Don't Draft Anybody, But if You Do, Draft Women Too!: Instapundit

A rare moment of agreement for Glenn Reynolds and Barack Obama.


Provocative column by Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, who also teaches law at University of Tennessee.

I'm against a draft in general, despite ongoing efforts by people like congressman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., to bring it back. As Robert Heinlein once said, a nation that can't defend itself without conscription doesn't deserve to survive. But that said, if we're going to have a draft, I don't see why it shouldn't apply to women, too. And I'm happy to see that President Obama agrees with me.

This leads to a rare moment of agreement for Reynolds with Barack Obama:

In today's modern society, I see no reason why men should be subjected to the draft, or to its precursor, registration, while women are not.

This puts me on the same page as President Obama, who has backed draft registration for women. Here's what Obama said in 2008: "I think that if women are registered for service — not necessarily in combat roles, and I don't agree with the draft — I think it will help to send a message to my two daughters that they've got obligations to this great country as well as boys do."

I agree. I'd do away with registration if it were up to me. And I wouldn't bring back the draft, either. But to the extent we have either, women should be just as subject as men. That's what equality means.

Whole thing here.

What do you think, readers?

NEXT: Friday A/V Club: What the Gun Debate Looked Like in 2008

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  1. Agree completely. Conscription is evil and unnecessary, but if you’re going to do it anyway it should apply equally to all genders.

    1. Yeah, but not for Obama’s reason:

      “I think it will help to send a message to my two daughters that they’ve got obligations to this great country as well as boys do.”

      Nope, they don’t.

      1. Oh man I missed that bullshit.

        1. You have an obligation to this great comments section, Hugh.

          1. Fuck that. What has the commentariat ever done for me.

              1. and deeper understanding?

              2. It’s bringing love! Get it!

            1. “I do, and I do, and I do for you kids – and THIS is the thanks I get…”

            2. Deep down in places you don’t talk about at cocktail parties, you want us on these threads. You need us on these threads. We use words like “COSMO”, “STATIST”, “SLAVER”. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent shitposting. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who posts and replies under the threaded comments that we provide, and then questions the manner in which we provide it! I would rather you just said “thank you”, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a keyboard, and start your own blog. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!

              1. 4.5/5

                1. It’s surprisingly difficult finding a lot of details to work in about commenting on a libertarian website.

            3. Ask not what the commentariat can do for you.

      2. Nope, they don’t.

        Actually, he’s kinda right. His daughters have the same obligations as their peers who identify as male (did I get that right)?

        Now, he assumes that these obligations are greater than zero, which we can (and I’m sure will) debate.

      3. Yes, Obama’s daughters do have obligations to this country. Someone from that family needs to make reparations.

        1. Ha! Sins of the father and whatnot. If we are going to have reparations, we might as well start w him.

          1. No Corruption of the Blood…

          2. You just conjured up the extremely comical image in my mind of Obama serving in the military.

    2. If the country is in a such a dire situation that it justifies conscription to get enough cannon fodder, then equality deserves as little a consideration as liberty under that circumstance*. The only thing that matters is practicality.

      * Presumption that there is a circumstance that ever justifies curtailing liberty by having a draft.

    3. If the country is in a such a dire situation that it justifies conscription to get enough cannon fodder, then equality deserves as little a consideration as liberty under that circumstance*. The only thing that matters is practicality.

      * Presumption that there is a circumstance that ever justifies curtailing liberty by having a draft.

      1. Not one I can think of…fuck slave armies with Warty’s schlong.

      2. If people won’t voluntarily aid the defense of a state, nation, society, territory or whatever, is it worth defending? I’d say no. Any institution that can’t stand on it’s own without forcing people to prop it up, doesn’t deserve to stand and should be destroyed.

    4. I’m quite ambivalent on this issue. Supporting equality before the law is a no-brainer–when the laws are just. I don’t think there’s any easy answer to whether equality before unjust laws is a greater or lesser evil.

      Let’s say a law was proposed that would repeal all drug laws–but only as they applied to white people. While it’s true that that would technically reduce the number of people who could be punished by the state for consensual activities and possibly reduce the number of individual instances of that injustice, I don’t think I could support such a law–because without that basic equality before the law, any attempt to evaluate the justness of a particular arrangement of laws will always be a farce.

    5. Do you really want a bunch of raggy, moody, gossipy and vengeful women in automatic weapons pointed at YOUR head?

      Women who didn’t want to serve in the armed forced in first place and will make your life a living bitchfest?

      Well – DO YOU?

      Be careful what you ask for boys . . . that’s all I’m saying . . .

  2. “Let’s double the number of potential slaves to the State.” Yeah, I can totally see Obama believing this.

  3. And come draft time, when parents’ daughters are being called up for a period of indentured servitude, I suspect that support for the draft would reach an all time low.

    1. Which is probably the best argument for it.

  4. Too funny. As if Top Men children would be drafted.

    1. Top. Children.

      +1 deferment

    2. Sure they would, just not in combat roles.

      Maybe they could be drafted as congressional pages or Supreme Court clerks.

    3. There is a logic to not drafting the children of people with political pull. Parents aren’t rational, and while that can result in things like us not getting into stupid wars because it might be their children getting hurt. It is just as likely they’ll pull strings to send a different unit to a military operation even if it will mean more causalities and death.

    4. Well, Al Gore was a Senator’s son. Then, an Army photographer. Then, he was a Senator. Then, VP. And after he failed at being just a P, he used his experience as a photographer and made one heck of a propaganda picture. It won a Nobel Prize and EVERYTHING.

      And we’re still living with the consequences of Al Gore being drafted today.

      Just think, if Vietnam had never happened, Al Gore would have never been an Army photographer and NO ONE would have ever heard of Global Climate Change. There would be no plastic bag bans, no green police, no mandatory recycling, no solar panels.

      Think about it.

      WAR! What is it good for?

  5. With the same logic :
    – don’t rob people, but when you do, rob everyone.
    – don’t rape people, but when you do, rape everyone.
    – etc.

    1. What do you think a government is?

      1. Government is an ideology of violence.
        Its existence doesn’t mean it should be expanded.

        1. You’ll not find me arguing with that.


    3. – don’t rob people, but when you do, rob everyone.

      Actually, I think that is a principle that governments should follow. I don’t think things would be better if only rich people or only white people had to pay taxes, for example.

  6. That’s what equality means.

    Registration isn’t what equality means, it’s faux equality. There isn’t going to be a draft so people can claim to be for this equality without paying a price. Even if it were reinstated they’d change the rules so (for example) women could opt out of combat.

  7. This is dumb as fuck. From a libertarian perspective no question is easier than this.

    If enslaving X number of people to fight in a war is wrong, then enslaving X + Y number of people is even more wrong.

    1. So if, for instance, only African American men were eligible for the draft, that would be better than the system we have now?

      1. Doing something immoral doesn’t become less immoral just because you apply it to everyone equally.

        1. Plus – women are special. Men are readily disposal to society. Women have wombs.

      2. Yes. Obviously. Because that would limit the potential draftees to only say 10 million people to kill and die needlessly in some stupid war somewhere.

        You think enslaving 150 million people is worse than enslaving 10 million?

        1. I have to say you convinced me Robbie. I still support women volunteering for combat roles they are capable of performing, but expanding a program that violates civil rights is wrong.

          1. I disagree.

            As a man, my civil rights in this respect wouldn’t be heeded at all, so why the fuck am I obligated to care about the civil rights of others (women) who have the power to vote for elected officials that would respect my rights, but chose not to?

            I see it this way: if women are drafted (and I mean in combat roles; “equality”, right?), then that reduces the need for male draftees, meaning the burden will be shared more evenly; this means I would be less likely to be drafted. Ergo, I say, if we’re going to keep the draft, expand it to women, because it means less of a burden for me.

            If everyone else is going to only consider their own (or their own group’s) rights, then I see no reason why I shouldn’t do the same. No point in being the last universalist in the world.

            Plus, once it’s applied to women, they might actually oppose the draft more vociferously. That almost worked for alimony in Florida.

        2. You know what? I think we might be having a math dispute here.

          There’s the issue of “number of people eligible for the draft,” and the not-identical issue of “number of people who actually get drafted.”

          So if the US got into World War 3 and needed an extra 1 million soldiers, it could draft 1 million men, or 500,000 men and 500,000 women. I’m saying the second option would be better (or “less bad”) even though the number of people eligible for the draft would have doubled.

          1. Why the fuck would that be better? Unless you’re talking about drafting an army of Rhonda Rousseys, that would unquestionably dilute the ability of that force — and even if you don’t give a damn about the US’ foreign policy goals, that means a hell of a lot more people (men and women alike) coming back in body bags, in particular people who didn’t want to be there in the first place.

            It is better that it doesn’t exist, but if it does the draft should not unnecessarily take on people who cannot perform the duties that they will be expected to undertake in combat. FFS, next thing will be adding children, cripples, and the elderly to the rolls For Great Justice instead of undoing the damn thing altogether.

            1. Why the fuck would that be better?

              Because it makes no sense for physical specimens like Rhonda Roussey and Britney Griner to be exempt from the draft just because they’re women, while a couch potato male (who wouldn’t last 10 seconds in a fight with RR) can get drafted.

              Maybe I was a little overambitious when I suggested a perfect 50 / 50 gender split. They could establish standards like “anybody who’s 5’1″ or shorter is exempt” or “nobody under 95 pounds gets drafted” which would weed out more women than men. But I don’t think a 100% male draft is defensible just because the average man is bigger than the average woman.

              1. It’s not just about size, but also disposition and aggressivity — and when it comes down to it, women are just not as predisposed to having the same approach as men do when it comes to violence. The research I’ve seen attempting to determine the effectiveness of women in combat seem to arrive at 3 conclusions:

                1) Some women are as or more capable than the average male recruit to perform the duties required of infantry.

                2) The vast majority are not.

                3) There currently exists no hard-and-fast weeding out index which can reliably find the women who are good at combat while also being inexpensive and uniform across the board. IOW, finding these women is difficult (and depending on what research you believe, not worth the cost of setting up).

                The combat ready:population ratio is much better for men than for women, and justifies the cost of having a weed-out system. Moreover, this issue is so politicized that certain decisions are not gonna fly even if doing otherwise reduces force effectiveness. It isn’t clear to me at all that the draft should be expanded on vague fairness grounds given these ambiguities. What, exactly, is the practical need we have which requires such a radical step towards the direction of a marginally larger and less effective force? If anything, the current military is too large rather than too small for the types of missions a libertarian foreign policy would assign it.

            2. FFS, next thing will be adding children, cripples, and the elderly to the rolls

              You know who else…?

            3. It would be better for me, as a male. And as long as group A reserves the right to say “I got mine, fuck the rest of you”, me being a member of group B, I will say the same thing.

          2. I did think about that, but that’s not how it would work. They’d just draft double the number of people if they thought they could get away with it.

            The question asked is “How many people can we draft?” not “How many people need to be drafted?”

            The people making these decisions are not smart. They care about what they can get away with and that’s it. If they could get away with 75% (or 100) tax rates they’d do it, even if it destroyed the economy because they don’t give a fuck about the economy. They care about increasing their own power as much as they can, until they can’t get away with it any more.

            I know this is Reason and we’re supposed to assume politicians are just good guys and gals like us and that they’re just a little bit misguided, doggonit, but that’s stupid so I won’t do it and neither should you.

            1. They’d just draft double the number of people if they thought they could get away with it.

              I don’t think that’s true. When there was a draft, they certainly could have drafted more people than they did.

              I know this is Reason and we’re supposed to assume politicians are just good guys and gals like us and that they’re just a little bit misguided, doggonit, but that’s stupid so I won’t do it and neither should you.


              1. I think they just didn’t think they could get away with it.

      3. If only black men were eligible for the draft, I think you’d see the calls for the return of the draft by black Congresspeople abruptly stop, and turn into vehement opposition to the draft.

        So, ending any form of fractional slavery seems like a good idea to me.

    2. This. I see no reason to double down on evil just to be politically correct.

  8. Same logic as the libertarian pro-gay marriage argument. If you are going to have the state imposing itself it has to do it equally.

    1. When I was a kid, libertarians were concerned about freedom. The people who were concerned with equality(especially for its own sake) were called Marxists.

      1. I’m just pointing out the parallels. Though in this case, I do agree with women requiring to register for the draft for the reason I stated below.

      2. Thomas Jefferson was a Marxist — before Marx?

        1. Apparently egalitarianism = Marxism

          1. Equality of Opportunity = libertarianism.

            Equality of Outcome = proggy crypto-Marxism.

            1. Neither of which is really possible because all people are not equal.

              1. I don’t think “equality of opportunity” is a good way to put it. It’s more a matter of not limiting opportunity or picking winners and losers.

        2. Thomas Jefferson was a Marxist — before Marx?

          Some modern Hamiltonians, like Michael Malice would actually consider Jefferson to be a proto-Marxist.

      3. Uh, you guys do understand the distinction between legal equality and socioeconomic equality, right?

        1. Which one do entitlements for into?

        2. Uh, yes Hugh. Legal equality is where certain groups are given special dispensation to make up for past societal harms.

          Socioeconomic equality is where compensation mandates are made so that everyone makes a minimum of $70,000 a year.

      4. I’ll be charitable and assume you are being deliberately obtuse. Equality under the law and the sort of material equality that Marxists think should be the goal are entirely different things. Equality under the law is pretty essential to freedom, even if it is not by itself a libertarian principle.

        The draft is wrong, period and selective service should just be eliminated. But if more people are potentially subject to it, there is likely to be more opposition to it being reinstated.

    2. I’d argue it is much more important to hand out punishments and injustice equally than it is to hand out government granted privileges. The more people that gain something the harder it is to eliminate. The more people who suffer, though, the easier it becomes to eliminate.

      1. Two totally separate… Oh never mind. We all know team blue are stealth libertarians.

        1. Of course, a libertarian state has no privileges to grant to anyone, so it would be a non-issue.

      2. Marriage isn’t suffering?

        1. Depends on who you’re married to.

  9. So why let some people/groups off the tax hook?

  10. I wonder what a feminist would say about this?

    1. “THAT’S NOT FUNNY!”

    2. They’re too busy addressing much more serious issues. Like sexist depictions of female characters in video games.

      1. teh horror!

        1. The Sorceress from Dragon’s Crown is far too busty! It’s totally problematic! Don’t you dare man-splain why it’s no big deal, you misogynist!

          1. The Sorceress is the only class that can create food.

            Well with tits like those I can see why.

      2. Like sexist sexualized depictions of female characters in video games.

        I’m sick of reading apologies for male sexuality. It should have been pushed back against when this shit started.

        (I know, not your intent, but it gets at something what’s been bothering me recently.)

  11. Brings 2 scences to mind very very different places:

    1. Stripes – The Cruiser

    “Thought I better join before I got drafted”


    2. Samuel I 8:10-22: Samuel’s Warning Against Kings

    he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots… He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers…


    1. That Bible – WHAT a story!

      1. Old Sam really called it.

    2. “Thought I better join before I got drafted”

      Actually, my dad did precisely that. However, he worked hard and took advantage of opportunities, retiring as a senior NCO.

  12. Equality goes both ways. If you really want it the good comes along with the bad.

    1. Of course, the punchline is that we pursue “equality” by granting special status and privileges to certain groups.

      1. That’s the only fair thing to do, you beneficiary of the hetero-patriarchal cis shitlording.

        1. Boy was ole Tommy J wrong about that whole equality thing.

    2. Equality is the lowest common denominator.

    3. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

      And I’m the gander!”

  13. Fuck this. Stop making it worse. The correct solution is to eliminate draft registration entirely.


    2. I’m wondering if there is a case to be brought to force registration of women on the same footing as men.

      I’m struggling with standing to bring the case, though.

      1. Only because you’re pre-op.

    3. But until it is eliminated, everyone must be treated equally. Or so I’ve been told on other subjects.

      1. If one of those subjects is marriage, there is zero chance that legal marriage is going to be eliminated. There is a much better chance of eliminating the draft.

        Government is entirely immoral in any case, so you really can’t argue these things entirely based on principle. There is no draft at the moment, and there is little chance that it will be reinstated any time soon. So unequal registration requirements are not causing much material injustice.
        Unequal treatment of different kinds of couples, on the other hand, was. Mostly because of how federal tax law applies to employee benefits and inheritance.

    4. Man if only either Glenn or Nick had said anything like that. But I guess they’re both just statist slavers.

    5. Might create a selective pressure against people who are willing to fight for the survival of their way of life. Anti-war ideology seems to be best suited for one’s enemies.

  14. I think I’ve heard this song before.

    “Well, ideally I’d get the government out of [marriage, taxation, draft/draft registration, etc.] but so long as government is involved let’s do it equally by [recognizing SSM, abolishing tax exemptions, making women liable to the draft, etc.]”

    So in the name of liberty, we see the government giving its seal of approval to same-sex unions, with the foreseeable (and foreseen) consequence of punishing private businesses and charities which are reluctant to go along with the new policy.

    In the name of liberty, we see people calling for tax increases, especially on the icky sky-daddy bleevers.

    And now, in the name of liberty, Reynolds will tell women they should be subject to being “…ripped from your home, friends and family, to see your life plans shattered or put on hold and to be subjected to a kind of harsh discipline that civilians never encounter ? while being placed at the risk (sometimes the near-certainty) of death at someone else’s command” – if, that is, men are subject to the same thing.

    Imprisoned by a rigid feminist ideology – Reynolds even uses the word “patriarchy” – Reynolds wants to conscript women out of a chivalrous desire to protect men from a “discrimination” which has endured for ages. But that doesn’t matter, because tradition is presumed wrong simply because it *is* tradition and because it *has* lasted for centuries. (next up – getting rid of trial by jury).

    1. Wow, I guess Reynolds must have been away from his computer, and Amanda Marcotte used his account:

      “In the old days, of course, patriarchy paid….

      “In the old days of “patriarchal privilege,” it maybe made sense to require men to put their lives on the line for their nation. But we have equality, now.”

      And the first example of equality is female voting.

      The 19th Amendment (declaring that women must be able to vote on the same terms as men) was ratified in 1920. Since that time, we’ve had three wars, and a Cold War, with male-only conscription. You can say that conscription in those instances was oppressive to the conscripted men, but you can’t say “19th amendment therefore draft women” because the history doesn’t bear it out.

  15. Oh, I get it. Two wrongs make a right. Amiright?

    1. As a man, I’ve been subjected to this shit since I came of age. It’s about time everyone else gets a taste of it.

      /Standard progressive reasoning

      1. Yep. “I don’t like the way this makes me feel, so I’m going to think of some reasoning to justify how I feel and what I want to do about it.”

  16. Even if women were to be drafted the only way to get them to fight seriously would be if the war was over shoes or something.

    1. A nice pair of shoes and a plate with only one cupcake. Of course that might eliminate both armies.

  17. Disagree.

    First, conscription should not be — especially in a nation as large and secure as our own. It’s beyond farce that we’re talking about expanding this grossly immoral and ineffective system, rather than eliminating the vestiges of it still remaining.

    Second, as a practical matter what exactly is the point of increasing our pool of potential draftees to include average and below-average women, who are physically incapable of the tasks asked of a basic infantryman? This idea might make sense for the Air Force or a variety of medical services, but if we ever used the Selective Service for any war (we shouldn’t), we would get an absolutely abysmal disaster of a conscript force — even more than is already the case with draftee forces.

    1. They’ll be subject to selective-service, but not combat duty.

      1. Then women would not be needed in the same numbers as men because the need for combat troops in numbers is about the only practical rationale for conscription.

        1. That coffee and chow line doesn’t serve itself.


  18. So it’s pointless, and it will cost money to start registering the other half of the populace, and some women will be punished for failing to register… but let’s do it anyway? Because it sounds good?

    1. Because it hits the ear like a fucking docile germ boob, MJ.

  19. Come on! It’s a capital idea!

      1. Very few humans are strictly Florida Men. And these skeletal concoctions also ride on the beaches down there coked up and drunk constantly because they can’t own a fucking car because the justice system hates animals that have space brains. So a bike and drugs and booze in front of the ocean as the waves kiss the sun and moon every end of the days is life in the grove of twisting owls.

  20. That’ll intimidate Putin!

  21. As long as you have a hired mercenary army, the state will carry out unnecessary wars to fund the careers and promotions of the war bureaucrats. With a draft, like in the Vietnam War, there was public resistances to the war.

  22. Of course, women should be required to register for the draft the same as men. The women say they are equal to men.

  23. There’s a reason women were not drafted — after the WW’s, most of Europe’s male population from 18-35 were wiped out, need to procreate somehow.

    Sorry guys, women are far more important to the survival of the species, since all it takes is one guy…… 😐

  24. No. This is an instance of putting the equality cart before the freedom horse.

  25. Drafting women doesn’t imply they need to be put into combat roles. Granted, it would present a problem of how to usefully employ a proportionate number into the roles appropriate to these women. That presents a formidable logistical problem for the equality issue. Perhaps a draft based on the ratio of roles for which women are likely to be suited? (Which would be discrimination, ie. discerning the differences that occur within reality.)

  26. Wow, Obama is capable of rational thinking

    1. ICYMI, Obama uses metal falcons with bombs hanging from their talons to kill crowds of ragheads in distant shitty places. No one that is a Democrat or Peter King sneering Republican cares tho.

  27. ICYMI, if you squeeze a fucking reason thread it sounds like a grapefruit disappearing up Ms. Twinkie McFinkleton’s ass.

  28. ICYMI, Karate girls rule.

  29. ICYMI, Notorious GKC can FUCK his UGCC up the pooper. ICYMI, posted most fucking respectfully because NOTGKC saves people all the fucking time from dying in threads.

  30. ICYMI, the fucking lines on lines in this place are like sum bitch took thor’s hammer and smashed crying rainbows into letters. And that fucking box you type your shit into has smashed rainbow tears in it but Robby Soave said that tears can’t pile up in little boxes here because he is a tank ass bitch. So picnic on, bitches, in the threads knowing dead rainbows spill all over your goddamn screens and shit but you can’t see it and fuck all. I like Soave but I would punch his nipples in their face for allowing this blatant brutalizing of rainbows and shit. Reason is an odd aquarium.

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