Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Liberal support for the Solomon Amendment

T.A. Frank at the New Republic argues in favor the Solomon Amendment. He takes a few potshots at the late congressman like calling him an "old-fashioned jackass" but his primary point is a good one.

Far less heartening, by contrast, are the trends in military recruitment at top schools. No one among the classmates I knew in college would have been willing to take a few years to serve in the military while their friends were launching their lives and careers. This isn't simply selfishness; the entire structure of society discourages it. Charles Moskos, a Northwestern University sociologist who specializes in military issues, likes to point out that, in his Princeton class of 1956, over 400 students of about 750 served in the military. By 2004, that number was down to 8 students out of about 1,100. These numbers are for undergraduates, of course, not law school students. But the fact is that the entire culture of elite education--undergraduate, graduate, and professional--has grown hostile towards the idea of military service over the past 50 years. Permitting the Pentagon to puncture the self-imposed bubble of privileged schools is essential to changing this mindset.

Frank's argument is that we need more of the 'elite' to serve in the military and not permitting recruiters on campus to promote the military is a bad idea for the Republic. Frank also hopes that introducing elites will hasten change in the military's thinking which fits right in with the Left mindset that change ought to be led by elites, and lawyers no less. At least he's on the side of the angels on this one.

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