Tuesday, June 15, 2004

National Review: An Army That Drawls: Johnny Reb goes to Iraq, and everywhere else

National Review: An Army That Drawls: Johnny Reb goes to Iraq, and everywhere else: "But there is one area of life where a drawl won't hurt you: the military. It might even help. While the West is known for rugged individualists (save for California, which provides wine, women, and tap dancers), the Midwest for solid citizens, and the Northeast for industrialists, intellectuals, and ethnic sham artists, the South is the land of grunts and generals."

Excellent thought piece. Nearly 45% of the US military is comprised of Southerners. Of this number the majority of those serve in the Army and Marine Corps. I took a look at the Army Green Book last year and while it is hard to use the demographic numbers presented there to fully prove what is a generally held assumption that white Southerners disproportionately prefer combat arms the statistics do support this observation.

You see this most profoundly if you spend some time with one of the Ranger regiments. There the percentage of good ole boys with a collection of various forms of our wonderful dialect prevails. Regular combat arms units also have a higher percentage of Southerners than you ought to expect based upon our composition in the general population.

Why? Some fool might claim it is simply a matter of economics. That is of course not true. Many of the young men that choose to pursue careers as Rangers have the mental aptitude to take on more technical jobs. If it was all about the “poor South” and opportunity more of these folks would seek other military jobs.

Proportionately Southerners that are black often seek combat service and service support jobs in higher percentages. There are of course many black Southerners that serve in combat arms assignments and I am in no way denigrating them. I am simply pondering the cause for the high percentage of Southern whites that seek out and serve in combat arms jobs.

It is of course all about culture. We fear death less than someone raised without a Christian foundation. It is heritage. As a people much of our heritage derives from the Scots that first settled much of the South. This is the stuff that a people are made of and it is not something that easily dies.

I have always enjoyed my time in the military partly because no matter where in this wide world I was stationed I could find grits for breakfast and at least once per week collard greens would be served for supper.

Much has changed; the federal government has tried very hard to rid the officer corps of its Southern bias. This has been partly successful over the last few years with a marked reduction in the overall quality of the corps. You really cannot fit square pegs in round holes but the powers that be still try.

It is interesting to consider that the American Empire is built on the bones of Southerners much like the British Empire was built on the bones of Scots. Basically we are the same people serving a new empire that has the same disdainful view of our culture and liberty.

As Jeff Adams point out in this piece we Southerners are a curious lot!

Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem
El Cid

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