On Friday, November 11, 2016, the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) sponsored at Hamilton College the Fourth Annual Josiah Bunting III Veterans Day Lecture. Hamilton alumnae Dr. Janice Hauge, former student of AHI Executive Director Robert Paquette, spoke on “Gender Roles in the Military.” The lecture preceded a Leadership Dinner in the Presidential Room of AHI headquarters in the village of Clinton, New York. Leadership Dinners provide students with an opportunity to engage distinguished speakers, faculty, and other invited guests in discussions of a prescribed reading over a catered meal.

Dr. Janice Hauge

The AHI inaugurated the lecture series in 2013 in honor of Lt. General Josiah Bunting III, a charter member of the AHI’s board of directors and a decorated soldier and accomplished scholar. He received numerous decorations, including a Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, and Vietnam Honor Medal during active duty with the United States Army in Vietnam. General Bunting also made his mark as a history professor, college president, superintendent of Virginia Military Institute (from which he graduated), and author of four novels, including the prize-winning Lionheads (1972), and several works of nonfiction, including a biography of Ulysses S. Grant and a major forthcoming biography of General George Marshall.

Paquette, in his introductory remarks, reminded the audience of students, faculty and community members that Veterans Day grew out of Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, at the end of World War I. Because World War I did not become the great war to end all wars, Congress, at the behest of veterans groups, amended a previous commemorative act by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans” to honor all men and women who have served their country in the military.

Paquette also noted that the Institute’s namesake, Alexander Hamilton, “excelled not only as a political thinker and financial genius, but as a military commander as well.” He led troops at the battles of Trenton and Princeton, served as Washington’s aide-de-camp, and commanded a battalion that assaulted and captured a British stronghold known as Redoubt 10 during the decisive Battle of Yorktown. Veterans Day, Paquette observed, calls upon us to “honor men, like Washington and Hamilton, and women who in the 200 plus years since the start of the American Revolution have served in America’s armed forces and shed their blood in defense of that great experiment in republican government, conceived in liberty.”

With obvious pride, Paquette then introduced his former student, Janice Hauge. She earned a B.A. in American Studies and Economics from Hamilton College, a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Florida. Paquette recalled Professor Hauge’s achievements as a college student. An outstanding scholar/athlete, she served as captain of two sports teams and received the Paul S. Langa Prize Scholarship, awarded to the Hamilton student who has “demonstrated academic excellence along with the determination, leadership, and commitment in extracurricular activities.” She also completed a 10-week leadership training course at Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia, in the summer of 1988, after meeting with a Marine Corps Officer Selection Officer during a military recruiting event on campus.

In her lecture, Hague described her time at OCS as physically and intellectually challenging but “among the most memorable” of her life. After vigorous training, each candidate was evaluated on appearance, command presence, strength, agility, coordination, endurance, intelligence, and moral and physical courage, and ultimately on the ability to lead other Marines under conditions of extreme stress. The environment was perfect, she said, “the most elite fighting force in the world, defending the greatest country in the world.” She was an honor graduate of OCS, first in her class.

Although she would have been commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduating from Hamilton and OCS, she held back because of combat restrictions. “Having gone through training with male platoons, I wanted to do what they wanted to do – what most if not all recruits wanted to do,” she said. Presented with the choice of working in a support role, or not accepting her commission, she chose the latter. She admitted that at times she regretted her decision. “However, despite completing the course among the top of my class, I did not believe I was the best person for the job of being a United States Marine,” she explained. As her level of respect for the military increased, she came to doubt whether women should have all the same opportunities as men, or that women could effectively lead men as well as men could. “I didn’t believe, she said, that it was necessary to change the rules so that I would be successful. In effect, I was a feminist’s worst nightmare.”

She added, “I was smart enough to know that military members have something special inside; something that I was pretty sure I didn’t have. . . . My belief was that as a female, I simply wasn’t the right person.” She found her path instead in “educating others on the free market, the benefits of our market system, the associated freedom that exists in our country, and our Judeo-Christian culture.”

Today, Dr. Hauge is Associate Professor, Associate Department Chairperson, and Director of Graduate Admissions, in the Department of Economics at the University of North Texas (UNT); chairman of the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference; and Senior Research Associate at the Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida. A recognized expert on the telecommunications industry, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in microeconomic theory, industrial organization, and strategic behavior. The University of North Texas has awarded her the UNT President’s Council Teaching Award.

Dr. Hauge’s experience in Officer Candidate School instilled in her a profound respect for the military—including women’s roles within it. “Women have always been ‘in’ the military,” she said, as she recounted their roles in American history, beginning with the American Revolution. In January 2013 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Army General Martin Dempsey) and the Secretary of Defense (Leon Panetta) acted to rescind the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule excluding women from assignment to units and positions whose primary mission is to engage in direct ground combat. Each branch of service was required to submit their detailed plans for the implementation of the directive to occur as expeditiously as possible, but no later than January 1, 2016.

The policy proved controversial. In 2014, Captain Lauren Serrano wrote in the Marine Corps Gazette that the goal of any policy of integration should be “ensuring that the infantry grunt units are the strongest, most powerful, best trained, and most prepared physically and mentally to fight and win.” She concluded that incorporating women into infantry units is not in the best interest of the Marine Corps or U.S. national security.

In addressing the controversy, Dr. Hauge approached the situation from an economics perspective, drawing on the work of Alfred Marshall, Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Gary Becker, and Milton Friedman to understand the gains and losses for society at large that result from calls for full gender equality. She came to the same conclusion as Serrano. Gender differences are “a physiological reality.” Ignoring them is “intellectually dishonest” and leads to the waste of “the unique talents that men and women bring to various endeavors.”

The concept of opportunity cost can be applied to the military. Employing the categories Friedman uses, Hague demonstrated that the opportunity cost to produce a female infantry member is just too great. Economics, as the study of infinite wants and finite means, the study of constrained choices, can be applied to individuals as well as governments. “It was true for me when I chose a career,” said Hague. “It was true for all military servicemen and women when they joined their service. Each gave up something.” The simple desire to serve in the infantry and the right to strive for that does not apply as it would in a business. In the military, “the mission should come first, not the individual’s career path. . . . Our military submit to their service, and put the service first for the betterment of all. In this example, our people serving where they can be of most use to the military seems the better option. In any case, this should be a decision of the military, not a social or political decision.”

“The U.S. military is the greatest military in the world,” she concluded. “They would not be so if they made decisions as haphazardly as gender discrimination models suggest. This means that the standards, rules, inclusions and exclusions that the military believe to be in their own best interest ought to be supported by our government and even more so by the citizens who are protected by that military.”

Afterward at the AHI, Dr. Hauge continued the conversation in one-on-one chats with students and community members, and then with an informal presentation after dinner. She directed her remarks to the reading assignment, chapter 4 of Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose, explaining that she chose the chapter because it explains how government funding hinders personal striving and efficiency. The discussion with students then expanded to applying free market and property right principles to other problems such as regulating pollutants, as well as to how government intervention destroys private associations.

Paquette described the purpose of educating students through such events in his introductory remarks when he stated, “Nothing could be more foolish than to think that perfect freedom is possible for human beings. But it is even more foolhardy to think that the expansive sphere of personal freedom for which the founders fought can be maintained in this or any other society without the willingness of its citizenry to be educated and vigilant in its defense.” “These events,” he added, “advance our mission of teaching students about freedom and allow them an opportunity to mingle with people who have impressive credentials and expertise. Such events allow us to fill in the blanks left open by a politically correct and vaporous curriculum on college campuses.”

“In the three classes of mine that Janice attended,” Paquette added, “she stood out in intelligence, work ethic, and character. She has already accomplished a good deal, with much more to come.” Along those same lines, Paquette thanked Alexander Hamilton Institute Undergraduate Fellows, Liz Barry and Will Utzschneider, for helping to organize the Veterans Day events.

By Mary Grabar, AHI Resident Fellow