The paper "The Duty of Americans to Sacrifice Life in the Service of War" is an outstanding example of a sociology essay. One of the most perplexing problems that I have tried to deal with is why the government of America and so many Americans believe that it is the duty of Americans to sacrifice your life in the service of war, but there is no reciprocal feeling that it is the duty of the American government to provide health care to every individual at least when life is on the line.
This is a thorny issue because many times in American history citizens have not even been given a choice about whether they deem the problem facing America to be worth giving their lives for. Drafts in the Civil War, World War II, and Vietnam all presuppose that the issue at stake was worth dying for. And, especially during the very unpopular Vietnam War, to reject that call on moral grounds could land you in jail if you resisted the draft, or force you to go into exile (mostly in Canada) if you refused the choice of war or jail.
The most famous case of a person going to jail because he requested to be classified as a conscientious objector was Muhammed Ali. It seems to me that if a country expects its citizens to lay down their lives in a time of crisis, then surely its citizens should expect, at the very least, the government to provide for their welfare in time of personal crisis. This does not mean the government subsidy of plastic surgery, but surely if a government can find fifteen billion dollars a month to spend on war against a country that never even threatened us, they could find money to save the lives of those who will die only because they cannot afford medicine or health care or hospital expense.
The problematic area here seems to be located entirely within the realm of expectations. If the government expects voluntary or conscripted death from us, why can’ t we expect life from it?