America’s true action heroes

I enjoy action movies, but I never confuse the pampered star — equipped with a personal assistant, bottled water, and color coded M&Ms — with the sweaty, straining hero he portrays on screen. Ben Stein went one further and wrote a whole book about the real heroes, the men and women who, at incredible risk to themselves, for low pay, and in situations of extreme discomfort, put their lives on the line every day so we don’t have to. The book is The Real Stars : In Today’s America, Who Are The True Heroes? and here’s a video clip of Stein discussing the book:

The friend who sent me the link to this video, and who is himself retired career military, added that he never confuses those in the military with “gods” (and thank goodness for that, since human gods always end with feet of clay). He does, however, recognize that people who enter the military, especially those who make it their career, do it more for the idealism than for the money. It’s not until you’re a high officer that the pay gets good, and even then it’s not equal to what people with the same skills could earn in the private sector. And people in the private sector don’t have to deal with the high risk and discomfort that is a regular part of military life.

As I say every time when I stop and think about our American military — thank you!


One Response

  1. It’s not until you’re a high officer that the pay gets good, and even then it’s not equal to what people with the same skills could earn in the private sector.

    The military career is essentially a long term based one. You get the skills, education, and strength you need early on, while you are paid a trickle. Then if you stick it out, you will be able to get high level consulting and speaking jobs later on, if you reach flag/general rank.

    Thus the military draws in not so much idealists as people with the capacity and willingness to learn wisdom. Wisdom in the form of long term survival through cooperation, rather than predation or parasitism.

    Idealists run into pragmatic problems all the time. The military is pragmatic above all else. It is the combination of people that should have been at odds. Goose stepping and jackbooted thugs and killers extraordinaire combined with the character of angels and the strength of demi-gods.

    The military cuts through the Gordian Knot belief that to be rich or strong, you must make others poor or others weak. The military creates strength and virtues, much as capitalism creates wealth, Book. Combined together, they are an unbeatable team.

    The civilian front must ensure that military is set loose with the enemy in sight and with all weapons unlocked. The military must then ensure that the civilians are free to live lives and make wealth, wealth that the military can then use to improve its strength. This is the total opposite of parasitism, where one side gains benefits only through weakening the other. This is a symbiotic relationship, and it is a symbiotic relationship that is the most hated achievement in the entire history of the human race.

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