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The American Myth:  Duty to Country


Last May when I turned 26-years-old Uncle Sam relieved me of the fear that every young man has: Heíll be drafted and sacrificed at a far-away battlefield for some politicianís pet cause.

Many myths exist in America. One of these myths purports that we have this duty to the America government. And this duty could mean sacrificing your life even if you donít necessarily agree with the fight or have a stake in it. This myth says we have an altruistic duty to sacrifice our lives for the good of the people. It says we are our brothers-keeper.

Iím not sure how these myths start, probably from propaganda like JFKís inaugural address: ďAsk not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.Ē Iím here to tell you, you do not have a duty to die for the United States. You do not have a duty to die for the government. It is here to protect you and your property, not the other way around. The government has no right to sacrifice your life on the altar of anything. 

If the purpose of government is to protect life, how can it lay claim and ownership to the very thing it is suppose to defend?

Thatís why I was so excited to discover that last year the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Veterans Affairs/Housing and Urban Development (VA-HUD in Washington-speak) appropriations bill eliminating funding for the Selective Service Agency. This is the agency that reminds all 18-year-old men that they donít really have ownership of their own lifeóthey exist at the pleasure of the state. Just as Gillette is sending them a complimentary razor and wishing them good luck in adulthood, Uncle Samís postcard reminds them to register or else.

Representative Duke Cunningham (R-CA) tried to replace the funding, but an odd coalition of leftist Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans defeated the funding amendment. The Senate, however, being the arrogant, self-important men and women who believe they could best God in an intellectual battle, restored the funding.

Once again, most Congressional Republicans find themselves on the wrong side of liberty. (Democrats are no better. Theyíre opposition to military registration is based on their antagonism toward the military. At least Republicans base their position in patriotism.) 

If Republicans in Congress really wanted to return power back to the individual, they would eliminate this agency and end the practice of registering for potential military conscription. Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has legislation that would eliminate registration outside of a ďnational emergency.Ē This does not go far enough. The Congress and President could still lay claim to your life. The Congress must never again allow a military draft.

Unlike many others, I do not oppose the draft or military service on religious grounds. I donít come from a Leftist, anti-war philosophy and go around in my hippie headdress protesting all war. Iím not a Woodstock-wannabe. I wonít even argue how draft registration is no longer necessary in the era of pushbutton-bomb warfare. Or how a volunteer military is more effective and loyal.

A government can fight a just war, which has the support of the people, with a volunteer army. If the government canít raise the troops to fight the war, then the people donít support it. Thatís the fact. We shouldnít have been involved in Vietnam, thatís why they couldnít get Americans to fight.

Liberty-loving people could seize a major victory over socialism if they forced the Congress to eliminate the draft. We would put a major crack in socialismís foundation by stating that we own our own lives. Uncle Sam does not. 

Remember, the man who can send you to die by legislation during wartime, owns your life during peacetime too.


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