A Message to the Young Men of the Right
You deserve better than what the modern military offers.
A reprint of my latest at American Greatness.
I am a strident critic of the modern American military. I have gone on record repeatedly to encourage young spirited men to stay out of the armed services.
I have good reasons for taking this position—the American military does not do what it is supposed to do. It does not protect the rights of Americans and it has embraced the worst aspects of anti-white DEI liberalism. As a veteran, I cannot, in good conscience, advise young men to join the military under these conditions.
Nevertheless, I still receive pushback from young right-wing men who still want to join the military. Put broadly, these young men see my vision as fundamentally negative and critical. They critique me along these lines:
“You’ve said what not to do but you don’t have an alternative. I understand that every institution in our time is ‘fake and gay’ including the military. Still, donning the uniform and joining a combat unit is a lot better than sitting behind a desk selling insurance. The military still teaches valuable skills about tactics and outdoorsmanship and I will get valuable leadership experience from my service.”
I will add that for many of these young men there is an important subtext: they want to prove to themselves and to others that they are real men. That want to prove that they “have what it takes” to face real challenges and danger and come out victorious.
I acknowledge that a merely negative argument is not enough. It is insufficient to simply offer a ‘no;’ one must also offer a ‘yes.’ I hold that there are, in fact, meaningful alternatives to military service which are better for the country and for the nation’s patriotic young men.
First, acquiring useful martial skills does not require joining the military. In addition, my critics generally overestimate how much actual training military units get.
Maintenance, inspections, and non-combat related trainings make up the bulk of the ordinary military experience. As an artillery officer in a fleet unit in the Marine Corps, my unit only went to the range for our crew served and personal weapons about once a year. At the time, my unit possessed M2 Browning and M240 machine guns as well as Mk 19 40mm automatic grenade launchers.
We had so little ammunition allocated for training on these weapons that it was not uncommon for our first tour Marines (Corporal and bellow) to only have experience firing one or two of these systems (and then only briefly) even though all of our junior Marines would be expected, in combat, to man any of those three systems when needed.
This lack of resources and range space, to say nothing of the demand for non-combat lectures and training (cyber awareness, driver’s awareness, sexual assault, cleaning, safety briefs, etc.) meant that my unit simply didn’t shoot our small and medium weapons very often. We were not unique in that regard.
In my two and a half years in the fleet, the only times I fired my service rifle and pistol were during the annual qualification ranges. This will, of course, differ by branch and job. Infantry units did shoot more. A typical infantry company at the time would shoot about 250,000 rounds a year. That works out to around 1,000 to 1,500 rounds per Marine.
If you are a young man joining the military so you can gain skills for when “shit hits the fan” you can acquire those traits just as well outside the military as within it. Right now, 5.56mm rifle ammo is .50 cents a round on BulkAmmo.com. For $500 you can shoot as much in a year as an ordinary Marine rifleman and you don’t need to put yourself under military discipline in a liberal DEI military to do it.
The other skills a young man might want to learn in the military, like land navigation and outdoorsmanship are also available to civilians. The highly technical military specialties—like maintenance for armored vehicles or doing fire direction for artillery—are not necessarily important outside of the American conventional military. It is worth remembering that the Taliban successfully waged an insurgency in Afghanistan without such knowledge.
As for leadership and proving oneself—you don’t need to wear a uniform or get a federal government paycheck to have such virtues. Even within the military there is far less latitude for manliness than one might think.
Junior officers in the military have very little power over anything. For one, there are lots of officers and they all want to be in charge. A typical career progression for a Marine Corps officer in the artillery during my time—2016 to 2020—looked like the following:
As a lieutenant, officers could expect about nine months to a year of platoon command time before moving on to roles in administrative positions (executive officer of a battery) or to join the battalion staff. Captains, after time in a non-fleet billet and going to various schools, could expect a year of leadership as a battery commander. An officer was unlikely to see command time again at the battalion level until he was a Lieutenant Colonel at about the 15-16 year mark of his career. In truth, a lot of officers don’t even get that. In the best case scenario, that works out to four years of command time in a combat unit in a 20 year career.
For Marines, genuine leadership positions in the fleet are hard to come by and short lived. Moreover, even being “in command” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Modern communications equipment and the overwhelming need by higher headquarters to micromanage every aspect of the battlefield turns most officers into administrators carrying out other people’s decisions.
There is very little latitude for any meaningful decisions about anything.
I’ll give an example: during my time in the fleet, my unit dispatched small numbers of rocket launchers and Marines to support special operations in Afghanistan. This unit was made up of about a dozen and a half Marines managing two truck-based HIMARS rocket launchers. This squad sized element was led by a captain and two lieutenants. This structure is absurd. Typically, a captain leads a battery, made up of three or four platoons led by one lieutenant apiece, each of which is made of two or three squads or sections.
But for actual combat missions, we were dispatching a squad sized unit, typically ran by an enlisted NCO reporting to a lieutenant, with three officers, including one captain!
It gets worse. Once in country, this two launcher section received fire control orders from a one star general. Technically, a general should be able to command a Division with ten to fifteen thousand men. Instead, in our case, we had a general controlling two dozen Marines and two rocket launchers.
Talk about micromanagement.
In our current political and spiritual environment there is simply very little will to allow young men in any major institution, and certainly the military, to develop the kind of freedom they need to grow as leaders. In the Civil War, men in their early 20s led entire divisions worth of men. Today, our military branches by and large do not trust such men to even lead the platoons they are nominally in charge of.
If young men today want freedom, they will need to carve out spaces for it far away from the surveilling eye of human resources departments and military headquarters more concerned about meeting notional paperwork targets and ensuring diversity than preparing to win wars.
So what can young men do?
First, no right-wing man should expect their job to be their primary source of fulfillment. Virtually all jobs today are part of the system of totalizing rule in which we find ourselves. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a good job in your work. You should. One of our current regime’s worst and most insidious weapons is the constant promotion of mediocrity.
There is no toughness, no drive, no willingness to do well. The whole economy often feels like layers of grifters stacked on top of each other. My advice to young men in their work is to be competent but to also moderate their expectations. Work is a means to an end. In very rare cases is it spiritually fulfilling, especially now and especially for the kinds of sensitive and intelligent young men who have grown to hate the liberal world order and its smell of decay and spiritual death.
I cannot tell you what job to get, assuming you need one. You must figure that out for yourself. The most important thing is that you acquire the resources and time to do the kind of truly meaningful spiritual work that the West needs today.
First, you should become physically fit. If you are fat then lose weight. If you are scrawny then put on muscle. Working out does not require superhuman efforts to accomplish. Simple weight lifting movements done well and on a regular schedule will give serious results. If you are having trouble losing weight, cut out soft drinks, alcohol, and desserts. Start there and see what happens.
I also advise young men to become proficient with firearms. There are lots of ways to do so. Find a local amateur shooting club. See if there are shooting instructors able and willing to help you. There is no need to go wild on gear and attachments. A simple AR-15 with iron sights is more than enough for a man to become very proficient and comfortable with arms should the need for them ever arise.
A young man today should develop the warrior spirit. There are many ways to do so. He could train jiu-jitsu, learn how to box, or practice wrestling. There is no one way to become proficient as a fighter and to cultivate the mentality of a man ready and willing to take on enemies. There are likely troubling times ahead. Cultivating a readiness for action is good.
I also advise young men to train their minds. First, learn what sort of mind you have and then tailor your reading and study to what sort of skills you know you possess.
You should become an intelligence agency unto yourself. Pick a foreign country and learn everything about its culture, economy, and religion. Practice the language until you are fluent. Then, go and visit. A knowledge of the world is useful for a young man with a serious bent.
Travel is not good in and of itself, though. It can easily become a kind of international “milling around.” To prevent that, make your journeys abroad focused and intentional. Set an aim for yourself before going. Take notes on what you see and do.
The American leadership class today is vulgar and ignorant. They know little of the real world. A young man on the Right can learn a great deal that is otherwise hidden if he keeps his eyes open.
Above all else, I advise young men today to find a project. Set for yourself an aim of self- overcoming. Be ready to wage spiritual war against this degenerate regime. There are many avenues to do so. Mocking the pieties of the liberal priestly caste wherever and whenever you can is important and well worth doing.
Once you have an aim and a direction you will find others who share that aim. They will be drawn to you and you to them. Here you will find friends and companions. More than anything else, those friendships will serve as the foundation for greater and higher things. From this fertile soil will spring real warriors, real leaders, and real men.
To the young men of the Right, to the young men of the future, do not give up hope. A better world is possible and you can help bring it into being. You do not need to justify yourselves before what is in decline. Rather, seek to sharpen yourselves. Choose a higher aim than service to a regime that hates you. Instead, seek to undermine that regime and to replace it with one that is better and more noble.