Letter to the Editor

 Posted by on 1 December 2006 at 8:37 am  Uncategorized
Dec 012006

I’m pleased to report that Hannah Krening, who I know from Front Range Objectivism’s 1FROG discussion group, recently published a letter to the editor in the Denver Post on Charles Rangel’s proposal to reinstate the draft. The published version was edited for length somewhat, so I’m here posting the longer original version.

Charles Rangel wants to have a draft. What is he after? What is at the base of this? As someone who worked hard to abolish the draft in my youth, and as an upper-middle class mother whose daughter is an enlistee in the Army, I want to know.

Does he want to destroy the military? Because make no mistake, this will do it in our present culture. And I can think of several politicians (John Kerry and Bill Clinton come to mind for starters) who would cheer that effect.

But Rep. Rangel is after something much more than that. He wants to punish the middle and upper classes, that 20 to 30 percent of top moneymakers who pay the bulk of the government’s cost of doing business. Listen carefully to what he says! Giving him more credit for innocence than is due, he is looking to “level the field,” to stop the trend of those who are poorer to join the United States military. Never mind the ignorant enlistee in my daughter’s boot camp who learned basic hygiene in her first week in the army, never mind the life lessons my daughter has learned, while many of her high school classmates party and drift aimlessly in college.

Consider the reality: Rep. Rangel is out to change our armed forces from a volunteer to a conscripted service. The fact that he is out to do this by force is the issue. This is not about the myriad problems in the military under the draft during the Vietnam War. It is not even about the fact that a draft allows a government to pursue an unpopular military action without the consequence of a drop in enlistment. This is about denying young people their right to pursue their lives by their choices (whether others deem them wise or not), and he and his allies will work tirelessly to do it.

If you believe that the majority of the middle and upper class works honestly and hard to earn a good living, then the fact that Rep. Rangel wants to punish them by taking their children against their wishes should disturb you. And he wants to punish the children as well: the idea of forcing a young person to sacrifice part of their life and perhaps to die, based on his or her “luck in life’s lottery,” should chill you to the bone.

The morality of altruism (self-sacrifice) is the morality that Rep. Rangel is relying on to advance his agenda, and that morality is anathema to America’s founding principles. If we really believe in those inalienable rights: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” then we need to preserve the system in which young people choose military enlistment, for reasons of principle, self-improvement, opportunity, or any other reason that they may have.

Hannah Krening
Larkspur, Colorado
November 20, 2006

Thank you for writing that, Hannah!

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