We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I am, in principle, in favor of a universal draft with service required for every young American boy and girl. I know the Armed Forces would not want all of those short-termers these days, as service has grown more technical and requires training well beyond Basic.
Getting rid of the draft was an insidious, politically-motivated move by Nixon, and, as he cynically predicted, it did largely end the anti-war movement.
So, although I do not have a Plan, I think it's an important concept. Service to the country used to be what all Americans (well, American guys) had in common. Now, there is nothing, other than paying taxes.
This comes up because The News Junkie asked me to comment on a piece by Kim du Toit. A couple of quotes:
At its most basic foundation, conscription addresses an unpleasant little fact: most people are cowards. They might be cowards on their own behalf, or because they want to protect their children from dying, but they are cowards nevertheless.
We can dress this up with all the fine rhetoric, slogans and philosophy we choose: conscription is slavery; conscription is discriminatory; conscription is un-Constitutional, whatever.
It’s all camouflage to hide the uncomfortable fact that many people consider their own lives to be more valuable than any ideal, or the needs of the community. (I don’t have a problem with people feeling that way: I just want people to be honest about it.)
The most pernicious statement against conscription, however, is the famous one uttered by Robert Heinlein: “Any country that has to defend itself with forced conscripts is not worth defending.” It is depressing to think that a man who got so much right could utter such complete nonsense.
The reason it’s nonsense, of course, is that (like many similar arguments) it ignores this basic facet of human nature: that many people value their own lives more than the existence of their country.
A coward? Me? Hell, yes. Read the whole thing. How can we be, as a country, comfortable and guilt-free leaving service to "others"? Freedom is not a free lunch.