Maybe we need to bring back the draft
We seem to have a young man problem in the U.S. To be fair, most boys are doing just fine. Unfortunately, too many are not, and they are the ones we read about in Buffalo, Uvalde, and elsewhere.
As the father of three sons, I feel as though we need to have more outlets for young men. Many seem lost and without direction these days, as Andrew Yang wrote recently:
Here is one of the biggest problems facing America: Boys and men across all regions and ethnic groups have been failing, both absolutely and relatively, for years. This is catastrophic for our country.
The data are clear. Boys are more than twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; are five times as likely to spend time in juvenile detention; and are less likely to finish high school.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t get better when boys become adults.
Men now make up only 40.5 percent of college students.
Male community college enrollment declined by 14.7 percent in 2020 alone, compared with 6.8 percent for women.
Median wages for men have declined since 1990 in real terms. Roughly one-third of men are either unemployed or out of the workforce. More U.S. men ages 18 to 34 are now living with their parents than with romantic partners.
Mr. Yang and I do not agree on most political issues. We do agree on the sorry status of many boys in the U.S.
For years, I've felt that one of the best things for many of these boys, especially the ones growing up without fathers or positive male role models, is a little military discipline — i.e., the draft or military service. At least, they won't be lost in social media posts or hanging around by themselves. Military service would give these young men a sense of self-esteem and provide them with leadership skills.
I'm not saying military service is for all, but it has to be better than what these boys are experiencing now. As my son can tell you, he learned to respect authority and feel like he was on a mission to serve his country. To be honest, my son was not one of those problem young men whom we are talking about. Nevertheless, it helped him become a better man, something these troubled young men could use.
Draft these young men and get them out of the rut they are living in.
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Image: Arthur T. LaBar.