Humanitarians have an uncanny tendency to kill their fellow man or, at the very least, regard him as disposable. The compassionate socialism proffered by the Democratic left upholds this very notion – it’s fair to trample the rights of the individual so long as it helps “others,” whoever they may be, irrespective of whether those “others” deserve it.
This self-sacrificial mindset – that man does not have a right to his life and his property without societal approval – takes many forms. Compulsory taxation, for instance, maintains that man doesn’t have a right to the products of his labor. Instead, society’s underlings have a right to the products of labor they didn’t do just because they need them. Moreover, these underlings are encouraged to exercise this right via food stamps, Section Eight housing and Medicare benefits. All the while, the person who actually made the money in the first place is treated disparagingly if he dares utter the slightest protest.
Similarly, compulsory military service, also known as “the draft,” maintains that man doesn’t have a right to his own life or liberty. Rather, society has a right to use man as it chooses, regardless of whether he consents because man’s role and duty is to serve the greater good of society, not to benefit himself or to seek personal fulfillment.
It is not difficult to see the commonality between both cases, for taxation and conscription stem from the same notion of man – a notion in which man does not have objectively inalienable rights, but rather relatively ethereal rights dictated by political and social climate. As of late, that climate has favored a mixture of Keynesian and fascistic ideologies in which man is forced to sacrifice his labor for the benefit of others as well as for the benefit of the “state.”
When a political party’s economic policies overwhelmingly uphold the notion that man is a means to an end, it requires little imagination to jump from the legalized theft known as income redistribution to the legalized slavery known as the draft.
This is why those wily Democrats just can’t get their paws off the draft – it can be used as a means of social engineering and governmental oversight. Never mind the rights of the hapless draftees.
Charles Rangel, the up-and-coming chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, euphemistically casts his second draft proposal as a way of deterring politicians from war.
“There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way,” Rangel told the Associated Press.
Historically, however, the draft, instituted by FDR’s signing of the Selective Service and Training Act of 1940, didn’t deter the United States from participating in World War II, the Korean War or Vietnam. This means Rangel’s reasoning – that a draft deters war – is flawed. What this also means is that Rangel doesn’t mind gambling the rights and lives of American youth on his weak hypothesis.
Rangel’s secondary justifications of the draft – one of which is that voluntary military service “puts the burden of war on minorities and lower-income families” – prove him to be the analytical equivalent of John “the soldiers are illiterate” Kerry and Michael “the military is racist” Moore.
As detailed by an economist at the Heritage Foundation, however, volunteer enlistees reflected both racial and economic equity in proportion to the population, if not favoring a slight slant toward a greater proportion of whites and those from middle-income tax brackets. This debunks the oh-so-articulate theory Moore proffered in Fahrenheit 9/11 that the military recruits from poor, minority malls rather than shopping hubs in rich, white suburbs.
Notably, fewer from the low-income tax brackets enlist in proportion to the population of those from middle-income tax brackets. And the rich don’t exactly shy away from voluntary military service, either.
“The proportion of high-income recruits rose to a disproportionately high level after the war on terrorism began, as did the proportion of highly educated enlistees,” the Heritage Foundation study stated.
Moreover, the study goes on to state, “In an education context, rather than attracting underprivileged young Americans, the military seems to be attracting above-average Americans.”
The practical implications of a draft are also disastrous. Generals often attribute the effectiveness and hardiness of American military forces to the fact that they signed up to defend this country. On the other hand, conscription is often complemented by exceedingly low levels of morale.
In essence, Rangel’s purported draft – albeit arguably impassable in Congress – reflects both neglect for the rights of the individual and frank ignorance. It is preposterous to assume that soldiers would fight valiantly for freedom when such a fight requires the violation of their freedoms in the first place.
Victoria Bekiempis is a sophomore majoring in history and French.