The USFG should abolish the Draft.
Debate Rounds (3)
Conscription, or drafting, is the compulsory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service . Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bill stating that women turning 18 on or after Jan. 1, 2018, would now be forced to register for the draft as men must do now. In this debate, I will be arguing that instead of requiring women to register for the draft, the Senate should have abolished the draft all-together. My opponent should use Round 1 for acceptance.
Murray Rothbard notes, "Conscription remains popular among states because it is an easy way to directly extract resources from the population. Just as regular taxes partially extract the savings, productivity, and labor of the general population, conscription extracts virtually all of the labor and effort of the conscripts. The burden falls disproportionately on the young males in most cases, and they are at risk of a much higher tax burden if killed or given a permanent disability in battle. If he"s lucky enough to survive the conflict, the conscript may find himself living out the rest of his life as disfigured or missing his eyesight and limbs. He may be rendered permanently undesirable to the opposite sex. Such costs imposed on the conscript are a form of lifelong taxation" .
In other words, going to war can have devastating and permanent effects on the mind and body. To force someone to risk their life and well being against their will is indeed a form of slavery. It involves the control of another person and forcible labor. It requires the dismissal of their rights and freedoms. It gives the government the power to disregard an innocent person's right to life and bodily autonomy.
Ayn Rand writes, "Of all the statist violations of individual rights in a mixed economy, the military draft is the worst. It is an abrogation of rights. It negates man"s fundamental right"the right to life"and establishes the fundamental principle of statism: that a man"s life belongs to the state, and the state may claim it by compelling him to sacrifice it in battle... If the state may force a man to risk death or hideous maiming and crippling, in a war declared at the state"s discretion, for a cause he may neither approve of nor even understand, if his consent is not required to send him into unspeakable martyrdom"then, in principle, ALL rights are negated in that state, and its government is not man"s protector any longer. What else is there left to protect?" .
The Draft represents involuntary servitude. A volunteer army is the only righteous way to defend a free country. If one's country is being attacked, people (probably men) should volunteer to fight if they value their rights, lives and freedom. As such, a free (or even semi-free) country has never lacked volunteers in the face of legitimate aggression. That's because self-defense is necessary to protect one's valued way of life. If one would prefer to flee, that should be their right, for humans are not inherently or intrinsically bound or have sworn allegiance to a particular nation.
The Draft can force people to fight and die for causes and/or countries they might not care about, and in cases where their safety or well-being is not in immediate or legitimate danger. Consider the last time the Draft was utilized in the United States. The Vietnam War was one of the most controversial conflicts in American history. It became increasingly unpopular as American soldiers were conscripted and forced to fight in a completely unnecessary conflict. It was the longest and most unpopular war the U.S. ever fought, yet people were still forced to die . America was not at risk when the government decided to mandate young citizens risk their lives in Vietnam. This proves the government can manufacture and/or manipulate reasons to force people to fight to the death. Inhibiting the Draft would decrease the likelihood of our government getting involved in unnecessary conflict.
Military authorities have testified that a volunteer army (an army of people who know what they are fighting for and why) is the best, most effective army, and that a drafted one is the least effective . There is no use for poorly trained, poorly motivated infantrymen. Less intelligent soldiers get killed in hugely disproportionate numbers. Drafted armies are by their nature amateur armies .
Conscription is never applied fairly. The Draft leads to "a rich man's war, a poor man's fight" . Deciding who lives or dies on the basis of drawing random numbers is also completely unfair. Being called to war could threaten a person's livelihood, education, career, future and family.
"A compulsory draft is far more typical of totalitarian nations than of democratic nations. The theory behind it leads directly to totalitarianism. It is absolutely opposed to the principles of individual liberty which have always been considered a part of American democracy." " Senator Robert A. Taft, August 14, 1940
Thank you for providing your argument.
I believe your statement of naming the draft as a form of 'public enslavement' is an opinionated exaggeration. Currently, the United States does not allow drafting and only keeps the Selective Service plan for contingency . There isn't exactly an inefficiency, or unfairness standard which you have provided in order to name the Draft program as such. It is agreed by contract to defend your country in the darkest of times, no matter how improbable it may be, especially to a nation like the United States.
Rebuttals and Other Arguments
Against your quote regarding Murray Rothbard and your debate naming the United States as the nation that should abolish the Draft, Murray was describing a nation that uses highly aggressive military tactics in order to push it's agenda. He wrote that in 1973 . 1973 was also during the year and time that the United States was under a massive controversy of using military intervention to enforce it's ideals which was under harsh criticism by it's public (Refer to Source 1). Your source does not state what or who Rothbard was targeting. Regardless, I believe it is safe to assume that the time period and target in which Rothbard was attempting to persuade was the legislative debate that dominated the news and headlines across the country, using his well known status as an established economist among other things in order to push more support for his view. The debate pushed the United States Military into becoming an all-voluntary military force but leaving the Selective Service Program as a contingency plan (Refer to Source 1).
Going to war does leave devastating psychological and physical effects on a person, there is absolutely no question to it. Going as far to call conscription as a form of slavery is pushing it, I believe. When you become a United States citizen, in the event that the United States is under a state of war where the homeland is under a credible threat to being attacked on its own soil, the benefits that the United States gave to these citizens should be rightfully expected to be returned through with undying loyalty. This is, of course, incredibly improbable although any responsible government should have a contingency plan for anything and the United States, the most recognized country on earth, would be foolish not to have one. In a sentence, "Desperate times calls for desperate measures".
In response to your quote of Ayn Rand, I should again say that it is still stretching the subjective vocabulary to call the Draft as a form of enslavery due to restricting 'rights'. I repeat, there was a contract signed when citizenship was given in the United States, and under the most desperate times, when war is at the doorstep of the American homeland, there should be a choice between whether enemy occupation is worth temporarily losing your 'rights' . It is in an investment, and when you invest, you lose something but get it back later, usually in interest. During war-time, if the United States is ever to face off against a might nearly equal to it's own, when US military forces are having their libertarian backs broken in order to not infringe upon the 'rights of the people', they will suffer under the enemy who would be more than willing to restrict a few rights in order to subdue the enemy as much as possible. While very improbable to meet these nations in the battlefield, even with rising tensions, these nations exist. With the only rival military mights which have a credible chance of reaching the United States being Russia, and China .
Besides there being the concept of human rights abuses, the question is brought up concerning, 'What is rights'? Do rights really apply in the wild, much less in the conventional concept of human warfare? There are no official human rights on Earth , and in society when a civilization is bent on destroying the other, certain concepts need to be warped in order to defend with everything the years that was spent on advancing your nation.
When you are also defending the concept of people's individual rights, I'm afraid I must label controversy in your statement of "If one's country is being attacked, people (probably men) should volunteer to fight if they value their rights, lives and freedom". If you are fighting for individual rights as is obviously evident in your argument, wouldn't men have as equal rights as woman? Is that not a restriction of freedom if not oppression? Concerning volunteer armies, when the enemy is at the doorstep, fear shows its might against courage. I will provide an example at the end my of my argument.
For your argument in which a person is not inherently bound to swear allegiance to a nation, you are correct. They are not 'inherently bound', but they made a conscious choice in which their loyalty and civil duty to uphold the societal stability they made in their contract for the ability to participate in the American republic in exchange for blood when it is needed. Otherwise, what society is there to defend if all people are looking out for themselves?
The draft does force people to causes which are not their concern, far away and abroad, and the danger to the homeland is not legitimate. With that case, you are correct. Although, in the US there is no longer a draft that can be implemented for those cases synonymous to Vietnam or Korea, which renders that argument null (Refer to Source 1). The government will always manipulate reasons for people to fight for special interests, especially major powers like the United States which has the capacity and will to do so. They already did this with their volunteer army in Iraq where the evidence of Iraqi WMD's were allegedly faked and the siphoning of Iraqi resources were met after occupation .
The Iraqi argument is proof that since the draft has already been 'inhibited by practice' (the US hasn't made a draft since the 1973 military move to stop it and only keep the Selective Service Plan), the US will still keep manipulation of it's interests to the public. Regardless, the already war hungry history of the United States and current actions taken abroad by the US makes scarring tensions with the biggest military rivals of her time. If the course of events do take place when a nation is knocking at the front door of the continental US, a contingency plan will always be needed, and the United States has one in place. I can't call the United States a repulsive society whose interests are evil for inciting so much war, they are one of the most stable and free nations on Earth with a high Human Development Index  and should defend it when a rival military power should come, even if it means temporarily restricting it.
The next argument of yours in this round can still be refuted by the argument where the contingency plan is the only justifiable reason for the United States to not abolish the Draft. A volunteer army is good for the offensive and defensive however, when the volunteer army fails or is destabilizing at the hands of a major enemy about to cross the ocean to the US, a draft is the back-up plan.
Conscription is applied justly to the class and ranking of the person about to be drafted. A man with no education and no target to be educated is less likely to be successful than a college graduate. The argument in which ethnicity and wealth plays its role on the success of a person is an entirely different argument. That's why we need national healthcare and education! But I digress, the current system targets the people that would be least successful to the progression of the current American society.
Senator Roberts has absolutely no idea how important it was for the USSR to have drafted their available manpower to fight against Operation Barbarossa. If Moscow hadn't forced conscription, even if how weak and the massive casualties they experienced, they would have lost the war and Germany could redirect their entire army to the Western front . The manpower versus the quantity of persons in the Red Army wouldn't have matched if not for the conscription and never proven a match to protect the Russian homeland and lost more lives to the West.
Con says that calling the Draft a form of public enslavement is an exaggerated opinion. In the last round, I've explained that forcing people to fight against their will is indeed a form of slavery. It involves the control of another person and forcible labor. It requires the dismissal of their rights and freedoms. It gives the government the power to disregard an innocent person's right to life and bodily autonomy. That is certainly akin to slavery.
My opponent notes that the U.S. does not currently allow Drafting which is irrelevant to this debate. I'm not arguing that the U.S. has the draft, but that it shouldn't.
Con challenges the unfairness and inefficient standards of the Draft saying they are neither. That is false. I've argued why the Draft is inherently unfair; it requires the forcible violation of one's most basic rights and freedoms. It disrupts people's livelihoods, can mess up their future and permanently scars them for life (when they survive). Further, the Draft tends to burden poor young males in particular.
Researchers from the Department of Economics at the University of Helsinki and the Institute of Social Policy from the University of Hannover have conducted an analysis on military conscription. Their conclusion? "We analyze efficiency and distributional implications of the military draft and other compulsory work services... Even in the absence of its well-understood static inefficiencies, military draft would still be a worse solution for steady-state generations than levying wage taxes to acquire the same labor input in market wages" .
In other words, according to this research (with well documented facts and mathematical formulas to navigate efficiency outputs), volunteer armies are better and more efficient. The Draft puts the “wrong” people in the military — people who are not interested in a military life, not well equipped for one, or who place a high value on doing something else .
Additional research from the University of Vienna and Copenhagen's Business school reiterate these findings. "Relying on forced labor foregoes the benefits of specialization, as well as fails to take into account differences in opportunity costs and comparative advantage. Staffing military or hospitals by unmotivated or underpaid draftees easily results in shirking and considerable loss of potential output" . Former conscripts usually suffer from lower earnings than those exempted from the draft .
"The draft forces young people to work for the government, thus postponing their education and entry to the labor market, and shortening their remaining working career. Wage taxes reduce the after-tax return to education, thus also discouraging investment in education. We show that even if the draft were not plagued by inefficient matches between people and jobs, the lack of specialization, or other static inefficiencies it would still be a worse solution for steady-state generations than levying wage taxes to acquire the same labor input in market wages... All future generations would lose" .
Con writes that conscription "is agreed by contract to defend your country in the darkest of times" which is problematic. Why should anyone be forced to sign this contract in order to obtain the basic rights of citizenship? That stands contrary to the very principles this country was founded on. Indeed the United States only exists as a direct rejection of our previous government's demands. To suggest we are slaves to the government's demands is tyrannical and firmly stands in opposition to liberty.
Furthermore, contracts are not valid if they are signed under coercion. Therefore being forced to sign this contract in exchange for basic rights of citizenship would not be valid under most legal standards.
Con says that Rothbard's quote is irrelevant because it was stated in the 1970s. Of course that is nonsensical. Rothbard's quote still directly applies today as the concept is still the same. The quote describes the way conscription extracts labor and forces people to fight to the death vs. being productive within the economy. He mentioned that going to war via Draft is essentially a "lifelong tax" that one has to pay and that it may cause irreparable damage. That would be true in 1973 or 2073.
My opponent writes, "in the event that the United States is under a state of war where the homeland is under a credible threat to being attacked on its own soil, the benefits that the United States gave to these citizens should be rightfully expected to be returned through with undying loyalty." First, this is nothing but a fallacious bare assertion. Con is stating his opinion here, not proving that it's valid. I vehemently disagree that citizen's lives belong to the state.
Second, Con conveniently mentions being attacked on our own soil -- and yet the Draft is not only limited to those instances of direct attack. Even if it were, I would still disagree with the Draft -- however this is manipulative and ignores my argument from the last round. The U.S. can and has employed the Draft even in cases where our safety was NOT legitimately or directly threatened. Con writes "desperate times call for desperate measures" and that is certainly true... which is why people volunteer to fight in wars out of desperation when necessary.
But here's why citizens do not inherently owe their lives to the state. One - the state exists to protect our rights (to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness). This does not require the state to give us anything but rather to protect us. With conscription, the state is not protecting our rights; it's violating our rights.
Two - I've explained that we do not have an inherent tie to any particular country. We do not always agree with our government's conflicts (that sometimes put us in harm's way unnecessarily) and therefore should not be forced to participate or perpetuate those endeavors. Three - not all of us are patriotic nationalists. I do not feel an allegiance to the U.S. as I would move anywhere in the world that I could build a happy, healthy life with a good job and family. However, I should not be forced to just because I will not fight on behalf of the state.
My opponent mentions a citizenship contract several times. Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a member of a country, and does not (in most cases) require the signing of any contract. I have never signed a contract to become or remain a citizen of the United States and yet I am one. He fabricates the so-called "investment" of citizenship.
Moreover, consider the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Over 62% of them were citizens (38% were not allowed to become citizens though they wanted to) and yet their status as citizens did not protect them from having a slew of their civil rights violated. Since hundreds of thousands of people were locked up and enslaved on the basis of their ancestry's nationality, this proves how even citizens do not have inherent ties to one's country. Some Japanese-Americans renounced their citizenship in protest of being held captive like slaves in this instance.
The point? We have allegiance to ourselves, our families and our values - not to the state under any and all circumstances. My opponent acknowledges that government cannot be trusted and fabricates or exaggerates reasons to go to war, in order to promote special interests... yet Con believes citizens should be forced to fight and die on behalf of these falsehoods which is completely immoral.
Con also states that citizens should be Drafted in the case of facing legitimate military opposition. I've already explained that people who want to protect their livelihood, loved ones, rights and way of life can/should fight in order to do so -- or risk having those things being destroyed. That's why millions of soldiers have chosen to fight voluntarily throughout history.
I'd like to note in saying "probably men" should volunteer for the army, I am not saying that men and women should have unequal rights and responsibilities. I'm saying that historically and scientifically, men make better soldiers. However women can, should, and do fight -- in fact there was a significant push to allow women to enlist and serve, even when a Draft was unnecessary, indicating we would not be short on volunteers in the case of a serious need .
Con suggests that there are no legitimate "rights" which is a problematic claim. If there are no serious rights, then government surely has no right to rule over grown individuals by force and aggression. I'd like to repeat Ayn Rand's quote here: "If the state may force a man to risk death... if his consent is not required to send him into unspeakable martyrdom, then, in principle, ALL rights are negated in that state, and its government is not man's protector any longer. What else is there left to protect?" Indeed if the state does not exist to protect one's rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then what is the purpose of the state? By that logic, citizens have no rhyme or reason at all to want to protect and uphold the state which does not protect them.
I've proven that the draft is unfair. I've proven that the draft is inefficient. I've provided alternatives: volunteer armies funded through taxes (and more military pay = more, better volunteers) which both economists and military personnel agree is better for the market, society, and the individual soldier's safety and well-being.
 Angrist, J.D. (1990). Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administration Records. American Economic Review 80: 313 – 335.
My reasoning for calling your label of conscription as a form of public enslavement was defended by the American social contract where the benefits of living in the Republic would one day, hypothetically come at the cost of blood when the nation needs it. If the person has no intention of joining a war which would require conscription, they can simply renounce their citizenship if they were born into it. They have the ability to renounce citizenship in a time of defencive war, and the option to join a college or university before responding to a draft notice .
I noted the current system of conscription that the United States has in place which is only as a contingency plan which became a point that was not refuted by you in your argument for Round 3. There is relevancy which you failed to acknowledge when I stated that the Selective Service was for an unprecedented hypothetical war that would require a draft (Refer to Source 1) in order to meet the standards to actually win a war.
Pro stated that I refuted the efficiency standard of the volunteer army which is not true. I had only stated against your claim that with the example of the conscription service of the USSR, it was a proven necessity in order to win the Second World War on the Eastern Front. You did not refute my backed argument that it was a mass of forced and bloody drafts that saved the Allies from the Axis.
Your research source can be properly labelled as bias. The document which you had provided offered no real evidence other than assumptions and simple factual statements in which their meanings were warped and could be subjectively considered as immoral and wrong.
Another argument which I had made which you refused to acknowledge or refute was the emotional 'Heat of the Moment' per se, in which fear decides the actions of a person. I made an example of World War II where the draft services of multiple Allied nations was the saviour in battle and I'll make a second example through World War I. The British Empire needed Vassal states to give up their men in order to fight the Central Powers in WWI and instituted a conscription service due a severely weak lack of volunteers joining in the Royal Forces. If it was not for the forced conscription instituted by the British Empire, WWI would have been a much more gruesome, longer, and deathly war where more lives would have been lost .
Another World War II example of conscription being needed in order to take down the enemy who was willing to sacrifice much more for their totalitarian regime would be the Indian Army who refused to provide the proper numbers of volunteer soldiers to sacrifice their lives on the line for the fate of Europe . The conscription service for India managed by the British Empire was a credited sway in order to actually give a stronger push for the turning point in WW II.
Pro states that it is a form of slavery to fight for your government. It is not slavery, as I argued before, it is defending the people and sacrificing individual interests in order for the greater good. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." . If a nation was to surrender their ideals simply to uphold the temporary libertarian values they so stood for in order to work against the intruding enemy, the ideals would collapse upon themselves because they could not tolerate being temporarily restricted as an investment in order to keep them in the long-run. There are moments in which you need to sacrifice your rights when the surrender of your nation is imminent and you need the forced labour in order to uphold the foundation of your country. I have proven this twice with both World Wars and you failed to refute my claims in the previous round.
"Furthermore, contracts are not valid if they are signed under coercion. Therefore being forced to sign this contract in exchange for basic rights of citizenship would not be valid under most legal standards. " can be very misunderstood. It is not coercion as I said before, because you aren't forced to sign the contract and you can destroy your citizenship in the time that war is near and you feel the urge to flee the nation. You also state that it would not be 'valid under most legal standards'. What legal standards? There are no international articles written by the United Nations, Geneva Convention or any other organization that deals in warfare that bans or constricts the need for conscription.
Rebuttals and Arguments
Rothbard's statement is not relevant to the current time and the issues in warfare, today. Rothbard was targeting the controversially aggressive tactics that the United States was using and their unnecessary drafting policy in peace time and wars in which the American homeland was not in danger. The argument in which I am building is that the defencive contingency plan of the Selective Service is a necessity in order to prepare for any war where the battlefield will take place on American soil (Refer to Source 1).
Pro states that my argument in the event of a defencive war-time where the war is taking place inside American borders is a fallacious statement. "Blood will be needed in return for the benefits the Republic gave" is not an assertion. The current American social contract states that "I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law." . It can be found in multiple federal documents and orally such as the Oath of Allegiance and the American naturalization form of USCIS N-400.
Pro states that I manipulated the argument which is not true. I stated before, I'll state again with the sources I provided previously that the American Selective Service is a defencive contingency plan. You provide no sources to back up your claim that the draft applies to offensive combative measures or do you provide sources where volunteer armies have successfully been in a defencive war and protected their country. I have with my example in WW I and my other 2 examples in WW II.
Pro states that "the state exists to protect our rights (to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness)." which is *not true when other federal documents suggest otherwise, including the American constitution. *I place the asterisk because my opponent subjectively and persuasively makes her own interpretation of American libertarian values when the libertarian political spectrum is nothing more than a philosophical-social concept while the concept of war is not.
Pro makes a second statement to her argument stating that we are not bound to any country and do not need to agree with the nation's conflicts. If this statement was applied to in the World Wars where each individual is looking to save their own backs and turns away from the war by cowardly fleeing in order to protect their lives, than the wars would be lost. The Selective Service is defencive, as I said so with sources before and before and before, and that if not for the forced conscription in order to defend the same libertarian principles which you are listing, the Axis would be oppressing more than the toleration your image is conceiving.
Pro states that I also fabricated my 'Investment' statement, which is not true. I was trying to explain how temporarily restricting rights in order to make sure the enemy doesn't permanently oppress it is a worthy 'investment' to preserve the liberal values you treasure. She also states that she did not choose to become a citizen, which is not true. She was born a citizen, but at the time she became self-aware, she had and still has the option to destroy her citizenship and with it, the chances of being drafted.
My opponent also states the argument of Japanese internment. This is not relevant to the argument. What the American federal government did was in breach of the constitution, but the draft is not, as it is stated in levels of documents that are equally ranking to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
My point? We have allegiance to our country. Pro has started to make argument that are entirely subjective naming things such as immorality and individual interests, destroying the unification that 4000 years of civilization has attempted to make. When everyone is looking out for themselves, and not each other in the synonymous Selective Service and defencive contingency plan it makes, the authoritarian principles of assured stability at the cost of the artificial concept of 'God-given rights' is factually righteous, and proven effective against the theories which my opponent is fabricating.
Pro's argument in the following paragraph of her argument completely ignored my point of the targeting of the American draft to 'vacuum' the most undesirable and least successful of society.
My opponent finishes her argument with quoting Ayn Rand, the extreme libertarian, once again without properly refuting my argument of the concept of human rights properly, other than marking it as an 'illegitmate claim' without foundation. Her conclusion states that she has proven everything in her argument which is fallacious. Half of what she had listed was subjective and politically biased without foundation.
I've backed up my historical examples, philosophical rebuttals and factual arguments of the conscription service being a necessary contingency plan in order to prepare for the worse and depending on the people is a lack of judgement as contemporary history has proven twice.
I'm glad I was able to debate with Danielle, one of the most prominent figures here in DDO. Thank you for this challenging debate.
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