Europe is weak. Armies across Europe are struggling to find new recruits and are seeing their military budgets drastically cut. The future of Europe’s militaries is not looking so rosy. How can you expect to defend your country when you don’t have enough trained soldiers? Man power shortage is no small joke. With the decline of American hegemony, the threat of a resurgent Russia and terrorism at hand, it is crucial for all governments to be ready for any and all unanticipated dangers. This is, after all, what contingency plans are for. Conscription allows for a reliable batch of new recruits in an uncertain geopolitical environment.


Why bother putting your chips in with conscription if you’re not preparing for war? Any sane person can acknowledge that the likelihood of mass invasion and total war is off the table. So what are we afraid of exactly? We’re like Don Quixote fighting windmills. There’s no point in preparing for some threat that isn’t there, unless you intend to be the threat. Conscription merely serves to have convenient cannon fodder for imminent war. Governments should instead work on cutting military spending and provide their citizens with basic necessities such as healthcare, housing and food. Such is the benefit of the so-called ‘peace dividend.’


It’s very easy to take your freedoms for granted in peace time, but freedom isn’t free. Conscription provides an important reminder of what it means to be a citizen in a liberal democracy. Civic responsibility is something that’s no longer deeply ingrained in the public consciousness. The return of conscription would revitalize the weakening civil-military link and remind people of their civil obligations. National service is an important way to instill common values and build character. Those who do not want to participate in military service are free to opt for an alternative national service.


“The Greatest” said it best: why fight with someone you ain’t got no quarrel with? If the average citizen can’t even agree with their government on something like tax rates, do you expect them to agree with every odd military venture? People should have the freedom to decide whether or not they want to serve their country. After all, a democratic society is meant pride itself on the fact that its citizens are free from government coercion. What is involuntary servitude if not slavery?


With social and economic inequality constantly on the rise, what better way than national service to provide a rebalance? The politicians voting for war would finally have some skin in the game. It’s well known that very few children of the affluent actually serve on the front lines. At least with conscription, you have people from all fields of life participating side by side, as equals.


Forcing people to do something against their will is a recipe for disaster. We don’t need to look far to see what can happen: the Vietnam War showed us the type of demoralization and psychological damage that comes with a draft. Coercion creates bitterness and resentment. Add onto that the fact that conscripts don’t truly have the time to learn and refine skills, and you’re asking for trouble. Militaries should be able to select those most fit for combat, not random civilians.

IMAGE CREDITS: (C) BigStock – De Visu