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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/9968/conscription-of-men-women-and-resources/

Conscription of Men, Women, and Resources

May 18, 2009 by

Compulsory service is slavery by definition. Call a spade a spade. Milton Friedman did when he referred to the conscripted army that was fighting in Vietnam as an army of slaves. They were: they went to Vietnam as a result of threats against life and limb. Some who took a principled stand against the war and in line with their convictions, like Muhammad Ali, were stripped of some of the most productive years of their lives. FULL ARTICLE


Barry Loberfeld May 18, 2009 at 7:57 am

From “To Refuse Allegiance to the State”:

“The War Resisters League affirms that all war is a crime against humanity” — so reads its credo. But it is all-too-obvious that its supporters oppose only foreign militarism. They actually advocate domestic militarism, the deployment of armed forces by the State against its own citizens. Their “pacifist” position rejects retaliation by “the army” against invading soldiers, but sanctions the use of coercion by “the police” against people who have themselves committed no violence. How can we pretend that the violence of domestic militarism — even when we call this state coercion “socialism,” “progressivism,” “egalitarianism,” or any other egregious misnomer — is not real violence? Are its weapons less real? Its jails? (Of course not, which is precisely why the Appeal acknowledges the “personal risks” of refusing to obey the orders of those who command the weapons.) And how could anyone justify this violence? As retaliation (rejected, we’ve noted, as an option for the foreign military) against such perverse analogies — persuasion cast as coercion — as “economic violence” and now even “verbal violence,” i.e., speech? Don’t pacifists believe “Violence only leads to more violence” — a declaration that in fact appears on the page opposite the Appeal? Indeed, why is state coercion even seen as a tool – worse, the only tool — to achieve social ends? How can one oppose the use of force for “nation building” abroad, but not at home? Is it unthinkable that maybe “there are other, more peaceful and effective approaches to dealing with real threats” such as ignorance, illness, and poverty? And how can anybody defend taxation (for domestic militarism) and “tax refusal” (of foreign militarism) — the way one defends both censorship (of others) and free speech (for oneself)? Is this right of “conscience” a right of every man — or just the privilege of the Left?

If the Appeal demonstrates anything, it’s that a right of conscience cannot exist apart from the right of property. How can anyone have a responsibility to control what’s done with his property without a right to control what’s done with his property? And what is conscience itself but, as James Madison phrased it, “the most sacred of all property”?

I challenge the War Resisters League and its supporters to fully become good neighbors and really oppose “all war” — not only the war the State wages against other nations, but also the one it wages against its people and their lives and property. A world without domestic militarism is simply a world without violence. To imagine that it will also be a world without justice, prosperity, cooperation, and compassion, is to proclaim that violence the font of these values — as absurd, cynical, and ultimately obscene a statement as one could make.

Force creates only destruction, and being the first to raise one’s fist makes a man nothing but a brute. Please, sever your support, both “material and moral,” for domestic militarism, just as you would have others sever theirs for foreign militarism. In short, be true to your own values … to your own selves. If one can’t do that, what of any importance is left?


newson May 18, 2009 at 9:32 am

whilst the ss has long gone, not so the sss! (just in case).

Gil May 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

It make some wonder then of those who freely choose to go to war? Not to mention WW1 British mothers who chastised men who didn’t volunteer as endangering those who did through ‘lack of safety in numbers’. Ironically, the aggression required to ‘go to war’ is actually needed to defend against those who make war.

P.S. Embiggens is a perfectly cromulent word.

2nd Amendment May 18, 2009 at 11:12 am

What’s despicable and immoral is not the fact that the government can draft individuals against their wills.

It’s the fact that individuals will go fight against their will.

If I was drafted against my will, I would fight my closer enemy with courage and passion instead of my more distant enemy.

Yes, they would succeed at making me fight, only I would fight them instead of those they want me to fight.

I refuse to be a slave, live free or die ! >:(

2nd Amendment May 18, 2009 at 11:15 am

“the deployment of armed forces by the State against its own citizens. ”

You’re talking about the police, right ?

I hate them too !

greg May 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm

The draft brought an end to our involvement in the Vietnam War. Because of the draft, we had widespread protest and political pressure to end the war.

At the beginning of the current Iraq war, I told my wife that it was a mistake and it would be our next Vietnam. I was wrong. While there is some minor protest about the war, it is not anywhere near the level we saw in the 60′s.

Technology has replaced the need for a draft. We have drones that can spy and deliver pinpoint strikes. GPS allows a small group of soldiers to control weapons with more power than a whole division. And sitting in the jungles of S. Vietnam in the middle of the night, what I would have gave for the latest night vision technology.

Steve Hogan May 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm


Several hundred civilians have died in these drone assaults. Whether they were “pinpoint strikes” or not isn’t going to mean much to the victims or their loved ones. It achieves the very opposite of our stated aims: to end a resistance movement in a foreign country.

Our heavy-handed military strikes have turned the civilian population against our occupation. Once this occurs, any chance of a successful counterinsurgency operation disappears. As Washington fails to put down the Taliban, they respond with more force (it’s the only thing they know). More force results in more deaths and greater resistance. Ask the Israelis if their strategy of escalating the force level against the Palestinians is working.

Forget about drones or drafts. The only solution is to defang this ridiculous war on terror, bring the troops home, and mind our bloody business for once. Besides, we’re bankrupt. The empire will end. We can choose to end it or have it ended for us.

Revelations May 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm

why does it say ‘women’ in the title? Women weren’t conscripted, because they were women and their lives were and are deemed more valuable than men. Men were only conscripted because they were men. The title reeks of not admitting the misandry issue in all this. The article itself seems to somehow commodify men by claiming that conscription is a ‘tax’ and a ‘property seizure’ instead of directly claiming what it is, enslavement of men because they’re men and because society doesn’t value men.

Tyler May 21, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Great article if I may say so. Though, if sufficient pay or incentives raised the desired amount of forces in a time of war I would wager these individuals would mostly likely come from poorer backgrounds. War will always be fought by “unfortunate young men” methinks.

“Individuals’ reluctance to volunteer suggests that service to the alleged moral rightness of the cause is not a sufficient compensating differential to those who are called to risk life and limb.”

Truth spoken here.

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