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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11., No. 9. 28th July 1948

The Democratic View

The Democratic View

2. Conscription and Democracy. To reduce men down to a dead level through the compulsory sharing of what is a denial of freedom is not democracy but slavery. If it is democracy then Nazi Germany was the most democratic country in Europe. The fact that in wartime the great mass of soldiers were conscripts, not volunteers, indicates, at least, that the majority are neither certain of what the fighting is for, nor happy to see their own destruction as the answer to any international problem. Least of all is conscription democratic in peacetime—and I trust this is peacetime.

There is nothing democratic about either recruitment or conscription of youth in peacetime. Operation White-bait recently landed 91 young adolescents with lures of trade training, careers, economic security and the wonderful army life. I doubt whether any of those youngsters realise that from now on their primary purpose is one of death and destruction.

The hypocritical handling of re-recruitment is bad enough, but surely conscription of youth is morally worse.