The Draft-Nappers Are Stirring

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The Patron Saint of the “Leave Us the Hell Alone” Caucus: Charlie Anderson (James Stewart), the Individualist hero of the film Shenandoah.

"Virginia needs all of her sons, Mr. Anderson.”

"That might be so. But these are my sons! Mine! They don’t belong to the state! When they were babies, I never saw the state coming around here with a spare tit. We never asked anything of the state, and never expected anything. We do our own living, and thanks to no man for the right.”

Charlie Anderson, a widowed father of six sons, deflects the demands Lt. Johnson, leader of a Confederate conscription gang near the beginning of the film Shenandoah.

The kind and thoughtful people who seek to relieve us of the burden of planning and managing our own lives are preparing to seize our children, and any of us who happen to be within the targeted age range (most likely between 18 and 26). With quiet persistence, the Draft-Nappers are plotting to reinstate military slavery.

As with every presidential administration since that of George Bush the Elder, Barrack Obama and his comrades (particularly the leering wad of incarnate malice known as Rahm Emanuel) are famously enamored of the idea of government-mandated “national service.”

One of Obama’s cherished conceits is that his reign will somehow usher in an era of national service that will be both “universal” and “voluntary” — as if disagreements over the merits of government-imposed labor, and the type of activity that qualifies as “service,” would evaporate when exposed to his irresistible charisma.

On the strength of American Grit: What it Will Take to Survive and Win in the 21st Century, a new book by Republican neo-con strategist Tony Blankley, it seems clear that Obama’s Republican critics will actually outflank him to the left on the issue of conscription. Blankley’s critique of Obama’s National Service proposal is not that it would be an impermissible imposition on individual rights, but that it is insufficiently militaristic and of inadequate scope.

The second chapter of Blankley’s slender book is entitled “Bring Back the Draft.” A return to military slavery is mandatory, he writes, in order “to replenish our dangerously over-stretched armed forces.”

Rather than repudiating the interventionism that has left the military “dangerously over-stretched,” Blankley takes the opposite view, giddily anticipating additional wars with Iran and Pakistan, and an open-ended, generations-long conflict with the amorphous threat he, and others of his dishonest ilk, have designated “Islamofascism.”

As Blankley acknowledges, “there is a limit to the number of people willing to volunteer to be a soldier — a dangerous career that is often severely disruptive of family life — and that pool has clearly been tapped out.” Accordingly, “We will soon be faced with the choice of severely scaling back our role in the world or expanding the army through conscription.”

One measure of the depth of Blankley’s totalitarian impulses can be found in the fact that he never considers the possibility that scaling back “our” role in the world (that is, the role assumed by the government ruling us) is the correct and moral thing to do. Nor does he display any hint of considering the possibility that the thin trickle of volunteers to fight the wars that tickle his inverted libido represents something of a public referendum.

If the so-called war against “Islamofascism” were really a life-and-death struggle akin to the Battle of Salamis, recruiting an army at the point of a gun would hardly be necessary. Conscription is never necessary to inspire men to defend their homes and families, and it is never used for that purpose. It is carried out for the sole purpose of compelling men to kill and die on behalf of the State and the degenerate clique running it.

The British-born Blankley, former Chief of Staff to Newt Gingrich and current pundit for both the Washington Times and The McLaughlin Group, has the mien of a gangster, which he cannot help. To judge from his writings, he also has the soul of a Commissar.

His book is a brief but tedious harangue devoted to the theme of using the power of the government to compel people to love and serve that same government. His chapter on the draft abounds with the language of collectivist compulsion, most of it performed in the key of “communitarianism.”

Despite the fact that most Americans eschew military service, he insists that it would be possible to forge a “national consensus” on behalf of reinstituting military slavery; such a “consensus” would be an agreement among those heading the two major wings of the ruling Establishment Party, rather than widespread support among the public (which itself would not make conscription legal, constitutional, or just).


Sentencing other people’s children to servitude, or worse: “The Blood Vote,” a WWI Australian anti-conscription pamphlet condemned those who voted in favor of a referendum on the military draft.

Blankley’s vision of “consensus” is probably quite similar to that of the despicable Woodrow Wilson, who — as he introduced a bill to impose conscription — declared that that the draft “is in no sense a conscription of the unwilling; it is, rather, selection from a nation which has volunteered in mass.”

The specifics of Blankley’s proposal are quite familiar to those who have been watching, with growing disgust and alarm, as proponents of conscription start to fine-tune their arguments and oil the machinery of military servitude: He calls for “a compulsory program for all Americans aged eighteen or nineteen, men and women, after most have graduated from high school. The military, reviewing these graduates’ transcripts, extracurricular activities, and medical reports, would select however many they needed to fulfill their draft allotments for a two-year period of military service. Those not chosen by the military would undertake a two-year civil service obligation,” which may include “homeland security” roles of various kinds.

This is essentially the same proposal contained in legislation sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York), who, oddly enough, is treated with reflexive partisan scorn by Blankley. And it is also quite similar to the plan proffered in the Establishment publication Foreign Policy by retired U.S. Army Colonel William L. Hauser, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and naval veteran Jerome Slater of the State University of New York, Buffalo.

The program envisioned by Hauser and Slater would “combine a revived military draft with a broader public-service program as already practiced in some European states — a ‘domestic Peace Corps.’” Unlike Blankley, they would permit draftees “to choose between military and nonmilitary service” — that is, to select their preferred form of servitude — at least initially. Given that providing additional military manpower is the entire point of the proposal, the domestic service “option” would probably last just long enough to get the measure enacted by Congress.

Discussing what they consider the ancillary benefits of military slavery, Hauser and Slater list what they consider “a number of positive social consequences.” For instance: “Conscription will enable the forces to reflect the full spectrum of American pluralism, in terms of both socioeconomic classes and racial/ethnic groups. It is unacceptable that less than 1 percent of the country’s eligible population serves in the armed forces, with almost no war-relevant sacrifice being asked from the rest of society. It ought to be axiomatic that the hardships and dangers of military service be more widely shared.”

“Dulce et decorum est?” Hardly: “For Leader, People and Fatherland he gave his life,” announces this form letter filled out by a unit commander each time some hapless German conscript wasted his life in the service of “his” government.

This might be “axiomatic” to someone who has deeply imbibed the spirit of Prussian militarism. For a commercial republic, there is nothing “unacceptable” about a military that is largely peripheral to public concerns, rather than being — as Hauser and Slater apparently desire — the central, defining social institution.

In a fashion similar to that of Hauser and Slater, Herr Blankley scorns Americans for neglecting the “common life,” of losing a sense of “common purpose and common destiny.” Restoring the draft, he insists, will bring about “greater national cohesion and unity” to a country that has become “atomized.” Absent such benevolent regimentation, Blankley laments, “our country will degenerate into nothing more than a giant trading bazaar where many different people happen to live together.”

Oh, please spare us the ignominy of living in a peaceful country where self-regulating people engage in free, mutually beneficial commerce, rather than functioning as living cogs in the State’s killing apparatus!

Before signing on as Chief of Staff to the self-appointed “Teacher of the Rules of Civilization” (that would be “Mr. Newt” himself), Blankley was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan. It’s bad form for those who craft the words that dribble down the presidential chin to take credit for their contributions, so we’re not sure exactly which of Reagan’s orations benefited from Blankley’s wordsmithing.

However, we can be confident that Blankley had nothing to do with Reagan’s assessment of Jimmy Carter’s decision to reactivate the Selective Service System in 1979. Reagan pointed out that conscription “rests on the assumption that your kids belong to the state. If we buy that assumption then it is for the state — not for parents, the community, the religious institutions, or teachers — to decide who shall have what values and who shall do what work, when, where, and how in our society. That assumption isn’t a new one. The Nazis thought it was a great idea.”

The Nazis’ totalitarian siblings in the Communist camp were equally enamored of the concept of universal, compulsory service, including conscription; after all, that principle was inscribed by the finger of Karl Marx as the eighth plank of the totalitarian decalogue, the Communist Manifesto.

Like Nazi and Communist totalitarians, Blankley believes in the state ownership of the most intimate form of private property: The individual.

Oh, sure, his book is littered with puerile, rant-radio-caliber invocations of the sanctity of the “free market” and “private enterprise” (this despite the fact that he supports a national industrial policy for the supposed purpose of achieving “energy independence”). But he apparently cannot understand or isn’t honest enough to admit that a government that can steal one’s very person for the purpose of military service can take whatever else it wants — and do whatever it wants — at any time of its choosing.

The operational principle in conscription, as the vile Bernard Baruch, head of the Wilson Junta’s War Industries Board, pointed out in August 1918, is that ” every man’s life is at the call of the nation and so must be every man’s property…. The state is all; the individual is of importance only as he contributes to the welfare of the state. His property is his only as the state does not need it. He must hold his life and possessions at the call of the state."

That sinister principle was embedded Section 18 of the Selective Service Act.

As Thomas Woods, Jr. and Kevin R.C. Gutzman point out in their book Who Killed the Constitution?:

“That section stipulated that the president could order from any manufacturer that produced goods needed by the military or the Atomic Energy Commission, once the contents of the order had been approved by Congress. If a manufacturer failed to fulfill the order by the president’s deadline, the president could have that manufacturer’s property seized and operated for the purpose of producing the goods needed by the government.”

No, he doesn’t belong to the state: Justus Samuel Grigg, born on February 3, 2009.

Certainly, the government would have to provide “just compensation” for the stolen property, just as it pays its military slaves a token wage. But the assumption here is that all property — including our individual lives — belongs to the state, and that we enjoy the use of our property and the ability to direct our own lives only by the grace of the state.

Even as they enlarge upon the horrors — whether real, exaggerated, or fabricated — of “Islamofascism” in distant lands, Blankley and his fellow Draft-Nappers are diligently working to impose totalitarianism here at home.

No scimitar-wielding Mohammedan has materialized on my doorstep to demand that I surrender my children as a “blood tax” demanded by the state. I know what variety of greeting I would give such a personage were he to appear. The same is true for any functionary of any government who would presume to claim my children as the property of the official gang that employs him.

William Norman Grigg [send him mail] writes the Pro Libertate blog.

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