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Tag Archives: conscription

Chris Jehn on Colin Powell on AVF versus Draft

Today I received an email from a friend, Christopher Jehn. We became friends at a party at Richard Thaler’s house in Rochester in the fall of 1977 when we learned that we were strong allies on the fight to keep the all-volunteer force (AVF) and avoid returning to the draft. We have kept in touch on these issues since. Our views on foreign policy are very different but our views on the draft are very similar. Chris was the assistant secretary of defense for force...

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Milton Friedman’s Long-Run Impact

The truth is somewhere between the two extremes. While Milton Friedman has not had as much effect on economic thinking and policy as many of us free market advocates would like, he has nevertheless had a huge impact. On economic thinking, the following of Friedman’s ideas have held up well: that monetary policy is potent; that a contraction in the money supply between 1929 and 1933 helped put the “Great” in “the Great Depression”; that inflation “is always and...

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What’s Wrong with Registering Women for the Draft?

The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service issued a report in March recommending that Congress “eliminate male-only registration and expand draft eligibility to all individuals of the appropriate age cohort,” because “expanding draft eligibility to women will enable the military to access the most qualified individuals, regardless of sex.” Women have been eligible to occupy all combat roles since 2015. This is from Ella Lubell, “Senate...

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Congressman Rumsfeld on the Draft

I first heard of Donald Rumsfeld in 1969, when I became a strong opponent of the draft and wanted to get more information. I picked up a copy of Sol Tax, ed., The Draft: A Handbook of Facts and Alternatives, University of Chicago Press, 1967, and read it cover to cover. It’s a transcript of all the papers given and discussions after the papers from the famous 4-day conference on the draft at the University of Chicago. It took place from December 4 to 7, 1966. It was...

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Richard Nixon and the Draft

My Hoover colleague Tim Kane did a great job of interviewing me this morning. The interview (audio) will be available soon and I’ll post about it here when it comes out (assuming I didn’t say anything really embarrassing, and I don’t think I did.) Tim has a Brian Lamb-style way of getting his interviewee to go deeper on something personal than the interviewee (me) may have planned. So I talked about growing up in my family in a way that I hadn’t planned to. I told...

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Life, Liberty, and M*A*S*H: Anti-Draft

This fall, LIFE magazine has published a special issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the movie M*A*S*H. Despite the hook, the issue focuses on the ensuing TV series, which ran from 1972 to 1983. Though the show has often been characterized as being politically left-wing, it actually is heavily classically liberal, celebrating the individual, civil liberties, and the market, and harshly criticizing anti-individualism, government compulsion, and government...

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An All Volunteer Military

On Thursday, February 20, I gave a guest lecture in the classroom of Ryan Sullivan at the Naval Postgraduate School. This is the third year in a row I’ve given this lecture. It’s titled “How Economists Helped End the Draft,” and the readings for it are David R. Henderson, “The Role of Economists in Ending the Draft,” Econ Journal Watch, August 2005, Christopher Jehn, “Conscription,” The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, and David R. Henderson and Chad W. Seagren,...

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Defending Milton Friedman From James Buchanan and Peter Boettke

In his recent Econlib article, “The Role of the Economist in a Free Society: The Art of Political Economy,” George Mason University economics professor Peter Boettke writes: After [James] Buchanan left the University of Virginia, he wrote in a letter to [Rutledge] Vining: “My own worry, which you do not express so directly as I do, stems from the step taken by such an idealized professional assistant when he takes it on himself to propose changes in structure, as if...

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Martin Anderson’s Striking Analogy on the Draft

I posted recently about Annelise Anderson’s reminiscences of her and her husband Martin Anderson’s role in Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign for President. She stated: The first thing that Martin did for Richard Nixon—one of the first things—it’s dated July 4, 1967—is to make the argument for abolishing the military draft and moving to an all-volunteer armed force. In cleaning out my files last week, I discovered that Marty had sent me a mimeographed copy of July 4...

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