America’s Fitness Plan

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Post by Conrad Smith

As an extension of an earlier classroom conversation, I found it interesting to compare the spending and attention of the United States government to the regimen of a body builder. In doing so, I hope that this countries spending and all countries for that matter, can be looked upon more critically and generate new ideas for money distribution. According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, in the 2009 fiscal year, the United States government spent 23 percent of its budget on defense, 20 percent on social security, and 19 percent on medicare and medicaid. The other 38 perfect is used on none specific government needs. The government spends its highest percentage of money on defense, yet our military is arguably one of the most powerful and well equipped in the world. We posses more nuclear missiles than it would take to destroy the world over several times. Yet the government continues to spend itself in defense after defense that our government does not necessarily need. The day where physical force is the most effective means of defending the country are drawing to an end. The government should consider defending itself with more effective means. The days of cold wars are beginning. It won’t just be an economic race to build bigger armies, but to better education, and better societal health.

Consider the body builder. If he only exercises his muscles, will he not die of a heart attack for lack of taking care of his body? The body builder has to take into account the balance of his strength, with endurance, healthy diet, education, and creativity.  Some of the greatest warriors to survive and best battles won were not won by sheer strength alone, but by an understanding of balance. Great warriors do not survive simply by becoming stronger than their opponent physically. To win in a one on one battle, one must be more balanced than the opponent. Most importantly, a weaker opponent, perhaps with less endurance, will most likely win if he is smarter and more experienced in battle than a stronger less experienced warrior. Great battles can be easily won, and have been, by a superior use of knowledge and tactics over brute strength. Take for example the myth of the renowned swordsman Musashi. The man killed so many in tournaments that he began searching for a new challenge. After many battles he soon realized that he didn’t need to kill his opponent to beat him. With a superior knowledge of tactics and battle experience, Musashi could simply move out of the way of his opponent’s sword. He became so good at it that his opponents conceded admitting that it was impossible to hit him.

It’s high time the United States of America and all countries in the world embrace a new form of warfare. It is not sheer strength that wins battles, in fact sheer strength often looses battles when knowledge and innovation is involved. The United States has plenty of weapons. Let them now build an army of educated well fed healthy citizens with pride in their country and visions to innovate the future. The United States is doomed to die of a heart attack, or worse, if it does not begin focusing on the education and well being of the citizens rather than just defending them. A body builder is not just muscles, he is a brain and a heart.


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