"If you can't set up the equation properly, you'll never get the right answer." - every math teacher I ever had, in the days long before Common Core
" Never before has there been as much “official force” in America as there is today. It comes in many forms:Following which is an otherwise well-formed essay on a host of ills that have befallen America, and some that may. But another part of a decent classical education is knowing that opening arguments matter, and even more so when they are factually so far wrong as to be risible.
- active-duty military;
- military reserves (i.e., National Guard);
- federal law enforcement agencies;
- state police;
- local police;
- lots of federal, state, and local government employees who go about their daily business armed. "
My rebuff to that error:
Please.Gentle Reader, I have no more access to the www realities than yourselves, so let's cut to the chase:
You're much, much better than that.
Use the categories you listed, and google the active duty military strength of the US in 1945. Then as a percentage of the US population in 1945.
We are at a fraction of that level of official strength today.
In light of that, you want to restate that premise a tad, I suspect.
Had the addressee taken the few mouseclicks to do that, they would have determined that US population in 1945 was about 140M, and the number of US troops in uniform was some 16M, or about 11.5% of the entire country. Essentially 1 in 6 men of military age was in uniform in this country from 1942-1945. These are still actual facts, even for those who didn't know them beforehand, because History is Still A Thing.
But they did not do that minimal homework.
Instead, just doubled down.
No, Aesop, I stand by it. Read the sentence again, carefully this time. You'll get it on your second pass.
Riiiiiiiiight. The facts, aren't, and it must have been my mistake to misunderstand that sentence. So, let's do the math.
So, look kids, 11.5% of the US population now would be (330M x 0.115=) 38M people.
(Almost like I knew whereof I spoke, and left bread crumbs the size of baguettes to that reality in my first reply.) So you'd have to have more government force enforcers than that to be at a level we have "never" reached before.
Then, let's bear in mind that the 16M number is only the military component of that equation. It doesn't add in every cop or other enforcer, from local, state, and federal agencies, in 1945. Which only makes this worse, if someone's sole intention was to pile on.
Unfortunately, right now, we're at a fraction of that level of governmental "force" enforcers.
There are about 2.1M US military active/reserve/NG, total, and roughly 3M LEOs at all levels, best guess, without taking a week to gather all available source material. Even if we add in park rangers, dog catchers, and the SWAT team for the Department of Agriculture.
That's about 5.1M. Not 38M. Whoops.
But to sweeten the pot, I'll even round that up to an even 6M.
And then double it, to 12M, just to be sporting. And even with that rhetorical largesse, you'd still be yuuuuuugely short of that 16M troops number of actual bodies from 1945, not counting civilian "force" then, and not even 1/3 the 38M, if we wanted to look at this in equally proportional percentage of the population terms, for comparison between 1945 and 2020.
3/8. 1/3. These would be called "fractions". Justifying my earlier use of the word, with mathematical precision. Just to keep things honest here.
I posted all that information, and more, in an unpublished (as of yet, and probably ever) second response.
Are there far too many civilian agencies with guns, badges, and a wannabe SWAT/Delta Force mentality with a Paul Blart Mall Cop level of actual capability?
O Hell Yes there are.
Are there so many laws, at all levels - local, state, and federal - that the weight of them alone could be expressed as double-digit multiples of the body weight of the late Andre The Giant, to the point of nuclear megatonnage overkill in a supposedly free republic?
O Hell Yes there are.
(Hint: Those two things are the actual problem.)
But have we "never" reached the level of "official force" as we have about us today?
Mathematical logic inarguably says O Hell No. As the equation was laid out, things were much worse 70 years ago. Except they weren't.
Topic sentence shot to hell.
And the reason why, in an essay, "never use 'never' " is a pretty good rule in most cases.
The way to fix that metric to make that point would be to
1) drop military forces from that equation (because, unlike in banana republics, they aren't pertinent to the topic)
2) focus on civilian badged orcs, and the tonnage of jurisprudential effluvia that enables them
at which point you'd hit a rhetorical home run, with no Brobdingnagian factual errors to hamstring your effort.
I didn't point out the obvious error to belittle anyone, but to suggest that by eliminating the error, they might sharpen their rhetorical hatchet.
So maybe, when someone points out such a glaring factual error, and suggests a minor course correction that you might better make your point, particularly one with which we tend to otherwise agree, maybe the snippy initial response was uncalled for, and it isn't aided by what sounds to these ears like ladling on a steaming case of butthurt. (But, yet again, maybe I'll get it on the second time through, right?) This is about the factual, not the personal. Anyone who can't separate the two more readily probably needs some time on a sunny beach, AFK. Ditto anyone who thinks erasers on pencils are for other people.
Errare humanum est.