April 23, 2004
The Draft is Slavery

[Updates below.]

What is slavery?

  • Being forced to do what you don't want to do; especially in the form of working when others demand it.

What is the draft?
  • Being forced to join the military under threat of legal punishment.

All those stories of Representatives Charles Rangel and Pete Starks or Senators Fritz Hollings, Chuck Hagel, and Joe Biden either outright calling for a return of the draft or waffling on the idea and keeping their minds open about it demonstrate a profound rot in the respect for personal freedom. Several of those Congressmen have argued that the draft is needed because minority races, lower classes, and men bear a higher burden in the military than whites and the upper classes. That part is true - they do.

However, of all the reasons to impose a draft on this country, doing it in order to deliberately screw MORE people out of their freedom in order to ensure that horrendous screwing is roughly equal across all classes, races, and sexes...is quite possibly the most insane thing I've heard all year. These jerks, talking about "calling people to sacrifice." What arrogance.

I don't care WHAT the rationale is or who proposes it. Last year, it was a few asshole Democratic Congressmen and now it looks like a Republican here and there want to do the same. Fuck them all, especially this utterly baseless egalitarianism and anti-rich rhetoric. What to know why a disproportionate number of minorities and the poor join the military? They see it as a jobs program with fairly decent benefits. If women want to fight, let them fight. Any problems doing so causes on the battlefield are theirs to bear.

Militaries, like any form of employment, should be populated with people who want to be there. I don't want to be there. So don't ask me to go because I don't accept your offer. Threatening me with imprisonment and fines doesn't make the deal any more moral or acceptable.

UPDATE 9/23/2004 12:48pm
Nelson, British Columbia, plans a memorial for draft dodgers.

Posted by Drizzten at April 23, 2004 08:50 AM

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First of all, this Vietnam era near-draftee (missed by one number) hated the draft, especially when it was used to fuel unpopular and irrational wars like Vietnam or the one we are currently waging in Iraq. But the draft is not a "form of employment", as you write. It is the logical form for a nation to defend itself if military force is necessary. It's hardly "baseless egalitarianism" to suggest that we are all responsible, as members of our society, for it's defense. We all gain the benefits and we should all share the risks. The reality is that these "asshole Democrats" and the equally asshole Republicans will have to find a way to fill the military if our national defense is threatened - perhaps not be Iraq, but there are other, more real threats out there. So far, our elected officials have convinced themselves and us that someone else (usually a black or brown person) needs the job and can be counted on to die for us.

Posted by: Dennis on April 24, 2004 04:13 PM

Dennis, we have to separate a few of the issues here to speak about them clearly.

First, my father served 30 years in the Army and we've lived all over the country. It is my opinion a great number of people (including minorities) who join the military do so because they want the benefits and weighed the risk of entering combat against them. Perhaps saying some consider it a "jobs program" is a bit harsh. But I was referring to voluntary military service as that government jobs program, not the draft.

Secondly, when someone says X Group of people is under- or overrepresented in some voluntary activity, why must it therefore follow that we have to FORCE a large random segment of society into that activity...*primarily* because that activity doesn't have some arbitrarily special number or percentage of some groups in it? The argument these Congressmen are using is insultingly fatuous. As long as the military is voluntary in nature, it's demographics will reflect reality and not some darkly-hinted racist mindset of a federal puppet master.

It is baseless to assert that I have a duty to either defend you or pay for part of your defense, Dennis. THAT is also slavery, just in a roundabout form. I don't serve you and you don't serve me. Perhaps I'd be less sanguine if my money was spent more effectively on national defense, but there's no need to expound on the nauseating levels of waste and mismanagement in the Department of Defense.

Thirdly, the point of this post's top half was to compare definitions in order to demonstrate that the draft is slavery. You haven't refuted that yet, if you were trying to. Being forced, by threat of legal sanction backed by deliberate violence, to do something you don't want to do is coercion and it's immoral. The draft takes it a step further and takes you from your normal life and drops you in another where you are told what to do for the entire day.

Posted by: Drizz on April 26, 2004 08:35 AM
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