Today’s mail brought my son, Thomas – who turned 18 earlier this month – a letter from the U.S. Selective Service System. (When Thomas got his driver’s license in Virginia well over a year ago, he was automatically, and against his will, ‘registered’ to become fodder for Uncle Sam’s war-making machine.) This letter came along with a card that Uncle Sam commands my son to sign and to keep.
Nothing – literally nothing – makes my blood boil more furiously than the notion that my boy is at the disposal of politicians and bureaucrats who claim the privilege of conscripting him into “service” – or of even merely reserving the ‘right’ to conscript him into “service.” My son is no one’s slave – neither in actuality nor potentiality.
I’m proud of Thomas for sharing my anger at the presumptuousness of strangers who would steal years of his life – and, perhaps, even his life itself – from him without his explicit consent. When he opened the letter from Selective Service, he dropped it contemptuously on the kitchen counter and exclaimed with unalloyed seriousness “That’s evil.”
Fortunately, what is perhaps Milton Friedman’s greatest legacy remains in place: actual conscription does not now exist in America. Yet let it be known that if conscription of any sort returns and if anyone or any group tries to conscript my son, they will fail. My son will not be forced to sacrifice for anyone or anything, and least of all for any government.