Rome was in decline for a long time before the Barbarians were able to sack that once great Empire. I consider myself the first wave of the Barbarian horde sacking and looting the Republic.
What is the difference between an Active Duty Soldier who gets a paycheck to risk his life and a someone freeloading off the fedgov by "making art" or reciting "Cowboy Poetry" I ask in all seriousness. The military produces nothing, the very best that you can get out of military spending is an educated worker who may actually end up putting back into the system more than it took to educate him.
It isn't that I make this nation safer in any meaningful way. Your average concealed carry citizen is doing just as much if not more than I. Morally I'm taking from you, the taxpayer, and providing what exactly in return? Yes I go to war, big deal, more than half of you don't want to waste money in remote hell holes to begin with in the first place.
I'm the guy that makes foreign wars in remote hell holes possible. I'm the guy who signs up to do that job because it is easier than real work. When the economy goes south recruitment goes up, because those who are willing to do violence for money are never in that short of supply to fill the ranks of the big green machine.
Someone told me a long time ago that "When you wake up three days in a row and feel like you can't make a difference in the life of a Soldier you need to get out." And so far that hasn't happened. But for the last few years I've woken up feeling like I can't do a damn thing to help out my Nation.
At least I every morning I can wake up and say, "at least I'm not in the TSA where my job is to sexually molest young children and the disabled" and "at least I'm not in the BATFE where my job is to kill innocent civilians in multiple nations and violate the civil rights of Americans."
At best I'm a benign tumor in a terminally ill patient dieing of parasitic overload.
Yes there are lies we tell ourselves to pretend we are knights in shining armor instead of naked berserkers ripping the very flesh off the slowly dieing Republic. The Romans used Barbarians when they could, and succumbed to them when they no longer had the strength to deal with those who only deal in strength.
The looting has started, and it is in my paycheck that while the number has increased over the years has lost real value over the years. And still, all this spending that has been done on the .mil over the years is nothing to the redistribution of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Those three programs of "getting something for nothing" have done more harm to the American Republic than anything I could do. Loot what you can, while you can, right?
But then I think of my sons. And what future will they have? What can I do to position them in the best possible position of advantage for the circumstances for their life. Not all Republics collapse and rise again as something better. Most collapse into a dictatorship or worse. It is a pressing problem, one that I am exacerbating with every day served. But even if every servicemember chose to not show up tomorrow the fall would still happen, and there is nothing that any of us can do about it now.