Tapped

by Jonah Goldberg

What is wrong with these guys? Every time I check their site it seems to get more arrogant and less serious. Have they given it to over to the interns? This is an excerpt from their meandering on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand discussion of the draft:

So we think military drafts are legitimate, and luckily constitutional jurisprudence agree with us. But is a draft a good idea at the present time? There are plenty of pros and cons. But ask yourself why conservatives so hate the idea of mandatory national service. (That is, a mandatory service obligation that can be discharged via military or civilian service.) One reason, we’d argue, is that it acts to break down class divisions and foster a sense of genuine community and shared sacrifice that threatens conservative projects and benefits liberal ones. The World War II draft helped integrate vast numbers of recent immigrants into the polity and give them a sense of Americanness. By making millions of returning soldiers eligible for the G.I. Bill and college loans, it helped create the postwar middle class. It was also a vehicle for social cohesion, personal dignity, upward mobility and the best kind of patriotism. As Kevin Drum puts it:

“Mandatory national service would oblige everyone who lives here to give something back to their country. It would allow teenagers to see firsthand what other parts of America are like, and what their fellow Americans are like. It would allow blacks to work alongside whites, rich alongside poor, and natives alongside immigrants. It would provide a large workforce that could be deployed both domestically and internationally. It would provide manpower for our inner cities and ambassadors to the third world. Military service would count, of course, but no one would be forced to serve in the military, and the vast majority of teenagers would serve in non-military areas.”

Imagine a country where every American had this kind of experience under his or her belt. We could become a better, more generous, less class-snobby, more self-aware America. Conservatives are not eager to see it happen.

Now, there are good military reasons to oppose a full-scale military draft…

Come on. Tapped — which refuses to take a stand itself on the draft — is willing to see good arguments on both sides of the issue. But it finds it difficult to imagine that conservatives could have good reasons to be against it. Rather, the only conservative arguments against the draft are that it might disrupt our cushy fat cat lives and might require us to socialize with poor people and immigrants.
This is sophomoric liberal gassbaggery. Since when are conservatives the chief opponents to the draft? And since when are the conservatives opposing the draft caricatures from a Thomas Nast cartoon? Do liberals really believe that “class snobbiness” occurs only on the conservative side of the aisle. Pundits heal thyself.

Guess what? The conservative arguments against the draft are pretty much exactly the liberal arguments against the draft, although conservatives emphasize personal liberty a bit more. Regardless, Tappers, if you want to pat yourselves on the back for your Clintonian ability to be simultaneously for and against something, that’s fine. But do you really have to assume moral superiority to conservative straw men at the same time?

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