Morlock Warriors, Eloi Citizens?

If you haven’t already, read the exchange going on in the comments section of the post below on Kaplan, Tocqueville, and the future of civil-military relations.

After having done so myself, I think perhaps Jim Rockford and Freddie can both be right at the same time:

Rockford: Except Tocqueville is wrong. What is likely (and is already happening) is that the Military will be filled with SMARTER people. The Armed Services use what is essentially an IQ test to admit candidates. What journalists, entertainers, etc. don’t get is that while anyone can and will (eventually) do their job the way say, IT has been outsourced or H1-B Visa’d, the military requires (mostly men) who can adapt quickly to extremely stressful environments and improvise to accomplish the mission.

Freddie: Except that they keep lowering the bar for those IQ tests. The number of inferior candidates entering the military grows and grows, because of the unwillingness for soldiers to fight in an unpopular war, and the consistent or escalating need for troops. Whatever deductive reasons you can think of for the military to be growing more intelligent, we have empirical data demonstrating the opposite.

Several conflicting mechanisms seem to be at work. On one hand, the kind of smarts in question seems to be deviating pretty firmly from the kind of smarts we privilege in civilian life. But on the other Tocqueville would remind us that creative, practical problem solving is hardwired into American habit. If we follow the yellow brick road to his dystopia of inwardness and quietude, we’d find that democratic intelligence would be much more likely a military preserve.