Monday, June 17, 2024

Do You Feel a Draft?

I never thought I'd say this, but Der Furor's crowd has finally suggested something I could support. 

Recent reports indicate that some conservatives have suggested that mandatory "national service" may be necessary to ensure that our Armed Forces are sufficiently manned for the challenges posed by an uncertain world, the growing power of China, and an aggressively resurgent Russia. The loaded term "draft" isn't being used yet, but if Der Furor and his ultra-conservative advisors come to power, you'll be sure to hear it.

As much as it pains me to agree with anything our modern fascist wannabes advocate, I don't think some form of mandatory national service ... not just military, but perhaps also civil or social ... is necessarily a bad thing. Here's my reasoning ...

Growing up in a middle-class, almost completely white, neighborhood, I didn't have much routine daily contact with anyone not white and "Christian" until I went to college and, in 1973, graduated via ROTC with a BA in Linguistics and a commission as an Air Force Second Lieutenant. I spent the next 23 years moving from assignment to assignment, working alongside (and frequently for) blacks, women, asians, hispanics, gays, lesbians, "Christians," Jews, Muslims, atheists, and every combination thereof. It didn't take long for me to realize that everyone was pretty much the same under the skin. There were good and bad, smart and stupid, strong and weak people of every kind working side-by-side. Color, religion, and sexual preference were no guarantee of worth. Daily experience drove the lesson home.

And this is why I think some form of mandatory national service could be a good thing. It would force people to work with and for people who are different. It would give people an opportunity (which, sadly, some would resent) to learn that the despised "other" is a person, too.

Obviously, there would be problems with a mandatory national service program. While it might have a voluntary aspect, it would still cost money to administer ... how would we fund it? Should anyone be able to refuse mandatory military service in a future draft? Who? How could it be enforced? What types of service other than military should be considered? What legal and Constitutional roadblocks might prevent such a program?

I think we should find out the answers. It's time for people to realize that citizenship involves not just rights, but responsibilities.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.



Mike said...

Absolutely. I was talking about national service 20 years ago. I knew the volunteer service was going to be a problem in the long run.

denimull said...

I could entertain this idea of mandatory "national service" included non-military options. There are many areas of governmental service that could be mutually beneficial to both the Government and the individual. National Parks Service quickly comes to mind as one that operates on a borderline understaffed workforce. I'm sure the Dept of Agriculture has in-field programs that would welcome a reliable supply of workers. Including these areas of government service, those who are unable, for whatever reason, to perform up to the standards of military service to also contribute and benefit from being an active part of the our country's workings.

Anonymous said...

Having been raised by parents who went through a depression and WW2 allowed me to have the benefit of their belief that on a fundamental level we are all in this together. That is a belief that is sadly lacking today. National service might restore some of that sentiment

allenwoodhaven said...

I agree! National Service of some sort could truly be transformative for society. Military, social, agricultural, conservation groups could all benefit from a steady supply of diverse workers and the individual, as well as our society, greatly benefit. One idea is to use them to reduce many of the outsourced governmental service functions.

Part of the process needs to involve requiring civics education for all citizens. That's been lacking for too long and it's hurting society.

Perhaps Congress could get its act together and set it up well...

Anonymous said...

I like how you use the term Der Furor and then advocate for mandatory slave labor. Other reprehensible government acts might also be of benefit to society: I'm told thievery is down in countries that lob off hands on the first offense, maybe you'll advocate for that next.

Yes, in times of war (renamed "police action" in recent decades to get around that restrictive document stating only congress can declare war) a national military draft can be necessary for the common defense. But enslaving people just to pick up trash after rich tourists in national parks seems a tad dystopian.

Bilbo said...

Anonymous, I think the description of mandatory national service as "mandatory slave labor" is an example of the over-the-top language that has helped bury rational discussion under Steve Bannon's "flood of s**t". I stand by my belief that we owe something to the nation in return for the services and freedoms we enjoy. Sorry you don't agree.

Anonymous said...

Over the top language? You are referring to politicians you don't like as "Der Furor" -- which everyone knows you mean Hitler -- and you want to complain about "over the top language"?
If you want a glimpse of someone blocking honest discourse, look in the mirror.

I stand by my belief that you are an authoritarian who had deluded himself into thinking he's one of the good guys.