This is a hypothetical question to see if our notions of patriotism have changed since I was a kid.
Suppose the draft is reinstituted because there aren’t enough volunteers to fight a hypothetical unpopular war that doesn’t seem to directly threaten the homeland.
Now suppose an individual gets drafted, and his profile is such that the odds of being in combat on the ground are very high. And imagine that this kid is a sensitive type of person who knows that an experience like that will likely give him mental problems for the rest of his life even if he is not wounded.
Some people think, correctly, that they are mentally strong and could come through a war okay if they don’t get physically injured. But others know with a high degree of certainty that experiencing the horrors of war would mentally cripple them for life.
So here’s the question. If a person is relatively certain that going to war will end his ability to enjoy the rest of his life, one way or another, and the war does not present a plausible threat to the homeland, is such a person unpatriotic for dodging the draft to save himself?
The obvious answer is yes, he is unpatriotic. If your country calls on you, you need to go. End of story.
On the other hand, what is the point of a being patriotic to a country that intends to kill you for its own marginal benefit? Such a country would be your natural enemy, not your friend, so any question of patriotism would be nonsense in this particular situation.
Is the draft dodger in this hypothetical situation unpatriotic or simply sensible?