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I am a Great American

I was recently at a social gathering where it was determined that I am a “great American.” This was based almost entirely on the sole fact of my status as a combat veteran. I almost countered these baseless claims on a few occasions, but it got me wondering about how to even go about doing so without completely alienating these folks. There are certainly many individuals who would suggest that this is exactly what should occur. However, my goal is the education of others rather than simply “putting them in their place” and, in the process, losing the ability to mold and enlighten them on the path towards liberty.

You see, individuals who blindly place the term “great American” upon another person for simply having participated in an event such as war do not rely upon facts or logic for their ideology. If this were actually the case, they would recognize that the military is roughly a representative cross-section of the general American population, and that crime is an included metric. Not a single person bothered to ask whether or not I had “served honorably” or if I had spent my military years in prison. More likely, this question never even dawned on them as being relevant. Once again, someone who puts blind faith in something must not only disregard any pertinent details, but must wholly discredit facts to the contrary.

What this means for those of us who are liberty-minded and properly challenge the subjugation of peaceable individuals is that we must not simply “put people in their place” by flatly countering these types of faith- and emotion-based claims, but that we must appeal to their emotions. You cannot gain respect by discounting an individual’s deeply held beliefs and it is impossible to convert a person ideologically without respect.

So where does this leave us? In situations like this, try to avoid reinforcing their claims through deflection. Find a distantly related concept with which they hold liberty-oriented ideals and slowly draw the connection to the original topic. Planting seeds of doubt in the underlying premise of “government equals good” will eventually work its way into the realization that the military is simply another faction within government and abides by the same logic. Keep in mind that this must be a long-term approach. Nobody becomes a diehard statist in a day, nor will they realize the greatness of individual liberty in a single conversation. The goal is to slowly wear away at the foundations.

So the next time someone calls you a great American or suggests that certain guns need to be banned or any of the innumerable other claims by statists, avoid that topic and find common ground from which you can build the case of liberty. I can assure you that even the most fanatic statist reveres individual liberty at some level. If every statist was continually and gently pushed in the right direction, étatisme would quickly find its well-deserved grave.
 

ecofarm

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Serving country and or community (honorably) is great. Having served this country, it hardly seems appropriate to refer to them as great Europeans, Australians, Canadians or some such. Great people would do but that seems a bit grandiose.
 

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ecofarm;bt2247 said:
Serving country and or community (honorably) is great.

What are the defining aspects of "honorably serving" one's country? Farmers, manufacturers, service providers, and countless other individuals do infinitely more good for individuals within a community than the most "heroic" person within the military ever will.

The key difference relies with mutual benefit.

When a business provides a good to an individual, both parties leave the transaction in a better state than before. The business is now X amount richer and the individual now possesses the ability to properly address Z need.

Contrast this with the militaristic actions of a nation. Enormous amounts of capital are redirected from peaceable and productive uses to instruments of death. Untold millions of individuals are murdered for political, religious, or ideological "gain." Even if the military does nothing but await patiently in a "defensive" posture within the nation's own boundaries, the drain on society is enormous.

But let us assume that the so-called benefits of having a big stick at the ready to repel invasion is justification enough for all of these losses. The claim that by "serving" in the military somehow makes a person heroic and great is completely baseless.

How many individuals in the military do nothing more than the equivalent of a civilian? What makes a military lawyer great while a civilian lawyer is a blood-sucking jerk? Why is a military cook a "hero" while the local burger flipper at McDonalds is an under-educated and oppressed kid? The "pilot" who controls drones and kills other human beings from the safety of a trailer thousands of miles away is "honorable" yet the person who lives with his folks and plays video games all day is a parasite?

This still completely ignores the fact that countless military "heroes" commit crimes every single day. Rape, murder, theft, larceny, abuse...

It is the actions of each individual which determines greatness. Not silly titles or participation in the destruction of human life.
 
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I am currently in the Army, and have thought along the same lines as you for awhile. During my time I have deployed to Afghanistan and have seen tangible difference in the lives of the people of that country. What I haven't seen is that I have made a difference in the life of a singe American, aside from my family who I support with my paycheck, and the people in my company I deployed with.

I have seen the difference a farmer makes...they are the "great Americans", along with steel workers, construction workers, law enforcement, teachers, etc.
 
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TNAR;bt2249 said:
What are the defining aspects of "honorably serving" one's country? Farmers, manufacturers, service providers, and countless other individuals do infinitely more good for individuals within a community than the most "heroic" person within the military ever will.

The key difference relies with mutual benefit.

When a business provides a good to an individual, both parties leave the transaction in a better state than before. The business is now X amount richer and the individual now possesses the ability to properly address Z need.

Contrast this with the militaristic actions of a nation. Enormous amounts of capital are redirected from peaceable and productive uses to instruments of death. Untold millions of individuals are murdered for political, religious, or ideological "gain." Even if the military does nothing but await patiently in a "defensive" posture within the nation's own boundaries, the drain on society is enormous.

But let us assume that the so-called benefits of having a big stick at the ready to repel invasion is justification enough for all of these losses. The claim that by "serving" in the military somehow makes a person heroic and great is completely baseless.

How many individuals in the military do nothing more than the equivalent of a civilian? What makes a military lawyer great while a civilian lawyer is a blood-sucking jerk? Why is a military cook a "hero" while the local burger flipper at McDonalds is an under-educated and oppressed kid? The "pilot" who controls drones and kills other human beings from the safety of a trailer thousands of miles away is "honorable" yet the person who lives with his folks and plays video games all day is a parasite?

This still completely ignores the fact that countless military "heroes" commit crimes every single day. Rape, murder, theft, larceny, abuse...

It is the actions of each individual which determines greatness. Not silly titles or participation in the destruction of human life.

I agree with some comparisons; the cook to a McDonalds worker, a military lawyer to a civilian lawyer...I do think the pilot who flies a drone is not in anyway comparable to the person who "lives with his folks and plays video games all day and is a parasite". Also, usually the "destruction of human life" is 100% necessary.
 
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