Saturday, January 4, 2014
A QUICK REPLY TO ARFAMO
Let me offer an historical answer to arfamo posted comment. In the sixties, when I wrote In Defense of Anarchism, the US had a universal male military draft. During the Viet Nam War, a great many men were ordered to report for induction into the Army and then to fight in Viet Nam. Some went willingly. Many went unwillingly. And there were a not inconsiderable number of young men who anguished over the question whether they had an obligation to obey even though they opposed the policy, BECAUSE AMERICA IS A DEMOCRATIC POLITY. Now, you may dismiss such considerations as foolish, but to those faced with the draft, they made a very great deal of difference. My little book was, among other things, a direct attack on this principled defense of the obligation to obey in a democracy. The disaster of the Viet Nam War almost destroyed the Army, in response to which the military high command switched to an all volunteer army so that the US would never again have to justify ordering citizens to fight. This switch to an all volunteer army was the last step in transforming the US into an imperial power. The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars would have been next to impossible with universal conscription. I never considered my book an argument for a utopian anarchist society. I have always believed that we must begin wherever we are in trying to change the world.