The Instigator
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0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Military Conscription is Just

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 3/26/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 907 times Debate No: 88800
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Spring Tournament R1: Kasmic vs. Lannan13

Resolved: Military conscription is just

Burden of proof on me (pro) to affirm.

Definition of Terms:

Military: "of or relating to soldiers." (1)

Conscription: "compulsory enrollment of persons for military or naval service; draft." (2)

Just: "righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: "


6,000 Characters/Select Winner

Round 1: Acceptance and terms
Round 2: Opening arguements (Con may rebut and/or present and arguement)
Round 3: rebuttals
Round 4: Closing statements, no new arguements




I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


First I would like to thank Lannan13 for accepting this debate and a special thanks to Hayd for organizing this Tournament.

Resolved: Military conscription is just


As Justice has been defined as "righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness" it is clear that my burden in this debate is to demonstrate the morality of conscription. I will therefore, give a brief explanation of how morality is determined, then observe in detail the topic at hand.

An Intro To Morality: Utilitarianism

Morality delves into what ought to be rather than what is. Henry Sidgwick rightly points out a typical flaw made when determining what ought to be done, or in other words, what is ethical. “we frequently prescribe that this or that `ought' to be done or aimed at without any express reference to an ulterior end,” (1) As John Stuart Mill says “All action is for the sake of some end.” In order to determine what we ought do we must observe what the results will be from that action. What ends are produced? “all the rules of conduct which men prescribe to one another as moral rules are really---though in part unconsciously---prescribed as a means to the general happiness of mankind,” Henry Sidgwick (2)This is basic utilitarianism, The Greatest good for the greatest number.

We see then that morality is based in the ends of an action; that is to say, the results.


“Conscription, or drafting, is the compulsory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service.Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names. The modern system of near-universal national conscription for young men dates to the French Revolution in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a very large and powerful military. Most European nations later copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve 1–8 years on active duty and then transfer to the reserve force.” (3)

The Ends (or morality) of Conscription:

1) Drafts mitigate the indignation that exists in unequal societies.

William James rightly demonstrates how conscription has this affect in his essay “The Moral Equivalent of War.” He states,

“that so many men, by mere accidents of birth and opportunity, should have a life of nothing else but toil and pain and hardness and inferiority imposed upon them, should have no vacation, while others natively no more deserving never get any taste of this campaigning life at all, — this is capable of arousing indignation in reflective minds. It may end by seeming shameful to all of us that some of us have nothing but campaigning, and others nothing but unmanly ease. If now — and this is my idea — there were, instead of military conscription, a conscription of the whole youthful population to form for a certain number of years a part of the army enlisted against Nature, the injustice would tend to be evened out, and numerous other goods to the commonwealth would remain blind as the luxurious classes now are blind, to man's relations to the globe he lives on, and to the permanently sour and hard foundations of his higher life...”(4)

2) Drafts help the development of people in society.

William James goes on to say;

“The results of such a draft would be our gilded youths be drafted off… to get the childishness knocked out of them, and to come back into society with healthier sympathies and soberer ideas. They would have paid their blood-tax, done their own part in the immemorial human warfare against nature; they would tread the earth more proudly” (4)

3) Drafts bear “moral Fruits”

“Such a conscription, with the state of public opinion that would have required it, and the many moral fruits it would bear, would preserve in the midst of a pacific civilization the manly virtues which the military party is so afraid of seeing disappear in peace. We should get toughness without callousness, authority with as little criminal cruelty as possible, and painful work done cheerily because the duty is temporary, and threatens not, as now, to degrade the whole remainder of one's life. I spoke of the "moral equivalent" of war. So far, war has been the only force that can discipline a whole community, and until and equivalent discipline is organized,” (4)


As military conscription produces “moral fruits,” mitigates indignation in unequal societies, and helps people develop in society, we see than that it is moral. As Justice has been defined, this argument I have presented affirms that Military conscription is Just.





I would like to thank my opponent for sending out this challenge and I wish him luck as this debate progresses.

Contention 1: Individual Rights

1) People as a Means, not an end

In a civilized society, we as humans must live together peacefully. One key issue is that we should move to create a Kingdom of Ends. The Kingdom of Ends is where people are treated as an end of themselves, not a means [1]. This is important as it is part of the soceity that we should strive to as it maximizes human equality and the ability to live together peacefully. The Kingdom shows that many people can live together under common just laws as they are able to live as ends instead of means. At the End, they are able to live together as citizens in this Kingdom to be treated as ends and this will lead to an equality through individiual rights [2]. The Draft violates the Kingdom of Ends as it forces rational beings into the military to serve their country. These individuals are being forced against their will to preform a task that does not treat them as an end. This makes the draft an unjust law as it violates the rights of Rational Being and destroys the ability to fully establish the Kingdom of Ends.

2) Objectivism, the Right to Life.

Dangers that occur with the draft is that they attempt Altruism where they abridge the rights of the individual for the gains as a whole [3]. One thing that is over looked is that without the individual, there can be no society. Each man has the right to life, where they have control of their own destiny. The Right to Life must be acknowledge as it spurs people to do and create an innovative world where they could even make it a safer one. The draft, on the other hand, abridges this right as the State takes control of the individual for the draft and forces them to preform whatever task that the government so chooses. By enforcing these people to do as the government wants enforces Involuntary Servantude upon all individuals where they have to serve in the military against their own will [4]. These individuals face death or potential injury where they would not have if they had the right to control their own lives. This creates an image that the individual is disposable making it a harmful world.

Contention 2: Draft harms Soceity

1. Harms the military

When we look at the generally military we must observe how it is affected by such an investment. Instituations as well as Top military officers have noted that when comparing these two groups, that a force of voluntiers is way better than those who have been drafted, forced against their will, into the military. "The all-volunteer force has had immense success in drawing highly motivated individuals... America's military leadership is adamantly opposed to instituting a new draft. The generals and admirals argue that a draft would weaken mission capability and create enormous structural and management problems. Morale and force cohesiveness would suffer intensely, particularly with a two-caste military. [5]" This kind of system in the military shows that there is a strong opposition amongst military leadership that this will create this system in the military that harms those who were drafted into it, which would later alienate those who had been in the military previously.

2. Harms the Family Unit

This is continously pulled against as a key example occured in World War 1, where 17 million people who were registered for the draft were able to pass tests for the draft, but 8 million filled for exempt status [6], showing that nearly the majority strongly pushing against it in anyway they can. Several draft riots have occured throughout US history due to the harm of the family. Many of these riots have turned bloody as generally the lower class and minorities tend to be sent off to the military in the draft while the rich are exlcuded [7]. The issue occurs when the women in the family have their husbands have to leave to go into the military and have an increased chance of death severally harms themselves, but also their household income. From the Civil War to the Vietnam War, the widows have been put into poverty. To make things worse. The draft has been shown to increases crime rate by 4% [8].

1. (
2. Stephen Palmquist "'The Kingdom of God is at Hand!' (Did Kant really say that?)", History of Philosophy Quarterly 11:4 (October 1994), pp.421-437.
3. (
4. Ron Paul (2009), On Reinstating the Draft,,
5. (
6. Groupman, Alan. "Should the United States Reinstate the Draft?" Retired Officer Magazine July 2000: n. pag. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
7. (
8. (
Debate Round No. 2


kasmic forfeited this round.


My opponent doesn't actually make an argument. Instead he simply resorts to an Appeal to Authroity Logical fallacy by simply quoting one source and since he's creditable source he assumes that it's true and makes no other points. Please disregard his argument do to this logical fallacy that has occured.

All points extended.
Debate Round No. 3


kasmic forfeited this round.


All points extended.

Thank you and please vote Con!
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Debating_Horse 7 months ago
Damn the draft! No one should be forced to DIE in a war they don't want to serve in!

Remember what he said!
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
>Reported vote: illegalcombat// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: 2 out of 4 rounds forfeit by Pro, conduct to Con.

[*Reason for removal*] On a select winner system, the voter is required to assess arguments as part of the RFD. Merely voting based on forfeits is insufficient.
Posted by tejretics 2 years ago
== RFD ==

Pro forfeited rounds, but Con basically did the same by dropping Pro's case except to state it was built on appeals to authority. I don't really view that as a sufficient rebuttal, but I'm finding that Con's case outweighs Pro's under the same impact analysis Pro is asking for (i.e. util). Pro has three arguments: (1) inequality is reduced when people of "elite" strata are drafted, thus reducing societal indignation, (2) drafts help development of individuals, and (3) drafts help moral progress. C1 is the only clearly substantiated argument -- but I don't really buy it because Pro doesn't explain how forcing people perceived as elite into drafting is just by merely reducing indignation. In any case, it is hugely outweighed by Con's presented *harms* to drafting (e.g. families, military). Pro doesn't fully explain how "toughening" people "develops" them in a utilitarian way, and what the impact is.

I'm finding it hard to buy the argument from "moral fruits," because it seems to me nothing more than -- as Con points out -- an appeal to authority. Under Pro's own standard of utilitarianism, there's no clear justification for how it poses a utilitarian benefit in this case. All I can gauge from this explanation is that war "disciplines" people, which isn't sufficiently warranted (explained). None of Pro's three contentions stands against Con's actual *harms* to conscription, which are eventually dropped.

Thus, I vote Con.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
I know.
Posted by famousdebater 2 years ago
Kasmic deactivated.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tejretics 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments