Against All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic

In his latest column Ron Paul speaks out against a potential reinstatement of the draft, in whatever form it may occur. Most enemies of liberty are located within a 10 mile radius of Capitol Hill, which obliterates the argument that the draft is needed to protect liberty from enemies abroad. To solve the “problem” of low troop levels, Ron Paul proposes to focus on defense rather than world domination, and calls for better treatment of military personnel and veterans so that genuine volunteers will not be discouraged from joining. Finally, “voluntary” national service is only the first step on the road to mandatory service, and should therefore be opposed.

On Reinstating the Draft

by Ron Paul

Much has been made by the new administration of the idea of national service and volunteerism. While service to one’s community is certainly admirable, it is not the federal government’s place to “encourage” or promote volunteerism. Moreover, there are troubling signs that national service could transition from voluntary to mandatory, or de facto mandatory, such as the requirement of service in order to be granted a diploma, or something along those lines.

Involuntary servitude was supposed to be abolished by the 13th Amendment, but things like Selective Service and the income tax make me wonder how serious we really are in defending just basic freedom. The income tax enslaves workers for nearly 4 months out of a year by garnishing what amounts to all their wages in that period of time. A military draft could demand your very life, without your consent. This should be unthinkable in a free society.

Proponents of reinstating the draft claim it is needed to protect liberty from enemies abroad. But what about the enemies of liberty right here at home? I am convinced that there are more threats to American liberty within the 10 mile radius of my office on Capitol Hill than there are on the rest of the globe. If we would get our troops off of foreign soil, those perceived enemies of our liberty abroad are much more likely to stand down and let us be. We have more than enough troops to mind our own business and defend ourselves. It is only for world domination that we have a troop shortage.

Nevertheless, some think recruiting for our military is too low and that the younger generation will not answer the call of duty willingly, and must be drafted by force. I take extreme exception to this characterization of young people today. First of all, I believe they correctly see that foreign policy, as unpopular as it has been under Bush, is not significantly changing under Obama, and has little, if anything, to do with defending the United States, and certainly not the Constitution. Second, many see friends and acquaintances who have voluntarily enlisted, and have taken note of how the soldier, the veteran is treated. Perhaps rather than blaming younger generations for being selfish, older generations should remember their promises to those who volunteer for military service and be mindful of how they are treated. Every homeless vet by the side of the road, every suicide, every report of substandard conditions in veteran hospitals is a sign of how we let our military down. Perhaps we should look to those issues if we have problems with military recruitment, rather than to trample freedom in the name of protecting it.

If that is not enough reason, consider that most in the military are against a draft. There is a vast difference between serving alongside another volunteer, and serving alongside a reluctant conscript. Americans need to be on the lookout for any propaganda trying to ease us back into the draft. Too often a flawed foreign policy prompts the need for a draft. Abolishing the Selective Service is one thing we could do to counter those efforts.


  • waterflaws in Denver

    I favor reinstatement of the draft for other reasons. I’m not sure it equates to involuntary servitude.
    1. Since everyone (of “military age”) would be at risk, it would DISCOURAGE gratuitous American military involvement because a broad cross-section of the populace’s lives would be at risk. It would force citizens to face the realities of war and the military and, I believe, most people would be actively critical/oppositional. However, if those in the W. Bush Administration that STARTED the Iraq War were put to death, or imprisoned for life, for their war crimes, it might act as a powerful deterrent to future “American” tyrants.
    2. The “volunteer” model has allowed/encouraged MORE imperialism, because most Americans can sit back and let the “lower” classes do their killing/pillaging for them. No muss, no fuss, for US! The Powers That Be can say, “It’s OK because they VOLUNTEERED!”
    3. If the enlistment numbers are down, it provides an excuse to further privatize the military (still “volunteer” – “volunteering” to get rich).
    4. I don’t believe the constitution precludes obligatory national DEFENSE.
    5. I think non-violent community service (for the “general welfare”) in exchange for college tuition, or food or housing, would not be a bad thing.

    I have an open mind, however.

    • PaoloUSA

      I like point 2, is well thought and a very powerful motive.
      Point 3, brings about the Swiss model discussed in another article.

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    Since the founding of the United States of America, local militias have played an important role in its defense and security. Bolstered by the Founding Father’s concerns about maintaining a large standing army and preserved within the Constitution, the concept of the citizen soldier has since become ingrained in American culture and government. Currently, 23 states and territories have modern militias. “It is not only our right but responsibility to do something”,yes it is!

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  • Mr. Paul,
    This statement has nothing to do with the subject submitted.
    I truly believe the Obama Administration, in there future plans intend to nulify the United Staes Congress and the US Senate.
    His executive orders that i have read every word of points to this.
    Both houses should look at the impeachable offences he and his aids have commited and bring the artical of impeachment to the floor.

    Thanks for your time.

    • Lindsey

      Michael- He appears to be continuing the Bush policies. It is hard to believe that the Supreme Court has not stepped in to declare these orders unconstitutional.

  • Edward1334-CO

    I share your dilema. I have come to believe the answer is within. It is not only our right but responsibility to do something. I found that carrying around a sign at events is one outlet. BUT I do not feel as though it is “making a difference”. The domestic enemy is entrenched. So what is next? A gathering of like minds? Raise the “Militia”?

  • Americans have protested against our governments unjust wars and cruel policies for decades, all without any sort of beneficial outcome to the greater population of our planet. If you think of our efforts of past and present times, you have ask, has protesting gotten us anywhere? Did we change anything? Did they even listen to what you had say? The answer is absolutely not!
    There has been and continues to be more blood shed for money than our ideals. Words will never deflect bullets in a battlefield and they’ll shoot right through protesting signs. Are we merely cattle?

    I assure you, wall st. has fought with bombs, bullets and broken bottles for they’re money and power, I believe we’re entitled to defend ourselves from tyranny and the enslavement of mankind. When will we fight back for our freedom and families? Will evil prevail because good men are doing absolutely nothing to stop them?
    I too am a veteran of the united states armed forces, which means I took that oath as well. The answer is ourselves! only we can defend our constitution and our way of life. The time has come to fight back!

  • J W Lee

    I gave an oathe, upon my enlistment in U.S. military service in the 70’s, and I understood it was a “solemn” oathe…moreover, I don’t believe a solemn oathe has a shelflife or expiration date.

    That oathe provided that I would defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies…both foreign and domestic; my dilema and frustration (like many likeminded veterans) is this: how do I uphold my oathe now that (I perceive) the U.S. Constitution is in peril from (significant) enemies that are not only domestic, but are in a position of power over the American people.

    These “enemies” are obviously intent on enslaving the American people, as evidenced by their acts, while spewing (disingenuous) patriotic rhetoric…surely in violation of law(s) meant to secure our nation from betrayal/treason/sedition, et al…

    My question is: who is going to bring these people to justice and secure for American Citizens the U.S. Constitution and our way of life?

    • Edward1334 – CO

      I share your delima. I have come to believe the answer is within. It is not only our right but responsibility to do something. I found that carrying around a sign at events is one outlet. BUT I do not feel as though it is “making a difference”. The domestic enemy is intrenched. So what is next?