“The U.S. military is a socialist paradise.”

So goes the headline to a provocative piece on the Daily Beast by author Jacob Siegel. The premise? The armed forces are really a petri dish where socialism has been tried and worked.

Capt. James Nardelli, part of a deploying Security Force Assistance Team with the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), fires at a target during a stress shoot training exercise at Fort Campbell's Range 40a, Feb. 16. The stress shoot training exercise conditions soldiers to effectively hit their targets in highly intense situations

Capt. James Nardelli, part of a deploying Security Force Assistance Team with the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), fires at a target during a stress shoot training exercise at Fort Campbell’s Range 40a, Feb. 16. The stress shoot training exercise conditions soldiers to effectively hit their targets in highly intense situations. 

Siegel’s examples:

1. “Every day before dawn, brave men and women of different races and backgrounds rise as one, united by a common cause. They march together in formation, kept in step by their voices joined in song. These workers leave their communal housing arrangements and go toil together “in the field.” While they are out doing their day’s labor, their young are cared for in subsidized childcare programs. If they hurt themselves on the job, they can count on universal health care. Right under your nose, on the fenced-in bases you drive past on your way to work or see on the TV news, a successful experiment in collectivization has been going on for years.”

2. “The U.S. military is a socialist paradise. Imagine a testing ground where every signature liberal program of the past century has been applied, from racial integration to single-payer health care—then add personal honor, strict hierarchy, and more guns. Like all socialist paradises, the military has been responsible for its share of bloodshed, but it has developed one of the only working models of collective living and social welfare that this country has ever known.”

3. “The military is an enormous jobs program. There are more than 2 million active duty and reserve members of the armed forces spread out between bases in more than 150 countries.”

4. “Millions of people on military bases live in communal arrangements. They participate in centrally run programs that govern the most basic and fundamental aspects of their lives, from their housing and children’s educations to where and how they shop for food.”

5. “The pay difference, and thus the lifestyle difference, between a junior troop and a senior general is a small fraction of the disparity that separates the salary of an average worker from that of a top CEO in the private sector.”

Siegel uses other examples, including a culture where the person from the poorest background can rise to success.

Read the entire thing over at the Daily Beast.

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