Keeping It Simple

Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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18 Responses

  1. E.D. Kain says:

    Yes, which is why I think Milton Friedman deserves some sort of sainthood for his efforts. Truly.Report

  2. North says:

    I’ll raise my teacup to this.Report

  3. It’s a good thing conscription is on the wane, but it might come back, and I’m betting it will.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

      I’ll bet it won’t*. Cannon fodder is worse than useless for the machine these days.

      *within the parameters of what we currently call ‘Western Civilization’. A real apolcolyptic event? all bets are off, though conscription would only arise when the next civilization does.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Kolohe says:

        conscription is what every gang turns to, when things go south. then again, it’s in everyone’s best interest to be in a gang then, ya?
        Ya gotta sleep sometime.Report

  4. E.C. Gach says:

    While less conscription is good relative to the the former baseline, the transformation from mandatory service to volunteer standing armies seems a tenuous neither-here-nor-there.

    Were military service to remain mandatory, there might be more accountability for the costs and sacrifices that go with maintaining large armies as well as over seas imperial power projection.

    As it stands, there’s the benefit of less state coercion overall, but what remains is still state exploitation, since the cost-benefit analysis of service seems to overwhelmingly bring in recruits with few other seemingly good options.

    The largest problem with America’s foreign policy is a disconnect between the costs and those who bare them. I think eradicating standing armies would be a more formal end to the coercion of conscription. For now, it still remains, though to a lesser degree, but in a less visible and thus less readily correctable form.Report

  5. RTod says:

    Thanks Jason. It’s important to notice life’s victories.Report

  6. Kimmi says:

    How the hell does such sophistry get past people? “Oy, let’s look at the governments we can measure, rather than the world at large.”

    Its research like this that concealed the overfishing of the Pacific (due to rather mindless acceptance of Chinese statistics).

    Twelve year olds still ride around with shotguns. Americans still traffic guns to plenty of places.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Kimmi says:

      And there are still slaves, too, so obviously no progress has been made.

      Which only makes sense until you look at the per capita numbers, and realize that the world appears to have fewer slaves per capita than ever before.

      Chin up, Kimmi. I’m not saying the world’s perfect, just that it’s been getting better in some ways.Report

  7. Murali says:

    Not all countries can afford to go without conscription. Arguably, national defence is one of those things that we should aim to be self sufficient about. Given that that is the case, small countries surrounded by larger neighbours probably need conscription. It may not be for america, but it does not follow that it might not be necessary elsewhere. When we can have a droid army, then, we can truly say that conscription is not necessary.Report