Is conscription moral?

Opening Statements by IrishBoy
I would like to thank Joseph for being willing to debate this topic with me.

We, especially in the US all want to have peace, we all want to live in a nation we have our freedoms. These freedoms have not been free but have been bought with the blood of many men and boys whose lives were sacrificed for our freedoms.

Is this moral? Is this right? I intend to show through logic that it is not ethical and a conscription should never be used to raise an army. This is a topic that is very dear to me, and one that I feel defines my entire moral compass of which I will explain later in this debate. But I must completely denounce conscription.
Opening Statements by joseph
Nations must be able to defend themselves from foreign invasion, and conscription is entirely justified for a country to impose upon its citizens. Honestly, I have a hard time believe that anyone would even be capable of thinking otherwise. It is common sense, in addition it is biblically found.

I agreed to this debate because I feel it will give me a chance to practice my debate skills. But with enough said let's begin.
Round 1 by IrishBoy
I firmly believe in the goodness of people. Have you ever seen someone picked on and bullied? Most people will naturally feel a desire to intervene and many people will. If a cause is worth dying for people will be willing to fight for it. For this reason alone, there should not be conscription. Conscripting gives governments the ability to fight causes that are not just. Though there was conscription during world war 2, the vast majority of American servicemen joined the ranks willingly. It was not uncommon for young men to lie about their age so that they could join the military. It was an army full of willing fighters that were able to drive the German troops from Africa, defeat them in Sicily, storm the beaches of Normandy, fight back the large German offensive during the battle of the bulge and ultimately with the second world war in theatres of action.

Take the Vietnam war on the other hand. They had massive conscription, and people did not want to go serve. Because people did not want to serve they did not fight as hard. In addition, because the war was not popular, the troops never truly had the support from home that they needed in order to win that war. The American forces in Vietnam were superior in every way to the Viet Cong, yet they still lost. In world war 2, the German forces were battle-hardened, had brilliant generals, had better tanks and weapons in general, yet the American Army had no problem defeating them once they were involved. There is something about people fighting for something they believe in and feel is right vs fighting for something that they don't believe in.

During the revolutionary war, the colonies did not resort to conscription. They toyed with the idea but ultimately decided to have a completely voluntary army. In fact, in many cases, the militias would come and go as the pleased, yet the colonists were able to defeat the most powerful nation in the world at the time and claim their independence without conscription.

Thus, once again. Any cause that ultimately has to be decided with military force is one that should be justified. One of the biggest metrics of whether a cause is just is whether or not people are willing to fight for it without being forced to. And for this reason, conscription is not moral.
Round 1 by joseph
One of the first reasons that conscription is moral is because it is necessary. People don't want to fight a war and die in battle, but sometimes that is what needs to happen. People, in general, are tribal, and because they are tribal they are prone to fight with their neighboring tribes, or in this day and age neighboring nations. Even if your country is peaceful, you have to prepare for other nations to seek to invade and attack you militarily.

It has been said that if you want to have peace, then you need to prepare for war. It is only by having a strong military and letting your neighbors know that you have a strong military that will make them think twice about messing with you. But during times of peace people generally, don't go looking to join the ranks of the military. In order to raise an army that will make your enemies think twice about taking you on, you need to conscript. Also, because most countries in the world do conscript, it makes it hard to compete with them if you refuse to use that same tactic.

It has been said that freedom is not free. If everyone enjoys the freedom of the nation, then they need to be willing to do their part to make sure that the nation does remain free. They do their part by being available to serve if the need arises. Maybe during their time of availability, the need will arise, maybe it won't. There is luck in that, but they need to be willing.

I disagree with your statement that people are not inherently good. If people were inherently good then wars would not occur, yet they do.

Also, registering for the draft is the law of the land in the United States. Because it is the law of the land, people have an obligation to obey and follow the law. Also, the supreme court has ruled that conscription is constitutional in 1918. The constitution says that Congress has the right to "raise and support Armies," which indicates that conscription is their right. You see, the debate has already been settled, there is almost no point in debating the point.

Also, shouldn't any man who has children be willing to defend them? Do they not have an inherent obligation to protect their own? For this reason, men should be looked at as an available resource for their nation to fill the military ranks.

Conscription is not only needed but it is moral.
Round 2 by IrishBoy
You are saying that because the supreme court says that conscription is constitutional that it is constitutional and moral. I consider that very loose ethics. Morals are distinct and separate from opinion and they don't change with time. Murdering a person to steal their possessions is just as wrong today as it was in the days of Adam. However, the justices who make up the supreme court have their own political beliefs and persuasions. There is no guarantee that a justice even believes the constitution is good. So just because a justice interprets the constitution a certain way doesn't mean they are right, otherwise, all nine justices would agree in every decision they make. And it certainly doesn't mean that their ruling alone is a basis for morality. If the supreme court decided tomorrow that it was ok to euthanize everyone over the age of 45, it would still be wrong.

I agree that a strong military is one of the best ways to maintain peace. But you imply by your statements that it is by conscription that is the only way to maintain that strong army. On this point, I disagree because you are wrong. The united states has not even held a draft since the Vietnam war, but we have the most powerful nation on this earth. Why, because we did not conscript. If you look at nations that put a large premium on building their military by conscription, they have weaker forces. Ok, so how does conscription weaken a military strength? Simple, it causes those who are in charge to believe that the strength of a military is dependent alone upon the number of soldiers. But this is simply not the case.

The strength of a military is more dependent upon technology then it is in its numbers. Buy having lower numbers in the military, it forces the military leader to try and find ways to innovate so that each soldier is more effective. It causes them to create a greater effectiveness per soldier. By having few high tech fighters that are able to attack at night without the enemy being able to see them is more effective than having thousands of soldiers on the ground. Those conscripted soldiers on the ground are only targets to be blown to bits by a technically superior force. Rather than trying to conscript a nation is better served by improving the tech level of their national defense.

You also say that you shouldn't have children if you're not willing to defend them, but conscription rarely takes the father of a family, it usually takes the sons. It is completely backward as to what you feel should happen. Why right does a nation have to segregate a small group of people out and force them to go fight for them. What right does a nation have to protect their freedoms by forcing someone else to spill their blood? Conscripts are young men who are being robbed of being able to live a full life. In addition, the problems in this world are created by those who are older and in charge. Why should it be those who have no political power that fights for the political causes?
Round 2 by joseph
There is a fundamental reason why we have a supreme court, and that is because we need a body of people who have the ultimate authority to decide what is constitutional. You are right that people all have their personal biases and opinions, which is why there must be a place where arguments can be settled. For the United States, the supreme court is that place. They are the best of the best in our judicial system, and their ruling should not be taken lightly.

I never said that the strength of an army is dependant upon numbers alone, but even technology is of no use if without people to use it. What good does the best tank in the world if it requires a crew of 4 men, but only has one because of a shortage of manpower. You can not take manpower entirely out of the equation.

Also, I have talked to many people who have been in the military, and they have confided in me that over time the overall quality of recruits has been dropping over the past few decades. They also have expressed to me that they felt this drop in quality had to do with the lack of draft.

Also, one of the reasons younger people are conscripted for the draft is because they are the ones most physically qualified for the job. A pilot needs to have fast reflexes, and I would rather have a pilot who was 25 flying a fighter jet then one that is 55. Towards the end of world war 2 Germany had a very difficult time fighting the ware because they could not get soldiers who were the right age. They had young boys and old men left to fight, which is one of the reasons the allies were ultimately able to defeat them. Because we need better than old men and young boys, we have to draft in the age range that makes sense.

Also, another reason why we need the draft is that young men and women have the opportunity to gain experience that will make them better leaders in the future. I personally would rather have someone who has served their country through military service hold an important office than one who hasn't. I have learned that a person who has sacrificed and paid the price for something is more likely to appreciate it. It also helps our nation have a group of people who become adults and are not just grown up spoiled brats. It will create a group of people who know how to sacrifice do what is better for the good of the nation, they will become better citizens.

For the reasons I have mention, I maintain that draft is not only moral but vital to the moral health of a nation. Many people feel that our nation's morals declined. They have declined because our young people have not had the opportunity to build character through military service. Israel has a mandatory draft, and I have met Israeli's and I can tell you that they are far more mature than the average American you meet on the street. Drafting is considered moral by one of the most religious nations upon this earth, and I think we can learn a lot from them.
Round 3 by IrishBoy
For my last round in this debate, I want to make it clear that I maintain that a draft is not moral. The question we are asking is "is conscription moral?" But this question is only symptomatic of a deeper question. "Is it OK to take away another person's free will?" This is the real question at the heart of the matter because that is what you are doing when you are conscripting someone into military service.

Either you believe in free will, or you don't. If you believe in conscription then you DO NOT believe in free will. You do not believe in liberty and you do not believe in freedom. Whether there might be benefits to society or an individual is a mute point. Do you feel it is ok to force someone to do something against their will? I do not. A person owes nothing to society except to not trespass upon the rights of others.

In this country, we used to believe in slavery, and we now know that slavery is wrong. It is wrong for a man to force another man to serve you against their will. This is what slavery is. Conscription is the worst form of slavery, it is not only forcing a person to work against their will, but to kill and die against their will as well. Hitler conscripted the German people to fight for their cause, and their cause was not just. When I think of World War 2, I feel sad when I think about the number of men forced to fight for Hitler and Stalin. The young men who were forced into a cause they didn't even believe in because of the belief that they were a property of the state and the states to do what they please.

You do not owe anything to anyone, except to not trespass on their rights. If someone feels a cause is worth you fighting and dying for, then tell them they should go and fight and die for it. You have a right to live, and you have a right to live without someone forcing you to do something you don't want to do.

Have you ever seen someone forced to do something, and forced to do it at the point of violence? It is a sickening feeling because deep down inside we know that it is wrong.

If a cause is worth fighting for people will be willing to fight for it. But even if they don't then they have the right not to. They may have to live with the consequence of that choice, but it is their right.
Round 3 by joseph
You say that it is not right to take away another's person's free will. But this is not true. We have traffic laws that restrict people’s free will. Imagine what a mess it would be if everybody in a car were allowed to drive however they want? It would be the wild west.
Besides, we force people to serve on juries because it is essential for people to receive a fair trial. However, most people do not want to serve on a jury. If we allowed everyone who wanted to get out of jury duty to get up and walks away, then our whole legal system would collapse. Though our system isn’t perfect, we have more justice in this country than in any other country in the world, and much of that is by forcing people to serve on juries.

Also, the comparison to slavery is flawed. A slave who works for his owner does not get to partake of the fruits of his labor. The slave obtains nothing. One who serves in military service can maintain their freedom. However, without military service, his freedom might not be preserved. So you see, the militia member gains and retains his freedom, the slave obtains nothing. Military service is the price of liberty.

You also say that if a cause is worth fighting for that people will be willing to fight for it. This is not that case. My church is the perfect example of this, whenever a service project was needed people would be asked to volunteer to serve. Guess what, often there were not enough volunteers. Also, the few people who volunteered where the sample people who volunteered each time. In military service, the same thing happens. People want to sit back and let the other guy do the work. It is human nature.
Conscription is necessary for a good and free society.
Closing Statements by IrishBoy
Once again, I maintain that conscription is not moral. No one has the right to tell another person what to do. We have learned that slavery is wrong, that arranged marriages are wrong, and someday we will know that forced military service is wrong.

It all boils down to the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Who in the world can answer that and say, I love it when people force me to do things I don’t want to do? No. My answer to all of those who love to conscript others to fight for their cause, go and fight for it yourself.
Closing Statements by joseph
Conscription is necessary for society to progress. If our nation did not have a military you would not be able to enjoy the comfort of going to sleep at night without someone harming you. It is only fair that if we all enjoy the blessing that is afforded by a military, then we should all be willing to pay the price.

Serving is your duty. Ever since the beginning of time people have been will to fight and defend their families, their tribes, and their nations. If a person refused, the rightfully labeled a coward. Just because your leaders force you to serve does not make you a slave, and it certainly doesn’t make you slave in the united states because in the united states we are the ones who choose our leaders. When a leader is chosen, we support our selves by sustaining them and being willing to serve under those who lead us.
Resolution or statement being debated: Conscription is immoral
Throughout the ages nations have defended their lands by raising armies. One of the primary means of raising an army was to conscript people into the military ranks. Is this moral? Does a nation have a moral right to induct a person into military service?
** This debate is ACADEMIC. The views defended by the debate participants do not necessarily represent their own personal views. Academic debates are often created for people to debate points of view they don't agree with to help develop their debate skills. It also allows a debate to occur when a representative for one side can not be found. Please keep this in mind before forming an opinion about the participants.

Anti Conscription

Connor Murphy (IrishBoy)
*** No biography ***

Pro Conscription

Joseph Ford (joseph)
*** No biography ***
Only those who have been invited will be allowed to judge this debate.
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