“Conscription if necessary, but not necessarily conscription.”
William Lyon Mackenzie King, Politician
Pros and Cons of Conscription
Mandatory military service (sometimes also referred to as conscription or draft) can be defined as the compulsory enlistment of people in national and military service. Conscription is quite popular across the world and still plays an important role in many countries.
Although mandatory military service can have some advantages, there are also some issues related to it. In this article, the pros and cons of conscription are examined in detail.
Advantages of Mandatory Military Service
- Sufficient people in the military to defend a country
- Young people may learn discipline
- Good experience to grow in personality
- Boost in confidence
- Overall level of perseverance may increase
- Good preparation for the workplace and future jobs
- Physical fitness level will improve
- You may learn important skills during your military service
- You can meet friends for a lifetime
- Joining the military may give you some additional benefits
- You may want to stay in the military
- You may earn some money
- Social status doesn’t play a role
- Can help to promote patriotism
- You may be able to see the world
Sufficient people in the military to defend a country
One important advantage of conscription is that it assures a sufficient number of people in the military. In case of emergency, a country needs enough people who are familiar with how to defend a country.
Therefore, even though mandatory military service dates back many hundreds of years, it can still be important, especially with the increasing tensions between countries that might arise in the future.
Young people may learn discipline
People are usually quite young when they have to perform their military service. In our nowadays society, those people often lack discipline and are often quite immature.
In order to teach them discipline, compulsory military service will be a great way to do so since the rules in the military are usually quite strict and bad behavior is not tolerated at all.
Learning discipline is not only important to succeed in the military, it is also crucial to succeed in all parts of our life.
Therefore, in order to prepare our young generation for all that may be waiting for them out there in real life, experiencing some military experience might be quite beneficial.
Good experience to grow in personality
In the military, may people will also significantly grow in character. Since you will learn many new things and you have to get out of your comfort zone quite often, this gives you the opportunity to develop your character.
Quite often, people get into the military as kids and get out of it as grown men after just a rather short period of time. Therefore, compulsory military service may also be beneficial for character development and to really grow in personality.
Boost in confidence
Especially for people who suffer from low confidence levels, conscription may be extremely beneficial since confidence level may significantly increase during your time in the military.
You will realize how good you actually are at many things and apart from just focusing on your weaknesses, your military service will also be a good way to show you your strengths.
Hence, chances are that you will get a boost in overall confidence, which will likely benefit you for the rest of your life since confidence usually is a key to success in all parts of life.
Overall level of perseverance may increase
Since the mandatory military service can be quite exhausting, your overall level of perseverance may also improve significantly. Many people in our nowadays society have become quite lazy and want to get everything fast without having to put in real work.
However, especially if you want to build a business for yourself, you have to put in so much work and you will also deal with many setbacks during your journey.
In order to be emotionally stable enough for this, joining the military might be a great way to build this level of perseverance that is needed to be successful in business.
Good preparation for the workplace and future jobs
Also if you do not want to be an entrepreneur but want to work in a demanding job after you finished your studies, you may also benefit from your experience from your military service since perseverance and character growths are things that will also benefit you in the corporate world.
Many times, you will have to defend your arguments in a calm but yet in an assertive manner in order to move up the corporate ladder. Consequently, if you want to succeed in the job market, your experience from your conscription might greatly help you during difficult times of your career.
Physical fitness level will improve
Many young people also suffer from low fitness levels and significant overweight. In order to improve the fitness levels of the general public, compulsory military service may be a great way to do so since there are plenty of physical exercises people have to go through during military conscription.
Thus, the overall fitness level of the general public will improve and also the obesity problem could be lowered, which in turn would translate into higher average life expectancy and also lower healthcare costs.
You may learn important skills during your military service
People also often learn many new skills in the military that can be quite beneficial for their later life. During expeditions, people learn how to survive in nature and how they can build certain helpful things.
Therefore, you might also be able to apply some of these techniques at your own home and you may also be able to fix things without the need of having to get a craftsman.
You can meet friends for a lifetime
Many people also make really good friends during their time in the military. Since you will spend many months with the same people and you will support each other during difficult times, you will develop strong bonds with each other.
Hence, even when your military career will be over, you will still stay in touch with many different people and your future career prospects may also greatly improve due to those connections.
Joining the military may give you some additional benefits
In some countries, people who worked for the military are also privileged to get many additional benefits. This can mean that you will get entry for sports even for a lower price or you might even get precious retirement benefits.
Thus, apart from the personal growth you will experience during your compulsory military service, you might also profit from a number of additional benefits in your later life.
You may want to stay in the military
Some people also really enjoy their time in the military and want to stay there even after their mandatory service has been completed. Hence, if you are one of those people who really enjoy working for the military, this might be a serious career opportunity for you and you may never want to go back again to normal life.
You may earn some money
In many countries, you also do not have to work in the military for free. During your compulsory military services, you may be able to earn some money and since you will not have any expenses, this may be a good stock of money which you can use for your college education or for other important things in your later life.
Social status doesn’t play a role
Another upside of conscription is that it takes away the social status of people for a while. This can be quite beneficial for character development.
For instance, many people get a certain attitude when they grow up in rich families, which may lead to some sort of snobbishness in the long run.
However, since everyone is equal in the military, people may learn that status and wealth should not be determining factors in our society but that it is more important to support each other.
Can help to promote patriotism
Through mandatory military service, people may also really learn patriotism. Since they will have to work quite hard, people who work in military services get an idea of how hard it was for their ancestors in the past to defend their country.
Thus, people may also be much more thankful for what their ancestors did for them, which may promote patriotism and may also lead to a strong feeling of community.
You may be able to see the world
Depending on where you live, you may also have the opportunity to travel to foreign countries and to see the world thanks to your military service. This can be a great way to experience new cultures and to further grow in character.
Hence, if you have the chance, you should definitely go this path in order to make unforgettable memories which will enrich your life quite a lot.
Disadvantages of Conscription
- Military service can be quite hard
- Mental problems
- Physical health issues
- Some people may not like to conform
- May not be necessary in times of freedom and global cooperation
- Other kinds of national service might be more reasonable
- Military may suffer from a bad image
- Some people take patriotism too far
- Accidents during mandatory military service
- Some people may not be suitable for military service
- Loss of time
- Confined freedom
- Forcing people into things they don’t want is often not a good idea
- May conflict with religious and ethical concerns
- Bureaucracy related to conscription
Military service can be quite hard
Apart from the many important advantages that come along with mandatory military service, there are also some problems related to it. One downside of conscription is that the time in the military can be quite hard. For many people, it is the first time away from home for a longer period of time and they might not be mentally prepared for this.
Some people may feel quite lonely and may also not be able to deal with the strict rules in the military. Thus, many people might have difficulties to adapt to the new culture and the pace that is present in the military.
Since military officers often apply high levels of pressure on participants, some people may not be able to deal with this kind of treatment and may develop mental problems over time.
For instance, depression is something that is rather common in the military since people are often not able to switch gears and to adapt to the rough tone and the lack of mercy that is implied when joining the military.
Physical health issues
Some people might also suffer from serious health issues during their time in the military. For instance, some people might get seriously injured in training and might suffer from severe secondary health conditions in the long run.
Moreover, since people often have to carry out quite exhausting work during their mandatory military service, they may also be more vulnerable to infections and diseases during this time.
Some people may not like to conform
Some people also love their freedom and will not be able to conform to the strict rules in the military. Even if they tried, their mind would not allow them to adapt to the new value system in the military.
Thus, for some people, the military might simply not be the right way to go and compulsory military service might not make sense at all for those people since it may rather be a waste of time for them.
May not be necessary in times of freedom and global cooperation
Even if some level of defense can make sense in order to protect country borders, conscription may still no longer be needed in many parts of the world since there are enough professional soldiers out there who would be more than enough to defend their country in case of emergency.
Therefore, in many countries all over the world, mandatory military service might be a rather outdated construct which may not make too much sense anymore.
Other kinds of national service might be more reasonable
Instead of forcing people into military service, there might be several other tasks that may make much more sense in our current state of the world. For instance, young people could help in retirement homes or work in other social professions for a while.
This would really benefit our society and create real value instead of just training people on how to use weapons when this will never be necessary for their future life.
Military may suffer from a bad image
Due to a lack of motivation of many people who are forced into compulsory military service, the whole military might get a bad image.
For instance, if you force people who do not want to work in the military into those mandatory services, chances are that they will report quite badly about the military to their family and friends and the overall image of the military will greatly suffer due to that, which in turn may result in a lack of professional military workers in the long run.
Hence, it may make more sense to make military service a voluntary construct so that only people who are motivated enter the military. In turn, the overall image of the military would likely become much better.
Some people take patriotism too far
Even though a certain level of patriotism can be considered to be a good thing, some people also take patriotism too far, which may turn into hatred against minorities and other issues.
Therefore, if military branches are operated by officers who have a quite radical view towards patriotism and nationalism, mandatory military services may also be quite harmful to our society since it may contribute to the social isolation of minorities and may also promote racial inequality.
Accidents during mandatory military service
Even though the military tries to improve their processes and to provide a maximum possible level of safety, some trainings can still be quite risky and many people may get hurt during their military service through accidents.
Although many accidents are rather unproblematic, others may lead to serious consequential health issues from which people may even suffer for the rest of their lives.
Some people may not be suitable for military service
You may also have some pre-conditions which prevent you from joining the military. For instance, even if you wanted to join military forces, you may suffer from health conditions that make you unsuitable for the demanding tasks that wait for you in the military.
There may also be some mental problems that prevent you from military operations. Therefore, mandatory military service is not for everyone and there should be alternatives for people who can’t join the military due to physical or mental health problems.
Loss of time
Opponents of mandatory military service also often claim that people lose too much time which they could spend on their education or their career otherwise.
In fact, mandatory military service will take away some precious time from people and people who have to take part in those military operations may suffer from a career disadvantage compared to people who were able to attend college right after they finished school.
Mandatory military service also implies to take away the freedom of choice from people. Freedom is an important and valuable good and taking away this freedom from the general public may not be justifiable.
Thus, also from a human rights perspective, conscription can be considered to be quite problematic and there might be better ways for young people to contribute their part for our society instead of forcing them into military services.
Forcing people into things they don’t want is often not a good idea
In general, forcing people into things they do not like and want to do has never been a good idea in the history of mankind. We all become good at things that we really like since we want to do those things all the time and get plenty of experience due to that.
In turn, we will often be quite bad in things we don’t like since we lack motivation to carry out those tasks. The same concept can be applied to mandatory military services.
If we force people into military services, people who don’t like this kind of work will not be motivated at all and will also not be willing to learn and to use their time in an efficient manner.
Hence, we might want to refrain from forcing people into things they do not like and give them the freedom of choice regarding which social service they want to join instead.
May conflict with religious and ethical concerns
There might also be serious religious as well as ethical concerns related to mandatory military services. Some people may not like the concept to use arms at all and may have a rather pacifist attitude towards life.
Therefore, they may not be able to justify to themselves to carry out military services and thus, it may not be justifiable to force people into things that are clearly against their own value system.
Bureaucracy related to conscription
There is also plenty of bureaucratic work related to conscription and mandatory military services. For instance, in many countries, potential candidates have to be examined regarding whether they are suitable for the military or not.
Moreover, also the military service itself requires plenty of planning. Thus, compulsory military service can also be quite costly for the government and there might be better ways to spend this money.
Top 10 Conscription Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Conscription Pros||Conscription Cons|
|Improvement in fitness levels||Military service can be physically exhausting|
|Boost in confidence||Mental problems|
|May be necessary to defend a country||Injuries|
|Good to discipline young men||Accidents|
|Perseverance may increase||Confined freedom|
|Good preparation for the work world||May be an outdated concept|
|May be good for character development||Waste of time|
|You can earn some money||May interfere with your career|
|Conscription can promote patriotism||May go against ethical values|
|You may be able to travel||Bureaucracy|
Should Military Service Be Mandatory?
As we can see from the previous argumentation, there are numerous advantages of mandatory military service.
Yet, conscription also has its problems and the concept of forcing people into things they don’t like and that may even violate their core values might be outdated and not justifiable anymore.
In my opinion, there are better ways for how young people could create some value for our society, for example by working in social professions instead of forcing them into military services.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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