If you were drawing up plans on how to run a private members’ club, a larger society, or even a country, military life provides some good ground rules.
SELECT YOUR MEMBERS CAREFULLY AND TREAT THEM WELL
You wouldn’t want everyone in a perfect society, so not everyone can join. You’d want people who agreed with your principles. For this you need volunteers. You need people who want to be part of your society. Nobody is drafted; volunteers always prove better members. Anyone willing to live and die by the society’s code is valued. This code includes “selfless commitment.”
So long as you speak English, the Army does not discriminate; it simply picks the best people for its society. The British Army allows foreigners from Fiji, Nepal, South Africa, and the Commonwealth to join its ranks.
Ex-soldiers are treated well. Most former soldiers still visit their former camps and are encouraged to take part in events. The military pays pensions to its soldiers from the day they leave if they have served a full twenty-two-year term. So a soldier joining at eighteen can leave at the age of forty with a full pension.
GET RID OF THOSE WHO DON’T FIT
Certain medical problems will prevent your entry. Some (but not all) criminal behavior will also exclude you. Like any good society, the military understands that people make mistakes, so they offer some people a fresh start.
There are cases when the Army will get rid of people from its society. There are many reasons including using drugs which is obviously not conducive to a career where firearms are routinely used. If the military can punish or rehabilitate for minor crimes it will do so but there are some things it cannot tolerate. Working against the society in any subversive manner will see you kicked out. Taking Top Secret files home and guns off the battlefield are also big no-nos. Engaging in any behavior that erodes the values of the military will also see you out in the cold and in prison if need be.
The military used to have a system where it gave you an honorable or dishonorable discharge. If potential employers would ask why it was not honorable, you could make something up. The military changed that a few years ago; they now state the exact reason you were expelled. If it was drugs, it will say that on your record. This will prevent you from getting back in the military or any other similar society.
UPHOLD THE SAME STANDARDS FOR EVERYONE
Once the person has become a member of its society the standards must be upheld. Soldiers are routinely tested on physical capability and shooting standards. They are educated throughout their career and encouraged to go on promotion courses so they can become better and more experienced members of the society. They will then pass these lessons onto newcomers. If members do well they are rewarded. If they become troublesome they are punished.
All in all they are treated fairly and crucially to the same standards and laws. No single religion or set of beliefs is either preferred or discriminated against. If the wearing of religious symbols or clothing does not restrict the society from progressing or a soldier from doing their work, it is tolerated. The understanding has to come from both parties. The soldier must then also become flexible for the society. They must show the selfless commitment to the team over their own personal beliefs. During the time I was a practicing Muslim in the service I swapped my Christmas Leave for Ramadan. I would then stand guard on the gate over the Christmas holidays which meant little to me but everything for other soldiers.
The military does not tolerate bullying but thankfully lives in the real world where there is no faux shock to nicknames based on skin color. The people who got the most ribbing were the ginger folk; a common insult was “fox piss.” It was definitely harder being ginger than being brown. But if it starts being seen as bullying by anyone it stops straightaway. It doesn’t matter if someone is a poor soldier from the North of England or a posh officer from the South. The same rules apply for anybody.
Everything from nations to private clubs should follow these rules. It works for the military.
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