« Eric Alterman: The Idiot's One-Trick Pony | Main | Can't anybody here play this game? »

A law unto myself

I wouldn't say I have a love-hate relationship with Oleg Dulin. More of a "every now and then he decides to pick a fight with me, and against my better judgment I respond" sort of thing. We've actually had a civil exchange once or twice. I think. Maybe. I'm not sure. They tend not to be overly memorable.

Anyway, a little over a week ago, I wrote a piece in which I said that the fact that the re-enlistment rate among troops in Iraq is higher than those of troops stationed in other places was indicative that they believed in their mission. That was the latest thing that set Mr. Dulin off, who responded that other factors might have been loyalty to their comrades, an inability to make it economically in the civilian world, and finished off by comparing military service to "flipping burgers" at McDonald's.

As I've said before, I tend to be far more protective of others than myself, and I didn't care for what I saw as an insult to the troops. I pointed out that his remarks were indicative of his having very little respect for those who serve in the armed forces of the United States.

That's what led to Mr. Dulin trying to coin a new law -- Jay Tea's Law. (Although I'm sure he'd prefer to call it "Dulin's Law.") Dulin cites Godwin's Law (which states "as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one," but Dulin prefers the version that adds "and the person making the comparison can be declared to have automatically lost the argument") and comes up with the following:

"Any conversation with a Republican is bound in them accusing the other party of insulting the troops; at this point they lose any argument they may have had."

It's clumsy and imprecise, but that's no great surprise. Let me tighten it up a bit for him:

As a discussion between a supporter and an opponent of the war in Iraq grows longer, the probability of the supporter accusing the opponent of "not supporting" or "insulting" the troops actually fighting the war approaches one. Likewise, the probability of the opponent using such arguments as "Bush lied and misled us into the war," "it's all about the oil," "it's all about funneling money to Halliburton and Bush's big business buddies," or other such points also approaches one. At that point, the discussion can be considered to have no further value, and the side that first reached its inevitable climax can be deemed to have "lost" the argument.

Well, it's still clumsy, but I think that it's a bit more precise, balanced and accurate now.

The irony was that after his second piece, I thought about his comparing military service to flipping burgers at McDonald's, and thought there was some validity to it:

  • Both jobs feature a large number of workers who are there simply to improve their overall lot in life, but a few are making it a career.
  • The actual duties of both jobs, when stripped right down to the bone, are considerably less than glamourous.
  • The actual pay for each job, taken in the context of hourly wages and measured purely in dollars, is very low.
  • Both groups tend to be looked down upon by those who see themselves as "too good" for such labors.

One thing I read a long time ago that stuck with me is that "work" doesn't care who does it. If something needs to be done, then it needs to be done, and honest work -- no matter how lowly -- is worthy of respect. I've done my level best to respect those who work at even the most menial of jobs. Because unlike so many others I've seen, at least they're trying to support themselves and not be a burden to others. And while I've never worked in the fast food industry, I have a lot more respect for a "burger flipper" than I do for a lot of other people I've had to deal with in my life.

So will "Jay Tea's Law" (or even the shoddily-styled and one-sided "Dulin's Law") go anywhere? I sincerely doubt it. But it was flattering to see what I inspired.

"Flattering," in the sense of "I guess that chihuahua likes me, considering how eagerly he's trying to hump my leg."

Mark Twain was once threatened with being tarred and feathered, and being ridden out of town on a rail. He responded that "if it weren't for the honor and glory of the thing, I'd just as soon walk."

Comments (18)

Let's tighten that up a bit... (Below threshold)

Let's tighten that up a bit:

As a discussion between a liberal and a conservative grows longer, the probability of the conservative using facts to dosmiss the liberal's argument approaches one. At this point is it generally conceded by the liberal that the conservative has lost the debate.

The mark of a chicken is th... (Below threshold)

The mark of a chicken is the use of the chickenhawk argument.

The mark of a real traior i... (Below threshold)

The mark of a real traior is call someone exercising their right to protest a traior.

The mark of a real tractor ... (Below threshold)

The mark of a real tractor is the deafness in its operators.

ooops....thanks kim...you'r... (Below threshold)

ooops....thanks kim...you're good for something finally

traior and traior (sp) - traitor

So Hugh, if you disagree wi... (Below threshold)
U.P. Man:

So Hugh, if you disagree with the government you are a patriot, but if you disagree with that person you are a traitor making everyone who agrees with the government a traitor.

Also, since you say calling someone a traitor means they are a traitor .......aren't you a traitor by your own definition?

U.P ManIt's daylig... (Below threshold)

U.P Man

It's daylight, you really ought to stop drinking. You, not surprsingly, make absolutely no sense. Please point out where i used the word "disagree".

The mark of a real traio... (Below threshold)

The mark of a real traior is call someone exercising their right to protest a traior.

Hugh, who's job assignment is to come here and disrupt a right-"wingnut" blog, is all about elevating dissent now?

So I take it you won't be disparaging FoxNews' existence any longer?

Hugh: 'exercising their ri... (Below threshold)

Hugh: 'exercising their right to protest'. Isn't to protest against also to disagree? Come on Hugh, your failure to absorb your 'brainwashing' by the liberal (aka Communist) professors is showing.

Scrap' you mean hughie is o... (Below threshold)

Scrap' you mean hughie is out of kindergarden already?

You make a good point about... (Below threshold)

You make a good point about honest work, the idea that there are jobs that are less important then others is a sign of our society needing levels of achievement to maintain. Those who have the tough jobs and the important jobs vs those who have the simple inconsequencial jobs.

In the latest industrial revolution, Our society had a level of work and jobs for skills achieved, that are now often down by computer, Data entry, book keeper, some editor positions, often because the job wasn't important enough to maintain without making it easier and cheaper, which is partly why unemployment rises.

This is great though for schools, because it can created a major supply of out of work people who need to pay for retraining in a new field. ( the other day I heard several ads for computer training schools offering MCSE certification in 6 months to 2 years. Of course that makes a glut on the market and drives down the value of the job skills, hence a readjustment of how we might value that job, where it may get to the point where high school drop outs may be stuck working at microsoft as system enginneers "flipping networks"

Job skills are what we learn to be employed and make money to support ourselves and our familyes.. skills can be obsolete and out of date or indemand.

Military often talks about new high tech training. ( saddly) even that training can be so specific that it can't translate into civillian life. ( how many get out and can apply that missleconstruction skill to direct paying employment. )

The conclusion , jobs evolve and as our society evolves so do they, we can't measure or keep up to them evenly.. so we just adapt or fade away to unemployment.

Waait a minute.<em... (Below threshold)

Waait a minute.

The mark of a real traior is call someone exercising their right to protest a traior.

(WHAT? there's at least one word and two letters mising there; "The mark of a real traiTor is TO call someone exercising their right to protest a traiTor." And even still the point is stupid; calling someone a name doesn't equate to treason.)

anyway, the guy who wrote THAT is saying someone ELSE needs to stop drinking?

"Why kettle, your iron exterior is extremely black..."

The particular job training... (Below threshold)

The particular job training in the military isn't the most important element. Some few soldiers will be able to transition smoothly to civilian employment without needing training but only a few.

What is more important is that any soldier who has been in the service for four years has been in authority over others and held responsibility far above what his or her 22 year old civilian conterparts have held.

I worked with one such young man who had to be told to apply for night superviser at a new job because he viewed what he'd done in the Army as quite ordinary. The job wasn't carrying a gun, but it *was* dealing with people in an industrial situation and it was a job that required a great deal of responsibility. What he took for granted was something civilian employers were desperate for.

And I definately agree that flipping burgers should not be disparaged. Another young man at that same job came to work with years of supervisory experience behind him at an incredibly young age. He'd worked flipping burgers from the time he was 14 and by the time he was 20 he'd been a manager.

Why is it that some people seem so determined to view people's worth according to whether or not they perform labor? The builders and maintainers and all of the service industry, the people who hold it all together. If all the laywers disappeared tomorrow we'd hardly notice. If all the sanitation workers disappeared and the buger flippers and the retain clerks, life would come to a (very stinky) stand-still.

As a manager, I interview p... (Below threshold)

As a manager, I interview people on a regular basis. Working for a nuclear company, quite a few are from the Navy and Marine Corps. Anyway, I'll second what Synova said: anyone who served one or more terms and has a rank of at least E$ than in service comes out knowing how to manage, and how to be managed. That is, how to set expectations and how to meet them. They know how to communicate. They know how to put aside the bullshit and get a job done.
I will hire a vet with an MSCE or other paper certificate but only a HS diploma or associated degree over a fresh faced BS or MBA holder from Drexel, Princeton, Penn or any of the other local "good schools", 9 times out of 10.

As for flipping burgers, everyone has to start someplace. I began delivering papers at 5 am, moved on to retail clerking, then construction etc until I found what I was good at and could make a decent living doing it.

But I've found the people that look down their noses at such jobs aren't the type that had or will have to work their way up in the world. They may not have a silver spoon in their mouth, but they had a white collar waiting for them as soon as they could dress themselves.

Anyone who thinks ex-milita... (Below threshold)

Anyone who thinks ex-military personnel are only qualified for burger flipping minimum wage jobs is:

a) so ignorant of the military and its training to the point that further discussion with them is useless.

b) so elitist that they epitomize the meaning caste system in society.

c) so condescending of a group of people that they cannot understand nor are sufficiently intelligent enough to adequate point out just how ignorant they are

d) The Jay Tea law should be slightly different. More along the lines of "In any discussion between a supporter of the war and an opponent of the war eventually the opponent of the war is unable to hide their ignorance of the military or their disdain for those who serve."

If you think for even a second someone served in the military only because they couldn't "get a real job" you are so far off the mark it's ridiculous. Whenever I hear that sort of opinion expressed by someone I immediately know I'm dealing with someone that has the mental aptitude of a child.

Faith and Synova make some ... (Below threshold)

Faith and Synova make some points, but I think kim's observation is at the top of the heap here. Hugh, you set yourself up to be plowed under by a metaphor.

I think both of you forgot ... (Below threshold)

I think both of you forgot to list "unprecedented" re-enlistment bonuses as a reason for high re-enlistment rates. Even the Army says that this is an important component.

About the reenlistment rate... (Below threshold)

About the reenlistment rates being higher over in Iraq; when you reenlist in a combat zone, none of your bonus is taxed; if you reenlist anywhere else, the military takes 28% up front for federal taxes, plus whatever percentage your home state charges. Economically, it makes much more sense to reenlist there. That said, people do believe in the mission and if they didn't, they wouldn't reenlist at all, as just about anybody in the military today WILL deploy, no matter what their job classification is. I just retired after 20 years in the AF on 1 March, so I know what I'm talking about.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy