Ansiktsburk wrote:Since this is applied ethics:
I come from a country that did, when I was that age, have draft to the military. And it was also not too hard to do "weapon-free service" if you insisted on it.
And the fact is, that everyone in my lower-middle-class neighbourhood, a mediocre suburb of Stockholm, did their 7, 10 or 15 months, carrying weapons. Myself included.
Whereas the male friends of my wife, who came from the university town, sons of academics, nearly all choosed to do "weapon free".
Do I think that the moral standards of the people from the University town, many of them my personal friends now, were higher than those of my old friends?
Nope. Everyone just followed the social norm that the neighbourhood prescribed. I have seen no clue that the latter group should care more about life than the former as I have fraternized with them over the years. The only difference is that the academic kids where politically leftish and it was still flower-power chic to trade the sword for the plowbill.
Did I enjoy shooting at metal images of men that automatically fell down if they got hit. Yeah, cool. Once in a while, sure, I did wonder, "what the h*ll am I doing"? But we were 20 years old or so, and this was the way you were supposed to go. That simple.
That is the way that society normalises its practices, get them in young, make it fun.
In some ways it is a good move to allow some form of service to the state, and the non-weapon option signals an even handed attitude that value is given to public service without killing.
Ideally the service might include something useful, such as environmental projects or monument renovation?
I wonder if the non-weapon guys got the piss taken out of them?
Did women have to do the same service?
As far as the thread question goes, it is not actually relevant as National Service was not 'voluntary', but interesting non the less.