girls parked in mediocre college programs dominated by lesbian dogma, are getting their limbs blown off and minds warped by Middle East-style warfare. What a functional system!

However, speaking of college, it appears there are some good female professors out there.

I read the following article in disbelief when I found out the author is a female humanities professor:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MaryGrabar/2007/03/11/onward,_christian_soldiers!__part_one

Here's her blog:

http://marygrabar.blogspot.com/

Website:

http://www.marygrabar.com/

What a woman! Sign her up for VDare!

King Rollo said...

His daughter ordered the last caller to "Drop and give me 50!" Huffing and puffing ensued out of the phone.

I know phone numbers like that, but you'll need a credit card.

Bill said...

Looks like blogspot cut off the end of the link I posted.

Goto "Onward Christian Soldiers! Part One" on Mary's homepage for what I tried to post.

I'll try to post the link with html here (although I'm not sure it will work in Google's primitive blogger format):

Onward Christian Soldiers! part One

jody said...

"I don't think you've done your research."

i have a mountain of research and two decades of personal experience on this.
i don't think i even want to get into this discussion, because it is very tiring.

after i win the discussion, which takes a few posts, the defenders of the enlisted usually start attacking me as a liberal or enemy of america, which is also tiring, as i was a west point recruit.

i guess if you want bill, i'll entertain you.

Bill said...

jody said...


i guess if you want bill, i'll entertain you.


here I am now, entertain me...

Prove me wrong. Quote verbatim.

Mark said...

People who enlist in a volunteer military are not very smart on average, but don't tell that to hardcore war supporters or real gung ho republicans.

All the guys I knew in high school who were talking to the recruiters I found to be intellectually unimpressive. The ROTC guys I knew in college were smarter, of course, but still seemed pretty stiff.

When I moved to a military town the first thing I noticed were the businesses stationed just outside the base - tattoo parlors, strip clubs, liquor stores, porn stores. High quality establishments all, I'm sure. But of course these are young men.

You can respect the sacrifice made by the folks in the military while understanding that they may not always be our brightest bulbs. I do.

In the 1980s this country maintained substantially more men in uniform than we have today. The US Army alone had 750,000 soldiers, compared to only 530,000 today, despite the fact that we had 50-70 million fewer people, fewer "patriotic" Hispanics, had higher standards for enlistment, and, of course, weren't actually at war.

Thanks to Milton Friedman (amongst others) the US got rid of conscription back in the 70s. Before then, of course, it had already been discredited by incompetent and corrupt congressmen trying to secure deferrments for their children.

If you don't have military conscription then the only way to recruit highly capable people is via the free market - that means paying well. We don't do that. We rely on uniforms and medals and patriotic sentiment and whatnot. A Marine Corps private serving in Iraq makes $8.60 an hour. So does a cashier at McDonalds.

Slowly but surely, George W. Bush and the geniuses in Congress are hammering away at ANY reason to join the military, especially patriotic ones. Why fight and die for an America where people consider themselves not "Americans" but "Mexican-Americans," "Chinese-Americans," "Indian-Americans," "Jewish-Americans" or whatever? Why fight and die for a country whose Congress thinks your children have no greater right to live in the USA than the children of some person in China or Mexico?

Anonymous said...

Im not disagreeing with Mark but a staright comparison with McDonalds doesnt quite work. No one is shooting at you (well mostly not) while working there but OTOH in the military one is largely fed, clothed, transported & housed at their expense. Then there is the health care, haircuts etc A young single guy especially could save a very large %age of his pay.

Steve Sailer said...

There's plenty of empirical data on this question.

The U.S. military spends a lot of money to measure the IQs of both applicants for enlistment and the general population. During the golden years of the small volunteer military, from 1992 to 2004, the average IQ of enlistees was around 105. Only 1% of new enlistees were allowed in with IQs in the bottom 30% (below 92).

Anonymous said...

What does it say about our modern day society when a potential Marine unquestioningly does push-ups at the command of a teenaged? girl?

Karl Smith said...

The U.S. military spends a lot of money to measure the IQs of both applicants for enlistment and the general population. During the golden years of the small volunteer military, from 1992 to 2004, the average IQ of enlistees was around 105. Only 1% of new enlistees were allowed in with IQs in the bottom 30% (below 92).

One of the problems with these kinds of discussions is not looking at the distribution. When people talk in summary statistics they can talk right past each other.

In fact, both things are true.

Enlistees are not, in general, intellectual giants.

And

Enlistees are smarter on average than the general population.


The reasoning is simple. The distribution of enlistees into the army is probably skewed downward and then truncated from below.

That is, for IQs above 100 the higher the IQ the lower the probability that someone will enlist.

This is why some people say enlistees are less intelligent.

However, below a certain intelligence level the probability of being accepted drops to zero. That is, the distribution is truncated from below.

This is why the mean IQ for enlistees is higher. There are some brilliant enlistees, though less than the general population. However, there are no mentally retarded enlistees while there are mentally retarded people in the general population.

Mark said...

OTOH in the military one is largely fed, clothed, transported & housed at their expense.

The housing allowance is legit. "Transportation" covers transportation (mostly) for military purposes - you gotta pay for your own car. Ditto for clothing. Does the miltary provide 100% of eating costs? Except when in theater I'd seriously doubt it.

Keep in mind that if one is being moved around on a regular basis that the housing issue, in spite of the allowance, can actually be a net loss, since you'd usually have to rent instead of be able to accumulate equity in a home.

Then there is the health care, haircuts etc. A young single guy especially could save a very large %age of his pay.

Perhaps. But a young single guy could also do the same by living with his parents. He'd also have a lot more freedom.

Sure, he gets health care - but in the military he's more likely to need it, too. Young men in their teens and 20s don't use much healthcare, anyway (especially not the ones who are able to pass military physicals), which is why so many don't bother to get insurance.

Yes, I understand it's not always a straight comparison. For instance, after 20 years in the service military retirees get 50% of pay for the rest of their life. But how easy is it for a 40ish man to take up a new career? The dual income he'd be making would often be less than if he'd worked a regular job for those 20 years and accumulated pay raises, seniority, and vacation time.

But the free market is the best judge of all: qualified people aren't joining in the numbers we need them to, so the incentives are too few.

If you're not going to have conscription then you have to live by the rules of the market.

Aside from that, the recent reduction in enlistment standards is going to have negative long-term consequences for recruitment. If the military gets a reputation for hiring dummies then smart people will join in even fewer numbers than they do now.

Bill said...

Karl Smith said...

Enlistees are not, in general, intellectual giants.

And

Enlistees are smarter on average than the general population.


There are few places on the planet earth, not to mention the United States, where people are, in general, intellectual giants.

What I object to is the smug characterization of soldiers as dumb proles. A lot of guys join up because they come from depressed communities or poor families and they either want to get tuition paid for or learn a skill that will help them get a job when they get out. And then there are quite a few who just want to get the heck out of dodge -- a common sentiment among young men.

Of course, there is the masculine mind factor as well. Many young men, including some very intelligent ones, simply aren't wired for sitting on their butts in a classroom and listening to some old maid babble on about feminist theory. Those without (and even some with) high scientific or mathematical ability just don't fit in well in the feminized institutions modern universities have become.

And then there's AA. A number of young white men I know joined up because they can't get civil service jobs such as firefighter or cop without going through the military. Evidently, a few years in the service gives a white man a nearly equal footing in competition for government jobs.

Fred said...

Karl Smith,

When I was in Army basic training years ago, there was a large cohort of National Guardsmen from Spokane, WA that seemed like a smart bunch. Most were college-bound, and some looked forward to temporary active duty gigs with the National Guard, such as fighting forest fires. I wouldn't say there was a Bertrand Russell in the group, but I'd guess you might find a one standard deviation or higher difference in IQ between those who enlist directly in the National Guard or Army Reserve in northern states like WA, MN, etc. versus the regular Army's recruits.

Mark,

The Army increasing the percentage of its lowest-acceptable IQ recruits from 2% to 4% temporarily probably isn't going to have dramatic long-term effects. You are also underestimating the compensation of enlistees -- it's actually pretty high when you take into account enlistment bonuses, reenlistment bonuses (often tax-free, for servicemen reenlisting in war zones), educational benefits, etc.

When you add in $20k enlistment bonuses and free in-state tuition for National Guardsmen in most states, combined with $800+ per month in GI Bill pocket money while a former soldier is in school -- and you consider that the enlistee will probably be at least an E-4 by the end of his 4 year enlistment (if he's not an idiot), the comp is quite attractive. Plus, for some stateside employers (e.g., the NYPD), two years in the military is worth 2 years in college (the NYPD requires applicants to have two years of either).

There is, of course, the risk of getting killed or seriously wounded, but it's less than you might think, considering there have been fewer than ~8,000 combined out of about 1.5 million deployments over the last several years in Iraq and Afghanistan. And if it does happen, a KIA's family is far better compensated now than ever before ($100k death gratuity versus $6k previously; $350k max SGLI payouts versus $200k previously).

Mark said...

a KIA's family is far better compensated now than ever before ($100k death gratuity versus $6k previously; $350k max SGLI payouts versus $200k previously).

And the families of the folks who died in the Towers got how much? Millions.

Civilians get millions. Grunts get squat.

The Army increasing the percentage of its lowest-acceptable IQ recruits from 2% to 4% temporarily probably isn't going to have dramatic long-term effects. You are also underestimating the compensation of enlistees. - fred

But there you contradict yourself: enlistees are paid well, but we're having to lower the standards to reel them in. If we're lowering the standards then the DoD has either decided it doesn't need soldiers who are very smart (unlikely) or it's going begging.

Fred said...

"And the families of the folks who died in the Towers got how much? Millions."

Payouts varied and were based partly on lifetime earning potential, so that the families of highly-paid bond traders got millions, but not the families of Windows on the World busboys. The minimum payout was set at $250k.

"Civilians get millions. Grunts get squat."

$450k lump sum payouts aren't chicken feed, and that doesn't include lifetime military pensions, and, in many states, free in-state tuition for the children.

"But there you contradict yourself: enlistees are paid well, but we're having to lower the standards to reel them in."

One statement doesn't contradict the other: in order to make enlistment quotas the military both raised pay and bonuses (a lot), and, for about two percent of recruits, lowered standards. Your earlier equivalence of a Marine private's pay to that of a McDonald's burger flipper didn't take into account remains false, as it didn't take into account, the easy promotion track from E-1 to E-4; five-figure enlistment bonuses and reenlistment bonuses; education benefits, etc.

David said...

"What does it say about our modern day society when a potential Marine unquestioningly does push-ups at the command of a teenaged girl?"

Plenty of men whom one would never describe as potential Marines do push-ups for the sake of teenaged girls every day, unfortunately.

Mark said...

Payouts varied and were based partly on lifetime earning potential, so that the families of highly-paid bond traders got millions, but not the families of Windows on the World busboys.

That's not the point. The point is the government had no business in handing out any death benefits to those in the towers besides those already promised to all Americans.

If those folks wanted to be covered for their potential earnings they had that option - life insurance.

Why were the taxpayers obligated to pay them anything?

And my point about military pay stands, as well. It doesn't matter how much their currently making. Whatever the pay, the point is that the military isn't paying enough to attract qualified enlistees.