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I am completely pissed of the Swiss system (once again)...

These beacuse of following reasons:

1) I am obliged to serve the state in a Civil Service for 8 days a year until I am 40 years old, because I am not serving in the military.

2) The state pays me currently a salary of 7$, while my normal salary would be 25$.

3) I do have to pay an additional monetary fine for not serving the military, even though I serve in the alternative compulsion "Civil Service".

I was so pissed this afternoon when I got my "slave-salary", that I was reading some laws concerning how to get out of this compulsion.

I have 2 options:

a) Degradation to Standby Soldier

I would not have to serve anymore except in case of an extreme emergency, but still be obliged to pay the fine (which would be higher as I would not get a Civil-Server-Discount anymore).

But to get a degradation to Standby Soldier, I will have to ask my commanders. As they will decline in the first place, I would have to beg and hope for their good will. As we are not a lot of Civil Server in the part of Switzerland I am talking about, my chances are pretty low.

So I would have to threaten to be there, but not to use neither my mind nor my hands to work for them. That would eventually lead to option B).

B) Jail and fine

I can choose to go to jail for 30-45 days and to pay an additional fine up to 1000$. I still would have to pay the further fines every year, but I am definitely out of the Military/Civil Service organisation for good.

WTF? "BE A SLAVE OR GO TO JAIL, it is your own free decision"

So I started to read some parts of the federal constitution and I found this:

(free translation only!)

a) men and women are to be dealt as equals

B) men are obliged to serve either in military or civil service, for women it is voluntary. Paying fines for not serving in the military is due to men only.

WTF???? On such obvious contradictions in the constitution are our laws based....

And as I start to realize, I am discovering only the tip of the iceberg.

WTF.............

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Seems to me that to serve in the military in Switzerland would be far more rational than to serve a government you may never have supported, go to jail or to pay a fine. My reasoning is this.

Switzerland is a democratic "free" western nation and you do enjoy those freedoms (constrained as they are).

Unlike all the other western nations there is no chance that it will wage an unjust war for monetary gain, national prestige, or confused "humanitarian" reasons. Granted that there are on occasion reasons to fight ones enemies and even to conduct a preemptive strike but for Switzerland right now I don't see any real pressing issues like that.

Military defence is a proper function of government, serving in the public service as a tax collector or cleaning the street (a job that should be done by a private company) aren't.

*I know that conscription is wrong. As long as your choices today are public slavery, imprisonment or to serve in the military (an honourable profession) for a specific period, learn something in the process and yet never have the possibility of being forced to do anything but defend your home, the ones you love and your country... I don't see the military service as the greatest of those particular evils.

Yes, you have to fight to change the law, but breaking the law is not usually the best or most effective way to go about this.

That's my opinion. Take it or leave it. :D

Edited by Zip

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There is the option of leaving and looking for a freer home, it can be costly though.

Unfortunately, I think the US is no longer the choice for those seeking freedom.

For lack of ability to leave... I agree with the opinion that you should obey the law while exposing it, publicly criticizing it and fighting it. The military service seems the lesser of evils amongst your options. It is honorable, you may meet like minded people and learn new and useful skills, as opposed to just being a slave straight out, or being branded a criminal through jail time which could hurt you the rest of your life (most notably if you ever seek to live in another, freer country).

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Seems to me that to serve in the military in Switzerland would be far more rational than to serve a government you may never have supported, go to jail or to pay a fine. My reasoning is this.

Switzerland is a democratic "free" western nation and you do enjoy those freedoms (constrained as they are).

Unlike all the other western nations there is no chance that it will wage an unjust war for monetary gain, national prestige, or confused "humanitarian" reasons. Granted that there are on occasion reasons to fight ones enemies and even to conduct a preemptive strike but for Switzerland right now I don't see any real pressing issues like that.

Military defence is a proper function of government, serving in the public service as a tax collector or cleaning the street (a job that should be done by a private company) aren't.

*I know that conscription is wrong. As long as your choices today are public slavery, imprisonment or to serve in the military (an honourable profession) for a specific period, learn something in the process and yet never have the possibility of being forced to do anything but defend your home, the ones you love and your country... I don't see the military service as the greatest of those particular evils.

Yes, you have to fight to change the law, but breaking the law is not usually the best or most effective way to go about this.

That's my opinion. Take it or leave it. :D

As far as I see, I do fully agree.

Unfortunately, I was not thinking this way when I was 19. At this age, the state decides which kind of service you will do.

At that time, I was thinking that military (especially in Switzerland) is superfluous, and a waste of time and money. So I decided (by claiming a health problem makes me unfit for military service) to do civil service instead. Now at the age of 26 it is impossible to change my mind and join the army.

So I have the opposite options slavery (surrender) or jail (rebellion). The best I could get is the middle-road, the Standby-Soldier. Not serve, but pay. I will talk to them next week and try...

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There is the option of leaving and looking for a freer home, it can be costly though.

Unfortunately, I think the US is no longer the choice for those seeking freedom.

For lack of ability to leave... I agree with the opinion that you should obey the law while exposing it, publicly criticizing it and fighting it. The military service seems the lesser of evils amongst your options. It is honorable, you may meet like minded people and learn new and useful skills, as opposed to just being a slave straight out, or being branded a criminal through jail time which could hurt you the rest of your life (most notably if you ever seek to live in another, freer country).

Hm, I have been thinking for a while about leaving the country... but for doing that, I would have to know a place, that actually is a better choice in total than Switzerland. I do not.

Well, in favor of the Civil Service I do have to mention that I did learn useful skills, and we did build some cool stuff (as a road through a steep forrest to a farmer or a nice wooden bridge over a creek). Not everything is bad about it, actually, I did have some good time there too. I am pissed that the laws are fundamentally wrong and nobody seems to care enough to change them.

Publicly criticizing it... I will have to think about that.

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A very shitty position to be in.

Best of luck.

Remember not to dwell on it too much outside of fighting for change.

When you allow "them" to disrupt your happiness they win.

Thx.

But to clarify, I do know who "them" is. I have been knowing these two guys for years now. In my canton live only 36'000 people, and I serve every year with the same 50 guys. And the two commanders who will decide have been there ever since I had to join. So I do know them. I can imagine how they react in the first place. Honestly, I just really cannot imagine how they will react, when I refuse to work and think, i.e. when I leave them the decision whether to put me on standby or into jail....

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1) I am obliged to serve the state in a Civil Service for 8 days a year until I am 40 years old, because I am not serving in the military.

2) The state pays me currently a salary of 7$, while my normal salary would be 25$.

That's not the end of the world, it's a relatively minor tax on your existence, just like all the other taxes we all pay. It's wrong, but not as wrong as let's say a five percent increase would be in income taxes (at least it's not a progressive tax, it applies to everyone equally) I don't think you should leave Switzerland, for a neighboring country that doesn't do this, but at the same time makes you pay more of your income and uses it for social programs, so it doesn't even have a strong military.

Instead, look at those eight days as an adventure and a learning experience, where you have to deal with a relatively mild form of evil, in a way that's as elegant, dismissive, and self affirming as you can possibly make it.

P.S. It would be a huge mistake to risk jail, or get into other types of trouble, over this. You should instead protest this practice legally, in the media, online, joining advocacy groups, without disobeying any laws.

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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As far as I see, I do fully agree.

Unfortunately, I was not thinking this way when I was 19. At this age, the state decides which kind of service you will do.

At that time, I was thinking that military (especially in Switzerland) is superfluous, and a waste of time and money. So I decided (by claiming a health problem makes me unfit for military service) to do civil service instead. Now at the age of 26 it is impossible to change my mind and join the army.

So I have the opposite options slavery (surrender) or jail (rebellion). The best I could get is the middle-road, the Standby-Soldier. Not serve, but pay. I will talk to them next week and try...

Ah, I see. That makes a huge difference.

If I was in your position I would make my case for becoming a stand-by soldier on those grounds. When I was 19 I thought differently and was wrong in my thinking. I was never trying to get out of doing work (soldiering or otherwise) but was confused on the issues. I now recognize my mistake and wish to serve in the military.

You could dress it up a lot more patriotically than that. Be sure not to imply any insult or disgrace toward the civil service you did.

Good luck.

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I am pissed that the laws are fundamentally wrong and nobody seems to care enough to change them.
Having lived in Switzerland myself, I can attest to the apathy. I gather you're in one of the smaller German-speaking cantons, where folks are extra conservative. The pervasive mantra is "don't rock the boat". The Swiss like things the way they are, and political and cultural changes move at a glacial pace. Sorry to hear about your plight.

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Instead, look at those eight days as an adventure and a learning experience, where you have to deal with a relatively mild form of evil, in a way that's as elegant, dismissive, and self affirming as you can possibly make it.

That seems wrong-headed. What you're advocating is an evasion of reality.

While it is a given to try to take from any experience good or bad what lessons you can, to tell someone to look at forced service as anything but the slavery it is seems immoral.

For example I do many things every day, willingly, as a business owner.. cleaning, mopping, cooking, serving... take the same actions and take me out of my business, put me in a government building or homeless shelter or charity hospital and have me do the same things and my labour becomes slavery. I may meet people I like, I may learn a new way of doing some things and of course I take that with me.

But asking someone to view the period of forced labor as anything other than what it is is immoral.

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That seems wrong-headed. What you're advocating is an evasion of reality.

While it is a given to try to take from any experience good or bad what lessons you can, to tell someone to look at forced service as anything but the slavery it is seems immoral.

It's not slavery. Saying that it is would fail to properly differentiate between what he's going through, and what slaves went through. It would be an evasion of reality, done by a pessimist. And pretending he's taking part in something great would be evasion, by an optimist.

My version is neither, it is the attitude of a realist, who deals with small evils appropriately, and has the psychology of someone slightly inconvenienced by the stupidity of others, but who stands tall, instead of overreacting, as if he's about to lose all of his humanity and get auctioned off to a life of misery.

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It's not slavery. Saying that it is would fail to properly differentiate between what he's going through, and what slaves went through. It would be an evasion of reality, done by a pessimist. And pretending he's taking part in something great would be evasion, by an optimist.

My version is neither, it is the attitude of a realist, who deals with small evils appropriately, and has the psychology of someone slightly inconvenienced by the stupidity of others, but who stands tall, instead of overreacting, as if he's about to lose all of his humanity and get auctioned off to a life of misery.

Slavery is not by definition permanent. Temporary slavery is seen frequently throughout history. While 8 days is relatively brief the result is the same.

It is not "over-reacting" to say that the government coming to a person, making them drop entirely their day to day lives and labour for someone else's benefit under risk of criminal punishment & loss of property is slavery. It is a short period but it does in fact fit the definition.

Not only that but precedent must always be looked at.

If 8 days is "just slightly inconvenienced" why can't they then down the line adjust it to 16 days, 3 months, 6 months and so one? If we exist for reality the reality is the moment we are expreiencing at the moment. During any of those 8 days the reality is, you are doing forced labour under threat of punishment.

That you were not bought and sold at an auction does not change the fact that your condition makes you the chattel of those in the position to enforce it upon you.

Rand declared that one does not owe another a single minute of their lives, a single drop of their sweat a single miniscule piece of their effort.

I have to say your take on this is very inconsistant.

But in the beginning I wasn't criticizing that, I was pointing out, accurately, regardless of what other points you were attempting to make that when you are telling someone to take a period of enforced servitude and look at it "as an adventure" the value or definition whether one is more desirable than the other is irrelevent. To tell someone to look at one thing and think of it as another is, in fact, an evasion of reality.

One could during a rape fancy that they are having consentual sex, one could put a piece of shit in their mouths and try to convince themselves it's a cookie. Whether you prefer rape to consentual sex or dung to chocolate chips becomes irrelevent. The only relevency in in the self deception of experiencing one thing and calling it, in your mind, something else.

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Slavery is not by definition permanent. Temporary slavery is seen frequently throughout history. While 8 days is relatively brief the result is the same.

Yeah, this isn't temporary slavery either. Being a slave was a horrible existence, very different from what the Swiss have to deal with. There are ways in which people are subject to force, other than slavery. This is one of those other types of initiation of force.

I'll stop debating this now, because it's ridiculous.

But in the beginning I wasn't criticizing that, I was pointing out, accurately, regardless of what other points you were attempting to make that when you are telling someone to take a period of enforced servitude and look at it "as an adventure" the value or definition whether one is more desirable than the other is irrelevent. To tell someone to look at one thing and think of it as another is, in fact, an evasion of reality.

One could during a rape fancy that they are having consentual sex, one could put a piece of shit in their mouths and try to convince themselves it's a cookie. Whether you prefer rape to consentual sex or dung to chocolate chips becomes irrelevent. The only relevency in in the self deception of experiencing one thing and calling it, in your mind, something else.

You're right, rape is a bad thing. Booooo, rape. I prefer consensual sex, myself, I must say. In fact I agree with you so much, that I'm gonna weave rape into every single argument against you from now on, and go out of my way to call you a rape victim in denial. It couldn't be less related to whatever subject we'll be discussing than it is now.

I didn't look at one thing and call it another, you took the word "adventure" and ran with it. An adventure does not mean a pleasant ride at Disneyland. Adventures tend to subject people to a lot of adversity, just watch the stupid Harry Potter kid and his adventures. Are you telling me that having evil wizards and such trying to kill you with their dark magic is more pleasant than some Swiss bureaucrat on a power trip, out in the woods? And yet, young Harry didn't declare that the magical realm sucks, and that he wants to move, he treated all of it it as an adventure, and used the experience to better himself. (I'm assuming, I haven't actually read or watched anything even remotely related to Harry Potter)

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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You're becoming very disproportionately angry.

You've taken what I presumed to be a quibble about semantics and turned it into something, frankly, bizarre since I intended no insult to you but found either what you said or the way you said it flawed.

First, when arguing a point it helps to know how the thing you are arguing is defined.

Bad living conditions are not any part of defining the condition of slavery.

What defines slavery is compulsion, labour, threat of punishment and the beneficiary of the forced labour.

Regarding the rape thing... I also put a more light hearted example (cookies&poo) which you chose, for whatever reason to ignore. Feel free to be an idiot and respond to every post I get on about with some irrelevent tirade about rape. That's real clever, go ahead.

Does it ever occur to you that your disproportionate hostile response to every disagreement someone has with something you say is kind of maladaptive?

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What defines slavery is compulsion, labour, threat of punishment and the beneficiary of the forced labour.

I agree completely. Even if the Swiss system doesn't subject anyone to a large inconvenience, there is no choice in the matter. You either do what you are told or you are punished. Thomas Jefferson had slaves, and I am sure they were treated well. They were still slaves.

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I've always admired Switzerland for so many things. I have family in Geneve and they like it and they feel the "police state" as in every citizen being a vigilante, gun-ownership, etc, is actually quiet beneficial.

I understand (correct me) that your Constitution of the late 1800s, is somewhat an adaptation of the U.S. Constitution.

I also admire the extreme federalism, but I still can't understand how the political process works there.

Now, I understand your objections, but you are forgetting another option: one that does not apply to poor dictatorship, but imo it does apply to a country like the CH:

You have the option to renounce your citizenship, become a European or American (AmericaS) citizen, and still go on living in your motherland, but technically as a foreigner. I suspect that ordeal might be frowned upon in that culture, but I suspect you are already in that situation.

---

On the other hand I ask you:

Don't you value the efficacy of your Government's Defense Forces? They are clearly defense-only, and many say it was that readiness and not banking which saved it from falling under the Germans 68 years ago (unlike Sweden which bought its "freedom" with a Right of Passage towards Norway).

Today Switzerland is in a similar geopolitical situation: utterly surrounded by a single "Imperial or supra-national" power: the EU. I don't know about Lichtenstein though.

I believe in a mercenary defense force, it is stupid and criminal to waste your time and money, but considering that legal changes don't happen overnight, and Switzerland's fantastic record of Independence, I'd ask myself this question:

"Do I value more my Switz Citizenship than 1 week of servitude a year?"

Most countries in the Americas (maybe all except Chile and Haiti, maybe Mexico) have abolished military service and never replaced it with that grotesque civil service, but we have to work for the state through our taxes, months a year!

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I agree completely. Even if the Swiss system doesn't subject anyone to a large inconvenience, there is no choice in the matter. You either do what you are told or you are punished. Thomas Jefferson had slaves, and I am sure they were treated well. They were still slaves.

You agree that slavery is defined by compulsion? Back that definition up, please. How did you arrive at that definition?

As for the argument by analogy, it is a false analogy. Thomas Jefferson's slaves were nothing like the Swiss. Can you think of the many relevant differences on your own, or should I list them for you?

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You agree that slavery is defined by compulsion? Back that definition up, please. How did you arrive at that definition?

I find it extremely hard to believe that you are being honest about your misunderstanding of the concept, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I assume you understand that compulsion means force. Are you disputing whether or not force is important in the slave/master relationship?

As for the argument by analogy, it is a false analogy. Thomas Jefferson's slaves were nothing like the Swiss. Can you think of the many relevant differences on your own, or should I list them for you?

Please, list them. But make sure they are truly important differences. Then explain to me what relationship the Swiss individual holds with the state if not a slave/master relationship. Employee/employer? Philanthropist/beneficiary? Corpse/mortician?

The length of servitude, difficulty or enjoyability of tasks and what's served for dinner to the slave (or philanthropist, if you prefer) are not important. The only relevant distinction is whether or not the servitude of the innocent is compulsory.

Slavery

Function: noun 1 : drudgery, toil

2 : submission to a dominating influence

3 a : the state of a person who is a chattel of another b : the practice of slaveholding

And so we don't quibble about the word chattel,

Chattel

Function: noun Etymology: Middle English chatel property, from Anglo-French

Date: 14th century 1 : an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate and things (as buildings) connected with real property

2 : slave, bondman

The important word in the second definition is property. Property rights pertain to usage and disposal. If someone comes up to you and tells you they have a right to the first lick of your lollipop regardless of your feelings, then they are saying the lollipop is not your property -- just as much as if they were to say that they had a right to the whole lollipop. If someone comes up to you and tells you that they have the right to decide how you act, they are telling you that they have a right to use and dispose of you; that you are their property, their slave. The principle does not change if it is for a minute, a week or a lifetime.

Edited by FeatherFall

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I find it extremely hard to believe that you are being honest about your misunderstanding of the concept, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I assume you understand that compulsion means force. Are you disputing whether or not force is important in the slave/master relationship?

I' not disputing that force is important in the slave/master relationship. I don't know what gave you that idea.

Here are four things I am disputing:

1. I'm disputing that the use of force defines slavery, or the slave/master relationship. For instance, yesterday I used force to open a door. Was it a a slave/master relationship?

2. I'm disputing that the word "compulsion" is something with specific meaning in Objectivist philosophy. I would prefer if instead you used the relevant terms which are well defined and we are all familiar with, such as initiation of force, retributive force, self-defense, etc. Compulsion could mean either one of those, and a million other things, like in "He felt a compulsion to wash his hands obsessively", "he was compelled by the evidence they presented him with", etc.

3. I am disputing that compulsion used (or misused, imho, but whatever) in the very narrow sense of "initiation of force" defines the slave/master relationship.

Let me repeat number 3. : I dispute that the initiation of force defines the master/slave relationship. For instance, yesterday, I saw a man punch another man. Were they master and slave?

4.(and this is not even something that was clearly spelled out, but I'll dispute it anyway, since you'll end up narrowing the word "compulsory until it gets to this, so I'll save everyone the headache)

I dispute the fact that an illegitimate act of government, making something "compulsory", and thus creatign a systematic and institutionalized initiation of force, against its own citizens, defines slavery or the slave/master relationship. For instance, if I am forced by the government government to remove a tree off my property, or pay taxes, that does not make me a slave, even if it's a far greater act of "compulsion" than that one week of service in Switzerland you can opt out of by renouncing your citizenship.

The word slave does not mean victim of initiation of force. It means victim of a specific kind of extreme, dehumanizing force, the victim of slavery, the state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slaveholder. For instance, the people of North Korea easily fall into the category of slaves, and the ruler of that country, into the category of "slave master". The Swiss, and their government, do not, they are the victims and perpetrators of a far lesser kind of evil, I would venture to guess lesser even than any of the people and governments of the neighboring countries, countries in which people can still lead a relatively free existence, far removed from the suffering of any actual slaves.

Please, list them. But make sure they are truly important differences.

Here's one:

- the Swiss are free for 51 weeks of the year (that's about 2000 weeks in an 80 year lifespan), and can choose to be free for the 52. as well, as long as they give up their legal status as Swiss citizens, and/or move to another country. (that's about 20-30 weeks extra)

- Jefferson's slaves were the property of another man, forced to work for him, for free, for every single day of their lives.

(that was about a 1000-1200 week life, every single week completely without any dignity, and without hope or something better to look forward to)

Do you not consider that a truly important difference to a person's life?

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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Do you not consider that a truly important difference to a person's life?

To a person's life, certainly. You'll find people who disagree are hard to come by. But length of servitude and quality of life are not the differentia of the concept in question. I'll grant that perhaps slavery needs to be further defined to differentiate between,open-ended and clearly defined lengths of servitude, but I still maintain that each type is a form of slavery.

Edited by FeatherFall

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The Swiss like things the way they are, and political and cultural changes move at a glacial pace.

Which is a big advantage when the changes are for the worse, which is the case...

Alex

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To a person's life, certainly. You'll find people who disagree are hard to come by. But length of servitude and quality of life are not the differentia of the concept in question.

You did not provide a differentia, or a category, because you didn't define anything. I'm the only one who bothered giving a definition of slavery, based on how it is used in English, in my experience as an English speaker. Provide one that's wide enough to allow for this week at camp, for those who feel like sticking around for it, and I'll drown you in other ridiculous examples that also fit your definition.

Another thing you have not defined in Objectivist terms (in terms of the kind of force involved) is "servitude". How is this servitude, while paying taxes is not? I'd love to see you differentiate around that one. Or, if paying taxes is also servitude, then how ridiculous would you look going up to Barack Obama and telling him he's a slave. (since you seem to be saying that servitude is slavery)

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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