Our Military: “Obnoxious and disliked,” thank God! *UPDATED*

My favorite song in the musical 1776 is the song in which John Adams tries to convince several of his fellow Congressman that they, not he, should write the Declaration of Independence.  As his reason for refusing this task, he says repeatedly that he is “obnoxious and disliked,” so much so that anything coming from his pen will be rejected:

While it’s true that Adams was obnoxious and disliked, he was also greatly respected.  Although 1776 has a little too much fun with Adams’ irascible personality, it is quite accurate in the way it portrays his central role in achieving American independence.  He had a clear vision and, whether he was bullying or cajoling his fellow delegates at the Continental Congress, he was able to share that vision with them, so much so that each was willing to put his signature on a document that when written was highly treasonous and, therefore, tantamount to a death sentence for each signatory.

In other words, soft, yielding people need not apply when it comes to the hard work of advancing liberty.  I had the same thought when I read a HuffPo article saying that our American military is made up of people who (ready yourself) are not nice:

[A] bombshell new study from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that simply serving in the military can affect veterans in ways that make it hard for them to get along with friends, family, and co-workers in the civilian world.

“Military recruits are a little less warm and friendly to begin with and the military experience seems to reinforce this–as after service, men score even lower on agreeableness when compared to individuals who did not go into the military,” lead author Dr. Joshua J. Jackson, an assistant professor of psychology at the university, said in a written statement. “Interestingly, this influence appears to linger long after the soldier has re-entered the workforce or returned to college.”

The study confirms that military veterans score lower than their civilian counterparts on tests of “agreeableness.” It also indicates that the military tends to attract men who are more aggressive and more interested in competition than other men–and less concerned about the feelings of others, according to the statement.

Did it really take a “bombshell” study to tell us that manly men who don’t lift tea cups with their fingers delicately elevated in the air are the ones more likely to enter the military, a world distinguished by discipline, hierarchy, and combat?  Does anyone really think that sensitive, new-age guys who “feel your pain,” are going to be the ones in the front line in the battle for liberty?

My own interactions with the military have been characterized by something very interesting.  The guys and gals I’ve met have something that is strikingly lacking in ordinary American culture:  good manners.  To me, good manners are infinitely more agreeable than some sensitive, touchy-feely metrosexual who refuses to take out the garbage.

(What do you bet that this “bombshell” study was funded by stimulus money?)

UPDATE:  Maybe I’m wrong, but this seems apropos.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    When they say “agreeable”, they mean lacking in spine and a mind of their own. They want people who are agreeable, meaning those who will obey Leftist edicts and for the women to open their legs whenever it strikes the fancy of a Leftist elite.

    In the military, there’s a term for people without spines. Many terms in fact. One of them, the one that lacks vulgarity, would be “non-entity”. You are a non-entity. You don’t exist. People don’t notice you. You are so “agreeable”.

     Of course it took a study. The Left and the all powerful and wise DC centralized tyrannical government needed someone to pay off in return for favors rendered. 

  • Tonestaple

    What kind of a trait is “agreeableness”?  Why is it desired?  It sounds a lot like being a pushover to me so I can see why some sort of silly academic might think it a virtue, but no sane person would.  The more I think about it, the more I think it’s downright un-American.  We’re supposed to be stubborn and independent; it’s how we got to be a country. 

    As to 1776, my favorite is the opening number (John Adams, of course):

    Good God!
    I do believe you’ve laid a curse on North America,
    A curse which we here now rehearse in Philadelphia.
    A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere,
    Or a cataclysmic earthquake I’d accept with some despair.
    But no, you sent us Congress.
    Good God, Sir, was that fair?

  • roylofquist

    I served – a long time ago. The first thing you learn in the military is “no excuse, sir”. Man up or you’re going to get people killed. It does tend to make it a bit harder to get along with some people.

  • jj

    Where the hell do you go to take an ‘agreeableness’ test?  Question two – why would you?  I personally would love it if the military were even half the sons-of-bitches they’re commonly depicted as by the democrat party, the government-controlled ‘press,’ and the Muslim apologists.

  • Jose

    I thought everyone knew the military gave one the opportunity to travel the world, meet interesting people, and kill them.
    The study defines agreeableness as “a dimension of personality that influences our ability to be pleasant and accommodating in social situations.”
    I think that means shmoozing.

    Now that I have joined the ranks of military retirees, I will agree that many veterans do rate lower on the shmoozability scale. 
    When James Malloy wrote Dress For Success he researched how people perceive others based on their dress and appearance.  Invariably people responded more favorably to a man in suit and tie, no matter where they were from, or their social/economic background.   The was, however, one group that was the exception to this rule – military retirees.  They simply did not respond to a suit and tie as favorably as everyone else, and Malloy could never understand why.  I don’t pretend to know the answer either, but I’ll bet there is a correlation to shmoozing in there somewhere.


  • roylofquist


    I only served 3 years but I’d like to take a shot at that. Having absolutely no fashion sense whatsoever,  I adopted “Dress for Success” as my guide. It worked. On others, but not on me. I always viewed it as a costume and assumed it was the same for others. All it took was some money to look like everybody else.

    The uniform, in contrast, is earned. It means that you demonstrated competence both physically and mentally for others to trust you with their lives. You paid your dues in coin more precious than mere lucre.