Vance et al. vs. the Right to One's Own Life

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Several leading figures in the Trump-era GOP are touting the anti-American idea of mandatory national service:

At least in the past, it was easier to see the barbarity of conscription, which wasn't conceled behind hypocritical appeals to virtue. (Image by Luke Clennell, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
Christopher Miller, who led the Pentagon during the chaotic closure of Trump's tenure in Washington, detailed his vision for the ASVAB and a range of other changes as part of Project 2025, the conservative Heritage Foundation's aspirational government-wide game plan should the presumptive Republican nominee return to the White House. Though Trump has not publicly endorsed its policy proposals, Miller is among a cluster of influential former administration officials and GOP lawmakers who have mused aloud about a national service mandate and other measures to remedy what they see as a "crisis" facing the all-volunteer military.


In an interview, Miller said a national service requirement should be "strongly considered." He described the concept as a common "rite of passage," one that would create a sense of "shared sacrifice" among America's youth.

"It reinforces the bonds of civility," Miller said. " ... Why wouldn't we give that a try?" [bold added]
How has it come to the leaders of this country -- that fought a bitter war to end slavery -- calling for slavery as a "rite of passage?"

Notably, J.D. Vance, who tops speculation as a possible Trump running mate, is even more enthusiastic about this evil idea:
Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), a potential Trump running mate, said in an interview that he sees a clear need for measures to boost participation. "I like the idea of national service. And I'm not talking about in wartime," he said, calling for more Americans to put "some skin in the game." [bold added]
What the hell can Vance even mean by putting skin in the game when he's using this to justify slavery, which is what conscription is? Has he forgotten that American men volunteered to fight for their freedom during the American Revolution, and in other wars where this freedom was clearly at stake?

The whole idea is obscene, and it is disturbing that someone like this -- who is doubtless more organized and capable than Trump -- could end up being President.

As for the real question Why not?, which is far more serious than Miller seems capable of realizing, Ayn Rand has the answer:
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. Once that principle is accepted, the rest is only a matter of time.

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 most immoral contradiction -- in the chaos of today's anti-ideological groups -- is that of the so-called "conservatives," who posture as defenders of individual rights, particularly property rights, but uphold and advocate the draft. By what infernal evasion can they hope to justify the proposition that creatures who have no right to life, have the right to a bank account? ... [bold added] ("The Wreckage of the Consensus," Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 226 )
I recommend reading the whole thing.

All I can add to the above is that, for anyone not paying attention, many of today's Republicans aren't even pretending to advocate rights these days: They straight-out regard the individual as property of the state, and speak of this as if it is a good thing.

Good for whom? Rand might have asked.

Definitely not for you.

Vance's prattling about the government conscripting people "not just in wartime" is, in fact, a declaration of war -- against our freedom.

If we do not volunteer to uphold our own freedom against him and his ilk, remember that there will be no draft to stop them.

-- CAV

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