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Junior ROTC Fits Perfectly within Public Schools

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | December 12, 2022

The U.S. military is having a tough time meeting recruiting targets, possibly because young people are figuring out that they don’t want to come back from some stupid foreign war without legs or arms or with some brain injury or, even worse, dead. To encourage young people to join up and be all that they can be, public-school officials across the country are forcing high-school freshmen to take Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) class, where students are “encouraged” to later join the military. 

An article about the controversy in yesterday’s New York Times points out that the JROTC program is funded by the U.S. military and is designed to produce “leadership skills, discipline and civic values — and open students’ eyes to the idea of a military career.”

The JROTC students are required to wear uniforms and are taught the importance of obeying orders. At Pershing High School in Detroit, several students asked to drop the class. They were told that the class was mandatory. The article states: “A review of J.R.O.T.C. enrollment data collected from more than 200 public records requests showed that dozens of schools have made the program mandatory or steered more than 75 percent of students in a single grade into the classes, including schools in Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and Mobile, Ala.”

Why would public-school officials act as tools for the military? According to the article, “The military subsidizes instructors’ salaries while requiring schools to maintain a certain level of enrollment in order to keep the program. In states that have allowed J.R.O.T.C. to be used as an alternative graduation credit, some schools appear to have saved money by using the course as an alternative to hiring more teachers in subjects such as physical education or wellness.”

Oh, and guess which students they are mainly targeting as potential future cannon fodder. According to the Times’s article, “A vast majority of the schools with those high enrollment numbers were attended by a large proportion of nonwhite students and those from low-income households.”

Julio Mejia, a Fort Mayers, Florida, parent whose daughter tried to get out of the JROTC class, pointedly observed, “The only word I can think of is ‘indoctrination.’” The Times points out, “But critics have long contended that the program’s militaristic discipline emphasizes obedience over independence and critical thinking.” Jesús Palafox, a former student, calls the process “brainwashing.”

Not so, claims Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a Pentagon spokesman and herself a former JROTC student. “It’s really about teaching kids about service, teaching them teamwork.” It sounds more like she might be a perfect example of the program’s success at indoctrination and brainwashing. 

While parents can see how JROTC creates mindsets of conformity, blind obedience, and regimentation, unfortunately they are not able to see that that’s precisely what public (i.e., government) schooling itself does. In fact, public schooling could easily be described as “army-lite,” which is why the JROTC program fits perfectly within the public (i.e., government) schooling system. 

Just as students are being forced into JROTC, young people are forced into the state’s educational maw, where they are indoctrinated and brainwashed into becoming “good little citizens,” ones who are inculcated with mindsets of regimentation, obedience to orders, and deference to authority, all of which, they are taught, constitutes “patriotism.” As with the JROTC classes, public-school students have any ability to engage in critical thinking smashed out of them, and they are taught instead to memorize and regurgitate. 

In fact, one cannot help but wonder if the reason that so many parents can easily see the downside of JROTC but not the downside of public (i.e., government) schooling is because they themselves are products of the public-school system and its very successful system of indoctrination and brainwashing. After all, what better success story than indoctrinated and brainwashed people who have no idea they’ve been indoctrinated and brainwashed and recoil at any suggestion that they are victims of indoctrination and brainwashing?

December 12, 2022 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism |

2 Comments »

  1. Interesting article. BUT, as a youth of 17 years of age, I volunteered my services to my countries military. I believe I can speak authoritively on the brainwashing and order following issues mentioned in this article. Every human being is endowed with a brain to think and make decisions for themselves. During my training, I was confronted on numerous occassions wherein I questioned the indoctrination of my instructors. This questioning did not go down well, and I discovered many years later, my objection to said orders was noted in my file and followed me wherever I went in my time in the military. The most objectional issue I voiced was when my Company Commander arrived and introduced himself to us all on parade. This individual stated loudly, that he was going to return to Australia from our tour in Vietnam with decorations on his chest, and he didn’t care how many of our lives it would take to acheive that objective. The whole Company stood silent. After the parade, I approached my senior officers and requested a transfer. When asked why, I replied I am a VOLUNTEER, not a Conscript. I did not volunteer my services simply so some over inflated ego can throw my life away, simply for him to get medals on his chest. I was refused. So contrary to military doctrination, I went about about it another way. Suffice to say, I obtained my transfer, and the Commanding officer was very happy to see me go. After arrival in Vietnam, the platoon of which I had been a member of, under direction from their commander, walked into a mine field where 11 men lost their lives, and the Doctor on the medivac helicopter on debarking from the helicopter, stood on a mine himself, thus lost sight of both his eyes and severly injured.
    People MUST pay attention, the military doctrine, contrary to popular belief, does not give a rats arse about any individual. They must pay attention to their own survival and benefit, weigh any orders, and if detrimental to their well being, flatly refuse to follow them, and to hell with the consequences.

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    Comment by Eddy Schmid | December 12, 2022 | Reply

  2. We have seen the outcome of the brainwashing on former episodes of “Jay Walking” in LA, from the Jay Leno show. Or more recently from Jesse Watter’s episodes of “Man on the Street” in NY city. Young 20-somethings have no clue who they are or where they came from. They are devoid of depth of knowledge of any subject outside their immediate area of pleasure-seeking. It is shocking how innocently unprepared they are. They remind me of the “Eloi” in HG Well’s “TIME MACHINE.”

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    Comment by Thomas Lee Simpson | December 13, 2022 | Reply


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