Friday, December 01, 2006

Conscription Is Slavery

With the absurdity of Democratic senator Charles Rangel proposing to reinstate the draft (weren't "liberals" largely the ones protesting the draft in the 60's and 70's?), the issue has resurfaced as a topic of debate. What has frustrated and disturbed me is to see quite a few leftists, including ones who simultanously claim to oppose the Iraq War, defending this move and defending the idea of a draft. Some are obviously doing this out of pure partisan devotion; others, I fear, genuinely have abandoned principle on a very basic issue of personal liberty. The issue is not likely to pass, but the very fact that the Democratic Party, which is supposed to be the opposition party right now, would propose such a measure is very alarming.

Essentially, the arguement is a combination of the following: (1) we need more troops to fulfil our engagements in Iraq and around the world and (2) our troops are stretched too thin. From the start, it should not take more then a moment of reflection in common sense to see that both parts of the arguement contradict eachother. How can one complain about what amounts to the over-deployment of troops around the world while proposing an increase in troops through conscription is a logical absurdity; if the troops are stretched too thin, concripting more troops will not solve this, it will fuel it by overextending the troops even more. Shouldn't the question be as to whether or not the current troops should stay in the engagements? What about "pull out" isn't understandable?

Others, still styling themselves as opponents of our military adventurism, argue that the draft will tend to make people "think twice" about the war and therefore lead to a quicker solution and thus withdrawl - this arguement is barely worthy of response, it is simple nonsense. The effect is to send more people to die in the war that one claims to oppose. To oppose a war while simultanously calling to send more people to die in it is hypocritical nonsense. The arguement that "if the average guy has to fight then wars get a lot more unpopular, don't they" provides us with further nonsense. Conscription didn't seem to actually get us out of Korea or Vietnam - it is what sent the people to those places in the first place.

We had conscription through the entire Vietnam debacle, but it's existance and the social opposition to it did nothing to stop Vietnam from continueing as a long, extended guerilla war over the course of multiple president's administrations. To argue in this way that the existance of something wrong provides the opposition for it is silly - instead of instilling it in the name of opposing it, you should just not instill it in the first place. This kind of arguement is akin to claiming that we should light a fire in the name of putting it out - why not just not light the fire in the first place? All of these arguements are silly. Access to more soliders does not make wars less likely; quite the opposite. History and common sense shows us that periods of mass conscription are not times of less wars, but periods in which people are actively engaged in them.

Further, those who are so comfortable with the idea of a draft are being ignorant of who ends up getting drafted in reality. I have seen some make the arguement that we can use this as a "special draft" to send the political class and their families into the army to fight for a change. While this idea may be appealing on a knee-jerk level, the reality of a draft is that the political class is always exempted from it. The people who are drafted are typically young, capable individuals, many of whom are lower-middle class or poor - as well as people who oppose the war being fought (the idea of sending people who oppose the war to fight in the war, in the name of opposing the war, is another circle jerk presented by this whole ordeal). And this arguement further provides us with nonsense by turning it into a question of special interest - implying that "the rich" and "sucessful" should be the explicit target of the draft. This is just silly - how about noone should be drafted? The only thing you are accomplishing by creating a draft is giving the government. more bodies to fuel the war and creating ciminals out of people who refuse to serve.

All of the above "pragmatic" considerations are ultimately completely beside the real point here, which is that the draft is simply ethically wrong. Why is it ethically wrong, because a draft is involuntary servitude; slavery. Yet on this vital front, this is the response that I got from the pro-draft leftists: "Everyone in the military gets the same pay, the same food, the same shelter, the same training, the same treatment under the UCMJ. Regardless if they volunteer, or they are drafted". This is nonsense. If they are drafted, they are slaves - it is forced labor. It doesn't matter if you pay them or give them food - they have not consented to the servitude. Forced labor is unethical and should always remain illegal. The draft is forced labor. To act as if there is no distinction at all between a voluntary contract and forced labor is absurd and totalitarian. Voluntary contracting vs. involuntary servitude is not some irrelevancy to be looked over: it's the difference between a liberal society and a statist/tory one. "Benefits" are worth nothing if the job is not by consent.

In a free society of free contract, people are not "forced" to work, they are free to voluntarily work. If they do not voluntarily work, that is their choice, not something of force. You are not "forced" to work by the realistic accessment that you will die if you do not produce the income necessary for food and shelter. The choice to work is still voluntarily made on your part - someone doesn't grab you by the scruff of your neck and put you on the fields based on a contract that you didn't agree to. Noone physically restrains you or forces you to get a job. You voluntarily choose to, and you are free to voluntarily leave that job if it ceases to please you. Under a statist system of conscription, quitting is considered "treason" - you are restrained from quitting under the threat of force, and you are forced to take the job against your will.

Fortunately, in our society, your boss does not force you to take the job under the threat of gunpoint or the jailhouse, and they cannot force you to keep that job under the threat of gunpoint or the jailhouse. Yet this is precisely what a draft implies; the military is like any other job, and a draft with respect to the military is no different then our scenario. What a draft does is "legalize" the above illustrated scenario of one's boss being able to get away with forcing people to take a job and keep that job under the threat of legal violence, as it applies to the military. The consequences of applying the exact same logic with respect to all other jobs in the economy leads us to a system of total forced labor; a slave economy. Conscription is no less slavery, the fact that the military is the job in question does not change this. Forcing someone to labor for the military under the threat of the jailhouse is not in any way superior to forcing someone to labor for the plantation or factory under the threat of the jailhouse - in both cases the individual is forced to labor under the threat of legal violence. The choice is not voluntary, but based solely on the threat that force will be used.

If one cannot distinguish between a voluntary choice and a coerced/forced choice, then the entire basis for making a rational accessment of political issues and social problems has been lost. Indeed, morality itself has been lost at such a point, for the central question with regaurd to wether or not an action is ethically correct (I.E. did you voluntarily exchange for that cellphone or did you steal it through the use of force? Did you voluntarily have sex with that woman or did you force her to?) is completely overlooked and obfuscated. Indeed, if we are to use this obscurantist methodology we can provide false "justification" for one to rape someone, since we don't aknowledge the difference between a consentual choice and one made under the threat of violence.

Since this methodology is completely indifferent to wether or not the person's actions are voluntarily or coerced, or characterizes a "choice" made under the threat of violence as optimal while equating choice made voluntarily with "slavery", in practise it provides a silly intellectual foundation for any violation of human rights concievable. The effect is to denounce man's voluntary choices while characterizing choice forced under the threat of violence as superior. Afterall, under this silly rationale, so long as the rapist buys me flowers, a nice dinner at a fancy restraunt and pays for my children's college, this is most certainly better then if he didn't rape me and I didn't get the flowers, dinner and tuition payments. Under this view, whether or not I was forced to have sex is irrelevant, and all that matter is the flowers, dinner and college. This is all a big circle jerk that results from ignoring what matters.

Rangel's manuever is no more than a silly (yet dangerous if passed) partisan manuever, yet the Democrats who really have taken it seriously as something to support are partisan retards that are willing to throw away civil liberties to make a political statement. The effect is to literally stoop to the level of advocating involuntary servitude, which results in murder, in the name of political ends. All that matters is the political ends and making a political statement, rather then obvious questions of right and wrong. Advocating sending people to die against their will for any reason is dispicable, disgusting, and anti american. How liberals can advocate such a blatant violation of liberty, such a disgustingly paternalistic recommendation for nothing less than mass murder and all because they want to have a debate, and then still posture as somehow morally superior to conservatives is beyond me.

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