Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Military-Industrial-Complex Is Involuntary Servitude

Recently, a statist economist by the name of Thomas Sowell has been writting about the Iraq War and military matters. Of course, he tows the general partisan line for Republicans: Evil liberals and anti-war people hate the military, aren't patriots, hate the country, etc. In a recent article, he touched on the idea of the draft and expressed support for reinstating it. Are these people out of their minds? Do they have no concern for people's individual liberty? Are they completely blinded by nationalism?

The case against the draft is a simple ethical one, and a constitutional one to top it off. The draft is involuntary servitude, plain and simple. You are forcing people to take a particular occupation, one that puts them in danger at that. There is no way around this - the draft is "legal" slavery and it was rightly put to rest. It also constitutes a form of indirect murder, as you are forcing people who do not want to fight into being in a situation where they can be killed. They would not have been killed otherwise. Constitutionally, we already have an abolition of involuntary servitude.

A significant part of the problem is the way the military contracts are set up in the first place. They essentially inter someone for anywhere from decades to life in the military, so that they are unable to quit without facing the use of force, and thus they are coerced through the contract to keeping their job against their will. Which, of course, is involuntary servitude. People used to literally get shot by firing squad as sunrise for trying to quit their job in the military (A.K.A. "desertion"). Now, they give you hefty jail sentences instead, but it is the unjustified use of force all the same.

The military should be truly voluntary. It should be no different then any other occupation in this respect. For most jobs, you don't face legal reprecussions for quitting, being fired or laid off. You don't get shot at sunrise for quitting your job at wal-mart or a law firm. Surely, if a police officer is an imporant job and doesn't require conscription and desertion, then soldiers should not require it either. It is simply ethically wrong in either case, and that ethical standard shines through no matter what the question is.

The episode of Vietnam should have functioned as lesson that conscripting mass numbers of youth and sending them to fight in an endless geurilla war in some desert or jungle halfway across the world leads to nothing but chaos, destruction and economic troubles at home. The politicians who send them overseas make no real sacrifice, and their wars are mostly for political reasons, to expand and retain power. Sending loads of people to a foreign country to die in the name of expanding political power is a massive crime against humanity. Unfortunately, it seems that many people either have not learned this or do not have the courage to stand up and resist it.

If you are comfortable with a nation that enslaves its masses to expand the state and secure the profit margins of select corporations that strike interventionist deals with the military (hence the "industrial" part of the complex) - then opt for Mr. Sowell's statist fantasy land. There is a term for what Mr. Sowell is supporting - war socialism. If you value liberty and believe that government must be bound under ethical standards - then opt to resist the military industrial complex. You support it at your own peril, and you oppose it to the advantage of your liberty. Mr. Sowell puts state power before liberty and property rights, and therefore is not a free market economist.

No comments: