Emmanuel Macron was the first modern French President not to experience compulsory military service as prior to his eighteenth birthday, the French government abolished conscription. However, after benefiting from the fact that France is a country facing no traditional military threats, Macron has now put forward formal proposals which would force all 16 year old French girls and boys to serve in the military.
Macron’s proposals not only defy the pan-European trend of ending compulsory service but they also defy logic. It is well known that especially in the age of high-tech warfare, conscripted armies are simply not as efficient nor as effective as those comprised of volunteers. Countries that maintain compulsory military service are generally those that face major existential threats from traditional armed forces, countries with small populations or nations that simply have not got around to modifying old rules. In any case, many of the countries that still do enforce some kind of compulsory service are reducing the amount of years or months required while also offering a variety of exemptions.
Furthermore, while most countries that still conscript young people only begin the process when one has turned 18 and while furthermore, they generally only ever draft males – Macron has set the bar at the age of 16 and will require both males and females to forcibly join the armed forces if he gets his way.
Macron’s proposals represent a massive step backwards for the French people. France is a country that has enjoyed all the benefits of pan-European peace while its volunteer armed forces continue to inflect suffering upon the developing world along with their other NATO allies. There can be no justification for conscription during a time of unparalleled peace, but Macron has other things in mind.
While liberalism used to connote an idea of relaxed governmental controls on everything from the economy to public morality, today’s liberalism is increasingly embracing an atmosphere of classic authoritarianism which is used to enforce not patriotic nor moral values, but contemporary ultra-liberal ones. In other words, liberalism has pivoted from “do as you will do – no matter the consequences” to “do as we say or else be severely punished for not embracing our particular liberal set of social values”.
Macron’s attempt to militarise society by targeting children is the next logical progression of such a barbaric modus operandi and what is more worrying is that other liberal authoritarians in Europe may follow Macron in throwing away Europe’s peace by turning it into a needlessly more militarised region.
Without a doubt, the biggest problem that contemporary Europe faces is the migration crisis that was itself caused by Angela Merkel forcing a pan-EU open door policy down the throats of ordinary people who never got to have a formal say in the matter. As France has been one of the countries to most readily embrace Merkel’s open door policy, Macron bears his share of responsibility for the present crisis.
Macon has implied that his conscription policy is an attempt to use military service to create social solidarity where at present there is a great deal of discord. However, by militarising the youth, all it will do is propagate an atmosphere of violence that can only be tackled by tough policing when combined with an end to open door policies for economic migrants posing as refugees.
The problems in French society are due to a combination of lax enforcement of current drugs laws, poor policing techniques against the proliferation of gangs, terror cells and weapons and an attitude of so-called political correctness which disallows police from following basic lines of logic in cracking down on criminal activities in society.
All Macron’s conscriptio plans will do is create more anger and violence among ordinary citizens who at the moment simply want professional police to do their job without the constraints they are currently under. Furthermore, Macron’s plan seeks to shift the blame for the migrant crisis onto an invisible foreign threat that a bulked-up, partially conscripted French military will now prepare to fight. This weapon of mass distraction seeks to point the finger at any given “foreign menace” as the cause of the current breakdown in French society when in reality it was France’s and the EU’s own policies which sowed the seeds of the current atmosphere of widespread discontent.
Macron’s liberal authoritarianism will simply punish French children for literally no reason at all, while simultaneously providing himself an excuse to deflect from the blame he has earned by his refusal to wake up to reality regarding Europe’s migrant crisis.
If there was ever a reason for French men and women to take to the streets and protest their government, this certainly is among the most important.