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 8 2011: I don't think that 'beeing a part of something bigger' is a well enough criteria for making military service mandatory. If you whish to be a part of something greater I suggest joining a non-profit organization or something like that. To make military service mandatory is like going back in time instead of beeing progressive. I'm brought up in a country with mandatory military service and it serves no purpose.

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