Imagine a land that sits at the crossroads of two great continents, where East meets West in a beautiful collision of cultures and customs. This is Georgia, a nation steeped in history and tradition. But their story is not without struggle, for in 1921, the Soviet Union descended upon them like a dark cloud, casting a shadow over the land for seven long decades. It wasn’t until 1991 that the people of Georgia could finally breathe the sweet air of independence once more.
Military service was mandatory in the USSR because the Soviet leadership didn’t have any respect for individuals’ lives and used them as mere pawns. This practice remained intact in contemporary Georgia until a libertarian party called Girchi established a ‘Christian, Evangelical, Protestant Church of Georgia—Biblical Freedom’ in 2017 in order to free people from being government slaves, as priests were legally allowed to avoid conscription.
Since its creation the Girchi church managed to free individuals in nearly 50,000 cases from this form of modern slavery, but recently the government introduced a new law making it illegal to avoid conscription this way.
Now, Girchi is fighting the government to completely abolish the mandatory military draft and make the service fully voluntary by offering willing soldiers a decent salary, contrary to how it is nowadays when the government pays them less than $25 per month.
For all these years, the immoral practice of forcibly taking 18 to 27-year-old young men and exploiting their labour has been justified with patriotic slogans and the unwillingness of the government to stop treating people like a free resource of cheap labour for the duration of 12 months. However, patriotism is not just a word; it is an act of showing your respect in material form to the people who voluntarily want to defend your country, because patriotism or any other virtue can only be moral if it is done voluntarily and not under the threat of force.
There has been research done on the topic of whether the size of an army is an important factor when it comes to winning the battle, but it turns out it is not the size of the army, but other factors such as motivation, weaponry, and tactics that play the main role. Therefore, concentrating only on soldier quantity without guaranteeing that the army is staffed with people who voluntarily chose this profession and are equipped with decent weaponry, only points out that the government places no value on individual lives, as unmotivated and inadequately armed soldiers are doomed to an undeserved death.
There have been cases when conscription was justified with false argumentation that it is a duty of every patriot to serve in the army. But this reasoning overlooks a simple fact that defence is a public service that is financed through the government budget, therefore it is in fact taxpayers who keep the army well-fed and armed, thus it is no more of a patriotic act to serve in the army than to be employed or run a business to pay taxes in order to actually keep the army financed. Especially nowadays when modern armies are exclusively dependent of high-tech equipment and weaponry, it is foolish to hope merely on troop numbers rather than directing the funds towards a fully professional and well-armed voluntary army.
No army is as effective as the one that is staffed with people who have willingly accepted their occupation as a soldier and it is in fact counterproductive to keep unmotivated people in the army, as it is a waste of financial resources required for the training as well as dear lives when it comes to the actual battle.
In some cases, Girchi’s church was criticised from a religious perspective that it is a sinful act to help people avoid the conscription, however the Bible itself states in 1 Samuel 8:10-18:
‘Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said: This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’
For anyone interested in learning more about the party, feel free to follow the official Facebook page of the party at https://www.facebook.com/GirchiParty or join a private Facebook group for discussions at https://www.facebook.com/groups/NPCmemb.