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No, Donald Trump Wasn’t Elected Because We Ended the Military Draft

Nothing builds social cohesion like being condemned to die in a conflict you don't support, argues Damon Linker in a misguided attempt to explain Trump.

Joseph Sohm Visions of America/NewscomJoseph Sohm Visions of America/NewscomBy now, every political commentator has offered a suggestion for how Donald Trump ended up as president of these United States. Few have missed their targets as badly as Damon Linker's most recent offering, which suggests that we could have avoided President Trump if only the government had remained committed, for the past 40-plus years, to a policy that forced young Americans to die in foreign wars.

Linker, a senior correspondent at The Week, suggests that historians will ultimately trace the rise of Trump to the decline in social cohesion that began, yes, with the abolition of military conscription in 1973. Ending the draft, Linker says, was a "catalyst for some of the most pernicious tendencies in our politics" over the past few decades, leading to a rise in individualism and a decline in social togetherness.

"Only if we begin to rein in our individualism and learn to recognize once again the considerable personal and political rewards of contributing to something bigger than ourselves," he concludes.

This is utter nonsense. Almost all individuals voluntarily engage in pursuits that are "bigger than ourselves" when we find meaningful work, join a church, play on a team, form families, or volunteer for military service. The key difference, of course, is that individuals choose to do those things.

Suggesting that people are incapable of recognizing the importance of self-sacrifice or the value of a strong community without being forced into the ranks of the military under the threat of jail time is an astoundingly misguided understanding of how human beings operate.

Let's get the obvious, and most important, point out of the way first. The draft is immoral. It requires that individuals sacrifice their lives as means to political and geopolitical ends that they may not support and have no reason to give their lives for. Milton Friedman was absolutely right when he said that the draft was a form of slavery (and he considered ending military conscription in America to be his greatest policy achievement).

But Linker doesn't appear to be making an argument about the morality of the draft. He's actually trying to make some sort of an appeal for bringing back the draft as a form of social engineering. If that's not more appalling than using the draft for the purpose that it was originally conceived—as a way to feed human beings into the destructive gristmill of war, possibly against their will—then it is certainly pretty close.

Even if you buy Linker's idea that it's okay to conscript your fellow human beings into a form of militarized slavery in order to build a cohesive society, the argument still falls apart on a practical level.

That's because the claim that the draft itself was somehow responsible for maintaining societal cohesion independent of other cultural, social, or political factors—"nothing builds social cohesion like a call for shared sacrifice," Linker writes—ignores the actual reality of the 33 years, from 1940 through 1973, when military conscription was in use.

Suggesting that bringing back military conscription will restore the level of social cohesion that America enjoyed during the 1940s and 1950s imbues the draft with an unrealistic, outsized role in the culture of those decades. It was one factor of many. Reinstituting the draft today would no more recreate the cultural and social landscape of the 1950s than telling the NHS to get to work on resurrecting the rotting corpse of Glenn Miller or creating a national program to subsidize "big band" music would.

Even if you could bring back all the elements of that supposedly more cohesive American society of the 1940s and 1950s, would you want to?

That era in America was, in part, the result of governmental policies only slightly less noxious than the draft itself. I'm speaking, of course, about the legal segregation of African Americans, and the laws that prohibited interracial and homosexual relationships, along a whole litany of cultural mores that we've cast-off in the intervening years. Those changes have done far more to make America more diverse, and therefore less socially cohesive, than abolishing the draft did, but they've also allowed individuals to live more free lives. I'd say that trade-off was worth it.

Give Linker credit for one thing, though. He correctly identifies the lack of a draft with the lack of a robust anti-war movement in the United States. "For all the opposition occasionally voiced by pundits in response to the brief and largely successful Persian Gulf War, the interminable war in Afghanistan, and the disastrous Iraq War (not to mention the numerous smaller military engagements pursued by presidents over the past 40 years), we've seen no sustained widespread expression of anti-war sentiment since the early 1970s," he writes, "no doubt in part because the vast majority of Americans know they will never be compelled to serve in the armed forces. It's hard to get too worked up about a war if it never directly touches your own life or the lives of your friends and family."

I agree that there would be more opposition to America's current foreign policy if there were a military draft. Still, reinstating the draft is not worth it; two wrongs don't make a right.

Linker actually undercuts his own argument here. There's little reason to believe that reinstating the draft would recreate that supposedly utopian cohesiveness of 1950s America and every reason to think that it would cause uprisings and protests along the lines of those that ultimately killed conscription in the 1960s and 1970s. In the already heated political environment of today, that would hardly create the cohesion he's seeking.

Besides, there is broad political opposition to the state of constant war, even if it's not as vocal or as explosive as it was in the late 1960s. The 2016 election—the very result of which Linker somehow believes was influenced by the lack of a military draft—was the third consecutive presidential election in which the winner was the more anti-war (or at least less interventionist) major party candidate. If anything, the existence of a draft might only have served to push more voters to Trump's side in the most recent presidential race – or perhaps it would have required Democrats to nominate a candidate who was not quite so interested in using American troops abroad.

Linker's appeal to social cohesion also ignores the reality of how the draft worked—or, rather, how it worked for those who were rich and well-connected enough to avoid it.

Far from being an egalitarian practice of we-are-all-in-this-together-ism, military conscription was a system riddled with loopholes. More than 58,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam, but Donald Trump was lucky enough to be diagnosed with "bone spurs" that kept him out of the war.

It's not the lack of a draft that gave us President Trump; rather, it is special privileges like the one granted to Trump that, in part, brought down the draft.

The idea that military conscription is some sort of secret sauce for a cohesive society—or, as Linker suggests, that the lack of a draft is somehow responsible for the social and political upheaval that produced President Trump—makes sense only if you ignore the historical, political, and moral implications of the suggestion.

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  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Christ, what an asshole.

  • Jima||

    So this long article is basically a long piece that can be summarized as "Damon Linker is a dumbass." OK, got it. Thanks for clearing that up. It's insightful articles like this that keep us coming back.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    That's every article in everything on every topic. "X is a dumbass"

  • Raven Nation||

  • Number 7||

    yeah, doesn't this article feel like a really long rebuttal to a really long Tony post?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Obama's track record from '09 through '12 made him the "less interventionist" candidate...how? Did you willfully ignore what he did in his first term?

    American's tolerance for interventionism has less to do with there being no draft then with every school history textbook suggesting that Workd War II occurred because the USA refused to adhere to Wilson's vision and participate in th e League of Nations and became isolationist. The ending of the Vietnam War was the aberration, not the rule. The US only had a peacetime draft for an exceedingly short time in its history.

    There are certain ideligical bent that has always had a great nostalgia for the political climate of WWII and entertain hopes of recapturing it permanently. These are not the most freedom minded folk.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It feels like there is few examples of our weird brainwashing then the intense nostalgia we have for one of the greatest events of human violence in the history of mankind.

  • Mickey Rat||

    There are those that loved the sense of existential crisis from the war that gave Roosevelt's government free reign to order the country as it pleased.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Perhaps its that. But I think it is that and more as the love seems much more widespread then any one specific thing.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    There was and still is a heroism to going over there and fighting the greatest evil the world has ever known. After Pearl Harbor, even with the draft people were voluntarily signing up to fight. So there definitely was a form of "social cohesion" during that time in the form of extreme nationalism. Perhaps there's also nostalgia for an age when "men were men", AKA they were forced to kill other people against their will, plus the whole Rosie the Riveter thing for women. And it's seen as a success for American interventionism and something we can always look back on as a blueprint for how to confront evil in the world. It's no coincidence that while the left is calling everyone they disagree with Nazis, the neocons are out there calling Assad and Putin the equivalent to Hitler, and calling us noninterventionists the new Charles Lindberghs

  • SIV||

    "The greatest evil the world has ever known" were our commie allies in both theaters.

  • DenverJ||

    Meh, I don't know. The Nazis were pretty bad. Being less evil than Hitler may not be a very high bar, but...

  • Charles Easterly||

    ChipToBeSquare,

    I think that you have raised some valid points here.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Comments from people from that era included: volunteering during WWII was patriotic, everyone was signing up, medical deferments caused some suicides, people were legitimately scared of the Japanese attacking the USA, and REVENGE.

    Even the American military was unsure if Japan could stage a real invasion of the USA. In fact they did in the Aleutian Islands and tried at Midway. The Japanese controlled much of the western and central Pacific Ocean.

  • Ron||

    the left finally has realized the power of war as a mode of getting people to willfully get their government to control every aspect of their lives. When you look at WWII the government controlled all corporations activities and limited food and gas supplies and even travel of the common people. A Climate Warmist wet dream come true.
    this is why Hillary and the Media were creating the buildup to war with Russia before the commoners failed to elect her

  • Chili Dogg||

    Reminds me of an interview with Paul Ehrlich about the environment and climate change a couple years ago on NPR (I think). He said we need to get on a "war footing" to deal with the issue, and I seem to remember him invoking how the US did so in the 1940's to win WWII. The interviewer, to his credit, pointed out that Ehrlich was wrong before, and what if we put the whole country and economy on a war footing and he's wrong again? Ehrlich tossed out the offhand comment that predicting the future is difficult, effectively undercutting his credibility with his own words. The disconnect is strong with this one.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Another horrific idea is the idea that the war somehow brought us out of the Great Depression. Robert Higgs does a great job dismantling this, but putting it simply: how the hell do bombs that produce no value outside of death and destruction actually benefit the economy?

    I think it's also funny how Wilson's spot among presidential rankings has taken a hit in recent years, but it's due to him being a racist rather than a critical look at the horrific outcomes of his foreign policy

  • SIV||

    The progressive establishment defended Wilson from attacks by their blind squirrel radicals of color as fiercely as the Kochtopus defended economist James M Buchanan.

  • Sevo||

    ChipToBeSquare|8.8.17 @ 7:30PM|#
    "Another horrific idea is the idea that the war somehow brought us out of the Great Depression. Robert Higgs does a great job dismantling this, but putting it simply: how the hell do bombs that produce no value outside of death and destruction actually benefit the economy?"

    You can see clearly that the highest degree of technology and materials go to making weapons. Which are then destroyed in use, resulting in an actual negative value in that the refuse must be removed.
    I did not finish reading this book: The Economics of World War II ( https://www.amazon.com/ Economics-World-War- International-
    Macroeconomic/dp/0521785030 )
    It is less a 'book' than a collection of essays, each showing the post-war result to be an affirmation of Keynesian economics and all accepting Keynesian economics as the distribution of funds, and never the recovery of same in reducing taxes in prosperous times. Pathetic.
    Suggest "Wages of Destruction" (Tooze) and "Post War" (Judt) for reviews of war-time costs and the actual results. Judt in particular; a lefty admitting the Euros can't afford what they've bought.
    (Screw Amazon and Reason for the non-self-shortening links. Yes, I know I could do it; I could also mine coal to heat the house. Fuck both of you!)

  • swampwiz||

    It benefits the economy for the same reason that helicoptering money works.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The New Deal alphabet programs put many people to work during the Great Depression but this welfare failed to bring the USA out of it.

    WWII employed nearly every American. Everyone had some kind of money in their pocket with national debt and high taxes paying for it. During the Great Depression most people had only lint in their pockets.

    It also caused workers to move locations for the war effort and leave farms. These workers gain vast manufacturing skills.

    Americans became better educated by the military and traveled which can give people a sense of hope and desire for better lives. Before that many American lived on farms and school was not a priority barely scrapping together livings.

  • Leo Kovalensky||

    We fight wars to defeat enemies, not to bolster economies. To even think that they accomplish the latter is a fallacy. The war machine would have been better off, economically speaking, creating products that improve the lives of their customers. You could probably argue that just an influx of cash into the economy the size of the the WWII budget would have gone much further to improving the economy.

    There's no doubt that US involvement in WWII was needed, and that it helped to advance manufacturing; but to spin war as an economic tool is dangerous (as Eisenhower correctly pointed out). War as an economic tool is also a pretty good description of US foreign policy in the 20th and 21st centuries.

  • ||

    WWII employed nearly every American. Everyone had some kind of money in their pocket with national debt and high taxes paying for it...

    Americans became better educated by the military and traveled which can give people a sense of hope and desire for better lives.

    Do you have even passing familiarity with the concept of opportunity costs?

  • Ron||

    A lot of people don't realize that the allied nations ended up owing the U.S. for all the "Help" we provided in materials in WWII. their paying us back that debt was what kept America afloat through the 50's and early 60's.

  • Agammamon||

    I think you misunderstand - he's saying that Obama, Trump *campaigned* on being less interventionist. They got elected in part by claiming to be less willing to send people to die in foreign adventures than their predecessors.

    Not that they actually lived up to that promise.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I am saying in 2012 Obama had a track record and you had to ignore that record to buy into whatever rhetoric he was spewing.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Then you had to compare that record to Romney's campaign rhetoric.

  • Calidissident||

    As MJGreen said, you're missing the point that this in comparison to the men he was running against. Boehm isn't saying Obama was some great anti-war, non-interventionist President (or candidate), just that in comparison to Romney (and McCain) he wasn't as pro-war as they were. I'm sure he also doesn't think Trump is anti-war, just that he in some ways ran a campaign that was less interventionist than Clinton's (though he was all over the place at different times).

  • Mickey Rat||

    I do not buy that Romney was especially warlike compared to Obama's record.

  • Calidissident||

    Perhaps not drastically so, but he was undeniably more hawkish than Obama was on Russia and Iran. I can't recall their exact positions on Syria in comparison at the time.

    Sorry for the late reply.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    This is a point some libertarians miss. Obama bombed 7 out of the maybe 10 countries that McCain would have bombed. It was a horrific outcome that contradicted his candidacy and destroyed the "antiwar left", but McCain probably would have caused even more destruction. The world has a little less death and destruction in it because John McCain lost to Obama. Romney was pretty similar, especially when you remember how early he was beating the war drums on Russia

    That's not to say we should have voted for Obama, it's just a reminder that the neocons were absolutely horrific, and that whoever you vote for, you're still getting like 70% John McCain at the minimum. And Trump is probably giving us more to like than Hillary would have, but it's important to note he's ramped up our bombing efforts in a way that civilian casualties have climbed immensely

  • Chili Dogg||

    Pop Quiz! More American soldiers died in Afghanistan under which President, Bush or Obama?

  • Bubba Jones||

    Dates back to WWI. WE PLANNED IN WAR

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Obama and LBJ are the true war presidents by having the USA at war their entire term(s).

  • Chili Dogg||

    How about W having the US at war for 7+ years out of 8? Less than 100 percent doesn't count?

  • Longtobefree||

    It's a binary thing

  • gaoxiaen||

    Elvis agrees.

  • chemjeff||

    Wait, so the problem is that the US isn't collectivist enough? WTF?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Wars are great for that reason. We're all moving towards one goal. Everyone should agree with each other is the only moral absolute.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Form an orderly queue and you shall all be fed into the meat grinder in due course.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    If it takes morally abhorrent policies to produce "social cohesion", then maybe that should tell them what value "social cohesion" has as a goal

  • Sevo||

    Trump is president because the D's managed to find a candidate more gawd-awful that he was.
    Fortunately, he's managed to hit a couple of long balls, so he's proving that he is better than that miserable hag.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    And he fit in promises that people wanted to his ramblings:

    Immigration reform, tax code reform, repeal ObamaCare, etc.

  • rudehost||

    "Ending the draft, Linker says, was a "catalyst for some of the most pernicious tendencies in our politics" over the past few decades, "

    Yeah nothing ruins a country faster than the absence of military slavery.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Donald Trump was lucky enough to be diagnosed with "bone spurs" that kept him out of the war.

    I offered to show the receptionist my bone spurs. I got written up by HR.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    The draft is just the name we give to the expendables we burn together.

  • DenverJ||

    You know who else was in favor of drafting young men into the military?

  • Rich||

    Betty Grable?

  • SIV||

    Charlie Rangel?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Chaplains?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Prostitutes near military bases?

  • gaoxiaen||

  • Rich||

    "Only if we begin to rein in our individualism and learn to recognize once again the considerable personal and political rewards of contributing to something bigger than ourselves," he concludes.

    "Indeed, this is why I write for The Week.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Hail Satan

  • AlmightyJB||

    That was a really long article just to point out that someone is an idiot.

  • SIV||

    It was refreshingly free of "to be sure, the right does it too"

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    I remember greatly, the social cohesion we had during the draft years.

    Those were also the years before "Faux News" and alternative media outlets, when we all watched the same three channels on TV, and agreed pretty much on everything wholesome and decent.

    Segregation, the Cuban missile crisis, the JFK assassination, Vietnam... those were certainly the days.

  • Ron||

    yea and there was so much social cohesion that there were no protest... oh wait the protest and riots and bombings back then make todays BLM movement look like girl scouts.

    people like Linker who make such claims are blind to the history that distorts their reality

  • creech||

    The absence of a draft notwithstanding, Linker dropped out of Ithaca College in 1991 so he could join the military and participate in "something bigger" than himself, the Gulf War. Oh wait, his biography says he didn't, he graduated in 1991 and went on to grad school, not the U.S. Military. Now in his forties, he's safe to lecture you about the importance of your son or nephew being sacrificed for the good of the many.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Duh!

  • Trigger Warning||

    This Linker guy is retarded.

    We still having serving generals who remember what the draft did to the military, especially the Army. A non-volunteer force is a weaker force. Disciplinary issues and low morale erode military readiness. The old chestnut "Hey, you volunteered for this, numbnuts" is actually pretty effective at getting noobs to reconsider their whining.

    I don't know Linker's work at all. He sounds like a gigantic asshole. Did he serve himself, or is he a pink, soft, and oily word-warrior who would not even considering bloodying his hands?

    Not that service would validate the opinion. I seem to remember McCain saying much the same thing, but maybe without the draft part. Military service is good because it teaches selflessness! Do it!

    Military service can teach a person how to be quiet, listen, tolerate tedium and discomfort, and to work hard. But it can also get you maimed, killed, captured and tortured, and leave you with various mental health issues. It should always be voluntary.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Not only that but who would you rather have protecting your back- someone who wants to be the best and volunteered or someone who does not want to be there and was forced to serve?

  • Trigger Warning||

    Definitely the latter, although nearly two decades in Shitholistan plus BO's administration has the Army in a sorry, worn, exhausted condition.

  • gaoxiaen||

    It can also teach you that you hate the US gov't.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Many think that the evil of conscription chiefly obtains from the fact that it slavery that might just get you killed.

    It's worse than that: conscription is slavery that forces its victims to murder others.

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    Like Montezuma said, nothing brings a society together like sacrifice.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "Donald Trump was lucky enough to be diagnosed with "bone spurs" that kept him out of the war.
    It's not the lack of a draft that gave us President Trump; rather, it is special privileges like the one granted to Trump that, in part, brought down the draft.

    Medical deferments are "special privileges" now?

    W. Bush accepting military service after several college deferments and then was "accepted" into the National Guard, via political connections, to avoid Vietnam is a special privilege.

    John Kerry accepting military service after several college deferments, becoming a reserve Naval officer, and volunteering to command a riverine patrol boat is special privilege.

    Bill Clinton dodged the draft with various schemes to delay being inducted and fled to England to be later pardoned by Carter is special privilege.

  • Chili Dogg||

    Factoid: Kerry spent 3 months in Vietnam.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Suggesting that bringing back military conscription will restore the level of social cohesion that America enjoyed during the 1940s and 1950s imbues the draft with an unrealistic, outsized role in the culture of those decades."

    The idea that there was some super duper social cohesion during WW II is unrealistic in the first place.

    Take a look at the history of labor union strikes at defense plants that occurred during all of the war years.

  • QuadGunner||

    One thing I've always believed is that if we still had a draft, we would have much less of an anti-gun coalition. Gun grabbers are deathly afraid of guns because the majority of them have never even touched one. A few weeks with a rifle and a sidearm might take the snake out of their panties.

  • Trigger Warning||

    A snake in one's panties is no longer prevents one from getting into the thick of things.

  • Longtobefree||

    Uh, the gun grabbers are not afraid of guns. They are afraid of guns in the hands of those they wish to oppress.
    You may notice that lots of those who oppose 'gun violence' have rather large protective details, armed with guns.
    I am not aware of a single proponent of gun control who wants the police forces disarmed. None want to outlaw security firms. Guns in the hands of those the left can give orders are just fine. It is guns in the hands of those the left cannot order that are 'the problem'.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Yep.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    LOL I became a libertarian because of what I learned in the military. Experiencing the stupidity of your rulers directly (as opposed to merely reading about it) tends to give one a healthy skepticism.

  • Bra Ket||

    This is utter nonsense. Almost all individuals voluntarily engage in pursuits that are "bigger than ourselves" when we find meaningful work, join a church, play on a team, form families, or volunteer for military service.

    Way to exclude libertarians.

  • Chili Dogg||

    Hey, I play on a kickball team! That counts, doesn't it?

  • Longtobefree||

    Depends on whose balls you kick.
    You must remember to kick the balls of 'men' who don't have them as well as those who do.

  • ||

    Let's get the obvious, and most important, point out of the way first. The draft is immoral.

    How about another obvious, and arguably more important point: historically American wars have been fought by men. To the best of my knowledge women have never been conscripted in the United States. The draft is doubly immoral.

  • Longtobefree||

    Quite correct. The selective service is in violation of who know how many non-discrimination laws. It is sexist, non ADA compliant, and so on.

  • Ron||

    I think Linker and others of his ilk are looking for a way to force a false social cohesion much like we saw in communist China during the cultural revolution. its another form of silencing those they disagree with

  • carl jacobs||

    The US doesn't have a military draft because of the force multiplier effect of technology, the large population base of the US, and the relative remoteness of its geography. If you look at (say) Finland, you will find near universal service because that state does not enjoy the benefit of those advantages. If the US faced an existential crisis it would not hesitate to reimpose the draft. Neither should it. Military service is not slavery. It is an obligation of citizenship.

    It is of course currently true that the US military prefers an AVF and for good reasons. This means that many can free ride on the service of others. But let's not pretend there is anything noble in it. " 'Please to walk in front, sir,' when there's trouble in the wind " may be a common attitude but it's not admirable.

  • Jickerson||

    Military service is not slavery. It is an obligation of citizenship.

    Forced military service absolutely is slavery, since you are forcing people to die and/or murder others against their will simply because they happened to be born in a particular country. If that is an "obligation of citizenship", then that country is an authoritarian hellhole that needs to become more libertarian immediately. The draft is always immoral, no matter the situation. I'd rather see the country fall than see it violate people's fundamental liberties.

  • Longtobefree||

    Destruction of the enemy in armed conflict is not murder, it is killing.
    "Thou shall not kill"
    The original text is 'murder', the premeditated taking of a human life by an individual acting on his own.
    It is just fine to take a human life in a nice civilized, governmental authorized way; wars, executions, etc.
    Reference instructions to execute people for certain crimes later in the Bible, not to mention destroy entire tribes, including men, women, children, and animals.
    (Fortunately, a lot of this was overridden by the later arrival of the Messiah.)

  • JFree||

    Military service is not slavery. It is an obligation of citizenship.

    Can't disagree more. Even though I do support reinstituting militia - along the lines of Finland and Switzerland (with a tweak). The militia idea there means they pursue an exclusively defensive foreign policy and don't go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. If they were to pursue a foreign policy like ours, opposition to it would quickly overwhelm any fool advocating it.

    And I also think there is value in having 'community' express itself upon an individual to prepare for the unexpected. Technically the only mandatory part of Switzerland's militia is the one-day orientation where their system is explained/marketed to yoots. I'm OK with that.
    Maybe it can be deemed more 'voluntary' if those who serve receive a 3% reduction in their tax obligation rather than the Swiss approach of charging everyone else a 3% surcharge if they don't serve.

    I see huge local and personal benefits of much more widespread militia service. But that ain't the same thing as conscription into a national force.

  • phandaal||

    Anyone who advocates for the draft should automatically be conscripted, regardless of age or physical and mental condition and with no further qualifiers, and sent into combat.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Yep.

  • PlaystoomuchHALO||

    Military Draft - a form of slavery so awesome that governments just can't let it go.

  • Mike d||

    Forget mandatory military service. The latest and greatest idea produced from left-winged think tanks that is slowly catching on is this concept of "civilian community service". So don't worry comrade, we won't make you do something horrible like picking up a gun and shoot people and possibly get shot in the process like your grandparents; and oh btw, he's your trashbag, go make our highway clean again.

    Combine that liberal idea with the typical rantings of an older person on how "millennials these days, they're all entitled and spoiled and have no values, and they need to stop skateboarding on my sidewalks" and you have yourself a winning political argument.

  • Trigger Warning||

    So Millennials skateboard? I thought they couldn't be bothered to put down their phones.

  • Longtobefree||

    (It gets them to a charging station faster)

  • teeduke||

    Count me among those who support mandatory national service, either in the military or in a wide variety of areas selected by the individual. I think having young people give a year or two in service to the nation is a desirable thing that will benefit both the country and the individual. As someone drafted decades ago I feel proud of my military service, as do so many who served along with me. Contrary to what some might believe, it doesn't turn people into mindless supporters of our government regardless of policy. We didn't lose our critical thinking skills or ability to make personal judgments. But it did give me an appreciation of the work governments do. It is very little to ask of anyone who benefits so greatly from rights and protections this remarkable country offers its citizens.

    I don't necessarily agree with Linker's view that the draft would result in everyone singing kumbaya or with Eric's blanket indictment of conscription. I also recognize that the loopholes in the most recent draft were unfair; They were instituted primarily because there was an oversupply of draft-age males at the time. That aside, mandatory national service is not inherently good or evil. It is neutral. How we utilize it is what counts.

  • Longtobefree||

    Contrary to what some might believe, it doesn't turn people into mindless supporters of our government regardless of policy.

    But 'national service' probably will. Reference college campuses, and add the legal authority to demand compliance to the snowflake ideology.

  • BillEverman||

    The fundamental problem with the draft is not whether or not it has magical brainwashing powers, or whether or not will "benefit" people or the nation as a whole. It's not whether you personally are proud of your forced service. The problem is that it's slavery. To use force, or the threat of force, to determine how another person will be living the next few years--or the next ten seconds--of their life is morally repugnant. We even added that to our Constitution with the Thirteenth Amendment, the one that bans slavery. It prohibits involuntary (mandatory) servitude ( a condition in which one lacks liberty especially to determine one's course of action or way of life).

    The draft is not a way to defend a free nation, and if there's no way to save a country than to conscript a slave army, then that nation should perish. If its own people won't choose to fight for it, then it's doomed anyway.

    "National service" is even worse, since there is a pretense of great stakes if there is no army to defend a nation. There is no moral justification for kidnapping people to pick up garbage along the side of the road.

  • Mark22||

    trace the rise of Trump to the decline in social cohesion

    Little known fact: Hillary originally planned on running on the slogan "Ein Land, Ein sozial-kohäsives Volk, Eine Führerin", but decided the social cohesion index for the US was too low.

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