Opinion: Carolina Beat

No. 645: Racial Hatred Drives Legislation to Reinstate a Draft

Stoking the fires of racial hatred and class warfare is not a wise thing to do. Mississippi’s Sen. Trent Lott found out the hard way.

Liberals, on the other hand, continue to stir gasoline into the melting pot without arousing nary a whimper of objection.

Witness Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who fired the latest volley in the left’s crusade to create privileged Americans from groups of people who claim to be “underprivileged.” Rangel, who is black, recently introduced a bill that would reinstate the draft to ensure a “shared sacrifice” among Americans serving in the armed forces during a war with Iraq. A draft is needed, Rangel said, because the enlisted ranks of the all-volunteer military is disproportionately composed of poor blacks and Hispanics while white, middle- and upper-class men and women seldom volunteer for military service.

Rangel’s latest exaggeration follows a left-wing pattern that, frankly, has become tiresome. Leftists must perpetuate eternal victims to further their cause at everyone else’s expense. Minorities are always victims. Women are always victims. Homosexuals are always victims. Homeless people are always victims.

Liberals insist they are just trying to be regular guys in a society that offers them nothing but a raw deal. All they really want is a fair shake. And if they have to incite racial or class warfare to get there, what the heck.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s take a deep breath and ignore the screaming fact that Rangel’s victims volunteered for military duty. On the other hand, the Pentagon says that it’s happy with the existing total of 1,387,366 military men and women and that there’s no need to reinstate the draft.

A compromise is in order. Perhaps Rangel could persuade the Pentagon to correct the makeup of the armed forced by imposing a specialized draft, based upon true proportional representation.

Following Rangel’s model of “fairness,” the military should reflect the national composition of 50.9 percent female and 49.1 percent male. That means the armed forces must be composed of 706,169 females and 681,197 males. Again, just to make it fair.

Using Rangel’s mangled reasoning, I’ve formulated a solution that would provide equal representation in the military without imposing the all-out suffering the congressman’s general draft would exact. Here’s my equation, derived from Department of Defense and U.S. Census figures, for a new and politically correct breakdown of military might:

• Black females comprise 6.6 percent of the U.S. population. This group currently contributes 64,317 to the armed forces. To be fair, an additional 27,249 black women must be recruited to come up with the 91,566 needed from this ethnic group.
• Black males make up 5.7 percent of the U.S. population. This group currently contributes 206,817 to the military. According to Rangel’s theory, this is a big problem. To be fair, we need to discharge 127,737 of these men since black males should account for only 79,079 of the military force.
• White females present another huge problem. Right now a paltry 111,016 of them are in the military, but to be fair to the group that makes up 38.3 percent of the U.S. population, an additional 420,346 must be recruited right away. Maybe the military could rent a booth at the next National Organization for Women annual conference, since fairness is always such an issue with the NOW gang.
• White males are shouldering far more responsibility than they should to ensure the nation’s security. They comprise 36.9 percent of the U.S. population, yet they contribute 762,639 to the military. Certainly, in the interest of fairness, 250,701 of them — almost twice that of black males — should be discharged.
• Hispanic females are another group under-represented in the armed forces. The military must add 60,741 to the 22,500 in the military in order to fairly represent their 6 percent of U.S. population.
• Hispanic males, also, pull more than their fair share. The Pentagon must discharge 129,898 of them to fulfill their new obligation of 90,179 and match their 6.5 percent of total U.S. population.

So, all females, including minorities, must contribute 508,336 additional members of their ranks to the draft to make the military equal. And, of course, that means an equal number of males can be released from further obligation.

This exercise in statistical nonsense evinces the fallacy of the left’s contention that public policy can be based on any racial quota system.

While it’s understandable that Rangel strives to serve his constituency, he insults the rest of a nation engaged in serious debate about war. It’s also puzzling, given Rangel’s heritage, that he espouses a system that would impose involuntary servitude on thousands of Americans of all races.

Such is this lesson in absurdity that racial hatred frequently lurks under the guise of liberalism.

Richard Wagner is the editor of Carolina Journal, monthly newspaper of the John Locke Foundation.