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Did drafting save the United States?

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You could approach this both morally and militarily.

Morally, the US had no right to do it, and the ends do not justify the means. Even in situations of war, people do retain the right to not participate because of their right to determine their own life. If this principle is not held in trying times by a government, then that government is engaging in evil against its citizens and should be changed.

Militarily, it is impossible to assume the draft (and only the draft) won the war. The draft was part of a conventional approach to warfare - put a bunch of men on the field supported by navy/airforce/artillery, take positions from your opponent, defeat him by making him surrender. Yet imagine if the United States did not have the ground forces to engage in island hopping to Japan or invading Europe. By necessity, military planners would have had to develop a different style of warfare (probably using mass bombing raids) that probably would have saved more Americans than the conventional ground fighting.

And for the sake of fun, I speculate that the best approach in World War II would have been to leave Europe to itself, while we waited on our shores and amassed a giant navy/airforce. Japan would never be able to mount an assault on the US because of our production levels (there was no requirement that we invade in 1 year as opposed to 5) and Germany would be busy with Britain, and more importantly, Russia. After, when we have our first nukes and long range bombers, we destroy the entire island of Japan by surprise, and then mop up both the Russians and the Germans after they are done wiping each other out (which would have happened regardless of our involvement).

Also, AR advocates an almost exact same approach in her Q&A.

Edited by Daniel Casper
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Just think of the nature of a draft (besides the fact that it is immoral, as Ayn Rand described). It is not even feasible.

To win a war, you need to outproduce your enemies. "Money is the sinews of war". A draft takes people out of the productive sector. If you do that, your economy, the "Total War" view, is in essence a battery, with a very small energy (money) input usually coming from the reserves and sum total of the wealth/productivity of a nation prior to the war. In this sense, Germany's early success and advancement during World War Two were only due to the reserves of productivity and energy that they had before the war. In a free society, all wealth is beneficial to the struggle for a nation. The free market, so long as there is enough value in the system, will meet the needs necessary to overcome an obstacle in war with minimal damage to the economy. Study Rome during the Republic, who did not have a draft, but always had the amazing ability to meet every demand needed by war...without any "total war" or government planning of the economy.

I only bring up this side point because Ayn Rand herself answered the moral reasons against the draft so perfectly. But it is important, as government's still today advocate a Total War approach, or a government-controlled economy during war time. They justify this as an "emergency", like they do the draft. My point is that any emergency can and will be solved by a free people who sufficiently value the system they have created.

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I'm trying to philosophize about the draft a bit. If there was not a draft in Russia or the United States to counter the drafts in Germany, Japan, and Italy, would the axis powers have won World War II?

It might not be a very constructive question, depending on what you mean:

On the one hand, if the Axis powers were all free, capitalist countries, with rational government leaders, then obviously yes. They would've had the resources to defeat Germany easily, with their standing armies and technology.

On the other hand, if you mean that all else is the same, except the draft: that's not possible, the draft was the consequence of the culture of collectivism, in general. Asking what would've happened to the tyrant Stalin if he decided to stop being a tyrant when his survival was at stake, is really not going to lead to any conclusion that can be applied to reality, since it's an impossible scenario. Even if let's say Stalin had an epiphany in the middle of the war, he would've quickly been executed by his own cronies, who would've then proceeded with the draft.

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No, since the US was not filled with irrational people.

I don't think this is really a credible response. I understand what you are trying to say by this cookie cutter statement, but considering the subject, that just won't do. Since, frankly, there was plenty of irrationalism throughout that era...merely ask the Japanese Americans...

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I don't think this is really a credible response. I understand what you are trying to say by this cookie cutter statement, but considering the subject, that just won't do.

It's possible that your knowledge of history is what's lacking. As far as I know (and can in fact offer evidence for my claim: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Squadrons), Americans back then were in fact rational enough to volunteer to fight fascism, under the British flag (and Spanish before that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Brigades), by the thousands, even before the US government decided to officially enter, so David's inference is perfectly valid.

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It's possible that your knowledge of history is what's lacking. As far as I know (and can in fact offer evidence for my claim: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Squadrons), Americans back then were in fact rational enough to volunteer to fight fascism, under the British flag (and Spanish before that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Brigades), by the thousands, even before the US government decided to officially enter, so David's inference is perfectly valid.

Plus, those Japanese Americans who were interned were done so by another irrational Statist, FDR...not individual Americans.

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I'm trying to philosophize about the draft a bit. If there was not a draft in Russia or the United States to counter the drafts in Germany, Japan, and Italy, would the axis powers have won World War II?

My dad once told me a story that his step father told him. His step father had been in WWII. Before he joined the military though, he was in a movie theater on the day that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The movie they were watching stopped, and an announcement came on (or something of the like) that Pearl Harbor had been attacked by the Japanese. He, and he said "nearly half the theater", stood up and went straight to the nearest place to apply to join the military.

The point is, our country wasn't full of irrational people who were eager to die at the hands of their obvious enemies. Many people at the time were ready to fight for their country - not just because of patriotism, but because there was valid reason to do so.

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