Is The Draft For War Ethical?
Start writing a post

Is The Draft For War Ethical?

A philosophical look into how the draft and wartime conflict deprive individuals of their happiness and purpose.

Is The Draft For War Ethical?
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

War has been a topic of interest during the twenty-first century as both political and social environments across the globe have become heated. To make this idea of national conflict more intense, modern day technologies have advanced to such a degree that weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear bombs, are able to demolish entire cities and wipe out whole populations of people. The United States, in particular, has had many overseas conflicts over the last century, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians. One aspect of war that has been relatively ignored since the conflict in Vietnam is the draft. All male American citizens of the age of 18 and 25 are required to enter the Selective Service System, should any wartime conflict arise and a draft needs to be resumed. The debate at hand is whether or not it is ethical to draft these young men to serve in the war effort, regardless of their feelings towards the political and militaristic conflict.

Advocates for the draft suggest that it is ethical on the grounds that it promotes happiness for citizens of both countries involved by fighting on the grounds of political, social, and human rights. For example, the Second World War fought in the early twentieth century resulted in many casualties, but prevented the tyrannical regimes of the Axis powers from ruling strongholds across the globes and denying humans their inherent rights; the war efforts at this time also ended mass genocides, such as the Holocaust, and brought temporary peace and stability to many parts of the world. With this perspective, the end result of war would produce more happiness for people after the conflict than during it; the sacrifices made during war, such as the death of millions, are outweighed ethically by promoting that the rights and happiness of the people are protected. These war efforts would not be accomplished, however, without the draft. The draft ensures that there will be citizens ready to fight and sacrifice their own lives for their countries with the hopes of promoting the foundational ideas of the nation and the well-being of its citizens.

While the argument above supporting wartime draft seems reasonable, it ignores an important aspect of the draft: it takes away a person's ability to choose. To tie this elimination of personal freedom and choice into ethics, let's turn to philosophical thinker Immanuel Kant's Deontology, which focuses on moral rules and reasons. The Principle of Humanity, also known as the Respect for Persons Principle, states that all people should be respected as a source of value and not used for their "mere humanity". This means that people should not set ends for others when they are able to ensure their own ends for themselves. When talking about the draft, young men are randomly selected by the American government to go and serve in the war effort, regardless of whether or not they support the conflict. By requiring all males ages 18 to 25 to enter into the draft, officials in the American government are merely using their humanity to support a battle that does not directly involve the individual and in essence, decides their ends for them. Therefore, it is not ethical to require men to enter a draft unless it is by their own accord. Many nations require a draft during times of war out of concern that not enough people would register to serve; without knowing whether or not enough people would sign up to fight, it is not fair to assume that there would be a shortage in soldiers willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country and its ideas. Aside from Kant's ideas, utilitarian perspectives support the argument that the draft is unethical as well, especially when analyzing the Greatest Happiness Principle. The Greatest Happiness Principle states that people ought to act in a way that promotes the greatest amount of happiness possible for the greatest number of people. While war and draft advocates may use this principle to support their violent, militaristic efforts, they forget to account for the fact that the result of war is not always a win. If a country loses a conflict, the number of lives sacrificed would not outweigh the potential happiness that could have resulted from a military victory. It's not worth the risk of drafting innocent men to serve and potentially die in war if a positive end to the conflict, and therefore, the happiness of the greatest number of people, is not ensured. Therefore, the draft does not increase happiness for all people, as men are forced to leave their families and loved ones and run the risk of having physical and psychological wounds, and even death. Happiness is not guaranteed by victory as well, because wartime veterans and their families struggle and endure great pain even after a wartime conflict has subsided.

Even though the draft is not in place now, the Selective Service System that all men are required to sign up for at age 18 is unethical. People should be given the freedom of choice when it comes to serving in war and the government should not use its citizens to further their own means for political supremacy in the world. Rather than force men to become soldiers and go to war, I believe that the United States should avoid wartime conflict and engage in more peaceful ways of resolving national issues, such as through treaties, peace talks, and even donating monetary or resource support for groups aligning with American values in war-torn countries. Only when conflicts become dire and threaten national security should the United States send troops to fight, but only if there is no draft and the soldiers had a choice in fighting for their country. War itself can be justified with ethics, but a forced draft is not an ethical act.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less

With no sign of the pandemic going anywhere, brides and grooms who planned to be married in 2020 are forced to opt for plan B — if not plan C or D. While some are downsizing their in-person weddings to meet coronavirus guidelines and state restrictions, others are choosing to cancel theirs until further notice and some, well, they're embracing the virtual "I do."

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Zoom wedding for my friend and fellow editor and writer, Kristin Magaldi, and the short-but-sweet ceremony left me in happy tears (surprise surprise). In order to get the scoop on what exactly went into planning a virtual wedding, I asked Kristin to share her best tips so other couples know exactly how to have a Zoom wedding in case they're looking to lean into the video chat vows, too.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Risen Wang on Unsplash

Maybe it was the quarantine months that sent you on a quest to finally find a workout routine that works for you, or maybe it was the lack of routine in the world that inspired you to change your habits or -for some- keep them and make an effort to maintain your health. If gyms were not already evolving with the new needs of the 21st-century gymgoer, they are undoubtedly evolving now with the lifestyle mindset that Covid-19 has left many of us with — a desire for a plan for a positive change seeing that tomorrow is not guaranteed.

The experience that an individual gets out of going to the gym should feel worth their time, energy, and should meet their specific fitness journey goals. If you do not already have a reason to go to the gym, here are ten genius effective implementations that will inspire even the couch-iest potato.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've always been a huge Disney villain fan — whether it was for their cryptic one-liners, enviable outfits, or sidekick banter. Some of the most iconic lines from cinematic history have been said by the characters we love to hate and occasionally dress up as once a year.

The fear-mongering Gaston I now find hilariously cringe-worthy is now charming and oftentimes considered by fans as rightfully justified in his actions. Die-hard fans of the Disney villain fan club claim alternate egos in their favorite evil characters, adopting their hilarious witticisms into everyday life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Characters From Your Childhood That Combated The Mental Health Stigma

We deserve to see people like us on the big screen just as much as you do.

Perks of Being a Wallflower

Growing up with a neurodevelopment disorder and mental illness, it's easy to feel isolated from the rest of the world. It is not common to look around and see someone that experiences situations similar to the ones you endure. Even if you do come across a person that is also perceived to be "different" in the eyes of society, the negative connotations instilled in everyday life are quick to silence your voice and knock you down before you have a chance to realize that who you are is more than okay--it's normal. This is a big reason why anything that brings understanding and shines a light on what people with neurodevelopment disorders and mental illness go through on a regular basis comes around a sense of relief and happiness fills the body.

In light of this, I went on a hunt to find characters in television and cinema that accurately portray the complexities of developmental disorders and mental health.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anyone who goes to Panera Bread will tell you that their mac and cheese is to die for. If you're a huge fan of their mac and cheese, you won't believe the new recipe they're coming out with!

Keep Reading... Show less

Epic Activewear Deals Every Leggings-Lover Needs To Know About From Nordstrom's Biggest Sale

Wearing my pleather Alo leggings till someone physically removes them from my body.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not an athletic person, at all. Since junior high school, I've been happily cheering my friends on at their football games and soccer matches from the sidelines as long as I could go home to my yoga mat and spend Sunday mornings at Pilates with my mom's friends.

Weekends are often spent in my casual wear, from the second I throw them on for morning meditation through running errands and evening walks. No, I won't be running a marathon or joining my friend's volleyball league anytime soon.

Keep Reading... Show less

I Asked My Boyfriend His Opinion On Liking Other Girls’ Pictures, And, Spoiler Alert, It's Cheating

"When you get into a relationship and you're in love, you have to realize that liking photos is for the single lifestyle."

Ladies, listen up. If you are in a relationship with a guy and he is liking other girls' pictures on social media, then it's a red flag. A man who can look at someone else and show interest by liking it means he doesn't care about your feelings AT ALL.

Keep Reading... Show less

Luxury Fashion Buys Your Bank Account Couldn’t Justify Till This Year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

In case you needed another reason to get the Prada sunnies you've been eyeing all year.

Since I can remember first flipping through my older cousin's fashion magazines as an 8-year-old, I've always had several luxury items on my wish list of items I knew I'd never have, but loved to fantasize about.

As I grew into financial independence later in life, the list grew longer, but the ways in which I could toy with my grocery or travel budget for a month to make room for something I really wanted made the items on it more attainable. Even then, I will (virtually) visit an item online several times in the span of a year to test if I still like it months after eyeing it, and to see if by any chance it may have gone on sale.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Curvy Women Of Color On Instagram Who Inspired Us All To Take More Confident Lingerie Selfies

Learn to embrace your body and stop comparing yourself to the "beauty" standard with the help of these beautiful models and bloggers.

It's not every day that you scroll on your timeline and see a body that resembles your own. With a beauty standard that has conditioned the minds of society to exclaim confidence!

When a fuller figure posts on social media — as if it's an extreme act of bravery to show yourself off if you're not under a size 6 — it's about time we take back our power and learn that we are enough just the way we are.

Keep Reading... Show less

First and foremost, shame on you for encouraging the patriarchy and sexism as you police a female's clothing choices. You cannot control our bodies, but what you can advocate for is public health and safety. This includes demoralizing rape, slut-shaming, and protecting society from illness.

Keep Reading... Show less

Picture this, we're settling into our date, the conversation is flowing, we're ordering drinks, laughing, and then it happens... the job convo.

Him: "So what do you do?"
Me: "I'm a dating and relationships editor."

Keep Reading... Show less

TikTok was banned by the president, but Instagram is here with its newest feature called Reel. Many of us are still wondering why TikTok was being banned in the first place. Was it all the dangerous TikTok trends? It was because of a security concern, but not in the way you might think.

TikTok is owned by Dancebyte, which is a China-owned company. Basically, just like any other app, TikTok collects the user's data. The main question to ask yourself when investing in any app or marketing tools who will be owning my data? So yes, China currently owns all the TikTok user's data worldwide.

Keep Reading... Show less

- I have extremely sensitive skin, which is why I have always resorted to a plant-based organic beauty line such as Radha Beauty.

- Radha Beauty won me over years ago when I was looking for organic skincare brands.

- I was so excited to see they launched a new line incorporating USDA organic rosehip oil, so when their PR team sent me some, I could not have been more thrilled.

- After a week of using the products, my face felt as smooth as a baby's, looked more glowy than ever, and even cured some of my summer sunburn.

Radha Beauty isn't just a best-selling beauty brand on Amazon — it's a USDA-certified organic beauty brand I live by, and anyone who knows me knows I am all about holistic wellness.

Typically, it only takes three days for me to tell if a skin product is working or not because I have extremely sensitive skin. It's also why I have always stuck by plant-based organic beauty lines such as Radha Beauty.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments