In this weekend’s selected video, former presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul discusses a lawsuit challenging the male-only draft registration program, the military draft, foreign policy, and the role of women in combat:
The video begins with a great scene from the 1965 movie Shenandoah.
“Virginia needs all of her sons,” a confederate officer tells Charlie Anderson.
“That might be so, Johnson, but these are my sons,” counters Anderson, played by Jimmy Stewart. “They don’t belong to the State.”
Dr. Ron Paul argues that the country should “get rid of the draft and . . . get rid of the registration.” He decried the fact that, “As a consequence of [draft registration], there was a friend, Paul Jacob, who was a draft resister. He would not sign up for the draft.”
“And he ended up going to prison,” notes the former congressman. “I testified at his trial. . . . I think this is the most serious abuse of liberties.”
The former U.S. representative argues, “The Thirteenth Amendment is rather clear — no involuntary servitude and no slavery — and yet it’s totally ignored.”
Coincidentally, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified on Dec. 6, 1865, one-hundred-and-nineteen years to the day in 1984 that Paul Jacob (now of ThisIsCommonSense.com, LibertyiFund.org, and the Citizens in Charge Foundation) was arrested by the FBI for his refusal to register with Selective Service System (the draft people).
A transcript of the trial in Jacob’s case, United States v. Paul Jacob is here.
“How can the draft, calling up men and/or women,” asks Dr. Paul, “and sending them off and exposing them to death, how can they say this is not involuntary servitude?”
Ron Paul was not the first American to ask that question. Daniel Webster addressed the issue of military conscription during the War of 1812.
“The question is nothing less, than whether the most essential rights of personal liberty shall be surrendered, and despotism embraced in its worst form,” said Webster, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Is this, Sir, consistent with the character of a free Government? Is this civil liberty? Is this the real character of our Constitution? No, Sir, indeed it is not. The Constitution is libeled, foully libeled. The people of this country have not established for themselves such a fabric of despotism. They have not purchased at a vast expense of their own treasure and their own blood a Magna Carta to be slaves. Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war, in which the folly or the wickedness of Government may engage it? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest rights of personal liberty? Sir, I almost disdain to go to quotations and references to prove that such an abominable doctrine has no foundation in the Constitution of the country. It is enough to know that that instrument was intended as the basis of a free Government, and that the power contended for is incompatible with any notion of personal liberty. An attempt to maintain this doctrine upon the provisions of the Constitution is an exercise of perverse ingenuity to extract slavery from the substance of a free Government. It is an attempt to show, by proof and argument, that we ourselves are subjects of despotism, and that we have a right to chains and bondage, firmly secured to us and our children, by the provisions of our Government.