The French aren’t embracing President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to reinstate national military service by the start of next year. Many have called the proposal a useless waste of money and even something that stinks of propaganda.
Macron has attempted to justify the proposal, saying that national service would promote patriotism and “social cohesion” among France’s youth. The plan, which has undergone a number of changes, will now see both boys and girls that have reached the age of 16 serve in the program divided into a voluntary and compulsory stage.
They’ll have to do a minimum one-month placement that could involve teaching, working with charities, and traditional military training with the police, fire service or army. The details of the scheme have not yet been finalized, sparking some confusion on what exactly will be compulsory, the exact length and the actual composition of the service.
While the Armed Forces Minister claims that the program would probably not be mandatory, a government spokesman described the service as “universal” and “obligatory”. Even before the plan was announced, at least 14 youth organizations objected to its ‘inconsistencies’ and said young people should be able to choose what they do on their own.
The cost of the program is estimated to be about €1.6 billion ($ 1.9bn) a year. And the majority of the French Twitterati think the money could be much better spent on other important issues.
User JJS claimed that his proposal was useless, repressive and costly.
Sa proposition est inutile, liberticide et coûteuse. Si l'on veut être utile, que l'on envoie les vrais délinquants dans ds camps disciplinaires tenus par des militaires de carrière (comme aux USA).
— JJS ن (@jjsaldat) June 28, 2018
OSB IV said that if you had a billion and you did not know what to do with it we have ideas: hospitals, schools
Manu, ta conscription on n'en veut pas, par contre si t'as un milliard et que tu sais pas quoi en faire on a des idées : facs, hôpitaux, ehpad, écoles, etc. https://t.co/uGxKT03oWV
— OSB IV (@OSBIV) June 28, 2018
User jaiff considered this to be a waste of time, a loss of crazy money. The new world with old ideas.
Une perte de temps, une perte de pognon de dingue. Le nouveau monde avec des vieilles idées.
— jaiff (@jaiffbdy) June 26, 2018
On top of that, a lot of people on social media found this proposition an illogical and useless form of state propaganda.
Ihopes-lecture tweeted that this service seemed like a month of propaganda for our young people…
Un mois de propagande pour nos jeunes… Je préférerais qu'on les oblige à faire un truc utile pour la société genre du bénévolat.
— Ihopes-lecture (@StephanieTh93) June 27, 2018
User Chatry said that the goal [of this military service]: To format the brains as soon as possible!
le but :formater les cerveaux le plus tôt possible !
— Chatry (@ChatryJean) June 26, 2018
Valentin Balbinot tweeted: Hail Napoleon! He will bring back the stability, the greatness, and the value of justice, and above all, goodness! Stop your studies and walk in the footsteps of your ancestors! I’m depressed.
Acclamez tous Napoléon ! Il va ramener la stabilité, la grandeur, et les valeur de la justice, et surtout, du BIEN! Enrôlez dans le berceau allé ! On va leur mettre du plomb dans la tête aux p'tit jeunes ! Arrêtez vos études et marchez sur les traces de vos ancêtres ! Je déprime.
— Valentin Balbinot (@Valtinot) June 26, 2018
User sigismonde#soutien claimed this was like a colony during vacations
une colonie de vacance quoi
— sigismonde#soutien NS# (@ClPeqt) June 26, 2018
Macron himself was never called up to serve in the army, as he came of age after compulsory service was phased out after 1996. He’s the first French president who’s never served.
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