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I feel like one of the prerequisites for a good society is "military"

onesteptwostep

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Just jotting down thoughts to share.

Historically, most nations were born out of war or conflict, and a nation's power was literally determined through miliarial strength. See or refer to your own country's history- most probably has the military as its backbone. The US- George Washington and the American War of Independence, Japan- the Yamato Clan uniting all of mainland Japan until the Senguku period. Korea- Kim Il-sung with his Northern army during the Korean War- same with the South. France with Napoleon. Philippines and their independence movement. Russia with the Red Army. Most nations which has political instability is more often due to the colonial powers providing independence to the colonies without setting up a political structure in that plot of land which needs to be governed.

Anyway, it's easy to see and (obvious) that most nations are borne from conflict.

A problem I see with today's generation is that (the developed world mostly), while there is an abundance of technological progress and information, we severely lack experience. We might see or gain an empathetic understanding of certain positions of status- like glory, honor, respect, and so on, but it's often the case that our generation, the millennial generation lacking in a personal understanding of such traits aforementioned.

Having gone to the military myself, I could obviously see how being in the military and immersing yourself in a hierarchical structure breeds a sense of discipline, and also grounds where aspects like honor, respect, loyalty, and so on can be felt. I remember that the most hardworking privates, if their temperament was up to par, also garnered the most respect. Others of lower rank would listen to them more, respect them more, and generally if the platoon or squad had such leaders with such traits, tasks that were assigned to them would be finished with relatively more ease and most importantly, efficiently. Having authority through respect is a certain type of power- and I feel like most militaries, the most effective ones at least, operate with this kind of structure.

And I feel like this is where traits developed in the military bleed into a society to make society more efficient. I'm going to take South Korea as a big example.

Not many people know this, but South Korea, after 1953 (the Korean Civil War), up to 1961, was a complete shithole of a nation. We had democracy, contrasted with the communist/Juche North, but in terms of GDP or societal infrastructure we were much behind North Korea (even up to the late 70s). It was in 1961 that a general from the Civil War staged a military coup and became president. In short, South Korea was a dictatorship in itself, until the late 80s. I can't say much for other dictatorships around the world, but the general that took over the country was pretty much a nationalist, in the sense that he wanted to mobilize the country as fast as possible for modernization. He did it out of love for the nation, feeling he could make something out of himself. He didn't do it for personal gain, like power or wealth, something which we project often on modern dictators. The general was named Park Chunghee (someone who was trained as a cadet in the Japanese Imperial Army) and during his time in the Japanese Imperial army, he firsthand saw the methods of modernization which he implemented to industrialize his own (my) country. He hated the Japanese still, but anyway. During modernization, all males had to go through a 3 year mandatory military service, given the situation with North Korea at the time (and still ongoing, to note). During his 18 years or so in 'office', he brought forth a lot of capital by participating in the Vietnam War, sending vocational workers to Europe (like nurses to Germany), and opening up to their former colonialists for compensation (the Normalization Treaty with Japan 1965). Through such funds, he built the main highway arteries in South Korea, created POSCO, the nation's steelmill (which is the number #1 in shipbuilding today) and provided an incredible amount of freedom to conglomerates/industrial magnates via subsidies or diplomatic cover (protectionism). Basically, he laid the foundations/infrastructure that helped Korea modernize from an industrial, textile market to one that deals mostly in telecommunications and other domestic services (Samsung!). (and in hindsight, without telecommunications infrastructure, South Korea would have been much slower in achieving the soft power that it enjoys today).

I do not think that all this would have been possible if South Korea were to have still been a democracy after the Civil War, nor do I think it would have worked without the mandatory military system. If there was no workforce that had 3 years experience in the military living out a hierarchical, often brutal structure, I would not have excepted Park Chunghee's economic policies to have worked. In someways, the country was built by the experience Korean males went through in the military. Often times human rights or freedoms were massively curved to achieve this feat, but by the 1990s South Korea was now a country which people could view as modern and democratic, although things were sacrificed to achieve to this point. Koreans in general are law-abiding, intolerant to bullshit (foreign bullshit I mean), and generally less susceptible to political threats which may destabilize the country (even if there was a more affluent North which was simply sitting on top of you, actively trying to communize you). There isn't a narrative that binds the country together, but a sense of collectiveness, which, I attribute some to the military life.

So this is where I want to make a comparison to the United States.

The history of the United States is longer than the Republic of Korea, for sure. South Korea's republic started after the Civil War (our ethnic culture is around 5,000 years old however, which blows America's history out of the water, but whatever). America's history is, if we were to start when the War of Independence was won, 1776.. so around 250 years ago. Most of American history is actually sad, but a lot of its glory days begin after their victory over the fascists in the 50s. This is when Europe was basically in shambles, and through its Marshall Plan was able to supply and rebuild Europe, debts, iirc, which are still being paid back today. People in the US generally name the people who lived through the World Wars America's "Greatest Generation". If you open up a textbook on the US economy, you can trace much of the industry back to the World War or attribute them to people who came back after the World War (the GI Bill eg.). Now, I won't deny that American society had a lot of problems back in those days too, but generally there is a sense that there is prosperity and growth. America reforms its civil rights, outspends the USSR and breaks them, creates the foundations of globalism and becomes an academic behemoth.

Now come to 2020. America has a media problem, a political problem, and a racial(?) and sexuality(?) issue(?), and generally a society which seems to be either politically apathetic, willfully ignorant or simply disgruntled and powerless. The public forum is another business rather than a space for expert and professional discussion. There really isn't a voice of authority that overseas the public arena, because the priority of the voices are not generally for the public good, but for personal or sectarian gain. Respect is not earned through hardwork but through trying to whip up as much dumb people for your cause, then playing dice with the people you've fiddled. In a way, I think it could be said that it's inevitable that a pluralistic country like the US, which has to balance all the wants of its 330 million citizens, would go down this path. It's a daunting task. To win at the two party system, one has to get at the lowest common denominator to achieve political majority. But there is a distinct difference in America which helped it govern itself up to this point: at least in the modern era. That point is that the land is a land of law, and that no matter who you are, you were not above the law. South Korea for example, is willing to pardon key economic players if it affects the national GDP. We've pardoned the late Samsung head for bribery a decade back, and we're inching towards pardoning his son too, who took his father's helm. From what I've seen in America, pardons for such behavior only comes if it's the fabric of the market itself is at risk, not that Amazon or Tesla might take a hit. The 08 Financial Crisis Obama inherited literally killed GM, the financial conglomerates, and the banks themselves. Even with the 800 trillion dollar save, the world economy was pretty much annihilated (and subsequently my college fees were like doubled). Basically, no one is above the law, unless that person or entity would cease to exist if they went by the regular venues of justice. (Moral justice, at least, those subprime lenders in a reasonable and just country would have been executed). But this idea that no one is above the law is now being threatened by literally, a wing of the American political spectrum. It's a weird development, which I'd love to delve into later.

Anyway I'm a little bit over the point here, but given a stereotypical country with an average population and landmass (50-70 mil population) it wouldn't hurt to have a mandatory military service, or any type of mandatory service which exposes citizens to a culture of discipline. America had their "Greatest Generation" moment, but after it.. it never seemed to recover after their hippie grandchildren said no to war during Vietnam. Now, less than a 1% of Americans have ties to the military. People say education is something that can remedy this field, but education today is mostly geared towards training people for the workforce, NOT society (which something the current system is mediocre at anyways) and, the current mantra of education is "critical thinking", which does nothing to inform people of morality, ontology or wellbeing (eudemonia, rather). If there lacks a social mechanism which instills or at least exposes things like honor, respect, leadership and so on, this will always end up with a society which lacks justice, and with a lack of justice, a perverse evil that Apostle Paul outlines in his biblical Epistles rears its ugly head.

In a way, it sort of makes sense that parents would send their children to boarding schools or bootcamps (mostly their fathers I guess), because such an institution has potential to instill kids good qualities, although there seems to be somewhat of a cultural or psychological damage that can be inflicted upon the children. There's a sense that children who come out of public systems are more natural or normative than students who come from more disciplinarian institutions. But I would argue that, if the endeavor were on a national scale, this wouldn't be a problem. Schools are a national endeavor, and people somewhat have a certain faith in education. Religious education should of course be a private matter, but I feel like an education on the virtues (not academic but something that literally engages and help express the virtues themselves, something crucial in helping citizens not to feel prey to life's vices (I mean, Liberal Arts means nothing if you only read about it), making for a stronger societal fabric.

To wrap up, I wouldn't say South Korea is lacking in regards to development however. We have a lot of efficiency, but we lack spirit. If America were to have spirit, I would say that it lacks direction. One could say we're lacking a unifying, archetypal culture, something that oversees and transcends above sectarian culture.
 

BurnedOut

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Going from the precepts of Game Theory whose rudimentary form we are all aware of, the military becomes necessary. It is an integral part of any state in order to maintain its status as a state. A good society and military are largely unrelated, here I shall go along with the Socratic school of thought which regards virtue as supreme.

The status of military in an ideal state should and must be largely confined to maintenance of external sovereignty and nothing else and we have the police system in place to tackle issues of internal sovereignty. Your claim is extremely dangerous in nature because military's function ends where the society begins. It is necessary for the existence of the society but it is not necessary for the maintenance for it. Such a state quickly devolves into a police state.

Military is barbarism at worst, dictatorship at best. Most states abide by this principle. You can see what is happening in Myanmar. Other examples would be Vietnam, North Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Many African countries who cannot get it out their heads that military does not lead to a good society but heaps on heaps of misery and injustice, delve into misery more and more as time passes.
 

Cognisant

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This is essentially what I was getting at with the "Preparing Humanity for Space: Politics" thread, it's not enough to simply teach people skills you also need to teach them how to be effective people. Part of that is discipline, it doesn't necessarily need to be the discipline to parade march and follow orders, I think people from higher socioeconomic backgrounds tend to exhibit more disciplined/civilized behavior because they've grown up under the scrutiny of people with higher expectations.

Indeed I don't think "being civilized" is at all natural, I think what we think of as society is actually a state of culturally imposed domestication, now that sounds awful but the alternative isn't wild and free, it's feral, it's people who are mere cunning animals, merely focused on their own base desires.

One could say we're lacking a unifying, archetypal culture, something that oversees and transcends above sectarian culture.
I think that should be a sense of pride because I think whether or not you're proud of something is a very true indication of whether or not it is as it should be. The Americans are infamously proud of their country, at least in terms of its military and political presence on the world stage, but if you ask them if they're proud of their nation in every other regard I think most would admit that they're quite ashamed.

As they should be, because it's their nation.

When I walk down the street and I see a bit of trash I pick it up, because it's my street, I may not own it but I live there and because I live there the state of it is in some small way a reflection of me, which is why I find that trash to be a personal affront.

If everyone thought this way about everything I think the world would be a very different (at least cleaner) place.
 

onesteptwostep

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Such a state quickly devolves into a police state.

Military is barbarism at worst, dictatorship at best. Most states abide by this principle. You can see what is happening in Myanmar. Other examples would be Vietnam, North Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Many African countries who cannot get it out their heads that military does not lead to a good society but heaps on heaps of misery and injustice, delve into misery more and more as time passes.

Nothing I've wrote comes close to what I've outlined. My point is that being in the military naturally builds up attributes which contribute to a person's temperance after they are discharged. It's not the military apparatus itself that is good, but the skills and concepts learned in the military that are helpful to a society. Things like entrepreneurship needs leadership qualities and an understanding of a chain of command, e.g. something like logistics. Engineers (in the military) too are a huge example.
Indeed I don't think "being civilized" is at all natural, I think what we think of as society is actually a state of culturally imposed domestication, now that sounds awful but the alternative isn't wild and free, it's feral, it's people who are mere cunning animals, merely focused on their own base desires.

That's an interesting proposition (it's out of the scope of discussion but philosophically valid)
As they should be, because it's their nation.

When I walk down the street and I see a bit of trash I pick it up, because it's my street, I may not own it but I live there and because I live there the state of it is in some small way a reflection of me, which is why I find that trash to be a personal affront.

If everyone thought this way about everything I think the world would be a very different (at least cleaner) place.

Actually, for a couple few days after being discharged you do develop this sense of patriotism and kind of tear up, grateful for your forefathers efforts in building up the nation.

Too bad it kind of goes away in 3~2 days or so.

On note of this, Japan is particularly unique in that, even if they're constitutionally pacifist, they have a deep sense of patriotism. It's an interesting point of discussion if you want to dip into that.
 

BurnedOut

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I do not think that all this would have been possible if South Korea were to have still been a democracy after the Civil War, nor do I think it would have worked without the mandatory military system. If there was no workforce that had 3 years experience in the military living out a hierarchical, often brutal structure, I would not have excepted Park Chunghee's economic policies to have worked. In someways, the country was built by the experience Korean males went through in the military. Often times human rights or freedoms were massively curved to achieve this feat, but by the 1990s South Korea was now a country which people could view as modern and democratic, although things were sacrificed to achieve to this point.
This is a common misconception among a lot of developing countries, especially among the 'Asian Tigers' who achieved extraordinary jumps in their GDP. Dictatorship transitioning into democracy despite starting out as a democracy. In India, this was not the case. It was just as fucked as South Korea. The-then Indian Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru avoided going down the same path insofar promoting dissent in his own party by following his ethic of democratic governance. This is not to sound jingoist but just pointing out that military does not yield a better state or the precepts of social behaviour learned during service result into something better. Ancient Greece survived a long time before narrowly getting defeated by Sparta. It had an excessively strong democratic structure (Just read the ultra-right viewpoints of Sophists). There are competing viewpoints about how to run a battered state and I believe that the state can either opt for democratic functioning or go down the path that you are talking about.

I personally loathe the excessively bureacratic functioning of the state. Just like how SK went ahead with starting off as disciplined as the military, India went ahead with erstwhile Great Britain's nondemocratic bureaucracy whose negative effects are very ardently felt and have been felt throughout the history of India. That being said, the notion of hierarchy is nothing but toxic. There is no goodness to hierarchy because it bypasses concepts of responsibility and accountability. Ironically one of the ways, as I feel, erstwhile USSR's bureaucracy functioned efficiently is the institutionalized paranoia which gave weight to accountability. It was definitely for the wrong reasons but power play in their bureaucracy was relatively more difficult due to doubts about one getting expelled for shunning responsibility. It was more about getting work done than following the order established.

However hierarchy is bound to happen. It is going to exist. I feel that it should exist on the principles of accountability, responsibility and utility more than hierarchy based on blat.

What you are saying is what Max Weber said in the past and rightly got accused of being partial towards human rights in the name of defending human rights but that is a debate best saved for some other thread. While Max implicitly pointed out the democratic nature of such a bureaucracy by upholding law, he forgot that law and its subject are engaged in a feedback loop and hence law should be malleable enough to allow benevolent subjectivity in the interest of humans.
 

ZenRaiden

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People often want to do things.

Long term planning gives space for people to organize around certain projects and ideas and work them out with effective effort.

If you give people too little work they end up getting in the way of other people.

You can have one person annul all the work of another bunch of people just because they do the wrong things at wrong time.

The more complex the system is the harder it gets knowing how much effort and productivity was done.

At some point its no longer important to know, because you are essentially just looking at math and numbers at some point.

The person at the top and the person at the bottom have no clue what happens at the inbetween bits.

When you get to that point you need to streamline production, but if you do it wrong or too little you end up with little productivity.

In capitalism and modern states initial stage of productivity be it state or simply a huge growing company, with starting investment must be of absolutely efficiency otherwise the there is long period of stagnation.

The stagnation is due to little surplus.

China is good example how being cheap and efficient is a good way to get to surplus.

After some time you get to a point where you have so much surplus you can afford to innovate and add growth in various ways.

If you have enough surplus you stick to the most efficient and best innovation and growth.

This is only all possible with long term planning. Disrupt long term planning and you are screwed.

India has problem with planning and structure.

Thus people are more exploitative.

The issue is that this is universal.

Many countries today have a huge magnitude of natural resources including fertile land and yet people there are not able to survive.

Social structures must be maintained or they implode or get disrupted and thus you are sucked into a vortex of instability, which is followed by exploitative and opportunistic behaviors as they are better for individual self interest than some sort of collective effort of pulling your weight.
 

LOGICZOMBIE

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That point is that the land is a land of law, and that no matter who you are, you were not above the law. South Korea for example, is willing to pardon key economic players if it affects the national GDP.
Eric Holder specifically refused to prosecute executives who actively contributed to the 2008 economic collapse and defrauded consumers because he believed that prosecuting these executives would "cause more economic harm".

This is only one example of how the wealthy routinely get preferential treatment under the purely hypothetical "rule of law".
 

LOGICZOMBIE

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I think that should be a sense of pride because I think whether or not you're proud of something is a very true indication of whether or not it is as it should be.
I'm not sure this is a durable hypothesis. People often credit themselves for (take pride in) "accomplishments" that are either a group effort or sheer happenstance.
 
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