Thursday, March 10, 2005

We can hear a grateful nation's cheers

This just in: the military tends to be a somewhat conservative institution. People interested in a career with the Canadian Forces tended to be "somewhat timid in the face of change and preferred traditional categories of identity by race, gender, and nationality," an army survey says. "As a result, they may resist affirmative-action initiatives." Hey, you know how modern, professional, military organization is based on a meritocratic system of recognition and career advancement? I wonder if that has anything to do with it. Wait a tick...maybe it does: Some characteristics of potential recruits are similar to those of serving soldiers. "Survey results suggest that soldiers tend to be traditionalists in regard to gender and minorities," the report says. "In comparison to Canadian society, soldiers are less supportive of affirmative action for women and minorities. "In the hiring of new employees, they tend to believe that experience and ability, not quotas, should be the primary considerations. They tend to support sexual stereotypes and prefer to preserve and maintain their own cultural traditions and customs. This is a bad thing? We don't need a new aristocracy of the "better sort" of candidates for promotion based on factors so immaterial as race, gender, and self-identified ethnicity; whoever's best for any given job should get it, and that's especially true in a job where lives will be on the line. Insofar as Canadian military operations are now mostly toothless peacekeeping missions, there aren't going to be as many situations as might otherwise occur where it's a matter of life or death for an unqualified affirmative-action hire to replace a qualified (but unfortunately likely to be white, male, and Anglo) alternative, but still. Generally, those interested in joining the Forces "tend to be lacking in life goals and feel alienated from society and its values." And, thus, maybe feel they might benefit from an environment with externally-imposed order and discipline. (And, perhaps, have been made to feel alienated by imperious bureaucrats demeaning them for being "timid in the face of change.") I'm not seeing the negatives, here. "They are attracted to violence more than the average member of Canadian society and accept violence as a legitimate means of getting what they want," says the report. I'm wondering what the questions were that came to the conclusion "attracted to violence." Willingness to handle firearms? A belief that force can be used for just and moral ends? I know such personality quirks are terribly gauche nowadays, but theoretically, Canadian soldiers should probably be able to defend themselves when necessary, and not be plagued by self-doubt cast upon them by an unappreciative populace. I'm just, y'know, saying. There's far more to snipe at in this ramblingly vague survey-of-a-survey, but one last gem before I have to get out of here: "They also tend to consider national superiority to be important and to see themselves as superior to foreigners," the report continues. "These attitudes and values may, at times, result in conflict with Canadian values as expressed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms." Nationalism = Unconstitutional! It's nice to see we've cleared that up.

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