Sometime back in the 1980s, the US Army leadership decided every soldier will take leadership training. All personnel were presumed leaders in training, and anyone who didn’t like it was out the door. They did away with the entire premise of there being a technician class within the ranks, folks who could be promoted up their own scale without standard leadership training. A minor manifestation of this was removing all the Specialist grades above E-4 — no more Specialist 5, 6 or 7. If you weren’t a troop leader, a sergeant, you didn’t get promoted above that.
One major problem: The entire culture of leadership was corrupted by the bean-counter management mentality. In actual practice, it was little more than pasting the command leadership labels over corporate supervisory training. The proud talk of combat leadership and real battle courage continued, but if you weren’t a craven fake, an organizational team player, you often didn’t get promoted. This become even more pronounced in the officer ranks. Generals have always been politicians, but soldiers are terribly ineffective when they are transformed into dependent psychopaths.
This is part of why we have the most extravagant military budget in human history and can’t defeat the Taliban with their ancient rifles and no armor. Modern American military culture is a vast layer of mythology lying atop one of the sickest societies in history.
In any society or culture, there is a place for the non-leaders. However, the bulk of them are rightly presumed leaders in their own homes. That’s fundamental to very definition of manhood. While we expect a certain portion of ruined and broken dependents of both sexes and at all stages of life, a society is dying when the bulk of men aren’t men. An essential element in manhood is a sense of mission, something which makes the world a better place. Every society depends on that for existence as a society.
It’s not cowardice to avoid things for which you possess no talent or skill, and no interest. Manhood does not necessitate every social skill and grace. Rare are the men equipped for that, and they are rightly legendary. The cream rises to the top, but manure floats even better. We see today the social corruption which purchases command for the worst of society, because we have forgotten how to keep the process sanitary. The mythologies of Western Civilization are now close to completing the process of destruction. You cannot simply imagine an ideal structure and proceed forcing people into Utopian roles by external conditioning. Every man can excel at something, and it’s usually related to his mission, his divine calling in life.
Wisdom sees all this and recognizes you must cynically participate on some level. Only the most rare individual should expect to rebel completely, or it is meaningless. Most of us have to find a place in the system where we can pursue our mission, and bring what little good we can to our world. No sane man seeks control and power for its own sake, but accepts the necessity of leading in some contexts as the means to their mission. This is why we learn Game, for example, because it introduces an element of sanity into the process. Much of what makes Game work in socio-sexual contexts is fundamental to human nature in all contexts. In our world, we can ill afford to ever cut loose and follow our pure instincts.
One of the deepest longings of human nature is acceptance as we are. Right now, that comes at a very high price. Don’t expect to get much of it, and maybe none at all. The primary reason people get drunk or high is for the excuse it offers to drop all the artificial social constraints of our broken society, and act however much a fool we all can be. It’s the moment we let loose all our raw emotions, and in most cases, it’s really ugly. It’s also totally honest. Only among our most trusted confidants, in the most protected and secure environments — which paradoxically might also mean in a context where we are totally unknown and can’t be traced later — can we afford such a luxury. As our world continues to deteriorate, you can easily give up trying and let it all hang out, because you simply cannot win. Or you can learn to measure out such extravagance with the greatest care, and keep on your game face all the rest of the time.
The US military service has become a microcosm, a leading indicator of where our world is headed. A great many service members simply come apart after short exposure to any austerity, never mind combat stresses. They may be functional in that environment, just barely useful because the military can’t afford to dismiss that high proportion from what they can get. Some will keep a good grip and get promoted faster than their peers up to a middling level. Most will do no more than absolutely necessary to keep life going. The combined trends of what we see around us today will soon put us all in a battle environment.
Nobody in their right mind wants to control other people. However, if you have any hope of sanity, you will take the lead in some fashion or another, or you’ll find a place to hide and withdraw from it all as far as you can get.