TED Conversations

Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.

TEDCRED 500+

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Let's have mandatory military service in the U.S.

Our educational system is turning out citizens who don't understand the military well enough to make informed voting decisions, who don't have meaningful job skills, who have no sense of duty or service, and who have never been a part of something larger than themselves in a meaningful way. A required stint of military service could provide an immersion experience that would help to overcome all of those.

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Closing Statement from Erik Richardson

I think this is an interesting debate, as far as it goes, but I also learned a valuable lesson about whether TED discussions have enough diversity of perspectives—both to figure out what ends are worth accomplishing and to map out a way to better accomplish those ends.

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  • May 7 2011: I think that Americans have become too lazy and too complacent we no longer appreciate our right to vote as much as we should. Not only do I think we should have mandatory military service in this country but I think it should be required in order to earn the right to vote. I would love to see the ability to vote be raised to the level of a revered reward in our society rather then just being a chore you avoid.
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      May 8 2011: Sounds Fascist putting one man above another.
      • May 8 2011: I think it's quite funny that you would value military service higher than a Ph.D for example, let's make that a requirement for voting instead :)
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          May 9 2011: When we start spending billions upon billions of dollars turning out government Ph.D.'s and sending them by the thousands to take over other countries' research programs and universities in the name of national interest, we might take you up on your suggestion. However, that brings up the interesting possiblity that perhaps we should try that (invading with Ph.D's) instead of the things we've been doing instead. :-D

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