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Did Objectivism end the draft?

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According to
it did.

Is she correct?

I found this in the Wikipedia article for Martin Anderson:


After serving as director of policy research for the 1968 Presidential campaign of Richard Nixon, Anderson was Special Assistant to the President from 1969 to 1970, and then, from 1970 to 1971, "Special Consultant to the President of the United States for Systems Analysis." It was through his recommendation that Alan Greenspan began his career in government. He is also widely credited with helping to end military conscription in the United States.

...this in the Wikipedia article for Milton Friedman:


Milton Friedman was a leading proponent of a volunteer military, stating that the draft was "inconsistent with a free society".[30] In Capitalism and Freedom, he argued that conscription is inequitable and arbitrary, preventing young men to shape their lives as they see fit.[31] During the Nixon administration he headed the committee to explore a move towards a paid/volunteer armed force. He would later state that his role in eliminating the conscription in the United States was his proudest accomplishment.[32]

...and this in the Wikipedia article "Conscription in the United States":


During the 1968 presidential election, Richard Nixon campaigned on a promise to end the draft.[33] He had first become interested in the idea of an all-volunteer army during his time out of office, based upon a paper by Professor Martin Anderson of Columbia University.[34] Nixon also saw ending the draft as an effective way to undermine the anti-Vietnam war movement, since he believed affluent youths would stop protesting the war once their own possibility of having to fight in it was gone.[35] There was opposition to the all-volunteer notion from both the Department of Defense and Congress, so Nixon took no immediate action towards ending the draft early in his presidency.[34]

Instead, the Gates Commission was formed, headed by Thomas S. Gates, Jr., a former Secretary of Defense in the Eisenhower administration.[34] Gates initially opposed the all-volunteer army idea, but changed his mind during the course of the 15-member commission's work.[34] The Gates Commission issued its report in February 1970, describing how adequate military strength could be maintained without having conscription.[33][36] The existing draft law was expiring at the end of June 1971, but the Department of Defense and Nixon administration decided the draft needed to continue for at least some time.[36] In February 1971, the administration requested of Congress a two-year extension of the draft, to June 1973.[37][38]

Senatorial opponents of the war wanted to reduce this to a one-year extension, or eliminate the draft altogether, or tie the draft renewal to a timetable for troop withdrawal from Vietnam;[39] Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska took the most forceful approach, trying to filibuster the draft renewal legislation, shut down conscription, and directly force an end to the war.[40] Senators supporting Nixon's war efforts supported the bill, even though some had qualms about ending the draft.[38] After a prolonged battle in the Senate, in September 1971 cloture was achieved over the filibuster and the draft renewal bill was approved.[41] Meanwhile, military pay was increased as an incentive to attract volunteers, and television advertising for the U.S. Army began.[33] With the end of active U.S. ground participation in Vietnam, December 1972 saw the last men conscripted, who reported for duty in June 1973.[33]In 1973, the Selective Service randomly selected 25 numbers or birthdays in case the draft was extended.

Having heard the Joan Kennedy Taylor interview and having read the Wikipedia articles quoted above, I wonder whether Anderson and Friedman were members of the Gates Commission, and if so, what roles they played.

John Link

Edited by John Link
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  • 5 years later...

I see from a Facebook notice by James Peron that Martin Anderson has died. (See Huff Post.) Jim reports:

Martin was a friend of Ayn's and an advisor to Ronald Reagan. Martin, along with Milton Friedman, was one of the men most responsible for the end of conscription. Anderson helped persuade Nixon to come out for repeal.


I met Martin when I organized a conference at which he spoke. He kindly signed a copy of one of his books for me. Martin has told the story of the time he was dealing with a broken arm and went out to dinner with a group of people, including Ayn Rand. He was struggling to do things with one arm and said that everyone was caught up in the conversation. Only Ayn notice his trouble and came over and offered her assistance. 


Edited by Boydstun
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