• Olivier5
    5.7k
    Off-topic, but nauseatingly enough, this is exactly what Yuval Noah Harari argues in Sapiens: apparently, racism and eugenics were discredited because the Nazis lost the war. Shit book :vomit:_db

    That's actually true. The Nazis showed the rest of us what a society based on racism and eugenics looks like, and the rest of us thought it was horrible. The post-war decade saw a flurry of new or rejuvenated antiracist movements in the West, e.g. the civil rights movement in the US. The decolonisation of Africa proceeds from the same historical logic: if it's so bad for the Germans to invade France, why can France invade Algeria?
  • Olivier5
    5.7k
    the argument against historicism. That it happened once is not sufficient evidence to support a theory.Isaac

    I am not making an historicist argument. Just saying that that's how certain things happened. We owe human rights to the French revolution, and this revolution defended itself from European tyrans by way of general conscription.

    Of course it could have happened differently. Nothing is predetermined. The Italians or the Poles could well have invented human rights, if the French had not.
  • Isaac
    8.5k
    I am not making an historicist argument.Olivier5

    ...[proceeds to make exactly the historicist argument]...

    Of course it could have happened differently.Olivier5

    Then bringing it up is irrelevant to the discussion. It's insufficient justification to say "conscription helped there, then" since that's not evidence that it will help here, now, and this thread is about justification.
  • Olivier5
    5.7k
    The take away was already mentioned: a self-governing people can muster, through conscription, a stronger military force than a dictatorship can, everything else being equal.
  • Isaac
    8.5k
    a self-governing people can muster, through conscription, a stronger military force than a dictatorship can, everything else being equal.Olivier5

    So what? Who cares?

    The question (the one you keep dodging) is "ought they?", not "can they?".
  • Isaac
    8.5k


    Oh, and... Bollocks. A self-governing people did, in the past, in France muster, through conscription, a stronger military force than a dictatorship has ever manged in the past, in other countries, to.

    This neither proves, nor even constitutes robust evidence for your theory that "a self-governing people can muster, through conscription, a stronger military force than a dictatorship can" because it is a sample of one. No population yields a sample size of one as a statistically significant data set.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    So, having established in what circumstances conscription works. In what circumstances is it just?Isaac

    Great question!
  • Isaac
    8.5k
    Great question!Agent Smith

    Not my question.@_db asked it in the opening post. It's only being reiterated now because of @ssu's and @Olivier5's Herculean efforts to deflect attention away from such a question lest the answer reflect badly on Ukraine (which is apparently now some kind of eighth deadly sin).
  • Olivier5
    5.7k
    This neither proves, nor even constitutes robust evidence for your theory that "a self-governing people can muster, through conscription, a stronger military force than a dictatorship can" because it is a sample of one.Isaac

    In history, this is often the case. However the fact that something happened, if only once, shows that it is possible. Therefore, a self-governing people can muster, through conscription, a stronger military force than a dictatorship can. It is doable, because it's been done.

    And mind you, this is precisely what Ukraine is trying to do.
  • Olivier5
    5.7k
    The question (the one you keep dodging) is "ought they?", not "can they?".Isaac

    Starting from basic premises, a democratic government ought to find ways to optimise the public good in their country, while implementing the will of the majority most of times. It follows that, if those two conditions (necessity for public good and majority support for conscription) are the case, then a democratic government ought to implement conscription.

    In the case at hand, there is evident support for the measure among Ukrainians, and it appears to be necessary to protect Ukraine from invasion and transformation into "Malorus", whence the public good element.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    I believe the right question to ask is a rather simple one, cui bono?
  • Isaac
    8.5k
    a self-governing people can muster, through conscription, a stronger military force than a dictatorship can. It is doable,Olivier5

    Right. And what point in the thread confused you into thinking anyone needed telling this? Who was it you thought was making the argument that conscription was not possible?

    a democratic government ought to find ways to optimise the public good in their country, while implementing the will of the majority most of times.Olivier5

    So who decides what the public good is?

    And why implement the will of the majority only most[/] of the time? Why not all the time?

    it appears to be necessary to protect Ukraine from invasion and transformation into "Malorus", whence the public good element.Olivier5

    ...which is the question right at the beginning that you're still dodging.

    Why does this public good override the very obvious public good of not being shot?

    It's not like picking sweets off a shelf, where the only decision is which ones are nice. To gain the public good of "not becoming Malorus" the public have to submit to the public bad of long drawn out war. Why does gaining the former outweigh avoiding the latter? And don't say 'democracy' because we're talking about the public good here, a point you listed separate to democratic will.
  • Olivier5
    5.7k
    Who was it you thought was making the argument that conscription was not possible?Isaac

    I think the point is not that conscription is possible. As even you managed to realize, this is agreed by all, and therefore not debated at all.

    In my mind, the important point is that a democracy can use this tool more effectively than a dictatorship. Dictatorships have their own advantages of course, and they use them. Hence conscription features among the tools that may be necessary to defend democracy, even though the policy may appear undemocratic superficially.

    To gain the public good of "not becoming Malorus" the public have to submit to the public bad of long drawn out war. Why does gaining the former outweigh avoiding the latter?Isaac

    I wouldn't know. Maybe you could ask the question to an Ukrainian, or to a Russian? It's their policy, not mine.
  • Isaac
    8.5k
    a democracy can use this tool more effectivelyOlivier5

    ....

    Hence conscription features among the tools that may be necessaryOlivier5

    Obviously, the conclusion doesn't follow from the premise. That it can be a useful tool doesn't in any way imply that it is a necessary one.

    I wouldn't know.Olivier5

    We then perhaps you can spare us your asinine commentary on this subject you've clearly no real opinion on.
  • Olivier5
    5.7k
    We then perhaps you can spare us your asinine commentary on this subject you've clearly no real opinion on.Isaac

    I love you too, Isaac.

    Do ask your questions to Putin, whenever you have a chance. "Why do you asshole Russians have conscription?" And, for good measure: "Why do you asinine cretins illegally send conscripts to wage war onto a foreign country?"

    Unless Putin is somebody you can't question?
  • ssu
    6.3k
    So, having established in what circumstances conscription works. In what circumstances is it just?Isaac
    I think defending your country from an attacking other nation is just.

    What threat?_db
    The threat of another state attacking your country. We have seen that such actions aren't confined only to history, but can and have happened in the present.

    If the threat is independent terrorist groups etc. I would think the response could (and should) be handled by the police.
  • ssu
    6.3k
    Of course it could have happened differently. Nothing is predetermined. The Italians or the Poles could well have invented human rights, if the French had not.Olivier5
    I think that the British and people in their colonies were aspiring the same rights. And they also understood that the powers of the state ought to be limited and individual should be protected from the state.

    Some can argue that Magna Carta just showed the weakness of the English king, but it was quite important for the future. And your correct too about Poland: it had limited the power of the king also early on, yet even if Poland exemplified religious tolerance and the kings rule was limited, this also made Poland so weak that it could be divided by it's neighbors. So creating an efficient and functioning democracy as an end result was a real challenge for humanity. (And many would say we haven't yet perfected it yet.)
  • Isaac
    8.5k
    I think defending your country from an attacking other nation is just.ssu

    Care to attempt an argument, or are we at the stage of exchanging arbitrary preferences?

    Oh and the argument was whether using conscription to defend your country from an attacking other nation is just, not whether defending your country from an attacking other nation is just. Your efforts to avoid the question are remarkable.

    Do you think using chemical and biological weapons to defend your country is just? Do you draw the line anywhere, or is anything acceptable when it comes to flags?
  • Olivier5
    5.7k
    So creating an efficient and functioning democracy as an end result was a real challenge for humanity. (And many would say we haven't yet perfected it yet.)ssu

    Yes. Though I think it may be worse than that in a way. We haven't perfected democracy yet, that is true, but 1) I believe it would be impossible to do since perfection is not mixable with politics; 2) there is a dynamic aspect to it, in that as pro-democratic forces try and perfect democracy, the enemies and parasites of democracy keep finding new ways to undermine it. New threats appear regularly, as in a darwinian system were parasites and hosts are co-evolving.

    I'm afraid there will be no end to it, no time, however distant in the future, when we can rest and say: "now we have perfected our democracy."
  • ssu
    6.3k
    Care to attempt an argument, or are we at the stage of exchanging arbitrary preferences?Isaac
    What do you think in war would be just?

    Self defence is usually thought of being just.

    Why do you think that is an arbitrary preference?
  • ssu
    6.3k
    We can try to improve things from where they are.
  • Olivier5
    5.7k
    Yes, that's the most that people of good will can do.
  • ssu
    6.3k
    Many people think they do good. Those that think that they can and will improve the society by killing others are not good people. But they sure have revolutionary visions for the future.
  • Olivier5
    5.7k
    I think there are good people and bad people, and all the shades in between where most of us belong. I know it comes across as naïve but I believe we all know that, deep down. Evil does exist, as a force in us humans, and sometime it overtakes some people and cultures. How else can one explain the 20th century (let alone the others)?

    Even if one does not want to 'reify' or 'essentialize' evilness and goodness (a concern I feel sympathy for), it still seems to me that some folks tend to behave more generously and kindly than others, or more selfishly and rudely than others, on average.
  • Isaac
    8.5k
    What do you think in war would be just?ssu

    I don't think war is necessarily unjust. I don't think it was unjust to go to war against the Nazis, but I do think the bombing of Dresden was unjust. I base my ideas of justice on things like universal equality, humanity, social cohesion...

    Self defence is usually thought of being just.ssu

    Countries are not people. There's no 'self' to defend. Self-defense is just because it's reasonable to want to live, and avoid harms. States have no such claim to reasonably want to continue existing. That you'd put a state on the same level as a human says a lot. Does a corporation have the same right to self-defense?

    Why do you think that is an arbitrary preference?ssu

    Because it's unargued for. You just asserted it. Usually we do that with indubitable presuppositions, which are arbitrary.
  • Isaac
    8.5k
    Those that think that they can and will improve the society by killing others are not good people.ssu

    So the Ukrainian fighters are not good people? It seems pretty self-evident they think they can improve their society by killing the Russian invaders. Weren't you just previously arguing for the justness of self-defense?

    So the 'killing' is not the problem, is it? It's the reason. In the case of the defending military you agree with their assumption that killing the invader will improve their society. In the case of the revolutionary, you disagree.
  • ssu
    6.3k
    Countries are not people. There's no 'self' to defend. Self-defense is just because it's reasonable to want to live, and avoid harms. States have no such claim to reasonably want to continue existing. That you'd put a state on the same level as a human says a lot. Does a corporation have the same right to self-defense?Isaac
    But states go to war. Individual people do not have the ability to declare a war. War is something that has been formalized and legalized between states. Not between individuals. Hence the idea of legal and illegal combatant, just to give one example. Similar to the difference between law enforcement and vigilantes.

    And if you say that "I don't think it was unjust to go to war against the Nazis", then obviously defending from the attack of Nazi Germany (Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium) was just also.

    Because it's unargued for.Isaac
    Well, you argued that it wasn't unjust to go war with the Nazis. So I guess self defense and a country defending itself from an another state attacking it would be just.

    It seems pretty self-evident they think they can improve their society by killing the Russian invaders.Isaac
    No. I wouldn't say defending yourself from a violent attack is similar to improving yourself. Yes, if you don't defend yourself, obviously you can at worst get killed. But that isn't same as improving yourself, it's self preservation. It is quite different.

    Ukrainians defending their country aren't improving their society, they basically are trying to preserve it. Improving it would be things like getting rid of the worst aspects of corruption in their country.
  • Isaac
    8.5k
    But states go to war. Individual people do not have the ability to declare a war. War is something that has been formalized and legalized between states. Not between individuals. Hence the idea of legal and illegal combatant, just to give one example.ssu

    I don't see how that has any bearing on the argument. I'm not denying that states go to war. That doesn't make states people or 'selves' so it doesn't make the self-defence argument any more coherent. States are not 'selves' so there's no such thing as self-defence for a state. State's defend states, not selves.

    if you say that "I don't think it was unjust to go to war against the Nazis", then obviously defending from the attack of Nazi Germany (Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium) was just also.ssu

    Yes, but not on the grounds of self-defence. It is not just simply for a sate to defend the state. There's no principle of equality, humanity etc inherent in a state. It doesn't have a right to exist. It was just to resist the Nazis because the Nazis were attempting to impose unjust laws on people. Not because our state had a right to defend itself tout court.

    Otherwise you end up with the ludicrous result that the US, Britain and Russia had no right to push their advantage to Berlin. By the time they reached the German border, apparently, they should have stopped.

    It was just even to invade Nazi Germany entirely because the Nazi state did not have a right to exist. It was a monstrous state, it didn't have a right to defend itself, and it wasn't just of it to do so.

    I wouldn't say defending yourself from a violent attack is similar to improving yourself. Yes, if you don't defend yourself, obviously you can at worst get killed. But that isn't same as improving yourself, it's self preservation. It is quite different.ssu

    That's just semantics. The state of affairs where Russians are no longer bombing, murdering and torturing is an improvement on the state of affairs where they are doing all those things.

    You've still completely dodged the actual question - Is it just to use conscription to defend the state? If so, on what grounds?
  • ssu
    6.3k
    I don't see how that has any bearing on the argument.Isaac
    Do you understand then the difference between law enforcement and vigilantism?

    Yes, but not on the grounds of self-defence. It is not just simply for a sate to defend the state. There's no principle of equality, humanity etc inherent in a state. It doesn't have a right to exist. It was just to resist the Nazis because the Nazis were attempting to impose unjust laws on people. Not because our state had a right to defend itself tout court.

    Otherwise you end up with the ludicrous result that the US, Britain and Russia had no right to push their advantage to Berlin. By the time they reached the German border, apparently, they should have stopped.

    It was just even to invade Nazi Germany entirely because the Nazi state did not have a right to exists. It was a monstrous states, it didn't have a right to defend itself, and it wasn't just of it to do so.
    Isaac
    Look, they I see it, it was totally logical to push the war to Germany itself and destroy the Nazi regime for self defense purposes. If the Allies had stopped at Germany's border, the regime wouldn't have collapsed. Hence it would be a real threat later, perhaps then armed with it's own nuclear weapons.

    What you are stating is that it didn't have the right to exist. Well, just where do you then draw the line? What if Nazi Germany didn't invade Poland and not even annexed the whole of Czechoslovakia? Totally OK then for other nations to declare war and invade it?

    You've still completely dodged the actual question - Is it just to use conscription to defend the state? If so, on what grounds?Isaac
    Have I dodged the question?

    I think I've answered already that conscription is basically a manpower issue. If with a volunteer force you cannot create a force big enough to create a credible military deterrence, then you need conscription. If the population is big enough, then you can use volunteer force.

    If you think it is so unjust for the state to demand military service conscription, just a while ago you and I were quarantined to home and set a lot of limitations thanks to the pandemic.
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