Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

For Genderless Freedom

draft, register, registration, woman, Paul Jacob, resistance,

When President Obama announced last week that he wants my daughter to register for the draft — as a symbol of the nation’s commitment to gender equality and a “ritual of adulthood” — believe me, I noticed.

Sure, the symbolism rings hollow, I wrote at Townhall. The president is on his way out and Congress just agreed on a defense authorization bill blocking any Christmas-time sign-up of women by the festive folks at Selective Service.

Still, President O’s symbolism is all wrong.

Free societies don’t require the involuntary service of men and/or women for their defense, much less celebrate conscription as a secular rite. Our All-Volunteer Force is the most effective military in the world. Its leaders neither need nor desire to swell its ranks with draftees — even if, heaven forbid, a major war bubbles forth from all the foreign conflicts and interventions in which we’re currently engaged.

As for the “it’s just registration” argument, and promises by politicians that they don’t support a draft. Well, it’s registration for the draft. Per politicians’ promises, I rest my case.

Yet, this comment at Townhall called me back into service: “Has this author been against draft registration for the last 30+ years or is it just because his little princess might have to register? If men have to do it, so should women.”

With slight edits, I replied: “I oppose the draft on principle . . .  As Daniel Webster pointed out, government has no constitutional authorization to conscript citizens. The draft further violates the 13th Amendment. Conscription has been the hallmark of dictators and totalitarian regimes, not America. We’ve had a draft rarely in our history.

“In 1980, I refused to register for the draft when Jimmy Carter brought it back. Candidate Ronald Reagan said, ‘The draft or draft registration destroys the very values that our society is committed to defending,’ and pledged to end registration as president. But Reagan reversed himself and prosecuted 13 of us who had spoken out against the policy and refused to register. I served six months in a Federal Correctional Institution (without being corrected) — the longest of anyone post-Vietnam.

“Here are the reasons I resisted at the time (1985) and a more recent reflection (2010).

“My daughter will make her own decision, and I’ll be supportive. But it is a terrible policy that will diminish our military defense, while also violating . . . ‘the very values our society is committed to defending.’

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


* Today, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, marks the 32rd anniversary of my arrest by the FBI for violating the Military Selective Service Act by refusing to sign a draft registration form.


Additional Information

Common Sense: Needless List

Townhall: Draft the Congress and Leave My Kid Alone (2003)

Townhall: Americans Gung-Ho to Draft Congress (2004)

Printable PDF

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By: CS Admin


  1. Jack Leishear says:

    Does the President’s policy of drafting women for the military include his own daughters?

  2. Matt Bear says:

    In a nutshell, your comment about registering for the draft, (“It’s ONLY registration”) should apply equally to registering our firearms. I mean, it’s ONLY registration. What do we have to worry about? They’ll never actually come for our guns, will they? Of course they will. At the “right time”, of course…

  3. Paul, you remain one of my heroes for your standing up to this tyranny back then. (I often wish I had known who you were at the time you were “undercover” in MA — maybe woulda gotten to know you better.

  4. Paul Jacob says:

    Jack — Presumably it does include his own daughters, though they might find they enjoy certain privileges.

    Matt — Yes, indeed. Registration is the first step toward tyranny on the 2nd and the 13th Amendment.

    Steve — I look very fondly on my first time managing a petition drive, and all the good folks I meet in Mass. Glad we’ve stayed in touch.

  5. Drake says:

    We will know that we have true gender equality in America when women are forced to register for the draft.

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