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One man making a difference, and the varying degrees of difference

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A soldier is an individual protecting his self-interest.

I'm thinking that If I decided to join the army I don't think it would make a difference in protecting my self-interest from enemies of freedom. However, if everyone would think like this than no one would be protected. I'm kind of struggling to resolve this conflict that seems to be inherent in what I'm saying.

Joining the army is just exposing me, the individual, to more risks. If I remain a citizen I can let other people protect my freedom and enjoy an easier life with less risk, therefore protecting my self-interest to a greater extent.

How can this be explained/resolved ?

And... on the same theme. If I want to go visit a rogue/evil state because it has a beautiful landscape. Am I really acting against my self-interests if I know I will be safe? What difference does one man make in small amount of money which go to its tourist industry? Not going seems more like a sacrifice in this case, you sacrifice your enjoyment so that small money wont go to this country's tourist industry. However, on the other hand you are supporting a state which may be against your self-interests?

Edited by airborne
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  • 4 weeks later...

Crossing the street exposes you to the risk of getting run over by a truck. You could minimize that risk by staying inside your house all day. Who would ever want to leave their house?

Obviously, leaving your house (or joining the army) isn't a decision based upon an assessment of risk alone.

Many people see great value in joining the military, whether it's a respect for soldiers who are willing to die to protect their families and freedoms, or the career prospects of a life in the armed forces, or the money from a GI Bill that will pay for higher education, or even just the economic option to someone with few other economic prospects. Joining the army isn't purely risk; it also comes with reward.

I think, for everyone, for different levels of security, there's some price/risk point where they're willing to join the army. Think of it like a militia, as if you were living in the wild west: would you take up your gun to defend your family, neighbors, and freedom? How big of a threat would an enemy nation have to be before you decided to fight rather than live in subjugation?

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One man dedicating his life to a purpose is far more effective than a thousand men bumbling around randomly.

This is why the professional soldier, who knows what he is doing and why, and who can be intelligent and creative with that knowledge, is far more dangerous to his enemies than a bunch of mindless and hastily-trained draftees would be.

Conscious direction in general is far more influential than chance (such as the odds that you will get run over crossing the street) because chance is noise rather than signal, and over the long term, averaged over many people, chance cancels out. Chance can sometimes be used, but that requires conscious direction.

It is true that the defeat of a dictatorship requires more than refraining from visiting its tourist sites. It requires an identification, and a refutation, of the ideas that make dictatorship possible. That, too, is a task for professionals.

If you choose a good purpose for yourself, you will find that it is not helped by contributing to evil, or by being passive. A good purpose is not helped by anyone being passive. Evil, on the other hand, only requires that good men do nothing, although those who seek to accomplish evil deliberately accomplish it far more effectively...

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