A Nation of Cowards: The Case of World War II
By Bryan Caplan
Yes, the man in the street often says he’s rather die than yield an inch to the hated enemy. But the vast majority are happy to free ride.
With my true position firmly in mind, David’s numbers actually augment my case. The Pearl Harbor bombing was ideally designed to provoke our martial sentiments. It wasn’t just an attack on American soil; it was a dastardly sneak attack. And according to David:
When World War II began for the United States on December 8, 1941, the
United States had a draft. Meanwhile, though, about 100,000 to 140,000
people a month entered the military in the first 3 months of that war.
Sounds like a lot, right? Hardly. According to the 1940 Census (table No. 11), the U.S. had 6.2 million males ages 15-19, 5.7 million males ages 20-24, and and 5.5 million ages 25-29. That’s 17.4 million men of combat age. Let’s use David’s high figure of 140k for all three months. This means that during the first three months of U.S. involvement – a period where our national mythology describes a whole generation rushing to volunteer – just 2.4% actually did. This number is so low that I’d like David to double-check his source!