Yes, obviously

Military chiefs encourage a “laddish culture” in the army because soldiers have to go and fight the enemy, the outgoing head of the armed forces has said.

The army is that little bit – lots maybe – different. In that it really is all about “unit cohesion”. Ghastly phrase but there it is. Folks just won’t march toward machine guns unless there’s some pressing reason why they should. Having the NKVD behind them shooting those who retreat is one management technique. Another is having that unit cohesion. I’m not going to let down my mates. Or even, I couldn’t deal with the social shame of having done so.

It’s all about ingroup and outgroup. And another name for men creating an ingroup is “laddish”.

Amazing that we’ve ended up with a body politic too stupid to understand what every other society has known since phalanx was the cutting edge of military technology.

15 thoughts on “Yes, obviously”

  1. But they did disband the Pal’s Brigades. Hundreds of telegrams from the MoD arriving in the same town on the same day was bad for the home front.

  2. The outgoing head?

    He kept very quiet about it when he was actually in post, didn’t he? I wonder how we can instil courage in the senior ranks before they collect their pension…

  3. Not sure if you necessarily want soldiers marching towards machine guns these days.
    “I’m not going to let down my mates. Or even, I couldn’t deal with the social shame of having done so.” is another form of fanaticism. And manipulatable. On the modern battle field that may be what you’re fighting & your enemy may have been better manipulated & more motivated than you.
    What’s needed is dispassionate professionalism. And hopefully, bearing in mind recent campaigns, a healthy reluctance to go fight politician’s wars can’t be won.

  4. I was listening to German comedian Henning Wehn recently and he made an interesting point that English humour is mostly banter, or looked another way, we are a banter culture.

    This works well in monoculture where everyone understands it, develops a thick skin, and gives as good as they get. Unfortunately outsiders don’t really understand it and take offence and what we get is one group thinks their having a bit of fun as a way of brining the outsider in to their group, but the outsider just sees it as racist/homophobic/sexist etc.

    When it comes to the military, and other groups that face adversity eg fire fighters, this banter culture gets a bit of black humour added as well and outsiders really have difficulty with that culture.

    To be fair I have seen banter culture break down in a cohesive unit when some goes a bit too far, but the unit is normally quite good at sorting it out.

    (I love his joke about why his grandfather crossed the road – to invade France.)

  5. Folks just won’t march toward machine guns unless there’s some pressing reason why they should.

    Yarp. Military stuff is actually fucking horrible even in peacetime, with shit pay, getting up at the crack of dawn, being cold, being beasted by red-faced corporals from NornIron, etc. etc. It just gets worse when you’re in a situation where you’re possibly going to end up with your face melted off like that Falklands guy.

    A lot of the historical attempts to build an esprit de corps are also about tricking young men into being willing to follow orders by making it seem glamorous somehow. The idea that you’ll prove your manliness as a warrior, that people will respect your cool uniform, birds will want to shag you, and that you might even get a cheap metal trinket if you risk your life egregiously enough in whatever mongtarded conflict we’ve followed the Yanks into lately.

    All bullshit, of course.

    But it’s hard to sell that bullshit, and maybe impossible, when you go the Police Academy route and decide that it’s Very Important to have lots of weaker, smaller, less aggressive soldiers who can’t piss standing up.

    Which is good. The British armed forces haven’t fought in defence of British people or British territory since 1982, tho they’ve fought in many conflicts since that are entirely destructive to our interests. Murdering hordes of brown people in shithole countries and causing massive migrations to Western Europe is not a good or useful objective. Afghanistan was not only a total farce, it was a predictable one. Everybody knew it was a horrible waste of lives and money, TPTB just didn’t care.

    The ‘British’ armed forces are now a huge liability to the country they purport to protect. A poorly paid mercenary arm of a Clown World ruled by grinning sociopathic liars who don’t even believe in countries. Conservatives, because they are incapable of learning, won’t get this, but there’s nothing about them that’s worth saving. The best thing that could happen to them is ignominious defeat and then total abolition.

  6. Amazing that we’ve ended up with a body politic too stupid to understand what every other society has known since phalanx was the cutting edge of military technology.

    The problem is, to the “body politic” the enemy isn’t the jihadi or commie in Foreign. It’s us. Emasculating the army is a feature, not a bug.

  7. ” Another is having that unit cohesion. I’m not going to let down my mates. Or even, I couldn’t deal with the social shame of having done so.”
    We’ve had government manipulating their publics along those sort of lines for the last couple of years. Oh what a wonderful result that’s been.

  8. jgh, outside contractor

    “prove your manliness as a warrior, birds will want to shag you”

    Apologies to any military peeps here, but from my outside observation of military wives it doesn’t seem that that warriorness is getting them the pick of the mating opportunities.

  9. jgh – there may be a reason as to why military bases are where they are – all the fit birds were already known to be somewhere else.

  10. They marched towards the enemy ranks when the enemy was firing muskets, not machine guns. Anyone with a grain of sense minimises the time spent exposed to machine guns etc (“Forward the Light Brigade, *charge* for the guns …”)

  11. Sorry I’m late. As far as those who join an organisation with a pretty well-known culture then moan about it, IYDLIFO applies.

  12. it doesn’t seem that that warriorness is getting them the pick of the mating opportunities.

    Depends on the service. Pilots get a lot of quite attractive totty. Naval officers tend to marry those nurses who don’t want to marry a doctor.

    But, yes, lots of gronks about. But, to bring it back to economics, you miss the point. Marrying a supermodel or millionaire investment banker might be one thing, but shacking up with a nice girl, however homely, and dropping 14 sprogs (as one military diver of my vague acquaintance did – may be more by now!) is winning in the mating race.

  13. “Apologies to any military peeps here, but from my outside observation of military wives it doesn’t seem that that warriorness is getting them the pick of the mating opportunities.”

    Not the pick, but probably better. Warriorness is one of a number of factors that attract women, along with wealth, charm, physical appearance. It’s not military life vs creating Snapchat. It’s military life vs some badly paid job like working in a takeaway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *