While more and more professions have come into disrepute in recent decades in America, the military remains in high standing among the people. Studying a 2013 Gallup poll of the professions on honesty and ethics gives rise to many insights on militarism and empire.
Nurses top the list at 82%, followed by a four-way tie for Pharmacists, Teachers, Doctors, and Military officers at 70% or 69%. Makes sense that nurses are the main contact point when one is seriously ill and can offer confidences even more than doctors. Pharmacists are important when so much of medicine these days is in the form of a pill. Education is the secret to success. But military officers? Why do we glorify those who lead us into the life and death meat grinder of combat? Certainly, life and death decisions are foremost among almost all these top tier professions. Almost all US presidents come from either political or military careers. Military is not just worshipped in empire, but seemingly in all nationalism. But empire makes militarism and the military much more a part of everyday existence and importance.
The next tier of trust are Police 54% and Judges 45% or Clergy 47% and Daycare 46%. Here is the domestic equivalent of the military officers, the front-line police and those who run our courts, the judges. Their decisions are life and death sometimes but less vital most of the time. Then there are the Clergy and Daycare workers who educate on ethics and take care of our vulnerable populations, the nurturers.
The third tier are mixed trustworthy people. Nursing Home 32% and Auto Mechanics 29% are somewhat trusted, but the economics people less so include Bankers 27% and Business 22%, followed by the public figures in Local Office 23%, Reporters 21%, and Lawyers 20% all visible but flawed people we know.
The fourth and lowest tier include State Offices 14%, Advertisers 14%, Car Salesmen 9%, Congress People 8% and Lobbyists 6%. We take everything these people say with skepticism. Note that those pushing loaded points of view are treated with the most skepticism. Some of these people do a lot of talking about things they know little about or in contradiction with everyday people’s hard-earned experience.
The partisan divide shows up strongest in five professions. The Police (68-44), Clergy (63-40), and Military (78-64) are trusted much more by Republicans. Judges (51-41) and Reporters (25-15) are trusted much more by Democrats. Perhaps Republicans are more accepting of authority (and authoritarians) while Democrats are more questioning of authority. But note that both have a high level of trust of the Military and a low level of trust of Reporters. Also note that the Police and Clergy are underwater with Democrats and Judges are underwater with Republicans. Note that the highest levels of respect for Republicans are a virtual four-way tie for Nurses 81%, Pharmacists 80%, Doctors 78% and Military 78%, a kind of trust for high authority figures. For Democrats only two are this high, Nurses 85% and Teachers 76%, a kind of trust for the more personal authority figures. Pharmacist (80%-69%) and Doctors (78%-69%) are the next level of partisan differences, with Republicans trusting them about ten percent more than Democrats.
Military Place in Society
Polling shows the military has an unusually high level of trust usually reserved for only the most respected people in society. Why would that be? People respect those who risk their lives for the sake of the rest of us, like the military, police, and firefighters. People also have high respect for health workers and educators of our children. The rest of us, not so much. People have low trust for those working for the general public who are either often in error or seeking an advantage or in an advocacy role of some kind. Jobs like bankers and businesspeople or lawyers, officeholders, reporters, and lobbyists are low trust people probably because their roles are too broad to possibly be right all the time. Greed and fame seeking also seem problematic for this group, so they are viewed in a harsher light. Note that the politicians and pundits who send people off to war are held in lower repute, but the people who fight our wars are held in high esteem. Because they are willing to risk it all, we hold them in a high place of honor, and are less likely to question what they do on behalf of all of us.
To politically protest wars and the military seems unseemly to many, seems to question the valor and patriotism of those willing to make the “ultimate sacrifice.” Euphemisms abound in war and around the military. Many of the highest paid professions revolve around death, such as mortician, medicine, pharmacy, and life insurance sales. I once had a sign made that said, “Military Robs Midwest Jobs” and was questioned if I was anti-military by the office supply worker that made it for me. To question the motives of those in the military is unseemly.
Funding for even unpopular wars is sold as “supporting the troops,” taking advantage of the popularity of the individual soldiers. We honor the warrior even more than the war. Even the Olympics is presented to us as a nationalistic event, with athletes parading into the stadium wearing national colors. Even the United Nations is more of an association of governments than a meeting together of the world’s peoples. Delegates are appointed by each nation, not elected by the peoples of the world. In most politics worldwide, nationalism seems more powerful than socialism which in turn seems more powerful than environmentalism. Nationalism is the one religion one does not have the freedom to not join in. That makes nationalism stronger than religion, seemingly exempt from the concept of freedom of religion. Religions no longer believe in human sacrifice, yet nationalism continues that tradition with the military and wars. Religion remains a major underlying cause of wars. In a church grotto not far from where I live, one arch has stones spelling out patriotism on it and the other arch spells out the word Christianity.
Pairs of Contrasting Words That Define Empire Society:
Please cite this work as follows:
Reuschlein, Robert. (2018, December 28), “Military Place in Society”, Madison, WI: Real Economy Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.expertclick.com/NewsRelease/Military-Place-in-Society,2018165973.aspx
Dr. Peace, Professor Robert Reuschlein, Real Economy Institute, Nominated Vetted 2016 (2 Looks), Given Odds 2017 (3 Looks), Strongly Considered 2018 (48 Looks) Nobel Peace Prize, Possible Favorite in 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Announced October 4th.
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