it or not, the Swiss were once a warlike people. There is still
evidence of this. To this day, the guards at the Vatican are Swiss. But the
Swiss discovered long ago that constant warfare brought them nothing but
suffering and poverty. They adopted a policy of neutrality, and while the
rest of the world seethed in turmoil, Switzerland, a country with hardly
any natural resources, enjoyed peace and prosperity. The rest of the world
is still not ready to accept this simple and obvious solution. Mostcounties
not only maintain permanent armies but require all their young men to do
a period of compulsory military service. Everybody has a lot to say about
the desirability of peace, but no one does anything about it. An obvious
thing to do would be to abolish conscription everywhere. This would be the
first step towards universal peace.
Some countries, like Britain, have already abandoned peace-time
conscription. Unfortunately, they havn't done so for idealistic reasons,
but from a simple recognition of the fact that modern warfare is highly
professional business. In the old days, large armies were essential. There
was strength in unmbers; ordinary soldiers were cannot fodder. But in
these days of inter-continental ballistic missiles, of push-button warfare
and escalation, unskilled manpower has become redundant. In a mere two
years or so, you can't hope to train conscripts in the requirements and
conditions of modern warfare. So why bother? Leave it to the professionals!
There are also pressing personal reasons to abolish conscription. It is
most unpleasant in times of peace for young men to grow up with the
threat of military service looming over their heads. They are deprived of
two of the best and most formative years of their livies. Their careers and
studies are disrupted and sometimes the whole course of their lives is
altered. They spend at least two years in the armed forces engaged in
activities which do not provide them with any useful experience with regard
to their future work. It can not even be argued that what they learn might
prove valuable in a national emergency. When they leave the services,
young men quickly forget all the unnecessary information about warfare
which they were mad to acquire. It is shocking to think that skilled and
unskilled men are often nothing more than a source of cheap labour for the
Some people argue that military service 'does you good'.’ 'Two years in
the army,' you hear people say, 'will knock some sense into him.'’ The
opposite is usually the case. Anyone would resent being pushed about and
bullied for two years, all in the name of 'discipline'. The military mind requires uniformity and conformity. People who do not quite fit into this brutal pattern suffer terribly and may even emerge with serious personality
disorders. There are many wonderful ways of spending two years. Serving
in the armed forces is not one of them!
once a wearlike people: Swiss guards, Vatican.
The Swiss discovered constant warfare: suffering, poverty
Neutral policy: peace and prosperity
Rest of world hasn't accwpted this.
Most counteies: permanent armies, compulsory military service.
First Steps to peace: abolish conscription.
Some countries (e.g. Britain): abandoned conscription.
Not for idealistic reasons:recognition modern warfare is highly pro-
No stregth in numbers; no need for cannon fodder.
Push-button warfare: unskilled manpower redundant.
Two years not enough to train consxripts. Leave it to professionals.
Personal reasons to abolish conscription.
Young men grow up with treat of two years' service; best, most for-
Careers, studies disrupted; even course of lives altered.
Useless experience: not valuable even in notional emergency. Men
forget what they learnt.
Skilled and unskilled men; source of cheap labour.
'Does you good' argument: not true.
Young men pushed about, bullied; discipline. Uniformity and con-
Many suffer terribly; some: personality disorders.
Many wonderful ways of spending two years; armed forces no one of
peacetime conscription: national defence.
Insistence on conventional (not nuclear) warfare.
Therefore possibility of nuclear warfare is reduced.
Many examples of conventional warfare in recent times.
||Two years in armed
forces provide valuable experience of men; help
a young man to grow up.
Valuable character training: stress on physical fitness, initiative, etc.
A man can discover his abilities and limitations.
Helps with careers: many opportunities to study.
Helps qualified men to gain first experience in their careers
(e.g. doctors, teachers, etc.).
Helps unskilled men,' to acquire skills (e.g. driving, vehicle mainten-
ance, building, etc.).
measures not essential in modem armed
Qrcat spirit of cenradeship: rnorale high.
Many facilities available to servicemen- for recreation, sports, etc.
Opportunities to travel overseas (e.g. UN peace-keeping force, etc.).
Present-day defence arrangements are international: irresponsible for
individual nations to opt out.