Draft Registration and America’s Serf Society
by Jacob G. Hornberger
With the start of baseball season, fans will once again be exhorted to stand up and glorify the troops. Among those fans will be teenagers who will be proudly singing some variation of “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.”
But neither American teenagers nor any other American is able to reconcile the freedom he is so proud of with the fact that the federal government forces every man to register for the draft when he reaches the age of 18.
Oh sure, it all seems so small and innocuous. All the person has to do is go online and fill in his name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth, and tell how he first learned about registration and then hit the “Submit registration” button. That’s it.
Well, except for one thing: If the U.S. national-security branch of the federal government ends up embroiling our nation in another big foreign war, the first thing the federal government is going to do is pull out its enormous database of draft registrations. And then the call-ups begin. And so will the return of body bags and cheap shipping caskets.
Oh, to be sure, they’ll be saying that the U.S. Empire was just minding its own business when it got attacked. And of course they’ll be saying that the war is being waged to protect our rights and freedoms and so that Americans don’t have to learn how to speak Chinese, Russian, Korean, Spanish, Farsi, Arabic, or whatever.
But one glaring fact will remain: American men will be forced — yes, forced — to fight in another one of their foreign wars. That’s what a draft means — being forced to leave one’s family, business, and regular life to serve the state, including by killing its enemies or dying at their hands thousands of miles away.
Why is a draft necessary? If the United States were invaded by a foreign army, my hunch is that 98 or 99 percent of American men and probably a very large percentage of women would volunteer to defend our country from a foreign army, one that undoubtedly would include murderers, rapists, and pillagers. It wouldn’t be necessary to force people to fight because most everyone would be volunteering to fight.
But it’s entirely different with foreign wars. In foreign wars, there are a large percentage of Americans who say, “That’s not something I wish to volunteer for. Just leave me out of that one.”
That’s where the force comes in. Since an insufficient number of Americans are willing to kill and die for the U.S. national-security state’s foreign wars, the government must force them to do so.
Consider the Vietnam War. When the French Empire was fighting to maintain its imperial grip on South Vietnam, my hunch is that at only a few Americans, at most, were willing to fight alongside French troops. While Americans might have sympathized with the French Empire, they weren’t willing to give up their everyday lives to go over there and help it out.
After the French lost their imperial war, the U.S. national-security branch of the government began proclaiming that the Viet Cong and North Vietnam posed a grave threat to U.S. “national security,” the amorphous term that was quickly becoming the most important term in the American lexicon. They said that if America didn’t stop the communists from taking over South Vietnam, the dominoes would begin falling, with the final big domino being the United States.
But as the national-security state began embroiling our country deeper in the Vietnam conflict, the fact is that most American men continued thinking that it was just one big crock. They weren’t willing to trade their lives to go over there and fight, no matter how much U.S. officials kept screaming, “National security” and “communist threat!”
So, U.S. officials resorted to the draft, a way of life in which the government is sovereign and the citizen is serf. With a draft or with draft registration, the government essentially says to the citizens: “We are your bosses. We own you and we control you. You exist to serve us. You will give up your job and your family when we order you to do so. You will kill and die anywhere we decide to send you.”
Compare that to a free society, one in which the citizen is sovereign and the government subservient, one in which people are free to live their lives the way they want. To see how our 19th-century American ancestors viewed the draft, read this speech entitled “On Conscription” by Daniel Webster.
By the end of the Vietnam War, more than 58,000 American men had died for nothing. Contrary to what the statists tell us, those soldiers didn’t die for “our freedom” because “our freedom” was never threatened. North Vietnam ended up winning the civil war against South Vietnam and the dominoes didn’t start falling and the U.S. government didn’t fall to the communists. In fact, today the U.S. national-security state is actually trying to establish U.S. military bases in Vietnam — in order to provoke China. How’s that for irony — trying their best to partner with a communist regime that killed more than 58,000 American men, many of whom were forced to fight in Vietnam?
And that brings us to today. If anyone thinks that there is no chance of a draft being employed once again, you’re living in la la land. Everywhere in the world, the Pentagon and the CIA are doing everything they can to provoke conflicts, crises, and wars. Look at Ukraine. Iraq. Afghanistan. Egypt. Syria. Korea. China. Venezuela. Iran. Yemen. Eastern Europe. At the center of them all is the U.S. Empire.
Everyone assumes that none of these areas can turn into a major war. Nonsense, especially with respect to Russia, China, and Korea. If the national-security establishment does succeed in getting our nation embroiled in another major foreign war, for sure we will hear the standard bromides about how we’ve been attacked and how we need to “support the troops,” who are, we will be constantly told, fighting for “our freedoms.” But there will also be parents, spouses, children, and other family members and friends who will be grieving the loss of love ones, including loved ones who were forced to die for reasons of “national security.”