Dear Mom and Dad,
My son. That should say it all right there. Whose son? Mine. Not the United States of America’s, not the US federal government’s, not George Bush’s. Mine. I’m co-owner for now because my son is 18 years old but still lives under my roof. There are decisions which he now has the right to make for himself. The consequences of those decisions are also now his. My son, so far, has no legal obligations in life. He’s been given much, but asked for very little. Anything which he has received, without asking, without a specific contractual agreement is a gift. There is no repayment required. He may, at some point in life, feel a moral obligation to those who have provided for him. The extent or degree of this obligation can be determined by no one but his own conscience. There are some who will say that each of us carry such an obligation to our country. They say that we owe our freedom, our way of life, our security and some go as far as to say our very quality of life to “our country.” They say we have what we have because others who came before us sacrificed much or all in defense of these things. They have high-sounding names for it like “civic duty,” but have they ever put any real thought into what they’re proposing? Have they ever attempted to test their theory against similar moral or ethical questions? The thing to which I refer is conscription. That sounds bad; let’s try…selective service. Yeah, that has a much nicer ring to it.
There are several weak excuses for conscription. One is that it’s necessary to defend our country. Poppy-cock! First of all “our country” is an area defined by borders arbitrarily drawn up by previous victors (right or wrong is irrelevant here), or through purchases made with funds stolen through taxation. “Our” country infers that the area within said borders belongs to all of us. This is collectivist psychobabble and factually incorrect to boot. If you purchased property through legitimate exchange then that land is your land and you have the right to defend it, or not if you so choose. Your land is not our land. Your neighbor’s land isn’t yours, mine, ours or theirs, it’s his and he too has the right to defend it, or not. The property on which your local Wal-Mart sits belongs only to the land owner, whether that be Wal-Mart or their landlord. In fact, every piece of property within these arbitrarily drawn boundaries belongs to someone. The owner is either a private individual, a corporation or a government. If you believe the lands owned by the government, (referred to as public property) are “ours” just try exercising your property rights on them and see what happens. Each of us has the right to the disposition of his property, to its use, destruction, exchange and even defense, but no one has the right to force another through coercion to defend that which is not his. If the legitimate necessity to defend this country ever arises, brave men will come willingly, of their own volition from every corner to put down their enemies. The resolve of just men to voluntarily defend their rights will be the only evidence required to prove the necessity of war. The lack thereof is also the only proof needed to indict an unjust war. I do not fear enemies from without. The greatest threat to the life, liberty and property of the people of this country comes from within the hallowed walls of our own government.
The second excuse is that of obligation. Again, this is just a pile of rubbish. The storyline goes; I have an obligation to my country for all that’s been done in the past which has resulted in whatever I happen to enjoy today. Most of this argument rests on a simple confusion between cause and coincidence. It is impossible to calculate the difference which might have been made as a result of the actions of those in the past. It is possible, for instance, that the man to whom I am to be obliged for defending my liberty might have shot and killed the man whose son would have discovered the cure for cancer. It may well be that the decision to go to war at any given time actually had negative results in comparison to what may have otherwise occurred. It is as ridiculous for me to assume the latter as it is to assume the former. Furthermore, I have no legal obligation to a government which has theoretically given me things for which I have never asked. If I leave a crate of apples on your doorstep every morning, you have no obligation to pay me for them. I may send you a bill, I may threaten you with fines or incarceration but there is no legitimate or logical reason why you must pay me.
I might even go as far as to say everyone else who has moved into this neighborhood accepts the apples and the obligation to pay me for them. If you don’t like it, then you should just move. Apples, love ’em or leave! When did we gain the mental status of three-year-olds on a playground? This analogy isn’t too far off from pleading not guilty for the shooting of a man because he chose to stand in the path of my bullet. Don’t like being shot? Ya shouldn’t have stood there.
Another excuse I hear for registering for selective service, and this is the lousiest excuse of all, is that it’s illegal not to. It’s the sad final attempt for someone who has simply run out of logical arguments. To uphold this perspective one would be forced to concede that every law ever made has been just and worthy to have been followed. Anyone still standing go seek professional therapy. The belief that the government said it, I believe it and that settles it, holds no water. Even through the false god, democracy, it is easy to point out that the majority is frequently in error. It used to be illegal to return or give aid to runaway slaves. It used to be legal to burn witches. In many countries today it’s illegal to be Christian. Today in the US it’s legal to kill an unborn child. Governments are made up of fallible men, sometimes even evil men who use the legal system to violate the rights of others. I will go as far as to say that this is the very nature of government, to endow some with rights by taking away the rights of others. Legal and illegal are not synonymous with right and wrong. In fact, in today’s socialist atmosphere, it is most likely that they are opposites.
Even within the legal framework we hold so dear, contradictions abound. Conscription is legal, to refuse is illegal. However, conscription is by its very definition “involuntary servitude”, that is, slavery. Slavery which is unconstitutional; illegal according to the thirteenth amendment to the US Constitution. So where does your loyalty to the law fall? The law of the land or a contrived contradiction which only serves the desires of immoral men.
The last cry of the frustrated totalitarian is that all of this is just my opinion and completely irrelevant. This is sadly true to a degree because the collectivist can now simply ignore what is right and wrong and use coercive force to obtain my “cooperation.” That’s okay as long as it’s an opinion which he holds to be correct but what of the laws to which he disagrees? Do we all just follow the mindless herd and do as we’re told or do we stand up for what we believe and defend ourselves against the encroachments of the state?
My son does not belong to the US federal government. His life is his and as long as he desires it of me, I am responsible to defend it. I will never willingly concede his life to the state and if they ever come to get him by force they will have to take him over my dead body and at great cost.
If you feel a moral obligation to fight the wars of our government then you are free to go and I’ll pray that God’s will is done, but don’t think for a second that you have any right to send my boy to fight, kill or die in your stead.
Your son, Bryan
April 7, 2006