Features Australia

Time to bring back the Draft

Nixon’s disaster needs to be rectified, urgently

6 June 2020

9:00 AM

6 June 2020

9:00 AM

Richard Nixon was guilty of two dreadful sins while president. Neither had the slightest connection with Watergate. Both daily affect the Western world almost five decades after he left the White House.

Nixon’s first sin was his kowtowing to communist China, which by the early 1970s had already eliminated (according to the most cautious statistics available) 15 million Chinese. The result over the next half-century was to destroy the Anglosphere’s entire manufacturing base, and to ensure the global spread of Wuhan’s silent killer.

But if possible, Nixon’s second sin was more catastrophic than his first. With that disingenuousness which he never lost, he seriously imagined that he could win over the hippies, the Yippies and the rest of what Spiro Agnew called ‘the whole damned zoo’ by abolishing conscription.

Not a single ululating peacenik thanked Nixon for his trouble. On the contrary, they knew that what Nixon fondly imagined to be his political triumph was his abject defeat. It took actual violence – specifically the arrival of the National Guard at Kent State University – before a few rent-a-mobsters finally began to consider the hypothesis that making entire careers from screaming ‘Kill the pigs’ and ‘Two four six eight, we ain’t gonna escalate’ might constitute an immediate actuarial risk.

Fast forward to 2020. The Nixon-era state of de facto civil war predominantly afflicted America’s coastal regions and what were charitably called its educated classes. That is not at all the case with the war which rages in America right now.

Minneapolis, which well within living memory suffered from no more alarming a cultural menace than the Mary Tyler Moore Show, is today distinguishable only with prodigious effort from Kinshasa. As with many other major American cities.

True conservatism entails admitting (however difficult a procedure the admission might be) that it really does not matter a flying falafel whether Trump declares curfew, doesn’t declare curfew, sends in the troops, doesn’t send in the troops, tweets, doesn’t tweet and so forth.


A Pinochet, a Franco, or a Lee Kuan Yew might, even at this late stage, be able to straighten American civil society out. But can thrice-married, twice-divorced, reality-TV host Donald Trump?

The only possible solution is to channel all that hormonal anarchism into something that could conceivably benefit the hormonal anarchists themselves, to the admittedly limited extent that any of them can be house trained. Which means, national service; the draft.

And that means, enforcing – not just piously announcing – the draft. Immediately. Not next week, by which time (on present trends) scarcely a church in New York or DC will be left standing or unvandalised. America needs the draft now.

Colleges, which in America as everywhere else have been effectively wrecked by the coronavirus’s financial impact on them, need STEM students. We have seen for ourselves the folly of outsourcing STEM education to the ‘easy visa’ holders of Guangzhou and Bangalore. That folly is no more revivable as practical politics than is rule by the House of Plantagenet.

By an amazing coincidence, the armed forces also need STEM students. (Also, they can benefit from, though they do not require, humanities graduates with some brains and some talent.)

What the armed forces will not tolerate – without the sort of ruthless disciplinary action that would make Derek Chauvin look like a pacifist – are screaming, rock-throwing woke ‘social justice warriors’ (SJWs) with worthless land-rights-for-gay-whales ‘degrees’ from branches of Nehisi Coates University, branches which in many cases were once known as the Ivy League. Traditionally, armed forces have shown considerable skill at turning even the most useless SJW into, you know, an actual warrior.

Switzerland has always had national service. There are provisions made for individuals with genuine religious objections (or those whose health simply will not permit it) but these provisions are not such as to encourage malingerers. Austria has national service. Norway, too. Estonia has national service. Lithuania and Finland have national service. The Swedes junked national service, then shame-facedly reinstated it after Malmo became an international byword for multiculti rape.

In Germany, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, still the likeliest though by no means the guaranteed successor to Merkel as Chancellor, has revealed her desire to bring national service back. Macron in France already has to a limited extent.

There are extremely good arguments for reimposing national service upon Australians. There are, admittedly, some arguments for not reimposing it (notably the dilution of standards which might impair the current volunteer forces, not to mention the ‘states’ rights’ pettifogging which keeps constitutional lawyers occupied). Yet as the coronavirus’s outcome has already demonstrated to us, Australia remains, even without obligatory conscription, a functioning civil society.

America is no longer such a society. It is a failed state. As the Irish Times’ Finian O’Toole lamented on April 25: The United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.… How many people in Düsseldorf or Dublin are wishing they lived in Detroit or Dallas?

Genuine conservatives have traditionally been grim realists, not fantasists. They know in their hearts – not least from reading James Burnham – that civilisation must often be defended by Machiavellians and is never successfully defended by bedwetters. Many Americans will find the draft hateful. Must their ‘Feelz’ be permitted to triumph over common prudence and the common good? Because we all know what will happen if America doesn’t bring back the draft. It will be what Houellebecq calls ‘the same, only worse.’ The American armed forces will continue to be the last resort of no-hopers. America’s underclass – in both its bubba and its pimp-skank varieties – will continue to be sent off to ‘defend democracy’ in Iraq or some other such Hobbesian sewer.

You might pretend that the LGBTQ Project (or its allegedly right-wing precursor, the neocon project) will last forever. The charred ruins of Minneapolis showed you that it cannot. America is stuck for the foreseeable future with vast numbers, probably millions, of homicidal louts. It still has the ability to choose whether the homicidal louts will at least be purporting to defend America, or will derive orgasmic ecstasy from destroying it. If not the draft, what precisely do you have in mind?

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