Cultural Differences

A question and belief has been on my mind for a while.

Usually if something crosses my mind briefly, it ends up as a tweet or Facebook status. The longer, deeper discussions should end up here: a blog. It is my belief all males in the United States should experience 9 weeks of US Army Basic Training. Why the Army? Because if they undergo Air Force Basic, it’s time away from home, free money and peanut butter jelly sandwiches. If all Americans experience Marine Basic Training, they may not live to build upon their experience. Therefore, Army basic is a fair middle ground. Army basic training, known from now on as ABT builds fundamentals. Fundamentals in discipline, fundamentals in appreciating simplicity, and fundamentals in frugality. Most important is discipline. Although some of us are raised in a disciplined environment, many more are not. How can we as an American society tolerate children who cuss out parents, carry a sense of entitlement to say whatever they want and do whatever they want regardless of propriety, or refuse to lock it down and study in preparation for their OWN future? And how fast times change from the time I was a child (15 years prior) until now? Growing up there was a more disciplined society, less disciplined than the generation prior but nonetheless, disciplined. Where do we go wrong? As each generation progresses along in history I believe this discipline issue compounds upon itself.

Insert ABT. Children when they reach the age of adulthood, 18, are taken from their parents and placed into an institutionalized disciplinary program where all their outside influences, whether positive or negative are now removed. They are free to think within the confines of a morality box, wrong will be punished, right will be rewarded as it is in a meritocracy. Insert rank structure, based on time and merit so that leaders up top have earned their right to lead and are role models for those under them. Forget about corporations that insert managers and supervisors from all deviant walks of life, persons who jump ship from another company because of a scandal or unsatisfactory work ethic. In ABT, at least all persons entering adulthood will have the doctrine to know what is right, what is wrong, be able to create the right  friendships that matter and choose for themselves what is right after that. After all, you can’t choose right if you don’t know what right looks like, right?

In contrast, let us analyze a society that has this already in place. Koreans are amongst a few nations in the world today that require mandatory military service of their males. All males that hold Korean citizenship, bar physical ailments must serve their country for at least 2 years. From testimonies I hear, their basic is rougher and more hands on than ours. Discipline is tough as well, free time is limited, communications with the outside world is limited (no cell phones). Men who finish this service must return to complete their remaining years in college, 2 years behind their female counterparts – which I think creates an interesting social phenomenon. All men generally are now older than the females in their class, thus increasing maturity levels to match the females (yes guys, females get +2yrs if age is equal remember?), and all the girls that they had liked in their class prior to military service are now 2 years ahead of them economically and perhaps socially. That high school sweet heart of yours a few years ago; yeah, she’s moved on now. Are the men better off with this structure? The answer for me is: I don’t know. Here we have a hard-working society, male-dominated, with men who were indoctrinated with discipline. How then do we have a society that are full of homeless, drunks, and perverts? I’m not singling out Korean society, it’s merely that these classes are more distinguishable publicly. Walk out on a mid-summer night around 12-2am and you will see nothing but these three classes in a not-so-affluent area. How have these men transitioned from the stringent military discipline to the darkest depths of society?

Two stark looks at two different societies. We complain that Americans are not disciplined, so find a way to instill it in the home. If the home does not work, use public institutionalization. Koreans, disciplined down to the core of their language, lifestyle – not so much post-military.

What works, what doesn’t work? Let me hear your thoughts.  – C

Ah, here’s a sign for more food for thought:

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