A Good Young Man (or Locke’s Socks) The Would Be Patriot

This is a story of a Good Young Man.

We all know good young men.

This particular good young man was esteemed by his family and admired by his community.

He was Smart.

He was Considerate.

He did well in school.

The Good Young Man was taught to love his country.

He said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning – Monday through Friday – for roughly twelve years as he was indoctrinated in his country’s Education System (he even said the Pledge in front of his mirror – hand over his heart – before school and on Saturdays before he went out).

Like everyone else in his country, he watched movies at the local cinema where the Villain was the latest Enemy of the Country (In the 80s the Villains were Russian. Now they’re Middle Eastern).

This Good Young Man went to a religious institution with his family. He learned the ways of his Religious Community.

He was taught to Love his Deity.

Being a Good Young Man (GYM), he helped his neighbors (especially the frail old man who lived next door) frequently …and always for free. Often, he did this in the name of the Deity he worshiped, but some surmised he may have done good deeds anyway because that’s the way he was as long as I can remember.

“He is a good young man,” everyone said.

GYM (Gym) decided to join the Military. It was – after all – the godly, Patriotic thing to do. He had to give back for all his country had done for him. He never made a list of what his country did for him… but he supposed it must have been a lot.

Indeed, Gym (Jim) loved his country (why does one ‘love’ their country?) and believed (through the media) that it was under ‘attack’ (or could be under attack at ANY MOMENT) and it should be defended at all costs.

Perhaps he also wanted college benefits.

When Jim said good-bye and left for Army Basic Training, Jim’s Mother wept and his father – chest swelled with Pride – stealthy wiped a tear from his eye.

Army Basic Training is where they ‘break you down to build you back up’ Jim wasn’t thinking about the implications of this ‘breaking down’ and the subsequent ‘building back up’.

After his Initial Training, Jim, whom everyone loved back home, was assigned to his unit.

It was Airborne Infantry.

NOW living and working with his Comrades, some of them seasoned vets with rank, he is hazed and further indoctrinated through peer pressure. Being a subordinate, he wants to please his Commanders and those who outrank him.

Jim is now part of a Machine (a lean mean fighting machine is what they call themselves).

To Jim, life becomes Us and Them. More often than not – Us Versus Them.

Sentimental feelings or feelings of empathy for them (the Military vs. Everyone Else) are now obsolete or if not, they should be.

Everyone is a potential Enemy.

They use words to deHUMANize the Enemy. It is easier to kill something that is not Human (we all remember various points in History: Gooks or VC for Vietnamese; Chinks or Dogs for Chinese; Wetback for Mexicans; Japs for Japanese; Niggers or Coons for Blacks; Kraut for Germans – you get the Gist).

During the Occupation & Rape of Nanjing, a Japanese Commander said, the Chinese are Pigs… but actually Pigs are more valuable because one can eat a Pig!

Once the Enemy is not looked upon as Human, they are easier to torture then kill.

Jim (Gym) finally gets the opportunity to fight (and possibly die) for his country. He gets shipped to an ‘enemy’ country – let’s say Iraq – for the final nail in his indoctrinated coffin.

The training has hardened him; and now he is living with like-minded individuals in a Reality Box. They think alike. They look alike. They act alike.

He goes to combat with his Comrades.

Now the Enemy that Gym has been taught to hate – the Towel Heads, the Camel Jockeys – are shooting at him. This clinches it. These animals really are bad!

Gym becomes a seasoned vet. The appalling becomes mundane. The shocking becomes ordinary. He laughs at things that would have turned his stomach years ago.

He does things he could have never done before. Heinous things.

Through school, through the Military, and through his church, he has been taught to obey orders.

Do what you’re told private!  If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you!

The once Mindful becomes Mindless. Don’t think… just do!

All for Love of Country.

All for Defending his Country.

(how does one defend one’s Home by invading the Home of others?)

All for National Pride.

Gym (GYM) is a True Patriot.

But is this Patriot still the Good Young Man he was, once upon a time?

Is he like Plutarch’s Ship of Theseus? Perhaps Plato’s Carriage or Locke’s Socks?

The original Young Man has been slowly broken down (psychologically/socially) piece by piece only to be built back up again. Is he responsible for his actions?

Who is doing the breaking down? Who is doing the building back up? What is their intention? Their motive? Do they care about all the GYMs in the world?

What of the residual repercussions?

Is our Hero the same Good Young Man he was before?

Was he ever a Good Young Man in the first place?



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Proud to be American? Why?

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Published in: on October 5, 2010 at 5:00 PM  Comments (7)  
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