End the draft! Why the draft is unjustifiable and should end
What am I talking about? Ending the military draft
By draft, I mean a military draft, and in this hub, specifically the U.S. military draft. A lot of it can probably be applied to other draft programs as well, but seeing as I don't know much about drafts outside of the USA, the details come from the American Military.
The draft is a program that is currently not active, and has not been since 1973. Today, the U.S. Army is all-volunteer. However, the Selective Service System (from here on called the SSS) still mandates that all males, including non-citizens, between the ages of 18 and 25 register, so their names are on file in case a draft is called.
If you wish to have a more complete understanding of the SSS and the draft, here is a link to SSS Official Website. And here are parts 1 and 2 of the best summary on the U.S. Military draft that I've ever read. No, I'm not getting paid to refer you to either of these; I just think they're great.
If this hub seems oddly random to you (after all, the chances of a draft being called today are very small, for various reasons), the reason I'm writing it is because of a discussion I had with a friend about the justification for a draft. It turned out to be more nuanced and interesting than I had originally thought, so I decided to publish a hub and share our thoughts here. Enjoy!
Why the draft should end
The draft is opposed for several specific reasons, but it boils down to a couple. The first is that wars are not a good cause in the first place, and the draft, along with other procedures, encourages what society should be getting rid of. The second is that the government does not have the right to force citizens into fighting a war, especially as they may not even support or agree with it.
There can be no justification for overriding individual rights and forcing citizens into a sort of involuntary servitude, especially for a morally controversial reason. (Note: the reasons I stated above are moral or politically philosophical reasons. For the many practical reasons that a draft wouldn't work, refer to the article I linked to above, Are you going to be drafted? .)
But wait... (Counterargument)
"But wait!" say draft proponents. "We've got fancy-ass reasoning too!"
The draft is part of a social contract that citizens agree to by living in this country and enjoying its benefits and services. It's the country's (read: government's) responsibility to provide for the "common defense" of its people, and the minority (non-war) can't enjoy the benefit of safety without sacrificing for it.
After all, what about taxes? Though some might not want to pay them, they are required to if they wish to stay in this country, use the public roads, and enjoy other services. How is the draft any different from that?
Nope, we're still right. Why we should end the draft
Though the justification took longer to pull together than I had originally thought and took more effort to articulate, I'm still solidly anti-draft. Like I said before though, I found it a little difficult to wrestle this into something cohesive, so please bear with me.
The counterargument is completely right; the justification for taxes and the draft are the same. That's not to say I'm against taxes. I'm not. The reason behind that is that taxes lead to an increase in collective happiness while the draft does the opposite. I will elaborate a bit more later on.
First, we have to establish that in today's world all wars are pointless to begin with. Reason 1: With technology, there are, or at least can be, enough resources to render "survival' wars pointless. I'm not saying that it will be easy to make distribution of resources fair, but I believe it can be done justly and without war.
Reason 2: Dissolving of nationalism and borders. This is not so much of a current reason as a long term projection one. As technology spreads and resources are more abundant (in terms of centuries), nationalism will ebb in favor of common humanity. At least, that's my hope.
Reason 3: Weapons of mass destruction. If we all wanted to kill each other and the world, we now have the technology to do it. We've gotten too good at violence for technology to restrain us anymore. We now have to restrain ourselves, through empathy, logic, and compassion, among other things.
Some people mention terrorists and self-defense. I do believe nationalistic defense is justified in that case, which is why I don't support the dissolution of the military - though in a better world, I feel that the military should be inseparable from law enforcement, as all laws would be relatively fair and international. However, that point provides no support for a draft.
As is mentioned in one of the articles I linked to above, no one suggests drafting people for fire departments or police work. I don't think very many feel undecided about the morality of fighting terrorists. Though there are certainly draft-dodgers and cowards, I don't think the world would lack in volunteers if the military was solely for true self-defense and for fighting terrorism.
Are we agreed that war is not a good thing? (If you see any flaws, please feel free to point them out in the comments.) I'll assume that we are. Now let's move on to how the defense for taxes doesn't apply to the draft.
Difference between military draft and taxes
Taxes, ultimately, lead to greater happiness for everyone. How? Of course there is the obvious answer, which is that they lead to funding for projects for the common good, like public roads and education. These are universally beneficial, and simply aren't all that controversial. There is also an additional reason, which I think becomes obvious upon reflection.
Though not often stated outright, I believe the reason taxes and public projects and security nets are good for individuals, besides direct benefits, is that people are by nature happier when others are as well. Imagine you saw a child drowning. Would you save him, if you could? Do you think most others would save him? This is a fundamental belief of mine, and it affects my political philosophy. Assuming that we're still in agreement, we can confidently summarize that taxes (should) make people happier.
(If you wonder why I used the word happiness so many times in the above section, please take a look at this hub, which discusses goals for society.)
The draft decreases general happiness. First, in reasoning, it tends the country towards a slippery slope for muffling the rights of the minority, or individual. By this, I mean creating a precedent for the majority to force its will on the minority, a danger especially apparent in controversial topics. Secondly, war is not a positive thing, nor will it ever be. So the draft risks a negative consequence by creating another negative consequence.
In defeating the earlier counter-argument, I, at least, am satisfied that the draft is indefensible and should be phased out. As always, comments and opinions are welcome!