In “Serving the Nation: A Universal Call,” the author is attempting to argue that the US would benefit from a compulsory service element. By this, he means that the US should put in place a law that would require all people to serve in the military. This, the author argues, would make the nation stronger, make those people who served stronger, and provide long-term benefits. The author makes this argument in a number of ways, laying out his reasoning not only for why this is a good idea, but also for the benefits that it might bring to a nation he believes is in need of these benefits.
The author uses deductive reasoning to try and make his point. He starts with the conclusion that the US should require all people to serve in the military. He then goes about the business of proving that this is true through the use of certain premises. One of the premises that supports his conclusion independently can be found in paragraph four. He argues that the United States has a need to defend itself from terrorism, and that it can only do this through the collective strength of its people. His way of arguing this is simple—he notes that America has a pressing need that is not currently being met by the system that is in place now. He then notes a solution—having all people serve as members of the military—in order to fulfill that current need of the United States. In this, there are two premises. The first premise is that America has a need to defend itself from terrorism. The next premise is that the US would be better defended if more people served in the military. This leads to the conclusion, if both premises are true, that the best approach is to require all people to serve in the military because this would automatically boost the numbers of people in the military.
One can divide the arguments that the author makes on this topic into several categories. The first category, of course, is the pragmatic benefit of compulsory service to the US itself in terms of safety. He is arguing broadly that there would be many classes of benefits of the country. That first is militarily, and it comes with a benefit of higher amounts of safety for all people. In addition to that, he argues that there is a social component to compulsory military service that should be accounted for. He argues that having all people serve in the military would lead to higher degrees of social cohesiveness, and in fact, he argues that it would help to lessen the social gaps that currently exist in society. It might also be said that there is a moral element to his arguments. He argues that citizens of the US have a moral obligation to fight against terrorism and other threats. He describes citizens of the US as sitting idly by as terrorism runs over the country and the world, and the assumption in his speech is that citizens of the US are being derelict in their duty when they sit by in this way.
The first paragraph provides nothing more than an argument. It is designed to provide a bit of background, but even the background is used in an argumentative way. He is arguing by comparison, noting that the system in Israel is set up so that every citizen has to serve at least a couple of years. This is not just background information to understand the situation on the ground and in the world. Rather, it is an argument of its own that the Israeli system is a good one and that the United States needs to adopt the Israeli system if it wants to be successful in the future. In some respects, the author makes the mistake of just throwing out this comparison without any real context. He does not note why the Israeli system is good, why the country began to do that, or what benefits it has brought to the country in terms of safety or social standing. Rather, he simply throws out an example of an ally that has a different system, then he suggests that the US should do the same. This argument by comparison is weak because it does not providing convincing support for the premise that the system in Israeli is better than the one featured in the United States. He just assumes that people will take his word for it, and this is not a good thing when the goal is to persuade people to believe one position over another.
The arguments in this case really call for some kind of service, and the author is using military service as a means to achieve that. Given what the author wants to accomplish with such a program, it seems likely that he would accept people serving in different ways, but he is of the belief that people would benefit significantly from being required to give something back and serve alongside fellow Americans. This means that the argument is not necessarily in favor of just military service, but other components could be a part of the equation and still satisfy everything that the author is trying to get out of the program, including a cohesiveness to the country, more responsibility out of the citizens, and whatever moral component the author is trying to advocate.
- Bassham, Gregory. Critical thinking: A student’s introduction. 2011.
“Serving the Nation: A Universal Call.”