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Does the end of military conscription threaten democracy?

melian          30 October 2015 05:25 AM

In the Roman Republic, the transition from citizen army to professional military ended the rule of elected politicians. Can the same scenario repeat in the modern democracies?

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aliad 1 November 2015 08:48 PM

The roman republic had several other factors against it which had to be combined with a professional military to end democracy.

1 - incompetence in actually paying for your military and providing adequate retirement. We need to the VA situation under control and we need to watch out that we're not asking for more than we're willing to pay for from our military.

2 - democratic politicians not being able to deliver what they promised. If the political class is constantly saying vote for X because its ugly right that we get X, and they vote for X and then the politicians can't deliver it creates a feeling that there ought to be a better system. We need to have more voices talking loudly about what we can realistically expect politicians to actually do so we don't create a void of unfilled expectations.

If we want to keep a democracy, that is.


ChristianKl 31 October 2015 05:09 PM

Depending on who you ask the US isn't a democracy anymore anyway. Jimmy Cartner holds that opinion.
A Princeton study comes to the same conclusion.

When the head of the NSA lies to congress he get's away without any punishment. He effectively isn't controlled by the democratically elected congress.

We have complex political systems today that don't work in the way that democracy is taught at school


gbear605 30 October 2015 12:09 PM

The professional armies toward the end of the Roman Republic were (if I am remembering my History classes correctly) mainly controlled by individual leaders, which is why Caesar was able to conquer Rome. They had no strong force connecting them to Rome other than nationalism, to use a modern term. Today, however, there are many interlocking forces in play.

(Looking at America specifically for the rest of this answer)

For instance, many of the branches require each other to work. The army isn't deploying anywhere without the help of the Navy and the Navy doesn't have offensive power without one of the other groups. I am of course simplifying, as I'm not a military geek, but the idea is there. And of course there's our nuclear armory, but I doubt any president would fire them on America, even in a civil.