- Yg. 1923, No. 19 -
It is quite true that general conscription is an old democratic idea, even though it may have been so much distorted in military Germany by officer privilege and soldier-drudgery. Go to Switzerland, which owes its existence to you, or at least read Gottfried Keller's little wing of the seven Uprights, and you'll get an idea of it. Or listen once, when old peasants talk about their time as soldiers in the tavern on Sunday afternoon: if you do not feel the popular touch, the uniform and military "service," no matter how close and strict they may have been.
If many today say that conscription has taken away something from our people, not just a school of physical education and outward polish, but something of an intellectual nature, it can not easily be rejected. And if the war had not been, then it would probably come to only a few swarmers to shake the idea of compulsory military service at all or to fight it.
The war first demonstrated to us the immorality of soldiering in today's state. It is that people are compelled, for ideals that are not theirs, worse, to sacrifice their lives for ideals and interests contrary to theirs. The hero's death can only be dying for his own ideal; Therefore, today we use the "heroes" of the war, who were really poor murder victims, to write with goose-feet. In today's class state, even where he calls himself "republic," general conscription is a nonsense. In him there should only be voluntary military service. In him, those were the heroes who - in England, in America, and occasionally in Germany - refused military service. Only in a genuinely democratic community, in which there are no classes, is general conscription no hypocritical name for the peak of exploitation and oppression.
But what does one really recognize the true democratic state? Let us dare a definition that sounds very little learned, but it will be understandable to anyone: that no one starves in it. That life, which should possibly be offered as a sacrifice to the whole, is guaranteed to each and every one of them as long as it lasts. The logical complement of the idea of the general compulsory military service of the citizens forms the general obligation of the State, as they Popper Lynkeus wanted to see realized in his ingenious reform plan: the unconditional granting of subsistence minimum in food, clothing and housing to each individual, from birth to death, regardless of personal quality, origin and achievement.
Such a "contribution-free insurance" is only possible to the full extent on the condition that all citizens make part of their life's work directly available to the general public. So the general duty of work, which one could compare quite well with the compulsory military service and as general compulsory military service against the lack, the true "internal enemy", could designate.
The reintroduction of general conscription is Germany - thank God, many will sigh - banned by the Treaty of Versailles. But could one not revive their "democratic" virtues, the education and training of young men, the idea of equal commitment of all to the service of the whole, not in this better and more useful form? Could Germany not make up for the terrible injustice against its expropriated pensioners, against the vexing old people, warrior parents, war widows and orphans, who have it on their conscience, by at least once every citizen of the 60. Year of life from his livelihood guaranteed and for a few years of bred and feral Jungmannen to serve in labor battalions, rather than let them play in Hitler blouse and swastika Soldätles?
1924, 19 Rauschenchnabel