Military conscription is justified.
I will offer some definitions:
Rights: that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles
Military conscription: compulsory enrollment of persons for military or naval service
Justified: to show a satisfactory reason or excuse for something done.
Freedom: exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
Social contract: the voluntary agreement among individuals by which, according to any of various theories, as of Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau, organized society is brought into being and invested with the right to secure mutual protection and welfare or to regulate the relations among its members.
(Definitions given by the american heritage dictionary)
I value morality. Morality is what keeps us separate from animals and it keeps society in order and keeps it from crumbling. Humans must always try to do the right thing.
We can achieve the stated value, morality, by upholding the social contract. The government has an obligation to uphold human rights because it is their half of the social contract. If the government takes away our rights, they are not upholding their side and they are not acting morally. I will now proceed to offer some contentions as to why military conscription is detrimental to upholding the social contract, and therefore morality, and why military conscription is unjust.
Contention 1: Part of upholding the social contract is upholding individual freedom.. Military conscription is forcing people to fight when they may not want to.
Warrant/Claim: With military conscription, soldiers are forced to fight, even if they don"t want to. Families suffer as a result of their men leaving. If you take people, it forces them against their will. The government is taking away the basic right of freedom to choice. This is a slippery slope and eventually the government will not be serving its function.
Impact: When you take away one right, you put all rights in jeopardy, because when you desecrate one value, what is so different about desecrating all values?
Contention 2: Military conscription is not effective.
"Suppose a million men were to be taken each year for a one-year term and then released. If they could have earned an average of $3,000 during that year as civilians, the total opportunity cost of their service would be $3 billion a year. To this must be added the cost of the personnel and equipment used in training, which (say) comes to about $1 billion per year; adding together these costs gives a yearly cost of $4 billion. The total cost of this program depends on the date at which war begins; if 10 years elapse the total cost (ignoring discounting) is $40 billion; if 20 years elapse the total cost rises to $80 billion." (www.Hoover.org)
Warrant/Claim Among the teenagers and young adults today old enough for military service, 75 percent of them would be considered unfit for duty due to the rising obesity rates. It would cost more to train and get these young adults into shape than manufacturing supplies greatly needed on and off the battlefield. (20committee.com/2013/12/25/on-conscription-and-military-effectiveness/)
The government has an obligation to protect the people under the social contract. It"s not worth fighting a war if the government doesn"t uphold the social contract. The government"s first obligation is to protect its people, and if military conscription doesn"t do that, we should find an alternative.
Contention 3: Under the social contract, the government has an obligation to avoid hindering economic production, because when the government becomes a hindrance to economic production, it is actively becoming a detriment to the people, and it is not upholding its side of the social contract.When the government takes away husbands and mothers to fight a war in a foreign land, they are directly interfering with that person"s employment, and thus, hindering economic production. As a result, the overall prosperity of this country is significantly harmed due to the sudden absence of labor, as all the workers have gone to fight the war! Also, according to the CBPP, the center on budget and policy priorities, when the war is over and these conscripted veterans come back, wages will drop significantly, due to the sudden influx of labor, as per the basic laws of supply and demand. This creates economic upheaval..
Contention 4: Another element of upholding the social contract is having an effective government. According to John Locke, if a government does not serve its function, the people have the right to rebel. Part of having the government serve its function and be effective is applying the law fairly, across spans of rich or poor, white or black, short or tall, young or old. Military conscription cannot achieve this, therefore, it should cease to be a part of our government. Evidence: Major General Robert Scales, U.S. Army once stated that," National service sounds like a utopian concept for social leveling, and it might be if it were applied fairly. It might be applied fairly during peacetime. But this is America. When the bullets start to fly Mom and Dad from the middle and upper classes will find a nice internship for their child in a soup kitchen or a Congressman"s office. But the less well connected will, as always, go to war poorly prepared, untrained and resentful. " This proves that military conscription makes those who are drafted bitter and angry, thus making them ineffective and a hindrance to military strikes, campaigns, and operations. You cannot expect the forced to fight well when all they want is to go home.
Impact: According to research at the Appalachian State University, during World War 2, just 1.2 percent of Harvard and Yale students, who typically represented a rich class, were drafted as compared to a 60-70 percent conscription rate at UC Berkeley! This is a clear breach of the social contract. Not only are you making rules that force people to fight a war, but you are not even applying this rule equitably! If people do not want to fight, then forcing them into military service will obviously not be the best choice... Precious resources will be wasted, leading to losing the war and killing more civilians in the process. "Research on the effects of Vietnam military service suggests that Vietnam veterans experienced significantly higher mortality than the civilian population at large."
Contention 6: Conscription is useless with today"s technology.
"A reserve force would be almost useless in all-out thermonuclear war as the outcome of such a war would depend on the quality of the fighting force in being; the quality of this force would be better if it were an experienced professional force than if it were an inexperienced drafted one." (http://www.hoover.org...)
In conclusion, military conscription would be detrimental to the social contract and morality, and therefore, unjust.
While the social contract helps clarify morality into conventions and laws, morality itself must transcend the contract because biological survivalism is a prerequisite to any moral action. Survivalism means that we must value life itself before political rights; we must value living over freedom because the latter has no meaning without the former. Any moral code that does not place human life above artificially constructed and abstract principles should be considered a self-contradiction. The value of rights cannot exceed the value of its creators’.
More importantly, I also want to point out that when my opponent defined the word “justified” in the resolution, he gave “to show a satisfactory reason or excuse for something done,” which does not explicitly mention the social contract or morality as criteria, though these certainly should be considered. I say this to point out that I am not obligated to prove that conscription does not violate the social contract or our moral code.
Justifying the Draft
The resolution essentially asks – Can conscription be justified? There are many scenarios I could imagine – from domestic invasion to global war – that could necessitate the conscription of troops. Nations, like Israel, who have constantly faced foreign encroachment and terrorism come to mind as prime examples. There are forces that have sought and will continue to seek to remake the world violently without any regard to innocence because of sectarian, racial, religious, and nationalistic identities. In an age radiological, biological, and nuclear capabilities, we must always be wary of extinction’s possibility and be willing to put every material and human resource beyond our own defense should the situation every arise. Even the United States, the largest military in the world, could face a number of scenarios that might require a draft.
Perry and Flournoy '6 (Fonner Secretary of Defense, and Michele A, Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic andInternational Studies, National Defense Magazine, "The U.S. Military: Under Strain And at Risk," May 2006)
My Opponent’s Arguments
Part of upholding the social contract is upholding individual freedom.. Military conscription is forcing people to fight when they may not want to.
Freedom has no inherent value, especially not when it is above biological survival. Also, an invasion scenario would turn this contention. If an enemy invades a nation, that enemy will take away freedoms. A draft may be required to build a large enough military to stop this.
When you take away one right, you put all rights in jeopardy, because when you desecrate one value, what is so different about desecrating all values?
Unless you can clearly delineate the draft to totalitarianism, this argument should be largely irrelevant. Slippery slopes are incredibly hard to justify, in part, because of the plethora of counter-examples: the U.S. has had the draft many times and never have we seen a rights crisis because of it.
Military conscription is not effective.
My opponent assumes a couple of things I don’t have to defend. First, that a draft must be universal. Of course, the government shouldn’t waste time trying to trim down obese people fit for combat. They would be turned away and not conscripted. The second seems to be an economic argument that has no real impact and certainly couldn’t have as big of impact as losing a war on your own territory.
Under the social contract, the government has an obligation to avoid hindering economic production, because when the government becomes a hindrance to economic production, it is actively becoming a detriment to the people, and it is not upholding its side of the social contract.
A war does not necessarily have to hinder an economy. It depends on how you pay for it and the outcome of the war. For example, “the American economy expanded at an unprecedented rate between 1941 and 1945.” Losing wars that might require a draft pose a much larger danger to the economy.
Israel does not always face nuclear-equipped enemies. The resolution makes no reference to American conscription. Also, a draft in American could be instrumental to fighting non-nuclear equipped enemies, like terrorists:
“ Several critical actions will bring victory and security to America. None is more important than installing mandatory national service. That is, “a draft…”we would put to the lie al-Qaia’s assertion that Americans don’t have the guts for warfare. Al-Qaida members and recruits will see one of bin Laden’s most important bits of propaganda evaporate. Reining in the terrorists, eliminating their support or apprehending them would be more attractive to leaders in Muslim countries when facing an American ramped up and unified for military conflict…We would dramatically increase the number of rapid response military units within our country to deal with a terrorist attack."
Stark '6 (Peter, "Prove bin Laden wrong, adopt mandatory national service," The Morning Call, 3/28/06, pg. Lexis)
John_Galt1337 forfeited this round.
John_Galt1337 forfeited this round.
Behold, my debate is mighty.
John_Galt1337 forfeited this round.
Come on, this guy started the debate.
John_Galt1337 forfeited this round.
Yeah Yeah Yeah