At our annual conference in Novemeber 2018 Jurgen Rose, a veteran of the German military, gave a presentation on the subject of selective conscientious objection. To read a comprehensive article written by Jurgen on the subject please click:
it is reassuring to read the article, and I intend to read the other contributions to the subject. At first glance over the contents, however,I find it likely that the weight of argument will be words, words, words, with too much intellectual floss. For example, “international law” does not exist in reality: as La Fontaine noted centuries ago in one of his fables:”the law of the strongest is always the best”. We have seen how the “world’s leading democracy” , the defender of The Free World has engineered a vast identification of the “warrior” with its national spirit. A so-called social democrat from a traditionally non-militarist society , Mr Rudd, announces that the 21st century Australian soldier etc is the ideal model,the hero whom all good citizens must honour. In short, perhaps,an adoption of the traditional Japanese view of the armed man, rather than the Chinese, where armed men were far less admired, shall we say. All this rhubarb in a situation where , for example, the Royal Australian Navy distinguishes itself by rounding up pitiable groups of refugees to transport to Nauru etc, An inhuman exercise, which one of my grand-nephews found very wearing after a year or two. Now, brave (it goes without saying !) US squaddies “Honor-bound To Defend Freedom” at Guantanamo and are now “deploying” to protect the US from Mexicans etc, some armed with knives, and even with forks and spoons, no doubt. I think the article is valuable in that it gives a view from the officer-class. However, far too many lads and lasses who join up in the volunteer armies of today are , I think,positively attracted by the regimented life and its (alleged) glamour. If they can be transformed more or less magically from zeros to heroes , so to speak, simply by putting on Her Majesty’s uniform, why think at all? We learn from childhood, still, that “our people” are a superior race, and that the world is full of nasty, usually coloured enemies. The rarity of hand-to-hand fighting and the knowledge that “our” air-power is the real decider make the attractiveto some) man-to-man, Boy’s Own image purveyed by the services recruiters a lie. Above all, the key issue remains: national defence may involve killing invaders, but cannot be used as an excuse for aggressive wars . It would be worth checking the attitude of the Swiss, notably, towards conscientious objection.
I look forward to the VFP’s campaign for a neutral UK.