Trump’s Draft Deferments: Military service doesn’t always make for the best patriots–why sacrifice is a stupid value system

I don’t think it’s very American to die for one’s country. That is actually a very stupid thing to even suggest. To even say such a thing indicates that the state is superior to the individual and that institutionalism is to have more merit than personal sovereignty, and that’s just not right. I have never been willing to “die” for my country. My life is worth way too much. But, ask me to kill for my country and turn me loose to do so, and I’d have no problem facing down a 1000 villains if I could eliminate them without getting into trouble legally. But I would never engage an enemy and expect to die. I would expect to kill, but not to personally die—that’s just not in my thinking. Sacrifice is a stupid thing because the essence of human life is creation, and the villains of our existence are those who wish to deter creation in favor of stagnant barbarism—which has always been a force for evil the entire span of human evolution. If there were a military draft today, I would do everything I could to defer from it, because I just am not the kind of person who follows orders—from anybody. I’m happy to give them, but being drafted into the military to take orders from some institutional representative who has been instructed to break me into an order taking soldier was never an option for me.

The news media seeking everything they can to defer the unfolding scandal involving the Clintons and the Uranium One deal with Russia has made a lot about President Trump’s call with the widow of a slain soldier killed recently in Niger, and even Senator John McCain’s comments about the days of the draft and eluding to the 5 deferments that Donald Trump had as a young man. The draft was a terrible period in American history, it was a very un-American thing to do, and for those who think we should have compulsory service of our young people into the military as the Israelis do, that would be a bad idea too. I would say that the most optimal path a young person could take is to develop themselves individually as much as possible, and avoid the college and military route if they are smart enough, and self-disciplined to carry themselves to success without yielding to institutional influence. The reason is that once a young mind is chained to some form of institutionalism, their minds are altered forever. Now of course that path isn’t for everyone, but often the best and brightest Americans who emerge from genius evolve without the guidance of institutionalism. As Americans we should always be looking for our brightest and best and should not be so willing to sacrifice them to the fires of evil wherever such threats arise. The expectation that lives lost are good for fueling America is just stupid.

I understand the position President Trump is in, and even General Kelly. When you are in charge of an institutional order, you have to protect the function of it, and the American military is a very important element to global politics. When soldiers die, it is good to respect their lives in the scope of a higher cause. But in reality, the notion of sacrifice for one’s country implies that what matters most is not the individual life of the soldier, but the sacrifice they make for the sake of everyone—and that is an old way of human thinking that is grossly outdated and is specifically very European. As I said, if I were given the task by my country to kill as many bad guys as possible, I’d do it in a second if I could be free of prosecution for the task. If I had to engage a 1000 losers on some strip of sand in the Middle East and it was only me or perhaps a few other similar people, I’d formulate a plan and would expect to be successful without losing my life. Embracing death is no way to live life. Some people might say that they are not Superman, so such expectations are unrealistic. I would say that being American means you should always think that way, or support people who do.

There is a lot of talk right now about the Battle of New Orleans, because President Trump reminds a lot of people of Andrew Jackson, and there is a new book out about Jackson and the famous American saving battle from the War of 1812. That battle along with many in the Revolutionary War, and even many in the Civil War, most of the most heroic acts were conducted by people with very limited military experience. Even the famous pirates of the Caribbean, the real ones like Henry Morgan and many others had great strategic victories against multiple odds of fearless institutionalism—soldiers perfectly willing to die for their various countries were often easily slaughtered by the loose acting pirates—so I would argue that being a soldier or having a regimented military is not the best thing in military victory. There are a lot of good people who served in the various armed forces, and I tend to like those people because they learn values in their service that is conducive to patriotism. But I would also argue that learning to take orders not based on merit, but on rank is a major problem in American thinking, making those people drags on our economic development instead of assets. I would also argue that the ability to think outside the box from one individual is more powerful than a whole army of compliant soldiers. Again, the value should always be in creation, never in sacrifice.

I listened to General Kelly defend Trump’s handling of the widow suffering from the ambush in Niger and while I admired his determined resolve—his constant talk about “dying for his country and the soldier knowing what he was getting into” disturbed me. I am all for an all-volunteer army where knowing what you are getting into is an option. I never did sign up for military service even thought I thought about it a lot. I wouldn’t have minded the aggressive parts of military life, but the structure was something I couldn’t have done. Even in sports I was like that, I always wanted to be the head coach, never just a player—and I wasn’t one that coaches found they could teach—because I was a know it all. I always have been. In that regard I didn’t play sports either in a structured organized way. But should our nation institute a draft where I didn’t have a choice, I would look for a way to defer any way possible. I could not surrender my life to the institution of military command under any circumstances. I would expect in any American system a better way to find soldiers for fighting than a draft. Just the concept of it is so European. Being compelled into service with the threat of imprisonment just isn’t motivating to a self-directed individual functioning from their own inner compass. The military is not built for such people.

Ironically this year my wife and I were both picked for jury duty, and I had a hard time with the language of the letter they sent me telling me the dates I was scheduled for. I’m the kind of person who would love to help on a jury to judge my peers. But I was instantly turned off by the way the letter started, “YOU ARE COMMANDED TO APPEAR.” Excuse me, I thought, who are these fools who think they can command me to do anything? I don’t bow to the flag waving merits of any institution. But if you thought my reaction was bad you should have heard my wife who called the Clerk of Courts office to complain about that first sentence. She and I didn’t plan it, or really talk about it, but when she opened her letter she immediately picked up the phone and unloaded on the people working at the court. I’m sure those people thought they had heard every excuse for why people wanted to get out of jury duty, and that is why they threaten people the way they do—to get people to participate in the system with the threat of imprisonment. That’s essentially what the draft was, which turned out to be a massive mistake. Our military went from an all voluntary affair to one of compulsion. My wife is like me, she would love to help a court with their cases, but the moment she learned that she could be imprisoned for not appearing she was PISSED OFF. It took away her natural enthusiasm for doing a community service and replaced it with a threat from the state that assumed ultimate power over the individual. Many people just assume that this is acceptable, because they have integrated John McCain’s soldier’s sacrifice creed into their daily life, that the whole is greater than the unit and that everything should subject itself to the authority of institutionalism. That’s not how it’s supposed to be, it never was. So this idea that patriotism is equal to self-sacrifice for the state is idiotic, and preposterous. There is no greater good than the merit of individual action and an adherence to the values exhibited by the morality of productive thought. None of that comes from any form of institutionalism, and therefore not by any work with the armed services. While they are valuable, and often good for young minds seeking direction in life, work as a veteran is not an automatic ticket toward lifelong merit status. Only good conduct can demand such a thing, and that conduct only comes from judgment on individual behavior within the context of performance.

Just because John McCain was a veteran captured and tortured during the Vietnam War, it doesn’t make him beyond judgment. The media that hates Trump and wishes that institutionalism could forever rule the minds of mankind—because that is what they need to survive—hopes that McCain will be the example that all should follow in sacrificing themselves to bigger causes—relative to their view-point. Trump has always been a self-absorbed person so being drafted into service where unfocused young people were expected to throw away their lives at the command of their “superior” just wasn’t an option. It would never be an option for me because I don’t acknowledge anyone as my superior. My life means more to me than surrendering it to the state for the causes of the state. To expect to die for my country is an unrealistic line of thought because honestly, I could do a better job on my own. Give me the weapons and let me kill the enemy, and I could do so and still be home for dinner. But to be told to run into gunfire and to be blown up on a landmine under orders given by some ranking leader just isn’t my bag—and it wasn’t Trump’s either. I don’t blame him at all from deferring. Choosing to do something isn’t the same as doing it under the duress of the state.

I would gladly run into a firefight if I could be free to win. I would always expect myself to be successful no matter what the odds were. But to be a pawn to the politics of statism is not a value system that should be attributed to Americanism. It is currently and that is leading to all kinds of confusing emotions. But the bottom line is that not serving as in the military forces is not a liability. The only people who think in such a way are those who need the structure of institutionalism to function responsibly in life—and many people are that way. But a gifted few do best on their own, and they are the ones you want to take orders from if you were so inclined. John McCain isn’t considered a better leader because he served in the armed forces and was tortured by the enemy. It was Trump who won the presidency because he took a different path in life—one driven by his own merit and if he had been drafted and accepted authority in any way—he wouldn’t be the kind of person who would eventually win the presidency. Trump doesn’t need to have been a soldier to oversee soldiers. He just needs to have a good mind—which he does. But better yet, a mind forged from his own unique individuality—which is what makes the best leaders known to mankind.

Rich Hoffman

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