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Debate: Mandatory military service

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===Character: Does national service help build individual character?=== ===Character: Does national service help build individual character?===

Revision as of 14:56, 15 March 2011

Is compulsory national service a good idea?

Background and context

Many countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world have National Service. This is normally for 18-year-olds and lasts between 1 and 3 years. There is usually an option between the military or a from of community service. The scheme should define what age this is for, for how long, whether it is for men only or both sexes and what options would be available.

Parental : Do parents in countries over the world agree in majority,accept and allow for their children to go for national service ?



Character: Does national service help build individual character?


  • National service produces valuable character traits: Young people are taught respect for authority, self-discipline, teamwork and leadership skills.[1]
  • National service also teaches skills which means that when people leave they will be more qualified for the job market: People could train as engineers, IT specialists, drivers, chefs etc. In the long-run this will reduce unemployment, lower the crime rate and help the economy.[2]


  • Forced national service will breed resentment: If young people are forced to go into the armed forces against their will, it will only foster resentment against authority and will undermine any skills they might learn.[3]
  • The government would be better off running training schemes: This would also teach skills but would save all the money that would go into the bureaucracy of running national service.[4]

Nationhood: Does national service help build patriotism and nationhood?


  • National service helps to promote patriotism and a sense of nationhood: National pride is at an all-time low in New Zealand at the moment, for example, and national service might give them a chance to rally around a shared cause, no matter what race culture or religion you come from. Nationhood develops respect for people belongings and property.[5]


  • Patriotism should not be based on the military. This can produce extreme nationalism and xenophobia which we do not want to encourage. National Pride should be engendered in other ways.

Security: Is national conscription important to national security?


  • National conscription in peace is necessary to be ready for war or crisis: Conscription during peacetime would mean that the country was prepared for emergencies when they happened, rather than having to prepare after the fact.This country is not ready or able to defend itself if a foreign invader was to attack. We have too many people on unemployment and not enough in military service. [6]


  • Conscripts will never be as combat-efficient as real soldiers. Conscripts as implied in this context as national service candidates to serve in the military in times of crisis, will not last as long nor be combat reliable in the battlefield as compared to a real soldier who is trained to do both. These 'conscripts' (candidates) are only given the basic training of how to wield a gun and aim, but that short-lived training will never prepare them to readily pull the trigger to end someone's life, therefore lowering their combat-efficiency because of the uncertainties they pose as soldiers. Furthermore, soldiers undergo years of vigorous physical exercise to constantly improve their physical shape for the merciless battlefield. The candidates however only have but a few months of such training at a lower magnitude, and this cannot be sufficient in preparing them for battle.

  • Little justification for military service where no threat exists. Britain, for example, is not under any threat and there is no evidence that it will be in the near future. The army is capable of carrying out its role and the training of conscripts would only divert its time from more important matters.[7]

Duty? Does a citizen have a duty to serve their country?


  • The individual has a duty to put something back into society and national service allows this. Whether it be through protecting the country or helping with social or environmental projects, this encourages the idea of working as a community instead of merely for selfish ends. The cost of living in New Zealand is too high for most and so having people complete projects through national service it would bring this cost down.[8]


  • A citizen only has a "duty" to obey the law. Beyond that any service to the community should be voluntary. This way people will be committed to doing a good job, which they would not be if they were working under force.[9]

See also

External links

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