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The Decline of Patriotism Among Young Adults and the Prospects of Conscription

Why Young People Don’t Want to Fight for the Country?

Line of Solders showing the Boots

Tensions around the world seem to be at their highest in my lifetime. Yes, there was still conflict when I was younger such as in Iraq, but there wasn’t the same fear of war on a global scale. All this unrest, and our country's apparent lack of manpower within its military, has led to rumours of a possible return to national service.

Youth Perspective on National Service

Do I think conscription making a return would be a good thing? I’m quite torn in truth. For the country, a return would make complete sense. If our military doesn’t have enough men to defend itself then we have a serious problem. A return of conscription would most likely involve myself directly and this is where I start to see issues. As a 22-year-old I’m arguably in prime fitness with regards to age so would likely receive a call-up but we are in modern times and choice is a right many of us are familiar with. Lots of people my age feel no real pride in our country. In truth, what reason does a young person have to be patriotic to the country? We’ve had zero help from our government, there’s little potential in our economy right now and many of us will never be able to afford to own a house. When the country gives little to us, why should we give back to it?

Line of British World War 1 solders
Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

The counterargument is I believe that if national service was already a thing I probably would have more love towards my country. If I was 22 in the 1950s I would have already served in the armed forces for 18 months. I believe had I done this I would be a lot more patriotic to my country, especially having served alongside other people your age which would build a sense of camaraderie. There are plenty of countries around the world that still have mandatory service. Most Scandinavian countries still require it as do Austria and Switzerland so it's not like conscription is an outdated concept, more just one that is out of favour in most places.

A Lasting Source of Allegiance

It's not like love for our country is completely absent within young people, it's just not maybe directly for the country. Take sport for example, when England is playing in football tournaments there is plenty of support for the country. We all don our shirts, sing the national anthem, and paint our faces with the flag of St. George but after the tournament, that sense of patriotism dies down pretty quickly. Outside of sport, there isn’t anything to be prideful of. We are a very divided country. That divide is everywhere to see, politically things are very conflicted right now. Economically the divide between rich and poor is massive. There’s even the North-South divide within our country that divides it even further. With all this division is it a surprise that we have a lack of people wanting to fight for the country?

Addressing the Challenge Ahead

Ultimately if war did develop close to home I do believe people would fight but I also believe many would refuse to. The only real love everybody has is for their family. There isn’t even a local community spirit never mind that on a national scale. Despite this, I want to make it clear I have nothing but the highest respect for anybody who has served our country. Our troops are something we can be proud of. Our Special Forces are the best in the world bar none and that is something we can be extremely proud of. We just don’t champion them as much as other countries like the United States. Over in the States, the Star Spangled Banner is everywhere. The national anthem is sung before every sporting event. Here in the UK unless a national team is playing or it's a Cup Final you simply won’t hear the anthem. The BBC used to play the anthem at the end of the day after programming had ended but since most BBC channels run around the clock this doesn’t happen anymore.

It's a real issue the country faces, there’s a lack of pride in our country and thus, at least in my opinion, a lack of people who want to serve the country. It's just another issue on a growing list the next government needs to address.


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