Slavery reparations?

Has anyone considered the reparations owed to those who served involuntarily as draftees before that shameful practice was discontinued? Unlike the reparations to the long-dead slaves who were in bondage pre-1860s, these actually have a chance of reaching the living.

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22 Responses to Slavery reparations?

  1. David Carlson says:

    General inductees were paid? Not much, but pay nonetheless?

    I’m not sure what you mean here: That a person called upon to act as a servant of the state is a slave? Military service can also be thought of as a responsibility or part of citizenship duties, like serving on juries, paying one’s taxes etc…

    The U.S. had conscription in the Civil War [first the Confederates, where if a male owned something like 20 slaves, he didn’t have to go, then the Union where a wealthier sort of person could hire a substitute to go in his stead…”Rich man’s war; poor man’s fight…”] The riots in opposition were an ugly civil insurrection in which very many whites assailed and attacked blacks, since they thought equality threatened to reduce them to the condition of blacks….See Barnet Schecter, _The Devil’s Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America_(New York: Walker and Co. 2005)

    Radical Republicans in Reconstruction sometimes advocated “40 acres and a mule” which was a redistribution of wealth–agrarian reform–social revolution–in order to create a free black yeomanry/ rural middle class. Didn’t happen. U.S. got the end of Reconstruction, resumption of cotton cultivation, convict leasing, and eventually Jim Crow… No 2A rights, or any others for that matter, for black folks for a good long while…

    The first *peace time* draft was just prior to WWII. The draft continued after WWII until Vietnam destroyed it for good. Jimmy Carter wanted to posture about U.S. readiness, so he initiated “registration” of the draft, replete with its own bureaucracy, which continues in spite of the absence of a national security threat the size of the old USSR, and the clear preference for an all volunteer military…. Caribbean nations recently posed the question of whether the old colonial powers that exploited them as slave colonies owed them reparations.

  2. Angus McThag says:

    Nearly all of the people who were drafted who are still with us get (and got) far superior VA benefits than those who volunteered.

    A good example is the GI Bill used to mean a full-ride no-cost college education to any vet who sought one.

    When I was in, it had become something that I contributed $1,200 to in my first year and it was put into a managed fund until I separated. Stay in for 15 years and it paid for everything. Draftees were in for two years.

    But, above everything else, it’s damn hard to find a draftee who’s really all that bitter that they were called up. That does include guys in wheelchairs, by the way.

    • Oleg Volk says:

      We can say that brainwashing works. A draftee can’t quit for fear of imprisonment, death or loss of civil rights (in case of dishonorable discharge) — not exactly freedom.

      • David Carlson says:

        Germany was one of the last European nations to hold onto the idea of conscription. Because of the Second World War, there were other kinds of service available to to conscientious objectors who did not wish to bear arms on behalf of the state/nation. And the civilian national service paid better than being in the Bundeswehr or Luftwaffe too. France, the nation that originated the idea of the modern draft what with the levée-en-masse and obligatory military service, eliminated it in favor of a mandatory lecture on national defense issues and career opportunities in the armed forces…

        With rights come responsibilities too. Citizenship carries obligations. The older ideal of the United States was to basically despise the profession of arms, and rely on citizen soldiers in cases of war. Liberty was thought to be incompatible with a standing, professional army of any great size. Some of the founding fathers would not have approved of the large, professional military, which would seem to them as highly paid mercenaries.

      • Y. says:

        It’s not so much brainwashing but human nature.

        People can get used to anything, including being in a wheelchair. The level of happiness somehow ‘evens out’. It’s not a function of brainwashing. If you want I can find the paper supporting the theory.

        Not many people value their freedom so dearly. You were born in a very unfree country and came to live in a permissive one. You, or your parents noticed the difference.

        Americans are in the boiling frog positions – unless the police state touches them personally (libt is conservative who has been arrested).

        They don’t think about it. People, in general don’t like to think about stuff unless they really have to.

      • Angus McThag says:


        Just wow.

        You know, you should stop talking about institutions you don’t understand.

  3. Tierlieb says:

    Well put.

    People are great at coping. That most do not mind it much afterwards does not make it a good thing.

    Being drafted was the first hint to me that my country isn’t as free as we like to think. And there is a certain irony that we were then sent to spread freedom in other countries^^

    Yes, I am still bitter about that. And yet I am considering signing up again – out of my own free will, because that makes all the difference.

    • Lyle says:

      “…we were then sent to spread freedom in other countries”

      • Patrick says:

        Yes, ostensibly.

        In reality we were sent to alter the internal politics of other sovereign nations. Doesn’t matter if we were invited, doesn’t matter if it was in our global interest. No man should be compelled to die on a foreign battlefield unless it is truly in defense of home and country.

  4. Ray says:

    Do you consider the mandatory military service in Switzerland ,Israel , and many other “Free” country’s to be slavery too?

    • David Carlson says:

      Is offering all kinds of lifetime benefits, signing bonuses, health care, GI Bill, and material inducements to people to serve _socialism?_

      • Lyle says:

        If the funding for the above is coercive, yes of course. If it’s freely given, of course not. This is pretty easy to understand, even though we’ve never heard the truth put into its simple, stark, plain and basic terms.

        So let’s turn your question around frontwards into a form that illustrates basic truth;
        “Is holding a gun to the heads of most Americans, robbing them to pay for “good” things actually a good thing, or is liberty, and trusting people to generally know what’s good and support good things on their own a better way to go?”


        “Which would you prefer; a society that “knows what’s right for everyone” and enforces it using a powerful hierarchy of coercion and extortion, or a society that recognizes human rights and would merely attempt to spread good will while eschewing coercion?”

        Go ahead and argue endless details and exceptions, but in the end you are motivated by one identity or the other.

  5. John Wisniewski says:

    It took me some time to come to the conclusion, that the draft, is paramount to Slavery.
    You hit the nail on the head Oleg.

  6. Matt says:

    I don’t believe they would be due reparations since they were paid at the time and have been plenty of other benefits in compensation. For those permanently disabled or killed reparations, other than not conscripting ever again, could never be enough.

    Conscription (forced military service upon pain of death or imprisonment) is not a hallmark of a free society. Serving in the military freely and responsibly might be the measure of a responsible citizen but forcing some to serve negates the honorable part. Today’s military enlistment and retention is based mostly on coercion. Provide enough money and benefits and people will enlist and stay in. Current soldiers are paid very well, have better medical than most middle class, close to a free ride on education etc. All they have to do is unquestioningly go and oppress (whoops, free) whomever the power elite have decided is not towing the line this month. When times get hard, the body count rises the Military then skips conscription and just tells the soldiers serving that they can not leave military service until told otherwise. Then enlistment slumps and the benefits are revved up again.

  7. Lyle says:

    Another, obvious question in this conversation is; “Should those individuals responsible for perpetrating slavery in any of its myriad forms be brought to justice?”

    The fact of the matter is, whether we choose to recognize it or not, we have become a nation of slaves and it’s getting worse by the day. Those on any of the various welfare programs are slaves to the slave masters upon whom they rely for their sustenance, and we who are robbed to pay the recipients are slaves to everyone else.

    And we might want to discuss at some point the “slavery of the mind” that is the victim mentality, and how it crushed out the human spirit of discovery and accomplishment.

    We have built a vast system, a hierarchy or chain of command, of intimidation, pressure, coercion and control in direct and willful contravention of the American founding principles.

    Now what are we going to do about it? The first step is to recognize what we have and how we got here. Otherwise we’ll keep making the same stupid mistakes, and falling for the same stupid lies that got us into this mess, and we’ll do it over and over an over again.

  8. David Carlson says:

    No draft: no USA [ACW, WWII…]
    Here’s how historic statecraft rolls:

    1794: Paris

    If the mainspring of popular government in peacetime is virtue, the mainspring of popular government in revolution is virtue and terror both: virtue, without which terror is disastrous: terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing but prompt, severe, inflexible justice. …
    It has been said that terror was the mainspring of despotic government. So does yours resemble despotism? Yes, as the sword shining in the hands of the heroes of liberty resembles the one wielded by tyranny’s satellites. …
    Is strength made only for the protection of crime? …
    Nature’s law is that any physical and moral entity must provide for its own preservation…
    Let tyranny reign for a single day—the next day not a patriot will remain. …
    How tender people are toward oppressors and how inexorable toward the oppressed! … One or the other [crime or virtue] must succumb, however. Indulgence for the royalists, cry certain people. Mercy for scoundrels! No: mercy for the innocent, mercy for the weak, mercy for the unfortunate, mercy for humanity! …
    To punish the oppressors of humanity, that is clemency; to forgive them, that is barbarity.
    –Maximilien de Robespierre, “On the Principles of Political Morality”

    (Oh yes: a lawyer. b. 1758. Leader of the Jacobins and the Committee of Public Safety during the “Terror” period of the French Revolution, later guillotined with 21 enemies of the state 28 July 1794).

  9. Richard McCarthy says:

    Slavery? I grew up in the rural west where military service was considered the final step to adulthood and full citizenship. In my small community the term ‘draft dodger’ was considered the ultimate insult. Everyone knew whose son had skipped WWII on a farm defermit, who had gotten married to achieve an exempt draft status, and who’s son was off to college in order to get a student defermit from Viet-Nam.

    • Y. says:

      Free riders – you have such in every society.

      The thing is, all of the millions of rural boys like you who willingly served were actually helping destroy the old United States you thought you were serving.

      A republic can’t be an empire at the same time, and US effectively tried to be, ostensibly to combat communism. Maybe that was the original idea, but perhaps it got hijacked.

      Cold war was a tragedy. And all of that because of the fucking meddling German imperials. I’m gonna find out who ordered Lenin sent to Russia, gave him money and piss on his grave.

  10. Chris says:

    I was a draftee, but went to O.C.S., and so spent three years active duty, \’65-\’68. When I got out I had enough money saved to be able to explore Europe for three months and enough G.I. Bill money to make it halfway through a Master\’s Degree, and I had a successful career I\’d never have had otherwise. Yeah, I hated the Army, but I got out of it a better man and I\’ve never regretted it. I\’ll donate my reparations to a poor kid who needs a leg up.

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