Monday 27 May 2024

"National 'service'"

"Translation: your life isn’t really yours. You have to buy it off from some higher entity. To be left alone, you have to pay ransom, in the form of some service to the group. Both the draft, or ‘volunteer weekends’ are this ransom. Despicable. The Tories are a disgusting Party. I wish them a historic annihilation in the elections."
~ Nikos Sotirakopoulos, from his tweet in response to Rishi Sunak's pledge to "bring back National Service" iff the Tories win the UK election
"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 years from about fifteen to twenty-five are the crucial formative years of a man’s life. This is the time when he confirms his impressions of the world, of other men, of the society in which he is to live, when he acquires conscious convictions, defines his moral values, chooses his goals, and plans his future, developing or renouncing ambition. These are the years that mark him for life. And it is these years that an allegedly humanitarian society [would force] him to spend in terror—the terror of knowing that he can plan nothing and count on nothing, that any road he takes can be blocked at any moment by an unpredictable power, that, barring his vision of the future, there stands the gray shape of the barracks, and, perhaps, beyond it, death for some unknown reason in some alien jungle."

~ Ayn Rand from her 1967 lecture 'The Wreckage of the Consensus' [excerpt here]


rivoniaboy said...

"Citing Israel — which he called one of the best examples of a current Western-style democracy with a “we” culture — described national service as “the most sensible socially and financially way of engaging that generation and getting them to feel that this was something other than a black period in their lives.”
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

A different perspective.

MarkT said...

@ rivoniaboy - To the extent that national service and/or compulsory civil defense is necessary for a (free or relatively free) nation's existential survival, as it arguably has been in the case of Israel for most of it's history- it might be justifiable. For the same reason that governments have certain powers during wartime or other emergencies such as a pandemic, that they wouldn't have during peacetime. But Britain is not in that position, nor is any other Western-style democracy to my knowledge. The alleged good ends (for young people's personalities) don't justify the means.

MarkT said...

PS - And I say the above with a son who plans to join the NZ Air Force (Galt help him). It's the right thing for him perhaps, but only because he's chosen it.