Friday, June 17, 2011

Nicholas Kristof stole my idea

Many months ago I was talking to my liberal neighbor. At some point we started discussing a rather pathetic state of American education, and I shared with him a rather brilliant idea of mine. "Look neighbor," I said, "US government spends more on education that it spends on the military (back in 2008, the difference between the two was a startling 130 billion dollars a year). Our military are the best in the world, and our education is the worst in all of civilized world. And don't forget that military spending covers 1.5 million active military personnel  - and they've got aircraft careers, tanks, warplanes and nuclear missiles. On top of that, millions of retired soldiers who were wounded and are now provided free medical care. On the education side, we've got about 3.2 million teachers , and a few thousand concrete buildings. When our army goes to war, we can watch on TV how a missile flies into a chimney and blows up a whole bunch of nasty folks into smithereens. When our educators go to educate - all we got is a long list of complaints. On the military side we've got hydrogen bombs and Martin F-22 Raptor (150 million dollars a piece) - and we can kill the entire world 50 times over if we choose to. On the education side - well, our schools are a laughing stock. It is obvious that the only way to drastically improve our schools is by turning them to the military to run - because our educational professionals are not worth a bucket of warm spit".

I must confess that I was rather amazed that Nicholas Kristof somehow found out about my idea and wrote an article about it on the pages of the New York Slimes. But don't forget that Kristof is an idiot, so he could not grasp the enormity of my idea - and he f*cked it up. According to him, the US military is a little piece of socialism in America (and a well-run piece of socialism at that). He was most amazed by the day-care facilities run by military, the health-care, and as a side note, he mentioned that our soldiers don't seem to suck too badly. He was also quite taken by the rather egalitarian pay in the military, and the fact that military academies are among the best in the world. And then, in a rather stunning show of complete ineptitude (so typical of liberal quasi-intellectuals), he decided to compare our military with the private sector - which meant that he missed the entire crux of my idea.

So, Mr.Kristof, let me explain to you what you missed the first time. Our military are part of the government, so we, as taxpayers, run it as we damn please. We cannot, say, decide how much a CEO of a private corporation can make - but we set the pay for the "public servants" because they work for us. If you are in awe of our military and you want to emulate their success - then try to deal with the rest of the government. Let me remind you that our military are not unionized. They are not allowed to collectively bargain for better medical care. They cannot go on strike. Their participation in the political process is severely limited.  There are no tenures in the military and if you perform badly, you lose your job.  If a soldier disobeys direct order of his superior, he will be court-martialed. And he cannot simply call in sick and march to the capital and demand more pay. And yes, most of our soldiers are right-wing, and they had to go through blood sweat and tears to be admitted to the military.

So, if you are serious about your praise for the military, and you are concerned about the low standards of the US education, then you will join me in demanding that our educational system be run in the same fashion as our military (and probably by the same generals). We can start by immediately forbidding our teachers to participate in political activity, the unions will be abolished, the teacher pay will be not allowed to go above the pay of our military personnel. The tenure must become the thing of the past, and teachers will be hold personally responsible for their actions. And if a teacher goes on strike - he will be sent to a military jail - no ifs or buts here.

In short, Mr.Kristoff, if you want the rest of the federal, state and local government to even approach the efficiency of our military, we must treat our "civil servants" as soldiers. Let's start with the haircuts first - I've seen a few folks in the local public school who looked like they needed to see a barber. They are no hippies in the army, private!


KOOK said...

Great Post!

Gorges Smythe said...

It makes entirely too much sense to ever be accepted. Besides, the whole idea was to "dumb-down" America, and it's worked wonderfully!

buddeshepherd said...

Yeah well, years ago I did a newsletter called "The Daily Strumpet," and one of my readers sent several to Dave Barry. If you do a search for it you will find him.
I discovered by listening to NPR the Nicholas has returned to his farming roots and lives in the same county as I. More in the corner of the county where the farmers wear short pants and sip wine but, who would have thunk..
I would add that military folks join as volunteers but also retire early with a good pension.
Good post and you should post more often!

Hyphenated American said...


I appreciate your comments. Indeed, if our military are the best example of government success - why not model the rest of "civil service" on the military model?