Posts Tagged ‘Conscription’


Death Wins All Wars front coverDeath Wins All Wars: Resisting the Draft in the 1960s, a Memoir, by Daniel Holland, introduction by Chaz Bufe. Softcover, 192 pages, $16.95, ISBN 9781947071353, publication date September 1, 2019.

This entertaining and thought-provoking memoir covers Daniel’s experiences in the anti-war counterculture of the 1960s, experiences which led to his refusal to submit to involuntary servitude as a killer in a criminal war. The book goes on to describe his trial, his legal travails, and life in the counterculture following that trial. The book concludes with a chapter in which Daniel reflects on his and other draft resisters’ experiences during the Viet Nam War, and lessons about achieving peace for today’s activists.

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The Great Evil front coverThe Great Evil: Christianity, the Bible, and the Native American Genocide, by Chris Mato Nunpa, PhD. Softcover, 256 pages, $19.95, ISBN 9781947071360, publication date September 1, 2019.

In this shocking book, retired Native American history professor Nunpa exposes a sordid and little known aspect of American history: The intimate ties between Christian doctrine, Christian churches, and the mass slaughter and enslavement of Indigenous peoples.

(We’ll be running a post by Chris on February 12, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, on why the Dakota people have very little use for Lincoln, why to them he’s more “the great hangman” than “the great emancipator.”)

 


The top brass in both the Army and Marine Corps, generals Mark Milley and  Robert Neller, have called for extension of draft registration to 18-year-old girls as well as 18-year-old boys. While this might strike some as fair, one must ask if forcing anyone to register for involuntary servitude to the government is fair? And what of such involuntary servitude itself?

These questions get at the very core of whether or not this is a “free country.”

First, let’s dispose of the assertion that conscription is not a form of “involuntary servitude.” The government threatens those who do not submit to imprisonment, and actually imprisons draft resisters in droves during times of conscription. So, the draft is based on coercion, and it forces its unwilling victims to “serve” in the armed forces. If this isn’t “involuntary servitude,” what is?

That the Supreme Court has ruled that the draft isn’t involuntary servitude is simply evidence that the Court, a branch of the government, puts the government’s interests above those of the individuals the government supposedly serves, and that it will rule that black is white when it ‘s politically expedient to do so. The Court’s upholding of the free speech-suppressing Espionage Act during World War I (and the resulting imprisonment of thousands for opposing the war) and its infamous 1857 ruling that black human beings are property are cases in point.

Another common assertion used to justify conscription is that there’s a “social contract” which obliges citizens to serve “society”–in actuality, the government. Let’s take a look at this “contract.” Did you ever sign it? I certainly didn’t. In fact, no one has. As for the assertion that we’re “signing” the “contract” by living here, it’s pertinent that not only has no one ever signed it, no one has ever even seen it.

Who wrote this invisible “contract”? The government? Is the “contract” whatever the government says it is? Whatever authoritarian social theorists say it is? In either case, that’s a recipe for tyranny.

This brings up an even more fundamental matter: Does the government exist for the benefit of individuals or do individuals exist for the benefit of the government? If it’s the former, the government has no business pressing citizens into a form of slavery. If it’s the latter, there’s no limit to what the government can do to citizens.

It’s time to get rid of the draft. It’s time to get rid of this authoritarian relic. If the United States ever wants to live up to its billing as “the land of the free,” casting aside this pernicious form of involuntary servitude would be a very good first step.

 

 


H.L. Mencken“Is a young man bound to serve his country in war? In addition to his legal duty there is perhaps also a moral duty, but it is very obscure. What is called his country is only its government and that government consists merely of professional politicians, a parasitical and anti-social class of men. They never sacrifice themselves for their country. They make all wars, but very few of them ever die in one. If it is the duty of a young man to serve his country under all circumstances then it is equally the duty of an enemy young man to serve his. Thus we come to a moral contradiction and absurdity so obvious that even clergymen and editorial writers sometimes notice it.”

–H.L. Mencken, Minority Report


Alexander Berkman“The man who can face vilification and disgrace, who can stand up against the popular current, even against his friends and his country when he knows he is right, who can defy those in authority over him, who can take punishment and prison and remain steadfast–that is a man of courage. The follow whom you taunt as a ‘slacker’ because he refuses to turn murderer–he needs courage. But do you need much courage just to obey orders, to do as you are told and to fall in line with thousands of others to the tune of general approval and ‘The Star Spangled Banner’?”

Alexander Berkman, What Is Anarchism?

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