Essay on Conscription
The reason why the system of conscription (or “draft”, as it is commonly referred to in the United States) is inferior to that of volunteer or professional army is simply an economical one. It is the old and irrevocable law of economics, stating that the less you have to pay for something, the less you tend to try and use this resource wisely, irrespectively of its objective value. For you only its subjective value – what you have paid for it – is important, all the rest is the matter of little consequence.
The army using conscription is one of the most picturesque examples of a system that gets a certain resource (people) for free and is most unlikely to be interested in sparing it in any way. It doesn’t only mean that human lives will be wasted for no reason; it means also that people’s time will be wasted. A perspective nuclear physicist, who could have used this time to work for a scientific institution, carries out a project of his own and finally makes a discovery, which, when drafted, will be sent to clean the toilets for the army officials, who got his time for free and have no reasons whatsoever to try and find an application for him that would suit his abilities and the objective value of his time.
Whatever democratic policies are carried out by a country and whatever democratic ideals are considered to be prevalent in its society, the conscription is a titanic step towards the lawlessness and tyranny of a totalitarian state. It leaves its imprint on everything, whatever other details are. That’s why no society can practice conscription and consider itself to be a free nation. These two concepts are incompatible and nothing may justify bringing them together.