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Hazing, where does the Objectivist stand?

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Do you consider hazing (as defined below) to be morally acceptable?  

48 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • Yes, now where did I put my axe-handle?
      6
    • No thanks, I bruise easily.
      3
    • Yes, as long as I?m not on the receiving end.
      1
    • No, hazing is contradictory to Objectivism, and I?ll explain why.
      10
    • Yes, and I?ve got the red ass to prove it.
      3
    • No, and this is the wittiest poll I?ve seen on this site.
      3
    • Yes, and this poll is pointless.
      4


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How a man looks outwardly does not necessarily reflect the his values and character; show me his work, or his lover...now that speaks volumes.

It doesn't reflect his values...in other words, you can't tell a rational person by how he dresses. But, it reflects certain positive values such as self-discipline and attention to detail. I'm the same way as him...because of my experieces, I feel uneasy if I don't dress well or keep myself well-groomed. You should come look at my apartment sometime and tell me how many other college students you know with apartments this clean.

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How a man looks outwardly does not necessarily reflect the his values and character; show me his work, or his lover...now that speaks volumes.

I am going to have to disagree with you on that one. You can tell a lot about a person from the way he handles himself physically.

Take a handshake for example. How does the person grip your hand? Does he hold it like an egg, or deathgrip it? How does he shake? Does he give one shake or a bunch of shakes? Are they strong or weak? A weak grip usually means a submissive attitude. A deathgrip usually means I am dealing with a gorilla of a personality. A single strong shake means the person is a straight to the point kind of person, a bunch of vigorous shakes means he has an aggressive personality.

eye contact is another great example. I can tell a person's confidence about themself simply from observing the amount of eye contact they give me when I am talking to them. A person who looks me squarely in the eyes and maintains that contact comes off as extremely self-confident and sure of their own abilities and values.

knowing these helps because you can tailor your own physical attributes to work in your favor. I try to maintain a firm but not too tight grib, and will usually give two or three solid shakes. And regardless of who I am talking to, I always try to maintain eye contact at all times, unless circumstances dictate they should be elsewhere.

Edited by the tortured one
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Take a handshake for example. How does the person grip your hand? Does he hold it like an egg, or deathgrip it? How does he shake? Does he give one shake or a bunch of shakes? Are they strong or weak? A weak grip usually means a submissive attitude. A deathgrip usually means I am dealing with a gorilla of a personality. A single strong shake means the person is a straight to the point kind of person, a bunch of vigorous shakes means he has an aggressive personality.

eye contact is another great example. I can tell a person's confidence about themself simply from observing the amount of eye contact they give me when I am talking to them. A person who looks me squarely in the eyes and maintains that contact comes off as extremely self-confident and sure of their own abilities and values.

This is true; however, this would be classified as "behavior" not "appearance". I'm not trying to suggest that having a good outward appearance is not a positive thing (as long as it's primarily for yourself), but, like you said, only after further investigation can one decide if someone is legitimate. At any rate, this is a bit off-topic...my apologies.

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I have to agree with those who think hazing is a form of brainwashing and group mind manipulation. Even when it is used to teach a person a lesson, the sheer excessiveness of it is to put that person "in his place." It's to establish a hierarchy where you do what you are told, and not think for yourself. That's why it is so popular in the military. Besides the physical training, boot camp serves the purpose of mental training. When they want soldiers, they want killing machines. The operative word being "machine." If you have a soldier who questions authority, he might not do what he's told. So through psychological and physical torture (which is what it is, even when it's mild), you "break down" the man, so that you can "build him back up" in the image you want him. Brainwashing. It's been shown in studies that physical and psychological stress make people more open to suggestion (same with animals). One of the positive outcomes of hazing is how it brings a group together by uniting them against a common enemy (the drill instructor, upperclassmen, etc). But it's still through a form of brainwashing, so I can't see it being justified as moral.

I have to say though, that scottkursk's example of running around through the Houston metro system is harmless. I don't see that as a way to manipulate someone into thinking a certain way, but testing him under fire. I'm sure there are similar instances in the military, but I strongly disagree with the idea of severe punishment for trivial screwups or worse, torture, so you know who's boss.

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remember, hazing is a very loose term. It can mean the wholly unnecessary torture that is certainly immoral, or it can be an extremely light offense, like correcting something on the knob's uniform. Yes, it's technically unauthorized laying hands upon, but seriously, would you think anything of it if someone straightened your tie? Don't attach any intrinsic value to something that can be used for good, simply because it can be abused for evil.

When they want soldiers, they want killing machines.
Please do your homework before jumping to conclusions like that. Your line of reasoning probably went something like this:

A: some people want to be soldiers

B: soldiers kill stuff

conclusion: the better they kill stuff, the better the soldier they are.

trust me, if we wanted to kill someone, we have nukes for that. Saying the purpose of a soldier is to kill is like saying the purpose of sex is to procreate.

It's to establish a hierarchy where you do what you are told, and not think for yourself.

Once again, you are asserting that you have little knowledge of how military leadership operates. The military doesn't want robots who follow orders without thought. They want dynamic individuals who are capable of thinking on their feet under conditions of duress. Plans never survive the first shot. Things change, situation changes, the unexpected can happen. A leader, whether he is a sargeant or lieutenant or 3-star general is the man who acknowledges the problem and comes up with a solution that works. A man who doesn't think for himself would not be capable of such action. Even privates are taught this.

The "do what you are told" routine is to ensure discipline, that when the order is given the soldier doesn't freeze or put himself in a mental state where he is incapable of carrying out his duty.

I strongly disagree with the idea of severe punishment for trivial screwups or worse, torture, so you know who's boss.
I think you are blowing things out of proportion. It's not like they get brutally beaten if their shoe is untied or anything. Sometimes something trivial can mean 20 pushups or a tounge-lashing, if that. More often than that, the knob is told to police himself and it is left at that.

But it's still through a form of brainwashing

you call it brainwashing, I call it conditioning. Again, the reason you assume that it is brainwashing is because of the way you assume the army works: that it want's mindless robots to follow their whim.

I would encourage you to talk to a soldier, not draw conclusions like that. With the proper amount of research, you will find that about 90% of what you said are baseless, and offensive, though I am not letting it bother me enough to take it further.

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Yes, it's technically unauthorized laying hands upon, but seriously, would you think anything of it if someone straightened your tie?

I've never heard that definition of hazing, and see nothing wrong with a simple correction of a tie. I doubt many people would consider that "hazing."

conclusion: the better they kill stuff, the better the soldier they are.

Isn't that the job description of a soldier? War is about killing the enemy soldier. Therefore, a good soldier is someone who kills efficiently without making too big a mess of things, which leads to:

trust me, if we wanted to kill someone, we have nukes for that.

Nukes are messy when you want a surgical strike, which is usually ideal, as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather a doctor cut off my finger than my arm to get rid of the diesease.

The military doesn't want robots who follow orders without thought. They want dynamic individuals who are capable of thinking on their feet under conditions of duress.

I don't disagree that they want people who are dynamic and able to think on their feet. I don't see soldiers as dumb grunts who only know how to kill. Perhaps "killing machine" was too loaded a term. I'm saying that the military wants the job done efficiently, and the job that the military exists is killing. It sounds harsh, but it's the truth. Even when we're talking about peacekeeping, it's the threat of killing used to keep a group in line.

The "do what you are told" routine is to ensure discipline, that when the order is given the soldier doesn't freeze or put himself in a mental state where he is incapable of carrying out his duty.

Let's think about the situation where someone freezes when he's trying to carry out the duty of killing an enemy combatant. What is making him freeze? Fear is probably the biggest thing. Part of it is fear for his own life, but there's also a component built into most human beings that stops you from killing each other. That governor can be by-passed through conscious effort or by rebuilding a person into a different image.

It's not like they get brutally beaten if their shoe is untied or anything. Sometimes something trivial can mean 20 pushups or a tounge-lashing, if that.  More often than that, the knob is told to police himself and it is left at that.

I'm picturing Private Pyle on Full Metal Jacket. If that's an incorrect picture, then that's because I don't have too much experience with the military, as you've guessed. But I wouldn't discount constant "tongue-lashings" either, since psychological torture is real and does work to break the will of a person if used consistently enough.

you call it brainwashing, I call it conditioning.

Conditioning is a euphemism for brainwashing. Pavlov's dogs were conditioned too.

Again, the reason you assume that it is brainwashing is because of the way you assume the army works: that it want's mindless robots to follow their whim. 

Ok, let me rephrase what I've said to better convey my views. Humans evolved as social animals and therefore have a certain aversion to killing each other. That's why a natural reaction for many people when they see a dead body is nausea. That hestitation that the military doesn't want in a soldier when he's about to pull the trigger is a moral hestitation. That's a bad quality in a soldier and therefore the military would rather have moral robots who do what they are told. They want someone who can think independently, within very strict limits. A big part of the military seems to be conditioning it's members to conform with the group. Give everyone the same haircut, make everyone wear the same uniform, have everyone repeat mantras together. Cults do the same thing. They both have the same general idea at their core, "don't question authority."

Were you in the military? If so, I'm eager to hear how what I've said here is incorrect.

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Conditioning is a euphemism for brainwashing.  Pavlov's dogs were conditioned too. 

Were you in the military?  If so, I'm eager to hear how what I've said here is incorrect.

I'd have to disagree with your definition of conditioning in this conxtext. I like the dictionary.com definition of conditioning. I view conditioning exactly that way. It's a modified behaviour that comes automatically that frequently is opposite of "instinct". No I've never been in combat but I have been shot at while doing a stint as a repo man and found that less stressful than being in the middle of a market meltdown.

Most people when faced with a queue of 100 phone calls, dead web site, a market that is dropping rapidly, and people screaming all around you would panic. I would say I've been conditioned to focus even more on the task at hand so I can triage more effectively than normal. But that conditioning came at the hand of all the inane practical jokes, stupid errands, and countless paintball matches in addition to the formalized knowledge based training.

Each of the tasks I learned about dealing with frustration mostly over things that were totally arbitrary and out of my control. While yes, being run around downtown Houston on a deliberately impossible task and have to make a choice between equally bad decisions. When all heck is breaking loose, sometimes there is no "good" choice and you are stuck choosing to minimize damage as much as possible.

What is making him freeze? Fear is probably the biggest thing. Part of it is fear for his own life, but there's also a component built into most human beings that stops you from killing each other. That governor can be by-passed through conscious effort or by rebuilding a person into a different mage.

So you could say he is conditioned to place aside the whole thought of taking a life as evil and replacing it with a clinical kill or be killed thought pattern. I go back to my example: I'm militant about customer service and always treating clients with dignity and respect, never just saying no but always offering an explination, and being polite even in the face of anger. I've had death threats but always retained a smile in my voice even if stearn. There is a big however: taking time to talk about someone's dog or wife or listen to their complaint is counterprouctive when all heck is breaking loose and you have to put all your efforts to trading related triage. In those times, the best customer service I can provide some people is to effectively hang up on them and take the next call and hustle them through as fast as possible.

I see that no different than a soldier. Like shooting the "innocent" standing in front of an enemy tank. If they blow the tank they save lives ultimatly and complete their mission. But, they take the life of a person that isn't really in the fight. Something they would normally not do. If a sniper has a misson and that mission is to kill XYZ, slapping that ant biting you could cause your mission to fail and you to die. It's all the times they were stuck laying in sand dealing with fleas. Sure, you could teach them to ignore things with counseling but it's much more effective to lay someone down in the sand and force them to deal with it. Conditioning lets them have a near subconcious response to the situation and make a decision. Again, there are contextual limits here. Making one of my brokers lay with fleas is mindnumblingly counterproductive. However, challenging them at every turn and making them deal with things totally out of their control (initiations not hazing) can help them make the most practical application of their training.

As I mentioned the context, I would not do the type of training I do with an actuary or proctologist. Again, I define hazing as totally arbitrary and serving no purpose other than destroying the person. Conditioning serves a purpose even if the purpose is not readily appearant to the person being conditioned. It's when that conditioning is put in context of ther role that it becomes effective.

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It's a modified behaviour that comes automatically that frequently is opposite of "instinct".  No I've never been in combat but I have been shot at while doing a stint as a repo man and found that less stressful than being in the middle of a market meltdown.

I have to say that I think I'd rather be in the middle of a market meltdown than be shot at. No matter what happens in your job, you're still alive at the end of the day. According to your definition, conditioning is "behavior modification." When someone is conditioned by anyone but yourself, your behavior is being modified for you to fit that person's requirement of you. If it's done right, you'd have no problem with it. If it is done incompletely, it could do more harm than good. The number of vietnam veterans who are homeless and psychologically scarred could be a sign of this incomplete conditioning. If done "well" some people can't quite adapt back to "normal" society. High suicide numbers too (particularly in snipers, who have a more personal relationship with killing since they can't pretend they didn't shoot someone. You're looking the guy in the face, or back of his head, when you pull the trigger. I read a book on this, so I'm not pulling it out of my ass.)

I see that no different than a soldier.  Like shooting the "innocent" standing in front of an enemy tank.

I see what you are saying, but there is a big difference between hanging up on someone and shooting him. The taboo against killing is a lot deeper, even hardwired into you. Phone courtesy is a socialized skill. It can be difficult to hang up on people though, I'll give you that.

My issue isn't with conditioning soldiers to be able to withstand fleas or hard work, since those are directly applicable to the job. My issue is with indoctrinating soldiers to be obedient. It's the same issue that I have with religion.

Conditioning serves a purpose even if the purpose is not readily appearant to the person being conditioned.

It just seems too much like the ends justifying the means to me. I have no problem with self-conditioning, but having your mind manipulated by someone else is giving up too much control of yourself.

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(I'm a female)

When I entered my university of choice, I was interested in joining a group that was basically a sorority (just not Greek). The pledges and I had learned that the year prior, this group had been busted by the university for hazing new recruits in the form of a "light hearted kidnapping". Essentially, the girls who they intended to accept were yanked out of their dorm rooms in the middle of the night (all freshmen are required to sleep on campus), in their nightclothes along with a pair of underwear, and taken to some location for activities, which were never divulged. Still, the group wouldn't be dissuaded and attempted a toned down version of hazing on my group.

After a day long ceremony (mostly regarding the history of the campus during which we weren't allowed to talk), we were told to "dress nicely and make sure to wear white panties". I was so incensed by this that I decided to make my own rules. I was pretty sure that this was just a meaningless fear tactic, but many of the girls were trying to figure out what embarrassing, and possibly sexual act, we might be subjected to. During the time that we had to change, I put on a pair of the most immodest, blood red, lacy panties I owned, with the thought that "if something does actually happen and they have to see these, at least they'll see I have a spine." No flock-following for me :P

Hazing of this sort is totally pointless. It only made us resent the group we wanted to join. There was more bonding going on with the selection of big/little sis's than with this silly and obnoxious mind game. There were other things we were required to do as pledges that were actually fun (such as have every member of the group sign our pledge board - fun because to do this, we had to actually meet and talk to everyone).

The other hazing rituals I've heard about by the Greek sororities, similar to what Elle mentioned, I must also agree with. They serve no purpose but to humiliate a person to subservience. I certainly wouldn't respect a female who actually participated in such behaviour just so she could have access to test banks.

I never had much use for it but I don't really get along well with other women any more.

...

Why do you think it is that women like you and I (rational, intelligent, independent, goal oriented) find it so hard to befriend other women?  One problem for me has been the lack of candidates for friendship because women become insecure in the face of my confidence and honesty.  Another is that I think women, more so than men, allow themselves to get into group-think mode.  I don't know if that is a truly valid statement, but that is what I have observed (especially in school).  Yours thoughts on this JMeganSnow, and others?

On this other note, I noticed that starting in middle school, I was quickly excluding females from my life. The first incident I remember was a situation wherein a "friend" of mine declared to me that I had had too much fun at lunch the previous day with someone else and that I should essentially feel sorry and make it up to her. Following such an irrational outburst, I didn't speak to this person again for at least 5 or 6 years. (For the record, I don't speak with her at all these days) Through high school, even though the vast majority of my friends were female, I never felt close to them.

The topics of conversation always whittled down to something totally inane like "I think that guy who I've never seen before, who was looking at me at the gas station is stalking me, because he looked at me." Or, conversations would start off from such an irrational basis it would constantly put me in a lecturing position. One fine example is when a friend told me about this "great new guy" she was dating, and declared that he was great because, "well, he doesn't hit me".

I currently have one female friend with whom I feel comfortable talking, and enjoy talking to. She's a chemist by profession. The rest of my friends are all male and I enjoy all the conversations we have. My experience with the friendship of women has left me hesitant to rush out to find more female friends, but I certainly wouldn't mind having them, so long as they are rational people.

Finally, I have found that many women find it difficult to even communicate with me, as I don't approach situations from an emotional base. In a previous job, one woman was put off because I refused to discuss my personal life in a gossipy manner with unknown coworkers. On the other hand, I later earned her respect by showing her that my self-esteem (in the face of an insult made by a drunk co-worker) was not shattered, dented or bruised, and that life could, in fact, go on about its business without me (a female) collapsing into a teary depression.

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When I was a sophomore, our outfit 1st Sergeant was something of a hard-ass and he basically gave us free reign to make the freshmen's lives hell, which we did.  We never pointlessly tortured them though.  Yeah, we made it suck, but the suckiness always had a point.  Sometimes, the point was kind of stretched, but that was because the 1st Sergeant gave us an unusual amount of time to train them, and there's only so many times they can screw up in the course of a week...so, pretty often, we punished them for trivial stuff, but that doesn't mean that the point wasn't there.  The fact that we got a lot of training time with them allowed us to focus on details, and not just the big stuff.  As a result, their class basically runs the entire band...almost the entire major unit (larger than the individual outfits) staff is made up of the class that I trained, and I am convinced that it is a result of the way that my friends and I trained them.  When you look around at the other outfits in the Corps of Cadets, you'll find that the ones who pointlessly torture their freshmen never amount to anything.  The freshmen wind up being college-age alcoholics and many of them failing out of school.  These outfits also rarely have members in leadership positions above the outfit level.

My Drill at Basic said that he would never punish us for something we didn't do wrong. He said, of course, that we would always be doing something wrong, so he could always punish us. (makes me all happy inside :) ) I believe that there is a fine line that can be crossed when testing somebody. I don't think there's a need for physical force (i.e. beatings, unless it's a negative reinforcement), but I see no reason to not have physical pain (i.e. push-ups, all that good military "smoking") and psychological games. Frankly, I found most of that stuff fun at basic, but I don't think it would have been good for Drills to hit people. Now, blanket parties and what-not I would not call hazing, as it does serve purpose, it seems more of punishment than of a test of positive motives.

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My issue isn't with conditioning soldiers to be able to withstand fleas or hard work, since those are directly applicable to the job.  My issue is with indoctrinating soldiers to be obedient.  It's the same issue that I have with religion.

Don't be confused, though. Soldiers are told to think for themselves. Yes, they have to be obediant to rank, and to CERTAIN types of orders given. But that is TEAMWORK, where your survival DEPENDS on your team. Soldiers are not robots. The example of Abu Gharib was bad as those soldiers still know what they are doing, and still have the freedom to know that that was not an order that they could recieve. They chose to do it of their own freewill. And now they pay the price.

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The example of Abu Gharib was bad as those soldiers still know what they are doing, and still have the freedom to know that that was not an order that they could recieve.  They chose to do it of their own freewill.  And now they pay the price.

What if it actually was an order given from above? We don't know that it wasn't, and considering certain documents between Gonzalez and Bush, I'd say it's very possible. So what does a soldier do in such a situation? Follow orders or do what's moral? What's the punishment for not following bad orders?

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What if it actually was an order given from above?  We don't know that it wasn't, and considering certain documents between Gonzalez and Bush, I'd say it's very possible.  So what does a soldier do in such a situation?  Follow orders or do what's moral?  What's the punishment for not following bad orders?

That is a decision that the individual soldier has to make. That was a really big point of the Nuremberg trials in that people insisted that they were incapable of making their own decisions and had to follow orders. That really tended to not work out for them.

In the case of Abu Graib, there is a chance that the soldiers in question could have face a court martial for disobeying orders. They'd really have to rely on the ability of their jag rep to get them off on the basis the order was unlawful. While nobody that I'm aware of refused to follow orders the result probably would have been facing a court and then it would have been dismissed given the public pressure. Yes, you wouldn't go to military jail or given an other than honorable discharge but your career would be pretty much over inside the military.

The pressure to conform is just like the corporate world when it comes to whistle blowing if not more given the life and death circumstances that most military things entail.

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Thank you scott, That was my point. Even in basic, we are told that which the army cannot make us do. Since, knowing and understanding the Geneva Conventions is a must, those soldiers knew what they were doing was AGAINST the geneva conventions and therefor an unlawful order. Now, it is likely they felt peer/rank pressure, and it is also likely that they would have done it, whether or not it was an order. Point being, that if it was, they had the option/freewill and legal ability to not do it. They all recieved the same training that I did, and there was no excuse for it.

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Since, knowing and understanding the Geneva Conventions is a must, those soldiers knew what they were doing was AGAINST the geneva conventions and therefor an unlawful order.

But it was also justified from those above that the Geneva Conventions didn't apply in this situation (and I've heard at least one person on these forums who agrees with that assessment). Then it comes down to a soldier possibly being reassurred that what he's doing falls within the boundaries of legal conduct when it actually is not. I'm not saying they aren't responsible, but they weren't exactly the only ones who should be held accountable. To use the Nuremberg trials example, who should get the bigger punishment: Hitler (I know, not alive for trial, but such a dramatic example) or a foot soldier? Hitler didn't actually kill anyone, he just gave the orders.

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Thank you, my friends, for proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that hazing is a common instrument of collectivism. The entire concept of belonging to a group, having to be initiated, is the purview of the collectivist. Those who knowingly subject themselves to hazing have no one else to blame but themselves.

There was an incident of hazing that amounts to the use of force, not too long ago, in New York, at a high school football camp. That such incident was inexcusable, to say the least, and the perpetrators were appropriately punished for such actions. Participation in a high school football camp does not entitle the participant to be hazed.

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Almost everyone has had some sort of exposure to hazing, whether it be through a story in the news, a college fraternity, or the military, hazing is something that has been around a long time, but has never been taken up on objective moral grounds. Those who oppose it do so by making additional, unnecessary laws. Those who support it do so in the name of tradition. Both avoid thinking about the issue as it relates to an objective morality. That is why I ask the following questions (and any you wish to come up with on your own). Does hazing have a place in a civilized society? Is practicing it consistent with Objectivism? If so, what are its merits, and, if it has merits, why is it not used by businesses and in personal relationships? If not, what are the principals of Objectivism that it violates?

For the purposes of this poll, hazing refers to harassment or abuse as a way of initiation into a group or position. It will also be assumed that the consent of both parties is obtained before the beatings begin, so that initiation of force does not become an issue.

Does STOPPING (prohibiting) hazing violate the one rational function of

government?

Denying an individual, or group of individuals, the ability to do something (a

freedom) is a governmental (police) function.

The only function of government is to enforce the "trader principle". To protect

those who engage in voluntary value-for-value trade, and punish those who don't.

The moment the hazing "transaction" violates the trader principle, the transaction

should be immediately stopped.

Any other precondition or outcome of a hazing, therefore, is beyond the bounds of

government action (to stop it).

-Iakeo

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Isn't that the job description of a soldier?  War is about killing the enemy soldier.  Therefore, a good soldier is someone who kills efficiently without making too big a mess of things, which leads to:

That's not true. Neither of my jobs in the military have been ME killing the enemy. My job was to know the enemy (I was intel) I studied the enemy, and it was my job, AS A SOLDIER, to give an educated guess as to what the enemy would do next. My current job, AS A SOLDIER, is to provide music that enhances unit cohesion and morale, enhances American public support of the U.S. Army, supports military operations. Doesn't say anything there about killing.

Ok, let me rephrase what I've said to better convey my views.  Humans evolved as social animals and therefore have a certain aversion to killing each other.  That's why a natural reaction for many people when they see a dead body is nausea.  That hestitation that the military doesn't want in a soldier when he's about to pull the trigger is a moral hestitation.  That's a bad quality in a soldier and therefore the military would rather have moral robots who do what they are told.  They want someone who can think independently, within very strict limits.  A big part of the military seems to be conditioning it's members to conform with the group.  Give everyone the same haircut, make everyone wear the same uniform, have everyone repeat mantras together.  Cults do the same thing.  They both have the same general idea at their core, "don't question authority."

Were you in the military?  If so, I'm eager to hear how what I've said here is incorrect.

If this were true, we would have a soviet style military, where only the leaders knew what was going on. Privates and other low ranking indivduals were only given orders, and followed those orders to the "t" because they knew nothing else. The American army allows every soldier to know the mission and mission functions, so that if leadership is taken out, we, as lower, junior enlisted, can take charge and fulfill the mission. This does not require "Brainwashing," as much as simple knowledge. However, in the real military, there is no brainwashing, at least not at the basic level.

Your comment on collectivists ideas, i.e. the haircuts, mantras, uniform, etc has an applicable place. The military is not a place for racism, stereotypes, and segregation. When the mission is presented, we all have the same goals and the same way to get there. That is all the uniforms and haircuts represent.

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That's not true.  Neither of my jobs in the military have been ME killing the enemy.  My job was to know the enemy (I was intel)  I studied the enemy, and it was my job, AS A SOLDIER, to give an educated guess as to what the enemy would do next.  My current job, AS A SOLDIER, is to provide music that enhances unit cohesion and morale, enhances American public support of the U.S. Army, supports military operations.  Doesn't say anything there about killing.

The intel is used so that other soldiers are better able to fight the enemy, which means kill them. Morale is to make happier soldiers so they can be better soldiers when it comes to war. War is about killing the other side. I don't see what is so contraversial about what I'm saying. If there were no wars, we would have little need for the military. Not every soldier is directly responsible for killing people, but the organization as a whole exists for that purpose, and every soldier serves different purposes towards that end.

If this were true, we would have a soviet style military, where only the leaders knew what was going on. 

I think this has been shown historically to not be as effective, so soldier have a lot more information than in a Soviet military. I'm not saying that the soldiers are mindless zombies. I think the various connotations of the term "brainwashing" is the hangup here. I'm not talking "The Manchurian Candidate" here. I'm saying that it's a hierarchical-structured system where obedience to those above is required. That's "conditioned" into the soldiers via the haircuts, mantras, uniform, etc. to get rid of as much individuality as possible. No talking back. Do what you're told. All that stuff. Now I don't know what it's like after boot camp, but I expect that there's more freedom after that. I've even seen quotes from drill sergeants that say stuff like "We break them down so we can build them back up." That's conditioning, which is the soft term for brainwashing.

Your comment on collectivists ideas, i.e. the haircuts, mantras, uniform, etc has an applicable place.  The military is not a place for racism, stereotypes, and segregation.  When the mission is presented, we all have the same goals and the same way to get there.  That is all the uniforms and haircuts represent.

I don't know. It seems to me that it wouldn't do anything to avoid racism or stereotypes, since haircuts and clothes don't do much to hide those kinds of clues. Besides, don't the drill sergeants insult the individuals in various ways? Or is just something in the movies? I'm sure when coming up with insults, he would steer away from race and stereotypes when doing so, right? Somehow I doubt that. Treating people like crap breaks down their self-esteem as an individual so that it can be built back up as part of the team.

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The intel is used so that other soldiers are better able to fight the enemy, which means kill them.  Morale is to make happier soldiers so they can be better soldiers when it comes to war.  War is about killing the other side.  I don't see what is so contraversial about what I'm saying.  If there were no wars, we would have little need for the military.  Not every soldier is directly responsible for killing people, but the organization as a whole exists for that purpose, and every soldier serves different purposes towards that end.

Yes, are goal is to DEFEAT the other side (not necessarily kill). But, the statements you made were about individual soldiers. My job is not to kill. Now my job may be to help others kill/defeat better, but that is a separate issue from the one you brought forth.

I think this has been shown historically to not be as effective, so soldier have a lot more information than in a Soviet military.  I'm not saying that the soldiers are mindless zombies.  I think the various connotations of the term "brainwashing" is the hangup here.  I'm not talking "The Manchurian Candidate" here.  I'm saying that it's a hierarchical-structured system where obedience to those above is required.  That's "conditioned" into the soldiers via the haircuts, mantras, uniform, etc. to get rid of as much individuality as possible.  No talking back.  Do what you're told.  All that stuff.  Now I don't know what it's like after boot camp, but I expect that there's more freedom after that.  I've even seen quotes from drill sergeants that say stuff like "We break them down so we can build them back up."  That's conditioning, which is the soft term for brainwashing. 

That's true, to a point. If there is something that we have been told, that we disagree with so vehemently, we can take it to another another branch and lay down why we think it's an unlawful order, or such. It is then up to that unit to decide. I mean, if you're just discussing the idea of your superiour telling you to take out the trash, and you don't want to do it...well, that's just rediculous. It's no different than being in a corporate business and doing the things that your bosses tell you when they tell you to. In fact, the army is now, more or less, structuring themselves after business ideas.

I don't know.  It seems to me that it wouldn't do anything to avoid racism or stereotypes, since haircuts and clothes don't do much to hide those kinds of clues.  Besides, don't the drill sergeants insult the individuals in various ways?  Or is just something in the movies?  I'm sure when coming up with insults, he would steer away from race and stereotypes when doing so, right?  Somehow I doubt that.  Treating people like crap breaks down their self-esteem as an individual so that it can be built back up as part of the team.

Of course, they insult you. It's intimidation. But, no, they don't use racial remarks, because if they do, they'll get chaptered out. And you're looking at it the wrong way. It's not meant to break down self-esteem. Self-esteem is only broken if the INDIVIDUAL allows it. My self-esteem was never broken...tested maybe, but never broken. We learned to work as a team, but constant Individual failure. They idea that you cannot progress without your peers and, more importantly, your subordinates. The insults are merely tests, and intimidation. Training/hazing, like anything, is what you make of it. If you see yourself as just being broken down, and you've lost your self-esteem. That's probably what it is. You should probably quit, and do something else. If you view it as training and gaining of discipline, the same is true, except, you're in the right job. There is plenty of individuality in the military. After all, I AM and army of one! :D

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I would like to say a few words about hazing from the standpoint of a college student in a fraternity. I'm in a rather special kind of fraternity, though it is nonetheless fully and standardly Greek. First of all, we're co-ed. We've got both guys and gals in fairly equal ratio (actually at present we might be slightly tilted towards the female side). So I think we lack a lot of the destructive single-sex dynamics you find in other houses that compounds hazing. Secondly, we do have new-member initiation, but it is FUN for both brothers and pledges. We do not haze. We are a small house and are more like a huge, goofy family than anything else (only about 30 active bros). Our bonds are based on mutual trust, respect, and affection, not on hierarchy or authority. Hazing would only detract from the dynamic we have as a house. I feel that it can actually harm the bonds of brother/sisterhood that Greek organizations are supposed to foster. Then again, I like to think our house is considerably less collectivist than other frats, so perhaps our intentions for joining a house were different. A lot of other houses aren't about bonding, they're about drinking and doing stupid stuff.

So as far as hazing goes from the standpoint of college frats/sports teams/clubs/what have you, I see it as mostly if not entirely negative. Last term there was a huge scandal because one of the sororities sent some pledges on a mission over to one of the frats where they basically got sexually harassed (we're not talking catcalls, more like physical stuff). It's not worth it, and I hate the kind of mentality it fosters.

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