Again this Memorial Day (U.S.) I honor draft dodgers, deserters and others not stupid enough to be darwinized at the command of their parentlandjurisdiction’s politicians.
filed under Iraq, Peeves, Politics.
[…] Mike Linksvayer on Memorial Day (and I approve his message at 51%): Again this Memorial Day (U.S.) I honor draft dodgers, deserters and others not stupid enough to be darwinized at the command of their parentland jurisdiction’s politicians. […]
Aren’t deserters from a volunteer army deadbeats?
Depends on what sort of contract one may consent to. Why should there be different standards for contracts with the state?
There shouldn’t be different standards for this ‘state’ thing. But ‘the state’ is almost too abstract to discuss.
The army, on the other hand, should be easy to understand. It is often at battle around the world — in Iraq, for 15+ years, at varying levels of intensity. It offers enlistees payments, training, and other social benefits in return for massive control over their live/work conditions, including an option to deploy them into one of its various violent and possibly deadly wars.
The army is not a fly-by-night operator offering unclear terms — it’s been at this for hundreds of years, and there are libraries filled with details of its practices. In the United States, no one has been drafted for over 30 years.
So you could dislike the involuntary way the army is funded, its particular choice of battles, its customary de facto immunity from other standards of civilized behavior, its culture and effects on society, and the terms it offers for enlistees — but still find no honor in those who agree to its terms, collect the benefits, then refuse to honor the deployment call option.
Draft resisters, at least, are asserting their right to run their own lives, and through their resistance, make an all-volunteer army more likely (where it does not already exist). Volunteers-who-desert, on the other hand, recklessly enter contracts about serious matters but then break them unilaterally, making a draft more likely.
Recently some have had their enlistments involuntarily extended; is that in the contract?
Wikipedia suggests it’s in the contract.
Conscription in the United States:
The U.S. armed forces are now designated as “all-volunteer”, although, in 2004 as well as during the 1991 Gulf War, some personnel were kept in the military longer than they expected. However, this was consistent with enlistment contracts due to a clause that permits retention based on the needs of the military called the stop-loss policy.
Techicality/definitions setting aside, many of the soldiers were born into certain social classes where there was not much choice but to join the military “voluntarily”.
ryu, that’s pure hyperbole.
Gordon, I honor volunteer army deserters for the same reason I might honor a reformed criminal, even one who broke solemn agreements with fellow criminals in the process of getting out. On an absolute scale, they’re idiots. I should only honor people who never joined in the first place. Unfortunately, the exceptional turnaround story is more compelling.
The world I’d like to live in requires people to be able to voluntarily contract to take on dangerous risks in return for compensation — try speculative medical treatments, perform hazardous work (like firefighting), donate spare organs, enlist in private security forces doing episodic life-threatening work — and then be held to that commitment. Otherwise, a voluntarist society becomes less likely.
ryu, enlistees graduate from high school at a higher rate (98%) than the general population (75%) and their home zip codes have about the same household incomes as the nation as a whole. No one is more forced to join the military than they are forced to take any other job, and if in fact a person can thrive in the military but not at, say, McDonald’s, that’s evidence the military culture/contract offers some unique benefits for certain kinds of people.
Perhaps the high schools don’t teach people enough to understand the military contract. Perhaps that’s even why the schools are government-run. But that’s a whole ‘nuther issue.
I doubt upholding the validity of contracts with the government that would not be upheld between private parties is on the path to allowing more creative private contracting. To the contrary, different standards of contractability(?) for government seems symptomatic of the paternalism that disallows creative private contracts.
I’m not suggesting ‘the government’ (?) be able to enter any special contracts. I’m suggesting the kinds of contracts entered by the army and recruits are not, categorically, contracts that we outside observers should consider null and void.
In fact, I’d like other non-army institutions to be able to offer (and enforce) similarly exotic and risky contracts. That would enable more progress in replacing traditionally involuntary arrangements with private agreements, just like we’ve replaced the draft with voluntary enlistment.
[…] year, another fine day to honor draft dodgers, deserters, and anyone with enough sense to not join the murderous gangs […]
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