A Final Thought on the Draft

Despite my glib assurances in "Another Modest Proposal," there’s actually no structural way to prevent military recklessness.  If there’s an all-volunteer army, adventurist politicians can risk poor people’s lives without ruffling the feathers of their comfortable constituents.  But if there’s a huge army produced by a draft, adventurist politicians can move lots of different sub-groups around like pieces on an imperialist chessboard and no one group of draftees will be large or influential enough to garner public attention until it’s too late–and the children of comfortable constituents will still figure out a way to secure the plum jobs.

Let’s don’t let the Republicans hang the draft notion around Democratic necks; make sure everyone recognizes it for what it is, a bit of devil’s advocacy designed to make people think about the costs as well as the benefits of living in a powerful free society.  That’s the main advantage of expanding the draft notion to include every form of national service, including motherhood: even the dullest pundit has to recognize that for the Swiftian notion it aspires to be.


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