A Job to Do

WorkEthhicby Steve Lancaster   1/8/14
Not long ago I was visiting with my grandson and his family. We had left post housing for the NCO club and were enjoying a few beers. My grandson had recently returned from the sandbox, for the third time, and with a few of his friends we were telling stories of Army and Marines from Vietnam to Iraq. One of the youngest of the group asked me why I went to Vietnam. I started to give the standard, I had orders and I was stupid speech but replied, “I had a job to do.” The rest of troopers agreed with this jarhead. In reflection, that answer says a lot about Americans.

A job to do, defines the exceptionalism that is America. Disagreeing with the thinking of the social democrats in DC and the White House, it is very unique to this country. From the very first settlers who set foot on this soil, Americans have had a job to do. The separatists who settled New England and preached Christianity to the natives talked of having, “an errand in the wilderness” and that errand to them was a task, duty, chore, mission and a job.

As Americans we tend to view the world in terms of work. Perhaps it is because in no other country has Max Weber’s Protestant work ethic taken as strong a hold. It is the central element that makes even the newest American, from whatever country, as American as someone whose family dates back to the Mayflower.

The settling of the Eastern states, establishment of state governments and building an ever expanding interconnected but free culture did not happen because of someone’s grand dream, but because it was a job to do. When revolution came it was not a heroic struggle against all odds, but a job to do and get back to the real business of living as one liked. The same is true of the westward expansion in the 19th century. The wars of the 20th century were not a crusade to save the world for democracy or save the world from the Nazi, but a job to do and return to the real world. It is the reason that Americans are so deadly in battle.

As a people we are not excessively motivated to war by patriotic songs, flag waving, speeches or appeals to defend the homeland. Oh, we have many who are inspired in such manner, but that seldom lasts beyond the first contact with the enemy. By and large our young men and women view combat in the way a mason views building a wall, brick by brick a job to do a task to be done and return home. It is the reason that Americans and empire do not go together well. Few Americans can conceive of a better place to live, raise a family or be buried and that cultural ideal is well placed.

We have lost some of that attitude over the last 50 years, but it does not take a taskmaster to make Americans work, or some grand propaganda from DC. The applied attitude that Americans take to war, as work to be done means that as a culture we are poor haters. Other cultures bear grudges for generations, the conflicts in the Balkans bear witness to this, and Americans pass it off. There are still hard feelings about the War of Northern Invasion, but Yankees and Rebs unite under one flag, and one Constitution. Our closest allies, Japan and Germany, were our bitterest enemies. Perhaps if the social democrat agenda continues we will find the capacity to hate as much as the rest of the world. I hope not, for it will be a sign of the corrosion of our culture. • (1527 views)

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3 Responses to A Job to Do

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The wars of the 20th century were not a crusade to save the world for democracy or save the world from the Nazi, but a job to do and return to the real world. It is the reason that Americans are so deadly in battle.

    Well, I beg to differ. We certainly had a job to do. Now, name the job and don’t just stop at the word “job.” It will get you to, in part, saving the world from the Nazis, the Italian Fascists, and Imperial Japan. Had we not been able to define the job, we couldn’t have done it.

    And we took on that job in the first place, not because we were trying to remake the world, per se. We took it on to protect our own world wherein the raison d’être of Americans is to be doing jobs, not slinging fascist ideology, not existing as a mere cog of the state (a place where “Progressives” and other collectivist dimwits are leading us).

    True, any soldier or civilian in the hierarchy of a wartime government will have a specific “job to do.” But that overall job remains.

    As a people we are not excessively motivated to war by patriotic songs, flag waving, speeches or appeals to defend the homeland.

    We aren’t anymore, that’s for sure. But we ought to be. Patriotism is a good thing. It just depends what one is being patriotic about.

    But I get your overall point about work. Work is what makes a man. Men, in particular, find their sense of themselves through their work. That is why it is so bizarre and corrupting to have government giving out money to people so they don’t have to work. Even worse (one leading to the other, of course) is the poisonous ideas coming from the Left and Democrats that it’s government’s job to take care of them, that it’s government’s job to create jobs.

    Now every patriotic American has a job to do, and that is ousting every one of these liberals out of office, state, local, and federal. Steve is indeed right about the idea of having a job to do. And that job should never be to mooch off of government. Work — any honest work — is noble and character-building.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I suspect the reason Americans get on with the job is that they believe one can get ahead by one’s own merits. Polls have found a majority still believe that here (and the increasing exceptions probably help explain the increasing attraction of the life of Julia — or Pajama Boy). Elsewhere, in contrast, most people think that success is determined by the favor of others (which is the system liberals seek to create here).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Ditto. Both Pajama Boy and crony capitalism are two sides of the same counterfeit coin. One’s private affairs (or what should be private) are interwoven with, and dependent upon, government.

      Conservatives want to live in a land where one’s success is determined by oneself, not the favor of the government. And that means (careful, Pajama Boy….this may come as a shock to your delicate system) that failure is an inherent part of this process as well. That’s life.

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