The Military Draft Is Immoral
By Steve Gillman
Below you will find a story about a young man who resists
the military draft. But first, a definition of slavery: "involuntary
servitude." There are other definitions of course, but this
is the most common and most relevant one. To be forced to serve
any person's purposes against one's will is slavery. The military
draft, by this definition, is clearly slavery.
By the way, don't be hypnotized and brainwashed by the words
"society" or "country." A society or country
is a collection of individual people. If I as an individual do
not have the moral right to force you to fight for my purposes,
I do not gain that right simply by getting together with others
and hiring a "government" to do my dirty work. With
than introduction in mind, here's a story about how one young
man dealt with being drafted into the military.
Nam Modeerf spit the dirt out, and glared at him. Hank just
laughed, and started to walk away. The school principle came
over, looking concerned.
"He took my two dollars!" Nam pointed at him.
Hank was kept after school for an hour, as punishment for
pushing Nam down and forcing him to eat dirt. He refused to admit
to stealing the money. The next day, three CDs disappeared from
his backpack while he was in the school lunchroom.
"A dollar each," the man at the pawnshop told Nam.
He took the three dollars and went home.
In the lunchroom the next day, twenty chairs were lined up,
leaning precariously against one another. Hank was running down
the hall in the other direction when someone touched one of the
chairs. They fell like dominoes, filling the room with the noise.
It took the lunchroom supervisor less than a minute to discover
who was responsible.
"Nam helped me do it," Hank told the supervisor,
who dragged him back to the lunchroom.
"Then he can help clean the lunchroom with you."
"I didn't do anything," Nam protested.
"Get busy cleaning."
"No, you can't punish me for something I didn't do."
"I said you are going to clean this lunchroom!"
Nam walked away.
"Insubordination," the principle said. He paced
back and forth in front of Nam. "Do you know what that is?"
"Yes, it is when a student doesn't do whatever a teacher
or faculty member asks, no matter how unfair."
"It is failure to comply with a reasonable request."
"But reasonable loses all meaning if it is allowed to
be defined by the person making the request." By age twelve,
Nam had already been arguing moral philosophy for years.
"You just had to clean the lunchroom, Nam. It was twenty
minutes work at most."
"I don't care if it was twenty seconds. I didn't knock
over those chairs. I didn't have to clean the lunchroom then,
and I won't do it now. You can continue talking if you want,
but I have made my decision."
The principle was turning red. He was angry, and felt as though
he was being made fun of by this twelve-year-old. He considered
that it was possible Nam was telling the truth. But he had to
support his staff, of course.
"I am suspending you for a day. Don't come to school
tomorrow. I'll be notifying your parents as well."
His father came into the living room. "All you had to
do was clean the damn lunchroom Nam. You don't disobey your superiors."
Nam considered explaining that they were not superior, but decided
against it. "Now you go to your room and stay there for
the rest of the day."
He climbed out the bedroom window. He would have liked to
stay in his room, but since it was a punishment, and an unfair
one, he felt compelled to leave. At the public library he sat
down in a corner and started to read a comic book. At least there
was always justice in comic books. Then a book caught his eye.
It was "Walden," by Henry David Thoreau. He glanced
through it, and at the end found Thoreau's essay on civil disobedience.
He read it without stopping. Then he looked for other books on
ethics and politics and philosophy. Over the coming weeks he
devoured book after book. He was still doing so six years later.
"You have to go Nam."
"No, dad, actually I don't."
It was a military draft notice. One of the various wars in
the middle east had become large enough and unpopular enough
to make an army based on volunteers inconvenient. Twenty thousand
young men and women had received a notice like the one in his
"It's your duty as an American!"
"I don't remember agreeing to that."
"What the hell?! You want to enjoy all the freedoms of
this country and pretend you have no obligations as a citizen."
"Look dad, if I thought this war was necessary to defend
the country, I would fight. But even then, I would refuse to
go on the basis of a military draft. A draft says that the government
has a right to my life."
"But you do have a duty to society! Why do you think
you have the freedoms you have here? Because others fought for
"No society or government has any right to my life. Don't
you ever read history? This country was founded on the idea that
we own our own lives, that we have absolute and inherent rights,
like life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness - remember those?"
"And how do you think you they are protected?"
"Dad, listen to what you are saying. How can you enslave
men in the name of freedom? It's the height of hypocrisy!"
His father was turning red. "It's a war, not slavery."
"Whether done for a war, or for any other purposes that
seem good, forcing a man to live and act for your purposes is
clearly slavery. Even worse than traditional slavery, because
you force him to die for you."
"Not for me, you ungrateful little snot. For your country!"
"A country is people. If it is wrong for people to enslave
an individual, it doesn't become right just because they vote
for a group of thugs with a guns to do it for them."
His father said nothing. Both realized there was nothing more
to say. Except one thing.
"Get out of my house! You don't live here any more."
"No I don't. I rented an apartment three weeks ago dad.
I guess you didn't notice that I haven't been around."
His mother was listening in the other room. Tears ran down
her cheeks. Nam kissed her forehead, gave her a hug and said
Story continues here... Draft