The Instigator
stillistand34
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
tkubok
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Resolved: Military Conscription is Unjust

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
tkubok
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/14/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,736 times Debate No: 9223
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

stillistand34

Pro

This will be a Lincoln Douglas style debate)

B.H. Liddell once wrote, "conscription is the cancer of civilization."

Because I agree with Liddell I Affirm today's Resolution. Resolved: Military Conscription Is Unjust.

Military conscription is defined by wordnet.princeton as "compulsory military service in a time of war." and by Random House 2009 as, "a compulsory contribution of money to a government during a time of war."

Unjust is defined by Webster's online dictionary as, "violating the principles of justice"

I will value the principles of justice, upheld by a criterion of government obligation

In order to achieve the most amount of justice, one must first value the principles of justice. John Rawls states that the first principle of justice is that each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties. The second principle is that of wealth, where Rawls states that the deliberation must be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, and must be attached to offices and positions open to all, under conditions of equal opportunity. Conscription in and of itself violates both principles. Rawl's concludes that sacrifices must not surpass the gains. In true conscription you are sacrificing much more than you are gaining, because in all reality you aren't gaining anything. You are merely setting out to secure what should and may already be in place.

The principles of justice are best upheld under this resolution by government obligation. The key role of government is to uphold the principles of justice towards its citizens. If the people feel the war is necessary, and the government is legitimate, it will have no problem enlisting enough volunteers to fight in a war. If a government was to have a problem with enlisting enough people, it would either be because the government is illegitimate, or the people did not see the war as reasonable. Either way conscription would be counter-productive. A legitimate state is obligated to protecting the peoples rights, not to subjugating its people in order to protect themselves. In the words of John Stuart Mill, "First, by obtaining a recognition of certain immunities, called political liberties or rights, which it was to be regarded as a breach of duty in the ruler to infringe; and which if he did infringe, specific resistance, or general rebellion, was held to be justifiable."

Observation 1 -A strict definition of conscription is the only way to provide adequate ground for debate.
you can't assume that the people have given the government consent to be conscripted. This proves that the people would not be in agreement that the war was necessary. Thus, conscription, as I defined, gives the government a blank check to use conscription as a tool to subjugate society.

Contention 1. Conscription immensely hinders the economy.
Paolo Buonanno from UC Berkeley and the University of Bergamo writes in 2007. Our results suggest that the effect of military conscription on subsequent earnings is significant and long-lasting. Males who served in the National Service earn on average between 4 and 6 percentage points LESS than the immediate, subsequent, cohort, exempt from compulsory military service. The effect of compulsory military service or contribution would be equally as harmful to the economy as the draft, if not more. This wouldn't be a politically motivated argument, because the negative effect on the economy is bound to happen either way.

Contention 2. Conscription upholds communist ideals.
The word collectivism is a very deceiving word. It is like giving a cannibal a finger in hope of saving your arm, your finger being the earlier mentioned rights lost, in hope of saving your fundamental right to life. collectivism is defined by Webster's online dictionary as, "the subjugation of individuals to a much larger group" and what you must realize is that conscription is the most extreme form of collectivism, because of what it entails, and by how it is defined. The definition of conscription is not nearly extensive enough to prove that a government would not be able to convene upon a citizen's life when ever the GOVERNMENT felt it was necessary. They wouldn't really care if they physically or financially handicapped you, because they would rationalize their decision by making the surviving citizens to believe that there was no way around war. Collectivism, to be put more simply, and defined by Webster's online dictionary is "Bolshevism or Soviet Communism."

Contention 3. You are shooting yourself in the foot with conscription.
Subpoint A. There is no check on authority.
The government would have massive man power to go to war for whatever THEY felt was necessary. The simple idea of compulsory military service or contribution in a time of war is not broad enough to prove that the government would not abuse their power. IF there were to be conscription, the definition does not state that all governments will use conscription in a rational manner.

Subpoint B. There is no check on the scope.
The idea of compulsory military service or support in a time of war is not ample enough to include certain specifications, such as exclusion policies. We must accept the fact that women, children, mentally handicapped, elders, convicted prisoners, upon many other undeserving beings will be drafted. We must also accept the fact that compulsory is defined as, "required by rule" NOT "required to serve or support for a prior specified amount of time." Practically, The government could dedicate you or a loved one's life to the military without prior consent.

conscription can be considered nothing but an injustice first because there are no limits to what the government can and can't do, and most importantly because conscription blatantly violates the principles of justice, conscription can be considered nothing but an injustice........... As Martin Luther King Jr. would put it,"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." and it is for these reasons why I respectfully urge a ballot in affirmation.
tkubok

Con

Hmm, this is an interesting debate, so i shall take a dab at it.

First, i shall start out with addressing my opponents arguments:
"Conscription in and of itself violates both principles."
Not so.

Regarding the first principle presented by Rawls, the most important reason for conscription is to protect such basic liberties from being violated by other countries. If a dictator decides to wage war on a democratic country, conscription exists to help defend such rights from others. Conscription is the last refuge of protection against such an opponent, and i agree, is something of a last option. However, if Rawls is truly correct, and the first principle of Justice is to protect the rights and basic liberties of those under the justice system, then you must decide:
Conscription followed by the protection of the liberties and rights by protecting the country, or no conscription, and having the enemy violate such liberties and rights after the enemy conquers your country?

Regarding the second principle, although basically the same as the first, is also not contradicting conscription. If it is a decision between Conscription and the subsequent protection of the ability to posses Equal opportunities, and no conscription, with the removal and denial of such equal opportunities, which is the better option?

Now this debate really gets interesting:
"in all reality you aren't gaining anything. You are merely setting out to secure what should and may already be in place."
Tell that to Pol Pot

That was a joke, but anyways, its true. The fact that equality and liberties SHOULD exist, or DO exist, has nothing to do with the fact that in many places, it DOESNT exist, and, if given the opportunity for, say, Pol Pot to come in and take over the USA, the basic equalities and liberties will NOT exist anymore. And this is the point. Conscription is not about GAINING anything, but rather, PROTECTING it. You wont GAIN anything if Pol Pot comes in and becomes the new Dictator of the USA. However, you will LOSE many things.

"The key role of government is to uphold the principles of justice towards its citizens."
...Among other things, like protecting such principles of justice from outside sources.

"If the people feel the war is necessary, and the government is legitimate, it will have no problem enlisting enough volunteers to fight in a war."
Again, this is the point about conscription. Take World War 2 for example. The USA produced its military conscription draft during the 1940s. First off, i would like to ask my opponent to answer me this question: Was the cause for WW2, just, and if so, why was a drafting procedure necessary to procure more than 10 million men during 1940 and 1947 into the military?

"not to subjugating its people in order to protect themselves."
Not so. If, by "Protect themselves", my opponent means "Protect the people", then yes, i agree. Because that is what the government exists for.

"you can't assume that the people have given the government consent to be conscripted."
Actually, no. Take the USA for example. The "Selective Service System", the official name for Conscription draft, still exists as a contingency plan within the government. Where is the opposition? Where are the uprisings against such "violations of Justice", as my opponent has put it?

"Contention 1. Conscription immensely hinders the economy."
This is the same as saying that being born into a rich family, increases the amount of earnings on average than being born into a poor family. This has nothing to do with the fact that being rich, or being born in a rich family, is unjust. Apart from the fact that i do not understand how you could compare men who served in the National service, to those who were not apart of conscription, as the national service is not a conscription service, since my opponent has not provided a source, i cannot comment any further.

"Contention 2. Conscription upholds communist ideals."
First of all, Collectivism and Conscription, is as similar as the justice system and Collectivism. That is, Everyone must abide by the justice system, with no exception. Does this mean that the Justice system is collectivism? Of course not. Not every system that is subjegated to almost all its citizens, is collectivism. Furthermore, this isnt even the case with Conscription, as conscription always entails specific regulations which constrict who is drafted into the miliary. Usually, men between the ages of 18 and 25.
Secondly, sure, the definition of Conscription alone, is not enough to constrict the governments actions. However, so is the definition of Justice, so ambiguous, that it could mean anything from vigilantism to our current justice system. This is why it is always absurd to claim that the definition alone is all we have to go on, because it isnt, as clearly seen by the US Draft laws, South Korean draft laws, etc.

"Contention 3. You are shooting yourself in the foot with conscription."
Subpoint A:
Yes there is a check on authority. If the president of the USA, suddenly decided to become a dictator, or president for life, what do you think would happen? Do you seriously think that it would just happen? That congress would simply let it happen? There are always laws in place to prevent such things from occuring. It is stupid to think that every congressman is corrupt. Or does my opponent hold the skeptical view that no man in government is without a conscious?

Subpoint B:
Yes, it is. This is exactly why the government exists. My opponent has made an absurd accusation, that conscription entitles every man, woman, child, baby and old person into the army. This is not so. And to prove my point, i would like for my opponent to cite a single country that has the same basic liberties and rights as, say, the USA(As my opponent has cited Rowls) which has enlisted a mandatory Conscription service, in any time during its history to which the liberties and rights were implimented, and which have drafted every eldest man to the youngest child. Thank you.

Furthermore, Compulsion is defined as "Required by rule". However, this does not say ANYTHING about the length of time. Therefore, it is absurd, again as i have stated with the definition of Justice, for example, that conscription will last for an infinite amount of time. This is why the Government exists, and this is why the rules exist.

"conscription can be considered nothing but an injustice first because there are no limits to what the government can and can't do, and most importantly because conscription blatantly violates the principles of justice, conscription can be considered nothing but an injustice........... As Martin Luther King Jr. would put it,"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." and it is for these reasons why I respectfully urge a ballot in affirmation."

Congratulations. Words like "Freedom" or "justice", come with no definition that restricts how far Freedoms should go, how far Justice should be implimented. Yet, we dont simply allow the fact that every citizen deserves freedom, allow every citizen to hold Nuclear material, or Tanks, or shoot anyone they wish. These definitions alone are always useless. It is the Government, the leadership, that always place restrictions on such definitions.

As for justice, remember this saying: "Justice has a price, the price is freedom". We always give up a few freedoms in order to keep the Justice in our world. But the most important aspect, which is protecting the RIGHT to have justice, sometimes require a certain violation of freedoms. And we violate it all the time. Imprisonment, Execution, confinement. These are all Violations of ones freedoms. Yet, regardless, these are necessary to protect the RIGHTS of people to have JUSTICE in the first place.
Debate Round No. 1
stillistand34

Pro

In regards to my opponents argument against Rawl's First principle of justice, he assumes that conscription will always produce victor and give every citizen equal basic liberties, but wait. Are you truly receiving your end of the deal if you are picked (OTHERS ARE NOT) and your life is taken? No that would be a pretty crappy deal to give up some liberties to have the rest taken.

My opponent has seemed to miss the meaning of this argument so I will clarify. Let's say Tommy always wanted to be a doctor, but he was born into poverty, and forced to attend a not so state of the art school. Tommy was drafted out of high school because he met the standards to be drafted. Tommy was forced to fight in the infantry because he lacked the skills to play the role of a qualified doctor. Tommy did not receive his equal opportunity because he couldn't afford to go to college and prepare himself to be qualified as a doctor.

My opponent relates everything I say back to the USA, when the USA has never practiced true conscription. The U.S. Selective Service System is the furthest thing from compulsory military service and cannot be recognized as so in today's debate. There are too many ways to avoid being drafted in to the US selective service to define it as compulsory.

IN WW2, a draft was desired because of the need of massive man power. My opponent needs to realize that those amounts of draftees will never again be needed because of modernized warfare. Present Day warfare, and WW2 warfare are not even in the same league. Weaponry, Strategy and training are desired much more than man power. It is the reason why the americans won the revolution. They had a much better knowledge of the land, and the tacticts they used were superior to their British counterparts.

""If, by "Protect themselves", my opponent means "Protect the people", then yes, i agree. Because that is what the government exists for."--- My opponent makes a valid point but if real world governments truly cared about protecting their people, they wouldn't wage war, much less conscript their citizens to fight the war for them. Real world governments will begin to care about protecting their citizens they day they say " To Hell With War, Let's Settle this conflict with a fist fight, or more simply an agreement"

"Where is the opposition? Where are the uprisings against such "violations of Justice", as my opponent has put it?"
During Vietnam people were killed in Anti-draft rallies, They lobbied against the draft so much that it eventually disappeared and is now in a state of a coma, but can be brought back if the people agree that its necessary.

"since my opponent has not provided a source, i cannot comment any further."
Contention 1. Conscription immensely hinders the economy.
Paolo Buonanno from UC Berkeley and the University of Bergamo writes in 2007.......
The card is saying that people who were conscripted earned 5 to 6 percentage points less than someone exempt from being conscripted. The economy is hurt because they are no longer able to coin as much tax dollar on the salaries of those who are now conscripted. Pat Tillman for example. Think of the money the gov't made on his salary before he served in the military. I know Tillman wasn't drafted but since he served in the military, the salary would be a valid comparison to his abnormally large NFL contract. If there was a draft, Lawyers, Doctors, Accountants, Consultants, will be in large need. There salaries will be lowered once drafted, sending tax dollars into a sprialing downfall.

CONTENTION 2 - My opponent seems to have been mislead by the meaning i was trying to setforth. Conscription upholds communist ideals because it allows gov't to convene on a citizen's life when ever they feel necessary. This does not allow the gov't to uphold the principles of justice.

Subpt A - Obviously the US citizenry would rebel if the president decided to become a dictator, but seeing as how not all countries have what you may call a strong minded citizenry, and an open society, this argument would hold no ground, because in the majority of countries around the world, the people have little to no say in what goes on with the government. I'm not saying every congressman is corrupt, what im saying is that what's best for the government may not be aligned with what's best for its citizens.

SUBpt B. I didnt say every man, woman, child etc. will be drafted, im just saying that it would be a possibility. and I agree that no other countries have the same basic liberties as the USA which is why conscription would not be productive. In the words of John Stuart Mill, "First, by obtaining a recognition of certain immunities, called political liberties or rights, which it was to be regarded as a breach of duty in the ruler to infringe; and which if he did infringe, specific resistance, or general rebellion, was held to be justifiable." Even if this would justify conscription in the US, because if they people didnt agree they have the ability to rebel, that does not mean every third world country's citizens have that privilege. In fact, if they attempted to rebel they would probably be executed which is exactly why conscription does not provide protections of the principles of justice.

"Justice has a price, the price is freedom".
This may hold true in some instances, but not with conscription, at least not if your dog tags are returned home to your parents with blood stains on them. Justice is not something you can buy, it is something that is earned, and my opponent thinks that giving up a few freedoms to be conscripted is a magic key to acheiving everlasting freedom but that couldnt be further from the truth. In all reality more freedoms are in danger of being harmed if you are fighting a war similar to my opponents WW2 standard.

Once again, a strict def. of conscription is the only way to provide adequate ground for debate, and seeing as how the US Selective Service System does not fall under that definition because of its seemingly endless ways of being exempt from being conscripted. Compulsory is defined by Webster's online dictionary as required by rule. If you are exempt a rule would no longer matter therefore this debate would no longer be necessary because we would no longer be debating conscription.
tkubok

Con

"In regards to my opponents argument against Rawl's First principle of justice,"
Is my opponent claiming that the people who fought and died in the war, received an unfair deal? If not, then what is the reason for ANYONE to fight in a war?

"Let's say Tommy always wanted to be a doctor, but he was born into poverty, and forced to attend a not so state of the art school."
It is possible for poor people to attend good schools. Scholarships exist for this reason. If Tommy was bright enough, he could easily attend a better school. If he was simply too dumb, then there is no chance for him to become a doctor in the first place. I too am striving to become a doctor, and i know that the MCAT exists to weed out people who didnt try hard enough, or werent smart enough to qualify for being a doctor.

"Tommy was forced to fight in the infantry because he lacked the skills to play the role of a qualified doctor."
Tommy wouldve lacked the skills anyways. If he was only 18 to 22 years old, he wouldnt have had the qualifications to be a doctor, since he isnt even in medical school. If he was 22 to 25 years old, and still wasnt a doctor, or wasnt in medical school, there is little chance that Tommy would have become a doctor.

"Tommy did not receive his equal opportunity because he couldn't afford to go to college and prepare himself to be qualified as a doctor."
Utterly fails. If Tommy was serious enough to become a doctor, Tommy wouldve worked hard to enter a good school. Just because people have the potential to become something, doesnt mean they will. Everyone has the potential to become a Doctor. Does this mean that whenever someone applies to the Military, they should be sent to the medical center? Of course not. Only those with the proper education and degree will be sent there. Potential, is not enough.

"My opponent relates everything I say back to the USA, when the USA has never practiced true conscription."
This is the "No true scottsman" fallacy.

It is absurd to believe that just because people were able to avoid being drafted, that this was not conscription. However, this claim is false, as the definition for Conscription is clear:(1)
1. compulsory enrollment of persons for military or naval service; draft.
2. a compulsory contribution of money to a government during a time of war.

Neither entail how long, or who to conscript. And when every single term being used supports this, my opponents claims are seen to be more of a special pleading if anything.
"conscription was introduced in Great Britain in early 1916 and then in the USA under the Selective Service Act"(2)
"The Conscription Act of 1917 was passed in June, only months after Congress declared war in April"(3)
Infact, even in the dictionary, a draft is called Conscription:(4)
"12. a selection or drawing of persons, by lot or otherwise, from the general body of the people for military service; levy; conscription."
Infact, even here, the redirect is a draft.(5)

"IN WW2, a draft was desired because of the need of massive man power."
Actually, even today requires massive man power.(6) The only reason why it appears we need less, is because we are fighting against an opponent who also has a force that is not substantial. If the US were to go against, say, China, with a standing force of 2.3 million, do you seriously think that the current amount of troops that are stationed in the middle east would suffice?(To clarify, i believe there are under 10,000 US troops in Afganistan, if not less)

"" To Hell With War, Let's Settle this conflict with a fist fight, or more simply an agreement""
Oh really? So what exactly could you give Hitler, to stop gassing the Jews?

This is an absurd way of thinking, yet, at the same time, I too wish this was possible. If things could be solved by Negotiation, agreements, or simply placing two people in a cage and letting them work it out, then we wouldnt need wars. Its a shame, that when a Muslim extremists wants to Destroy the USA, the only way they will accept a compromise, an agreement, is if the USA agrees to surrender its citizens as slaves to the Muslims extremists. If thats what you want, great. Then weve lost all our laws, justice systems, and everything. And in my opinion, a government that does this, is the WORST government.

"During Vietnam people were killed in Anti-draft rallies"
Ah, so draft IS conscription. Okay.

And what i was talking about, is the fact that the draft laws STILL exist TODAY.(7) Yet, people who know these laws still exist and can be implimented at any time, say nothing towards it.

"Contention 1. Conscription immensely hinders the economy"
This is the problem with My opponents source. First off, the government was actually able to save money, according to Paolo Buonanno, as the average pay for the soldier was only 1.4 pounds, while the average pay was 8.8 pounds. This means that the Government had to spend less in order to maintain their army, to spend elsewhere. So this countermands the fact that the government couldnt tax as much, since they were also saving much more(As the government pays the salaries of soldiers). Furthermore, Paolo Buonanno merely states the innefectiveness of Conscription towards the income of the soldiers. Nowhere does he hint that this hurts the economy. Thirdly, Low wages is a mixed blessing; it is bad for the employee, but it is also good for the employer. Tax is also applied to busness owners as well, remember. Infact, the richer you are, the more tax is deducted. In the end, it doesnt help or hinder the economy, its actually pretty even.

"This does not allow the gov't to uphold the principles of justice."
Actually, no. I am reminded of a good quote from the movie, "Crimson Tide".
"We're here to preserve democracy—not to practice it."
The protection of Justice, the rights of the people, IS upholding the principles of justice.

"the people have little to no say in what goes on with the government"
And do those countries, have the basic rights that we also have? No? Then your objection is irrelevant, as those people do not have the basic rights that are violated in the first place.

"what's best for the government may not be aligned with what's best for its citizens"
Could you explain this a bit better please.

"I didnt say every man, woman, child etc. will be drafted"
Yes, you did:
"We must accept the fact that women, children, mentally handicapped, elders, convicted prisoners, upon many other undeserving beings will be drafted."

You said "Must accept the FACT". I hate to be a stickler, but you did. Anyways, does this matter? Ive already explained why no restrictions which are based strictly off of definitions, is absurd.

"does not provide protections of the principles of justice."
Of course they dont provide protections in those cases, because the rights dont exist IN THE FIRST PLACE. As you said before, "In order to achieve the most amount of justice, one must first value the principles of justice." There is no value on the principles of justice, in said countries. Therefore, this does not apply.

I am out of words, i shall address the rest of his arguments in the next round.

Sources:
1. http://dictionary.reference.com...
2. http://encyclopedia.stateuniversity.com...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://dictionary.reference.com...
5. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
6. http://www.independent.co.uk...
7. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
stillistand34

Pro

stillistand34 forfeited this round.
tkubok

Con

As my opponent has forfeited the third round, I shall finish up with addressing his arguments from the 2nd round.

"not if your dog tags are returned home to your parents with blood stains on them."

Again, so this means that all the men and women who died in world war 2 was for nothing important? Remember, they were also conscripted during that time as well.

"Justice is not something you can buy, it is something that is earned"
On the contrary, the quote, "Justice has a price, the price is freedom" has nothing to do with the cost of buying Justice, but rather, the price of UPHOLDING Justice. Justice has already been earned when the founding fathers fought for the right to an independant country. Its not like every baby that is born has to earn its right to justice.

"my opponent thinks that giving up a few freedoms to be conscripted is a magic key to acheiving everlasting freedom but that couldnt be further from the truth."
Not at all. I think that giving up a few freedoms will give us the ability to PROTECT our current freedoms. Although it is possible to FAIL in protecting our freedoms, the important aspect is that we fought to protect it, and that in many cases, we acheive this goal. I am not deluded as to believe that we can ever acheive everlasting freedom, or everlasting justice. But i do believe that we have the ability to protect our freedoms and justice from outside influences which contradict our current freedoms and justices.

"a strict def. of conscription is the only way to provide adequate ground for debate"
This is, again, absurd. The strict definition of Conscrpition is extremely vague. Every single recognizable person and dictionary agrees that Drafts and the Selective Service System is a form of conscription.

"Compulsory is defined by Webster's online dictionary as required by rule."
Yet, websters does not say anything as to what the extent of the rule is. And this is the point. Compulsory means "Required by rule". And if the rule is "People from ages 18 to 25 are to serve in the military for 2 years", that is STILL compulsory, as it is REQUIRED by rule. It doesnt MATTER if people aged 1-17 and 26-100 are exempt. The rule is STILL a rule. It is STILL compulsory.

"If you are exempt a rule would no longer matter"
We constantly use the term, "Rule of law". Yet, as we are all aware, there are multiple methods of avoiding the law. Does this somehow make the law, not a rule, or compulsory? Of course not.
Debate Round No. 3
stillistand34

Pro

stillistand34 forfeited this round.
tkubok

Con

As my opponent has forfeited his last round, i have nothing else to say.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 7 years ago
Chrysippus
stillistand34tkubokTied
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