Recruit ‘Em While They’re Young

train I don’t watch children’s television very often, but due to babysitting duties I have been watching Nicktoons and Boomerang today and I was somewhat surprised to see an advert for official HM Forces action figures. This is nothing new of course, we have had Action Man, Action Force (the UK version of G.I. Joe, eventually the name was harmonised) and so on, as well as many lesser-known versions, but the idea of ‘official’ army toys does worry me somewhat. Last year, the newspapers were reporting that a recruitment crisis within the Armed Forces had not improved, with military commanders a full two infantry battalions undermanned. Could this be a part of the strategy? The Army has recentlystarted following the US Army’s attempt at recruiting teenagers through online video games with the “Start Thinking Soldier” game and supporting advertising campaign, so it is no great stretch of the imagination to think that licensing these toys will go some way to encouraging recruitment in the future. Not that this is neccesarily a bad thing, boys do like to play with army toys, and Britain needs a military. Even a Libertarian Britain, with hopefully a version of the Posse Comitatus, would still face dangers from abroad. However, the indoctination of the young, however subtle, still sticks in my craw. There are too many examples from the past of where these sort of things turn out; Red Guards, Hitler Youth, that sort of thing.Hitler youth propaganda The West is slipping into a scary place right now, and in saner times this would just be seen as a good marketing idea, perhaps a way to earn a few pennies for our military through licensing the uniforms and equipment, but at the moment I just can’t help seeing something more sinister involved.
Hitler Youth 1 The Labour Party has recently promised to make volunteering compulsory (sic) for all youths under 19 if they win the next election, something that could easily be expanded into all sorts of areas. Once compulsory service becomes ” a normal part of growing up in Britain” it could easily become service to whatever the political whims of the day are, and given the government of this day’s willingness to pry into every corner of our lives with the excuse of in the name of terrorism and enviromentalism it is no big stretch of the imagination to see these teenagers being co-opted into spotting ‘excessive carbon users’ or their ‘radicalised’ peers. And of course, a public sick to the back teeth of ‘hoodies’ and ‘teenage gang members’ hanging around outside off-licences and parks may well welcome an initiative that gets these kids off the streets and into some sort of disciplined organisation, forgetting that it was this government who disempowered parents and teachers and took the discipline from these children in the first place. The Hitler Youth started out as a boy scout-style organisation, progressed through a compulsory labour force for the agricultural lands of the newly-conquered territories and eventually became the recruitment pool for the most fanatical of the Waffen-SS divisions all within seven years of it becoming compulsory, and don’t forget that in the meantime these children were keeping an eye on their parent’s political views at home, and their teacher’s views at school.


One response to “Recruit ‘Em While They’re Young

  1. Pingback: How did I miss this? « WH00PS

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