• Benj96
    1.2k
    Ukrainian men of fighting age are now legally required to sign up to the army. This of course is not uncommon during wartime as similar such things occurred in Germany, Britain etc during WWII.

    Do you think conscription is fair, moral/ ethical and or appropriate?

    Here is my quick overview of the sides of the argument. On one side, ones nation provides their people with certain securities and services such as infrastructure, generally long lengths of diplomatically encouraged peace and prosperity, a protection and safety in numbers, the provision of resources etc. This some would argue it’s your personal duty as a man of fighting age to protect this social community that has nurtured and provided for you throughout your life.

    On the other hand, one may argue as a pacifist, that they would never choose violence nor that violence is ever a solution. That the egotistical, power hungry and inhumane actions of the few (oligarchs, governance) is not the responsibility of the individual, that one is not a pawn in the war games of the powerful and that their life is not merely something disposable or trivial - that can be added to the death toll at the whims of supposed superiors.

    Should we always have a choice whether we fight? Or do we choose to go to war by agreeing in peacetime to avail of the benefits of being part of a nation. And if there is no reasonable alternative to being part of a nation, ie no habitable “stateless” places where one could choose to live if they rejected the values of their nation, is it fair to impose conscription on them?
  • ssu
    6.5k
    Do you think conscription is fair, moral/ ethical and or appropriate?Benj96

    Yes.

    If there is a credible threat to the country. If there isn't, if let's say your neighbors are as peaceful as Canada, why then bother? The threat and the need for deterrence is absolutely crucial. A country that isn't threatened by anyone doesn't need an army. And situations can change: had Switzerland not had a huge militia based army, it's totally logical that someone would have occupied them during WW1 and WW2 or at worst, had become a battlefield for the opposing armies.

    My country has conscription. It works. If we would have a volunteer force, the tiny army wouldn't simply have any deterrence. In fact, the war in Ukraine is just showing that a well trained reservist army does have it's advantages. Those who deplore conscription usually tactically forget Israel, which has among the best professional armies in the World and depends on reservists.

    Then if basically the only reason the army exists is to control the own people, then it would be far proper to have some Gendarmerie. For example Costa Rica doesn't have any army, yet the country lives in a very rough neighborhood. The country has stayed peaceful. Then compare the history to Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala.
  • Michael
    11.8k
    No.

    On one side, ones nation provides their people with certain securities and services such as infrastructure, generally long lengths of diplomatically encouraged peace and prosperity, a protection and safety in numbers, the provision of resources etc.Benj96

    That's what I pay taxes for.

    This some would argue it’s your personal duty as a man of fighting age to protect this social community that has nurtured and provided for you throughout your life.Benj96

    Is this a gender-neutral use of "man"?

    Should we always have a choice whether we fight?Benj96

    Yes. I have no moral duty to put myself at risk of harm or to harm others.
  • NOS4A2
    6.3k


    Conscription is morally wrong for the same reason forcing anyone to do anything is morally wrong. But it is morally right to defend one’s family, community and property. One ought to fight, but he ought not be conscripted to fight.
  • ssu
    6.5k
    Both the acceptance and the effectiveness of conscription starts from things like this...

    FNwKkM1WQAUwuuV?format=jpg&name=900x900
    Not sure the percentages are correct, but something like that it might be. There are huge differences.
  • Blake4508
    8
    I agree that there are significant benefits to a reservist/militia-based military. I think on of the elements people forget about peacetime militaries is their ability to teach people new skills and act a a medium for social mobility. A young man with no technical skills can go into the military and be taught engineering, and he can then bring those skills into the civilian world. This can all be very beneficial for boosting the average skill of the population, especially when new forms of technology are introduced. Not only this, but now that a significant portion of the population has a baseline of military skill, then even when they get out, if their country is invaded, they still have the skills to fight. They also now have the ability to train new civilians to fight, which has been shown extensively in the invasion of Ukraine.
    One of the things that has to be considered when making a decision like this is what is beneficial for the common good. This includes individual rights, of course. But the individual needs to, at times and with prudence, submit some rights to the common good, so that the individual may be benefited in the end through the action of the political community. A lot of these questions depend on what one views to be the ultimate end (Telos) of the state.
  • ssu
    6.5k
    With Ukraine we have seen something that usually has been extremely rare, especially in this Milennium. That is that all males between 18 to 60 are barred to leave the country. This is about, I don't know, perhaps 7 to 10 million men, which simply cannot be put into the military. There's absolutely no way or desire to field such a force and a huge part of people simply have to work sustaining the society itself (just think of the agricultural sector, which employed 14% of Ukrainians, which is a huge number).

    The example clearly shows the pros and cons about conscription. Your manpower problems are solved, but then you get a lot of other problems starting from the motivation of the conscripts and the huge effort in training that you have to do. The conscript/reservist army has to have the training, the ability and the motivation to fight. Then it can perform well. Otherwise you might a have a paper tiger of a forces, which a highly trained enemy can go like knife through melted butter.

    Larger countries simply don't need universal conscription or even partial conscription. United States or India doesn't need reservists in such number. Hence today only the minority countries have conscription and even fewer with universal conscription. Roughly 70-85 nations or so have compulsory service of the 195 countries.
  • baker
    4.9k
    Not sure the percentages are correct, but something like that it might be. There are huge differences.ssu

    Which is which? Red tones are for yes, or for no to the question at the top?
  • baker
    4.9k
    Yes. I have no moral duty to put myself at risk of harm or to harm others.Michael

    You don't pay others enough to do it for you, though.
  • ssu
    6.5k
    Which is which? Red tones are for yes, or for no to the question at the top?baker
    I think that the red means that people are less willing to fight for their country (like with Germany only 18%) and the blue that the majority of people are willing to fight for their country.

    After all, for some defense is just one thing taken care by paying taxes.
  • baker
    4.9k
    a lot of other problems starting from the motivation of the conscriptsssu

    Yet conscripts might also have a far more pragmatic approach to fighting, an attitude of "Let's just get over with it, as quickly and as effectively as possible". They don't have any profound moral or otherwise metaphysical motivations for fighting, so no issues with justification.
    There's even a saying, "It's easy to do that which must be done."

    Of course, it also seems to make a difference what the general atmosphere in a country is. If the people of a country are already very nationalist, then conscription can be a mere formality. In countries that are not particularly nationalist, conscription is more likely to appear something alien and forced.
  • ssu
    6.5k
    Yet conscripts might also have a far more pragmatic approach to fighting, an attitude of "Let's just get over with it, as quickly and as effectively as possible". They don't have any profound moral or otherwise metaphysical motivations for fighting, so no issues with justification.
    There's even a saying, "It's easy to do that which must be done."
    baker
    Especially in the West there is one huge disadvantage, or actually an advantage in some perspective.

    Conscripts or reservists that have done conscription aren't volunteers. They aren't people who have opted for a military career.

    And this can be a huge political issue. The whole attitude towards them is different. You can send volunteers to fight in some international operation, but now you are talking about of "ordinary" people. Of course there isn't much difference to the volunteers and for example here in my country Blue Berets or those who have participated in peacekeeping / peace-enforcing operations are highly respected, yet everybody understands the difference between voluntary and being a professional soldier and being a "citizen-soldier".

    I think in Europe only Turkey has sent into it's combat operations conscripts.
  • Michael
    11.8k
    You don't pay others enough to do it for you, though.baker

    I don't know what you mean by this. Plenty of people choose to join the armed forces and get paid for it. Others choose to volunteer.
  • baker
    4.9k
    I think in Europe only Turkey has sent into it's combat operations conscripts.ssu

    Long live the Ottoman Empire!
  • Book273
    768
    The idea of conscription seems dubious:

    Scenario A: I love my country.

    My beloved country is being invaded and I feel I must defend it against unwarranted aggression. I must defend my family, my land, my fellow citizens, and repel those who would otherwise destroy our existence. No conscription is required, I am willing and wanting to defend what I perceive to be mine to defend. I may need training, or equipment, etc. but that is all. I do not lack motivation to defend. Perhaps I may die, but that is the price of defending that which I love.

    Scenario B: I hate my country.

    My horrid country is being invaded and I cannot wait for the change in government. The new government can only be an improvement over the existing ass-hats. I have no interest in fighting the invaders and will offer them beer when they arrive. Conscription is pointless, I am so disinclined to support the existing structure that I will strive to assist the invaders at any opportunity, surrendering at the first opportunity and providing as much information as possible to ensure their victory.

    Scenario C: I am solidly ambivalent about my country.

    My country is being invaded by some other country that I also don't give a damn about. Their position, as I know it, makes as much sense as the crap coming from my government. I don't really want to be invaded, not because I am concerned or fearful so much as I am lazy and don't want to bother learning a new system. I secretly hope it all blows over quickly so I can go back to my regular life of still not giving a damn. Conscripting me seems like a bad plan, I have no motivation to learn, other than to not get killed, and my goal is survival, not success for my army or country. How functional will I be as a conscript?

    Now consider the implications of a war that does not involve my country directly, as in overseas. Scenario A, all my motivation does not apply, my country is not threatened. I would, in truth, be the invader, or at best, an imported defender, leaving my country with less defense (due to my absence). Conscription would only infuriate me, dragging me away from my beloved country to join a conflict that is not my business.

    Scenario B, My country wants me to die in a foreign land so it can look good. Just another reason to hate it more. This could be a perfect time to leave, maybe join the opposing forces?

    Scenario C, I still have no interest in fighting, except to save my own ass. As I would be reliant, or hoping to return home, this might be the only scenario wherein I might fight harder as a conscript overseas than if I were in country, as I do not want to be forgotten overseas.

    Conscription just seems like a really bad idea.

    If no one wants to fight to defend their country, there is no actual country to defend, it is already dead. Conscription won't help that.

    If everyone wants to defend the country, conscription will not be required.

    If no one cares about the invasion, conscription won't help that.

    If conscription is to supply an invasion force, again, not enough people support it. Why is the government moving forward with such a poorly supported plan?
  • ssu
    6.5k
    No conscription is required, I am willing and wanting to defend what I perceive to be mine to defend. I may need training, or equipment, etc. but that is all.Book273
    That's actually the point of conscription and a reservist army: it's not that you may need training, you need training. And that basically takes at least 6 months or so. The war might be over well in six months. Historical examples show well just how much time is needed to create an army out of people that haven't any training. At large scale, you are talking at least about a year.

    Furthermore, the war in Ukraine clearly shows again that nations that want peace don't mobilize before there is an attack. That your country would start to train you in peacetime would be a huge escalation, and give ammunition to the invaders that it's actually your country that is the aggressor and they are only defending themselves.

    Israel hasn't fought it wars with conscripts, it has fought it's conventional wars with reservists. Those reservists haven't only done their conscription, but they have also trained afterwards to keep up their skills.
  • dimosthenis9
    810
    Do you think conscription is fair, moral/ ethical and or appropriate?Benj96

    No. How can ever be moral to enforce someone to kill or to be killed? And for what exact reason and nation are we talking about here?

    For a total random fact that i was in my father's balls, and these balls happened to be placed in Ukraine or Russia or wherever?? So I have a "national duty" towards these Balls to risk my one and only life( that I haven't even asked for it by the way) as to defend a nation that I was randomly placed in and I have been told to hate my neighbor nation also?

    And all these "heroic acts" for the shake of a bunch of filthy rich people who want to get even richer and they sell nationalism and pseudo heroism to the folk while they are smoking their big cigars! Are we serious here?

    Long live the Cowards of all wars!
  • Benj96
    1.2k
    Is this a gender-neutral use of "man"?Michael

    Yes it’s used in this context as the general collective term for people both male or female. However when it comes to conscription I don’t believe the obligation is equal for both sexes correct me if I’m wrong.

    One can say as a person of fighting age either it’s more of a linguistic technicality. However, more to point I would be inclined to agree with you as I don’t believe you need to serve your country through life and limb when it’s been demonstrated you can do it financially without violence. Being born into a nation doesn’t automatically mean you have to go to war for it. Some may say it’s unpatriotic but I would say it’s humanist.
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    No. Life is not ‘fair’ though. If I did not believe in a war then I like to believe I would accept prison instead.

    I believe people should fight for what they believe in. They might be right, they might be wrong. The important thing is to try your damn hardest to act as you believe is ‘best’.

    I believe ‘steeling’ is wrong, yet if I ‘stole’ something to help save many innocent lives I would like to think I would do it regardless of the consequences. Doing the ‘right’ thing can be sometimes be easy and sometimes be very, very hard. The true test of character comes in the later.
  • Tzeentch
    2.1k
    To force young people to make others suffer, and to undergo suffering themselves; it is a terrible injustice.

    If that is not unethical, nothing is.
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    It is not literally ‘forced’. They can choose to face the consequences of refusing to play by rules they don’t agree with. Suffering is unavoidable when matters get serious.
  • Tzeentch
    2.1k
    It is not literally ‘forced’.I like sushi

    To be thrown in jail for refusing is akin to being threatened with violence. It is the definition of being forced. And any nation that considers sending what are by all means children into a war was unfit to make any kind of rules to begin with.
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    There is a choice. Stating you were ‘forced’ to do something really just means that you refused to accept the consequences of refusing to do what you were told was right.

    In one sense I was ‘forced’ to go to school, but in another sense I chose to go to school rather than suffer the consequences of playing truant in my childhood years.

    Generally speaking ‘adults’ are in a slightly better position to ‘choose’ between action and inaction having developed beyond adolescence. That is not to say I think it is ‘fair’ to judge someone as ‘mature’ enough to make such decisions based merely on the number of days spent on Earth.
  • Tzeentch
    2.1k
    There is a choice. Stating you were ‘forced’ to do something really just means that you refused to accept the consequences of refusing to do what you were told was right.I like sushi

    Ah, so conscripts are really just volunteers if you think about it. What a remarkable insight.
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    If my country was going to declare war, and I was against it wholeheartedly, then I would leave asap rather than allow the government to lock me up for refusing to fight … or so I would like to believe! Maybe in reality I would simply fall in line and pretend that I could ‘help from within’ or some such nonsense to placate my sense of self respect? Who knows.
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    If you’re going to be silly I can stop talking? You get my point I’m sure. The idea that we are ‘forced’ is a convenient ‘excuse’ to just follow rules you don’t believe in.

    Don’t get me wrong. I ‘fall in line’ everyday in one way or another and fool myself enough into thinking I ‘pick my fights’ well and with nobility. I know I’m mostly a coward though at the end of the day and maybe that knowledge will be enough one day to prevent a poor decision.
  • dimosthenis9
    810
    I believe people should fight for what they believe in. They might be right, they might be wrong. The important thing is to try your damn hardest to act as you believe is ‘best’.I like sushi

    That's the real problem actually. What most people "believe" worthy fighting for is a bunch full of shit.
    They don't actually even know what they believe and for what reason.They just believe what others told them to believe.
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    Agreed. We don’t really have a choice though. We have to choose! :D
  • Tzeentch
    2.1k
    If you’re going to be silly I can stop talking?I like sushi

    Well, I think you were being silly, which is why I gave you a silly response.

    The state decides right from wrong, and everyone who disagrees may choose "of their own free will" to comply or accept the consequences.

    You understand that in this context you're condemning young people who can hardly tell right from wrong to choosing between punitive torture, which is what imprisonment is, and actual torture and the torture of others, and death on the battlefield.

    Your view would probably be popular in Maoist China.

    The idea that we are ‘forced’ is a convenient ‘excuse’ to just follow rules you don’t believe in.I like sushi

    Try to make the argument that being made to do things under threat of violence is something different from being forced.

    I believe people should fight for what they believe in.I like sushi

    Your argument advocates that people should be forced to fight for what they don't believe in, after all, they'd be volunteers otherwise.

    You confess you'd be the first to abandon ship when drafted into a war you don't agree with, and simultaneously you're preaching about how no force is being applied and people (kids, basically) should accept the consequences.

    So which is it going to be?
  • I like sushi
    3.9k
    maybe we were talking past each other? Let me know …

    My stance is pretty simple.

    1) Any war can be ‘justified’ and such ‘justification’ comes from a personal/collective perspective.

    2) Conscription is a Law enforced by a state. Citizens can abide by the rules of law where they were born, suffer the consequences of not adhering to the laws, or leave (be this easy or hard).

    3) Forced Conscription is a Law made in wartime. If I didn’t agree with the war I would leave the country most likely rather than fight back against the state. Hard to say how I would react though in reality. Other people may or may not share my views.

    4) If I was the leader of a State I would not say unilaterally that I would NOT declare Forced Conscription. It would depend wholly on circumstances as I am aware there are hard choices to make and sacrifices to be made for some perceived ‘betterment’.

    5) I also believe there can be scenarios where starting a war is ‘better’ than not starting a war - but I by no means see this as anything like a common occurrence NOR can I offer a historical example of such a war.

    Laws are not real. I am not ‘preaching’ anything, just stating that the Laws does not have complete control over our personal choices and views, yet I concede easily that it obviously impacts upon them. I’ve had this view since adolescence and would most certainly have gone to prison rather than fight in a war when I was a teenager (I was far more stubborn back then).

    Now I’m older a have a more nuanced take and understand that there could be reasons to fight, but I’m still at heart an anarchist of sorts when it comes to taking orders without question from so-called figures of authority.

    If I was in my country of birth and they declared that I had to fight in a war I believe was utterly wrong I would do my upmost to flee asap. If stopped then I’m not convinced I would be staunch enough to refuse if threatened with imprisonment, torture or execution. I like to believe imprisonment maybe, torture too (depending on extent), but the execution would likely sway my hand :)

    My argument is NOT that people should be forced to fight? I have no idea where you got that from. My point was that I am not saying it is inconceivable that there would be a circumstance to literally knowing send people to their slaughter. There is certainly a great, great danger within such thoughts and views BUT they are being displayed here in light of understanding there can be extreme circumstances that break the general rule.

    As a general ‘rule’/‘law’ I am not for Forced Conscription at all (that should be obvious). Just because I admit there could be a situation that may contradict this does not make my position contradictory. ‘Justification’ is an extremely grey term.
  • Tzeentch
    2.1k
    As a general ‘rule’/‘law’ I am not for Forced Conscription at all (that should be obvious). Just because I admit there could be a situation that may contradict this does not make my position contradictory.I like sushi

    I assume you wouldn't accept others justifying their practice of forcing people to partake in violence on the basis of their personal fancy, so why do you believe this is a position you should hold?
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