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February 01, 2007

Jhann Hari and Conscription

This statement:

The liberal case for the draft boils down to two arguments.

There is no "liberal" case for a draft or conscription. Just as there is no liberal case for slavery, for they are the same thing.

More, probably more illuminating, here.

February 1, 2007 in Idiotarians | Permalink


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New York's Charles Rangel came out with a similar motivation for supporting a draft last year. It was cretinous then, and it's cretinous now.

Tim adds: Hari's column is all abour Rangel.

Posted by: David Gillies | Feb 1, 2007 2:45:26 PM

As I began to appreciate from previous online debates about this, some folks - mostly men - are very keen to bring back compulsory National Service. For my part, I only just managed to escape doing it last time by going to uni and the government of the day kindly abolished the requirement shortly before I graduated.

The interesting bit is that at uni many contemporaries had opted to do their National Service before going on to uni. The first fascinating insight for me was the difference between those who had become officers and those who hadn't - which gave absolutely no insight into those who rated academically at uni.

The second valuable insight was about how those who hadn't become officers mostly rated the experience of National Service a terrible waste of time. They had many stories to tell, like about painting coal white - which wasn't quite so mindless as it seems since white coal on the outside of a heap helps to show when any gets nicked - and cutting the grass with scissors - good for character building, they say. And sweeping the desert sand in the Suez Canal Zone into neat, straight lines for a general inspection.

Posted by: Bob B | Feb 1, 2007 10:31:25 PM

As thing are (and have been, for some time), free nations are continually threatened by the aggressive designs of totalitarian autocracies; a nation or people that wants to remain free must be prepared to defend its independence. If the law in such a country requires an aliquot contribution of each individual (including a requirement that the able-bodied undergo military training and, in cases, bear arms), such a law makes no greater imposition on the freedom of the individual than that required by reality
for his own self-defense. In a world full of unswerving aggressors and enslavers, pacifism is tantamount to unconditional surrender to the most ruthless oppressors. Those who wish to remain free must be prepared, nearly continually, to offer prompt, determined, and materially effective resistance to those intent on despoliating others or depriving them of their freedom.

As the isolated and disorganized attempt at such defense on the part of each individual is doomed to failure, the only practical solution known is for such defense to be organized and coordinated by government, whose monopoly of the legitimate infliction of violence has, as its very reason for existence, not only the suppression of domestic predators but protection from external ones as well.

That the foregoing is a justification for well-considered defense budgets; the necessary taxation is, of course, obvious and, in the same wise as the imposition of service obligations, fully consistent and compatible with the personal financial and economic freedom enjoyed in a free country and in the free-market economy. To make this assertion does not, of course, serve in any way to justify confiscatory and
discriminatory taxation as practiced in all nominally free nations today under the influence of socialists styled as "progressive." Each step taken beyond those necessary to the preservation of the smooth function of the market economy against foreign or domestic aggression is a step toward the same totalitarianism whose imposition from without requires defense in the first place.

Posted by: geneberman | Feb 2, 2007 1:04:04 AM

I would happily support the draft for middle class lefties, it might force them to grow up.

Posted by: Serf | Feb 2, 2007 7:38:39 AM