So how do we get from where we are to a form of government such as we’ve been discussing? I don’t know that we necessarily do by any road any of us would especially care to travel, though we might find that road a little less bumpy and potholed than the others we look to be facing.
We had a chance, back in 1781, when the Articles of Confederation were being ratified, and again, in 1789, when the Constitution was being drawn up. There may have been a slight echo of the notion with the Society of the Cincinnati, post-revolution, and also a chance to have done something via the Newburgh Conspiracy, which George Washington suppressed using not much more than sheer force of character.
While the country might have been better off if something like that system had been adopted on any of those occasions, honesty should compel us to admit it might not have, either. After all, the system we did adopt has seen us through a couple of often turbulent centuries. Were it not that, as I mentioned last week, it looks like that system’s time has run, we wouldn’t be talking about this now. At least I wouldn’t.
There are several routes we might take to get us from where we are to where we think we ought to go. These include coup, as discussed here, or recovery from something like total societal breakdown, as discussed here.
Neither of those routes should be undertaken lightly, by which I mean, avoid like the plague as long as possible. Moreover, each is fraught with problems. In the first case, would anyone with two brain cells to rub together really be all that certain that our flag officers, once they had the power in their own fragrant hands, would then turn over political power to mere discharged privates? One doubts. In the latter case, we’re probably not talking about a national restoration but the creation of a bastion or two somewhere, which may or may not survive the rising seas of barbarism around them. In either case, we will not have saved the country.
I don’t have a lot more faith in the prospect of salvation via normal constitutional amendment. It would certainly be legal; it has that going for it. But actually getting enough or our more left wing states to go along? Even if it meant the ruination of our country and civilization if they didn’t?
Especially “if.” Let me tell you a few little somethings I’ve gathered about the bulk of the modern western left: When it comes to societal ruin – ruin of their own societies – their urge to ruin is overwhelming; their instincts are unerring; their energy is inexhaustible, and their ruthlessness is absolute. Wrecking the country and Western civilization would be a feature, not a bug. So go down the list of states and see which thirteen left-dominated states would object. And that’s assuming a two-thirds vote in congress, when rather few congress-critters would qualify under the system and would thus lose their jobs. Frankly, that last item seems to me to make it impossible even to offer a compromise, a twofer, so to speak, where they might get something they want – statehood for DC and Puerto Rico, say – in exchange for ratification of “Service Guarantees Citizenship.”
So, no, except possibly as a result of a military coup, where the amendment process was forced through at bayonet point (unconstitutional in itself, of course, though there is that nasty precedent of the formerly seceded states and the reconstruction amendments), it cannot get through as an amendment to take effect immediately..
Hopeless, then, right?
Well, no, it isn’t necessarily hopeless. I can see two ways to do it. The first is, despite what I wrote above, through the amendment process. No, neither liberal states’ non-veteran legislators nor national non-veteran senators and representatives would go along…if it affected them, personally. There is, however, a thing called grandfathering. It’s used all the time to try to get some good in the future without paying the political price for it in the present. With grandfathering, everyone currently entitled to vote or run for and hold public office wouldn’t lose those rights, but everyone below the age of eighteen would have to volunteer for and serve their term before they could. Whether that would be enough to save the country…well…I did mention previously, did I not, that the percentages that are leading us to ruin are not that great? It might be enough. Guaranteed? No, I only look stupid and then only when I drink, and that’s been years. But it could be a chance.
The other way is easier to effect, could also be grandfathered, but is also easier to modify or dispense with than actual amendment to the Constitution.
Now go look at YouTube for any of a large number of “bring back the draft,” statements, claims, and suggested programs. Note that what they tend to have in common is that the proponents seek to make the military less usable. This could be a good or bad thing, if true. However, I don’t think it is true. To a large extent they seem to be caught up in their own lies and ideological myths about the makeup of the armed forces in Vietnam. Only a not particularly large minority of troops in Vietnam were draftees. Most were volunteers.1
Now picture a universal draft enacted into law. Men, women, the handicapped; everybody gets a draft notice on their 18th birthday. And they’d better show up, too, on penalty of…not very much really…umm, absolutely nothing really. No jail time, certainly. No fine, to be sure. No end date. No drop dead date. No penalty at all except that you can’t vote or run for and hold public office until you complete your service. Civilized, is it not? Democratic, too, isn’t it? And choice, oh, dear God, choice just abounds.
Tugs at the heartstrings, doesn’t it?
And that’s the best I can offer.
Photo by Andrey Popov/Getty Images
Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.
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