Guilty of young age and masculinityWritten by Isaiah St. John | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I am 18 years old.
In America, on a man’s eighteenth birthday, we celebrate the metamorphosis of a boy into a man. We party, congratulate him, and give gifts and cards. We acknowledge his maturity and value by recognizing his right to vote. All of these traditions apply to a woman coming of age, as well. I wouldn’t exclude her except that our government does.
On a man’s eighteenth birthday, the government licks a stamp for a form latter in recognition of this day’s significance. But the letter does not contain congratulations, witty quips, or best wishes. It simply and tactlessly informs the uninitiated citizen that he has committed the crime, punishable by five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine, of living for 18 years and possessing masculinity. The letter goes on to explain that there is an out: if within 30 days the man adds his name to a national registry of those sharing his guilt, his indiscretion will be overlooked. Unless we have a labor shortage.
Being an 18-year-old man means that I am a type of slave.
It is true that conscription has been practiced since the Revolutionary War. But that was true of slavery until it was abolished, too. It is also true that no one is actually being compelled to fight a war currently. But the machinery is set in place, the axe could fall at anytime, and every young man who registers with the Selective Service System knows it.
If government exists to protect its citizens’ life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, conscription is absurd. It is obviously self-defeating to force a man to fight for his liberty. It is obviously wrong to force someone else to fight for one’s own liberty.
The requirement to register with the Selective Service System causes America’s youth to lose faith in their nation and misunderstand the purpose of democracy. The purpose of democracy is not to sacrifice a minority to a majority, yet immediately after becoming eligible to vote, America’s male youth are imposed on by other citizens’ self-serving demands.
Americans must abolish the Selective Service System. This is the true purpose of democracy: to ensure that the government performs its job, to ensure that the government protects, not violates, its citizens’ liberty. If this is not government’s purpose, its purpose is to regulate a slave market where each citizen is both slave and master and where elections are the auctions at which slaves are bought.
E-mail Isaiah St. John at email@example.com.