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Number of posts : 34
Registration date : 2008-07-22

PostSubject: Conscription   Sat Aug 09, 2008 10:01 pm

Should conscription be reinstated. Would it make a difference?
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Number of posts : 102
Age : 47
Location : Birmingham, UK
Registration date : 2008-07-23

PostSubject: Re: Conscription   Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:40 pm

There is a strong movement for conscription to be brought back at present in the country, in the hope that it will “deal” with the “youth problem” (mainly it’s the “Daily Mail Readers” who want it brought back).

I don’t think that conscription itself would be a good idea, as hoping that by taking youths off the streets, training them how to kill and shoot guns properly and then letting them back again is really such a wise move.

The idea of forcing all young people to join the armed forces is an immensely bad idea in my opinion, as the whole point of the armed forces is to train those that are in it to think of the enemy as “less” than you, in order to allow you to kill them when necessary, and this (as I have pointed out in other posts) is true evil in my opinion. To think yourself, or anyone else, to be better than anyone else is evil at it’s purest. It is what allows people to kill, to commit crimes, to be bigoted, to mistreat them and do many other unspeakable acts to them. The only way that these can be stopped is to stop encouraging people to think of one group being better, or different from anyone else. But it is essential in war to think of the enemy as subhuman and so that allows you to harm them without conscience. As soon as you start thinking of your enemy as an equal human being, with the same rights and feelings as yourself, then you lose that detachment that allows you to follow your orders and hurt them. It is when soldiers start to realise that the people they have just killed are people just like themselves, their family and loved ones, that they start suffering from PTSD and refuse to take part in any further conflict. It is what training to be a part of the armed forces is all about – to gain that detachment and to be able to think of the enemy as not human and not as worthy of life as yourself or your countrymen or leaders.

Some sort of civil service, such as the peace corps, or such, may not be such a bad idea, where young people are encouraged to work with other members of society and realise that any differences they thought existed are completed fabricated. What is needed, and I think what people are trying to scrabble around for an idea to find, is some way of keeping the young occupied after leaving school and instilling into them a sense of society and community which is lacking at present.

In fact, none of this would have been necessary if we had not had a series of governments, over the past 30 years, that have actively encouraged the populace towards individualism and a contempt for the idea of a society. We have been undergoing a form of social engineering for the past 30 years where people have been actively discouraged from ideas pertaining to society in general and encouraged more to think of themselves as individuals instead. The negation of responsibility for what happens to the world around us is what has produced this “fractured society” that people are complaining about now. It was our own fault by refusing to accept that what we did now in the search for individual, immediate gratification would have consequences in the future to society as a whole that has led to the very things that those people are complaining about now. It takes leadership from the government, and successive governments (because it can’t be brought about in just one political term of 4-5 years), to redress the balance that has been done over the past 30 years (once again through government leadership). The people must be taught civil responsibility again and to realise that if everyone is only out for what they can get for themselves then society itself must suffer. Thatcherism brought these ideas in, and has been continued by subsequent governments ever since (and will continue unless the whole philosophy of the government in power is changed from these bases).

Instead of blaming the youth of today for being anti-social, only thinking of themselves and not giving a damn for anyone else around them, we have to take responsibility and admit that it was the leadership of the government that has been saying that this type of behaviour is right and to be encouraged for the past 30 years. It is no great surprise that the youth of today have used those values that they have been taught to be right and correct and turned them to how they can use them themselves.

Now at this point, Thatcherites, Blairites, and supporters of the governments for the past 30 years will start screaming “but we didn’t tell them to act like that!”. But the truth is that they did. They set a moral and social network up that allowed themselves to take whatever they wanted in the short-term and to leave the consequences to whoever followed them, and used it to their own ends, to make themselves feel happier in the sort-term. Now we have come to the point where we are those that follow, and so we have to clean up the mess that they left before. The anti-social behaviour happening today is just the extension of that attitude of “look after yourself and forget about anyone else” that the governments have been preaching for the past 30 years, but instead of politicians, media types, bank executives or lawyers acting on it, it’s under-educated, deprived young people acting on it instead.
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Number of posts : 56
Location : Birmingham
Registration date : 2008-08-19

PostSubject: Re: Conscription   Sun Aug 31, 2008 8:28 pm

Which particular government policies do you think have contributed to this state of affairs, Nick?
I think that blame should also be directed at the rise of the consumer society, which, again has occurred mostly over the last thirty years. Although it began in the fifties and had another boost in the mid/late sixties, it was then in a context of different, and more socially responsible values. When the consumer society took off again in the mid eighties, it was in the context which Nick describes. The consumer society has of course been promoted by the government as a way of improving the economy. But the thirst for profits of private companies is more directly responsible. The consumer society encourages us to take, take, take, with the implication that we'll find happiness in a houseful of i-pods, playstations and other trinkets. While living comfortably and having nice possessions can contribute to a happy life, placing too much emphasis on material goods only alienates us from other people. And it's this alienation, jealousy, selfishness and mistrust which is at the heart of our 'fractured' society. I don't think that this can be solved through conscription, as society has changed too much from when conscription was last acceptable. I'm not sure either if teaching 'citizenship' in schools will do enough, although I'm not sure what's on the curriculum for these courses (or even if they're still taught). More effective could be teaching ethics at school, which would encourage people to think about the rights, wrongs and consequences of their actions.
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