In a recent debate, Ted Cruz suggested the idea of drafting women into the military is “nuts.”
Why so? Because drafting anyone into involuntary servitude is wrong, and irrational? No. Not because he’s against the draft, but because he’s against the idea of women being drafted.
During Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate on ABC, candidates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie argued their support for requiring women to register for a potential draft, however Ted Cruz said on Sunday that he not only opposes the idea, but wonders if his counterparts are ‘nuts,’ Politico reports.
“I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was, ‘Are you guys nuts?’” Cruz said Sunday at a town hall in New Hampshire. “Listen, we have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military. Political correctness is dangerous. And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it.”
Ronald Reagan opposed the draft. And the draft ended under Richard Nixon’s administration. Nixon and Reagan were wobbly pragmatists on the subject of individual liberty (Nixon more so); yet even they sensed the evil and the Constitutional inconsistency of a military draft. Why do none of today’s conservatives grasp it?
Democrats usually oppose the military draft, though not for reasons of individual rights. They wish to draft citizens into “national service;” they want involuntary servitude, but for the purpose of working at soup kitchens or picking up highway trash, rather than defending the country. It’s even worse.
The arguments in favor of the draft are self-refuting. You do not preserve a free country by enslaving its citizens to perform life-or-death activities. You do not lessen the offense by excluding half the population—women—from this involuntary servitude. Giving a commander-in-chief the power to draft citizens into combat means making it easier for that commander-in-chief to engage in unjust, irrational wars which have little to do with the nation’s safety. The Vietnam War comes to mind.
The Iraq war, which militarily the United States won after the troop surge, happened without a draft, and despite the nearly impossible rules of engagement imposed on soldiers. The absence of a draft prevented the government from pursuing its goals of nation-building further than it did.
Politico reports that in reference to his two daughters, Cruz added that he wants them to be able to grow up and follow their dreams rather than be forced into the military. “The idea that their government would forcibly put them in a foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them doesn’t make any sense at all,” he said.
And it makes sense for sons?
Cruz is right that political correctness should not govern the military. The military should be about protecting the individual rights of its citizens, with the use of force (or its threat) as necessary. Combat troops are not the only means, nor arguably any longer the primary means, of a nation’s self-defense. None of these points, however, represent the most important argument. The most important argument is that an individual’s life belongs to him- or herself. As the Declaration of Independence states, governments are formed to protect the individual’s right to pursue happiness, and to live as a free person. In the end, you’re either sovereign over your life, or you’re not.
What happens if a war of self-defense, which includes combat, is needed, and not enough men (or women) wish to fight? The question involves a contradiction. If a free country’s way of life were threatened, and the great majority did not wish to defend that way of life, for their own sake most of all, then it was never possible to save such a country, in the first place. It deserves to die. You cannot force liberty on those who do not want it, or who are indifferent to it.
The fact remains that most wars will not require this kind of dilemma, not if we maintain and continuously strengthen our weaponry. Peace through strength, combined with a credible policy of “Don’t tread on me,” are far more powerful than any draft ever could be, and are the only reason we’re still here.
The military draft is not an active issue for debate at this time. Yet it does serve as a very basic litmus test for whether one really stands for the individual right to life. If you have no right to pick your battles, then you have no rights at all.