Tuesday, 25 March 2008
Are British School Children Cannon Fodder?
The British Army is coming under fire from some teachers in the UK because of the sophisticated recruitment methods that are being used to target school pupils.
The age at which organisations should ethically 'target' people they wish to attract is always a source of controversy. The armed forces clearly have a particular challenge, and I doubt that any of the teachers at the N.U.T. conference would deny that the British armed forces are to be admired and thanked for the dangerous and important work that they do.
Sadly too in times of extreme danger to kin and country young people are the one's who are put in the firing line and there are many examples of this such as The Folorn Hope a junior officer role prevalent in the Napoleonic wars..this wikipedia entry states that the French version were known as 'The Lost Children'. More recent examples would include the Hitler Youth, the child soldiers of Africa and so on. What seems to happening in schools is that recruiters are going after people much younger than N,N,N,Nineteen
What is interesting however is that the army 'sales effort'(due to the obvious personal implications) needs to appeal to other motivators such as Duty, Service, Action, Adventure, Team Spirit, Winning and even as Sean O'Casey explored in his plays Glory...although some of his characters hankered after this at a safe distance. Beck and Cowan in Spiral Dynamics would recognise this as tapping into very strong red and blue Value Memes or world views.
In terms of personal development some young people are naturally more likely to be un-critcial, less concerned with distant implications, have a naive sense of invulnerability and are essentially...
Gung Ho. They are therefore as a result somewhat gullible, and in line with a common thread throughout this blog I don't feel it is right to exploit the gullible as by definition they are placing trust in you. As a personal example of this naivite in action, my 17 year old son was discussing his 'life plan' which was a simple as...
Join the Royal Marines...Capture Osama Bin Laden...Retire from army and open a restaurant with the bounty money and live happily ever after!!
I am not against army recruitment of young people per se. The world is often a dangerous place and rights need defending, and to deny a human being their right of choice is not good in my book. I am against methods that are economical with information about implications and consequences. Denying people informed choice is the unethical bit. This means that that the full facts should be shared even it means that 'sales' might go down a bit.