Lv 5
Sandra asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 1 decade ago

Patriotism- why is our military comprised mainly of low/middle-class soldiers? Where's the upper-class?

I have 5 sons-ages 20, 19, 17 (twins) & 10. My nineteen yr. old is just finishing traing with the Nartional Guard-Army & one of my twins will be going into the Marines this summer. My 20 yr. old has a medical problem that prevents him from joining & he was quite disappointed. We are basically a middle class family. Neither their father nor I were ever in the military. Even my son who is not joining said that if there was a draft he would have no problem dying for the country he loves. Statisically speaking, very few upper income kids join the military. Why is that? Also, after 911 everybody became a true patriot-waving flags all over the place...except I didn't see any flags on the most expensive cars or houses. Why are the rich not as patriotic as the rest of us?

26 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    ever since military service became voluntary, the number of upper middle class (and higher) children serving has declined to just about zero. this is because (a) they typically have more options in terms of jobs and so don't have to use the military as a way to get training/education/employment and (b) because no matter how patriotic they may claim to be, they don't really want to die for their country. this disconnect is a serious issue as our government continues to evolve, since it is much easier for our elected officials to promote war as a solution to solving the problems of the US since they have zero experience with true warfare and because they have no one who will be directly impacted by the fighting. it's the equivalent of monday morning quarterbacking. either military service needs to be mandatory for everybody (reinstating a draft for example) or military service needs to be a requirement for election to certain posts (senators and presidents at least). there's a motto from the movie Starship Troopers - "Service Means Citizenship" where the most common way for a person to earn citizenship and the right to vote/reproduce was through military service. Not a bad idea.

  • 1 decade ago

    There are no incentives for the upper class to join the military. Up until the mid 1960's, Ivy League schools like Harvard or Yale had half of the graduating class join the military. I think Yale pioneered ROTC and was among the first to have that program. Today maybe about 20 graduates from Harvard will join the military.

    The rich used to like joining the military because it was a prestigious thing to have on your resume and the military made them more worldly especially when it came to politics. It also provided them with true leadership training. Where do you think the term "Officer and a Gentleman" came from?

    Now you have the rich and politicians just winging it. Did you know during the mid 1980's that about 80% that served in Congress and the Senate had a military background. Today that percentage is below 25%.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That is easy, The middle-class is the only class that is in touch with the core values of this country. No silver spoons for us. We have worked for everything we have. The true American Way. We join and serve with pride. It is an honor that so many refuse to take on. Some of us get in and find that this is a better life. A life worth something. The core values that or parents and grand-parents have taught us all our life are embedded in the military. Duty Honor, Selfless Service, Personal Courage are traits we live in the service today. There is no other brotherhood that can be as strong as the bond that is between Soldiers on the battlefield. When we think of leaving the service we remember all the Soldiers we would be leaving so we stay. This life is not bad, it is hard, but it is an Honor that few can say they have achieved. As far as your boys go, I would imagine you have raised fine young men that would excel at any event in life because of the traits you have instilled in them. But in the military those traits that they carry with will impact the lives of many. You should be proud and honored at the sacrfice you and them will make in this life. As I step off my soap box, I will let you know that the rich kids, the majority of them, have no idea about the world around them, they want to know how deep do daddies pockets go. Alas, I step down off my box thanks for the forum,

  • Teresa
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Upper Middle CLass

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  • 1 decade ago

    I served with lower class, middle class, and also ones who came from upper class families.

    The difference is the most of the upper class soldiers do volunteer out of patriotism or the want for military style leadership training.

    Many of the rest of us used the military as a stepping stone. A way to earn our living and our training. It does not mean we were/are less patriotic, just that many times the middle and lower class have other needs to think of, that the military can help provide for them/us.

    I love the fact that the military is a stepping stone that people can use to up themselves, and gain opportunities. It is better than having people sponge off the government through welfare systems. The military is a great way to have people of middle and lower class become more productive members of society. The military is a great education and privilege.

    Do I wish that more spoiled 'rich kids' would serve to improve their outlook and attitude? Yep... But they simply do not have the need, as they usually have other opportunities.

    I am now an "upper middle class" person, thanks to the training and experience I received from the Army. And even if I do become "upper class", I hope my children would think about proudly serving their country, and taking advantage of what the military can offer.

  • 1 decade ago

    Historically, the military has been a way to rise in society for the lower middle class, and the poor--Colin Powell is a good example.

    The rich, throughout history, have never been interested in fighting for the country, perhaps because the ruling class knows how hollow the slogans of "dying for the country" are, since they have been coined by the elite themselves. It is significant that the most vociferous calls for the present war in Iraq came from those who had never fought in Vietnam--George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol--and who don't have thier sons or daughters fighting over there. Patriotism means loving ones country, it does not mean blindly following anyone who is in power.

  • 1 decade ago

    The truth is that better off folks do not have as much need for the military as lower income folks. Although, the rich have been well represented in the U.S. military since the founding of the nation, with the advent of the all volunteer forces, more opportunities have been opened up to those from lower income families. However, I would ask you to rethink your views on this subject because it appears you are looking at it solely as class based. There are many reasons why folks choose to join the military. Economic status is a considerable factor, but still just one of many.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You are right. The rich use religion, terrorism, fake wars to divide the people for their own gains.

    Out of the blue last year all the media started crying about Iran for example. The Iranians have been building a nuclear plant since 1978 but now in an orchestrated move we see the politicians planting a story to keep people scared so they can justify their actions.

    Do you see the Bush twins going to war? Bush himself? Any congressman's kids??

    In the old days Napoleon would lead his troops, now Bush and Cheney send others and stay behind. As a leader after 9/11 he didnt fly abck to DC but ran into middle America where he was hiding.

    Death/nationalism/poverty is for poor people. Rich people know better.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    In the military you have all classes represented.We do not have a draft therefore that distinction does not apply.

    Regional distinctions apply, I would not expect to see much Patriotism in San Francisco. Nor Boston.

    The Market is looking a bit Patriotic. Defense Stocks are performing. Show me the Statistics.

    If Defense Stocks are rising that would indicate that some patriotisim is taking place.

  • Gypsy
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Lower and middle class join to make better than they have. We have nothing, at least the military gives us jobs and education opportunities. There are SOME rich people who join for their reasons. But for the most part, they'd lose a lot by joining. Poor people benefit from joining. If my daddy could have given me a high paying job, I doubt I would have enlisted.

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