If you don’t buy a poppy for Remembrance Day, you are an asshole.

30 Oct

So Tom Chivers at the Telegraph thinks wearing a poppy on Remembrance Day should be a choice, and not a moral obligation.


Of course, he’s wearing a poppy as he writes, because he doesn’t want to look like a giant asshole, which is the perfect word to describe people who don’t wear poppies as they march down streets conspicuously NOT decorated with Nazi flags.

Listen, no one likes war.  No one wants to see issues settled with armed conflict, but when the alternative is to be run over by an ideology that is reprehensible at best and murderous at worst, there is no choice.  Time to pick up some guns and send the bastards packing.  And who gets the job?

That would be men.  Conscription.  The draft.  Mandatory military service.  No matter what you call it, it’s the idea that young men are the perfect instruments of war, and it is socially acceptable, under the right circumstances, to send them onto battlefields to fight and die.  The men in question get no real choices.  Sure you can be a “conscientious objector” and sit out the war in prison and the rest of your life branded a pussy, but is that really a choice?

Not really.

So we line up young men and teach them to fight and send them to die so that we may live.  They are sacrificed for the liberty of all.  And liberty is no joke.

Do you like having a say in who governs you?

Do you like NOT being arrested at random and sentenced without a trial?

Do you like earning money and spending it on whatever the fuck you want?

Do you like being able to say and think and write pretty much whatever you like?

Do you like being able to write poetry/music/books without getting sent to a prison camp in fucking Siberia?

That’s liberty.  It’s freedom.  And it comes with a price tag.  That price tag is the blood of young men, and that is why the poppy is RED.  Not orange, not pink, not yellow, not blue.  RED.  More than 18 million allied soldiers died so that you can cruise down the street updating your Twitter feed on your iPhone 5.  The total cost of WWII was somewhere around 70 million lives.  That’s the entire population of Great Britain dead.  And then some.

That was the price of liberty then.

It doesn’t matter what you think of the conflict in the Middle East.  There are plenty of good reasons to object to that war, and plenty of good reasons to support it, too.  Refusing to wear a poppy based on your, no doubt, highly nuanced and informed opinion of that particular conflict doesn’t make you worldly and sophisticated and a hipster pacifist.

It makes you an asshole.

Stop for a moment to consider that if another big conflict comes, it just might be you called upon to sacrifice your life in a trench for the rest of us.  You won’t get a choice.  Your liberty will be denied so the rest of us can have ours.

Buy a fucking poppy.

Lots of love,


13 Responses to “If you don’t buy a poppy for Remembrance Day, you are an asshole.”

  1. Michael Spitler December 20, 2012 at 16:26 #

    Hmm, I never heard of wearing a poppy on remembrance day. I guess that must be only a UK tradition?

    Personally, I am strictly a voluntarist, so I don’t agree that society has the right to force anyone into military service against their will. Historically from the start of the Republic until the early 20th century we didn’t have a draft, and the public actually resisted conscription quite fiercely. Just look at the New York draft riots of 1863. People back then often considered conscription akin to slavery.

    The thing that irks me are the people who voluntarily sign up for military service, but aren’t willing to do their fair share of the work and look for any way of shirking their obligations. I’m in the Air Force, and we don’t even experience one tenth of the risk our fellow services have to face, and we have people that look for any reason to avoid deploying. This one guy failed a PT test before a deployment, was told “tough shit” and would have to go anyways. So he told leadership he was an alcoholic and became undeployable for 90 days. So my buddy who just got back from Afghanistan 6 months earlier, who had just gotten married, had a two weeks notice deployment back to Afghanistan for another six months!

    Main thing is, I swore an oath when I enlisted and choose freely to serve in the Air Force. When I had bad days and had to deal with rocket attacks and other stressful shit, I had only myself to blame, because that was what I signed up for. There is something about having only yourself to blame when you are in a bad situation that, for me at least, is liberating, because you can just accept it and let it go. If I had been drafted I wouldn’t have had that option.


  2. judgybitch December 20, 2012 at 16:31 #

    I think the main logic behind the draft is that the rich kids (theoretically) can’t buy their way out. Every social class must sacrifice equally.

    Men, of course. Not women.


  3. Michael Spitler December 20, 2012 at 20:51 #

    Yeah, but the thing is, historically the wealthy elites have always been able to find a way out. They can afford to pay the lawyers to find all the right loopholes so their sons either don’t have to serve or get the cushy, safe positions. That will never change so long as this country is run by a caste of elites because they will never allow their progeny to be risked in the wars they start.

    But that isn’t my main concern, because when a man is in the military he runs the risk of severe bodily harm or even death. The principle is that if a man owns his own body, he shouldn’t be forced to risk its destruction against his will, any more than a woman should be forced to carry a baby to term against her will. If we all own our bodies, then we should have the final say on what purpose we use them for.


  4. judgybitch December 20, 2012 at 21:27 #

    Agree. We aren’t likely to face a WWII situation again, and if the draft were to be called, you can bet a whole lot of men would challenge the idea that ONLY men should go.


  5. cspirou April 17, 2013 at 00:03 #

    I think the draft should come back because I think people would be less reluctant to support frivolous wars. Now that people volunteer, they seem more expendable because they say “Well you signed up for this!”. To me the assholes are the people that hide behind flags or poppies and then send these young men to die in some country they’ve never heard of for a cause they could careless about. I do believe that there are some wars that must be fought, even involuntarily. However the asshole selfishly enjoying a free society as a result of war does way less damage then these assholes encouraging needless conflict.

    BTW, I like your site. You’re kinda crazy but in a good way.


  6. Sarah Daniels August 29, 2013 at 02:37 #

    The draft is a crime against humanity. These soldiers were nothing but slaves brutally forced into fighting someone else’s battle.


  7. David Shackleton January 5, 2014 at 14:54 #

    JB, I like your thinking on most things, but I think you may be overlooking something here. If liberty is so important (and I agree with you it is), why doesn’t it include the liberty to make a choice about wearing a poppy? It seems to me that if wearing a poppy isn’t a free choice, then it takes the respect out of the action. If I wear a poppy because of social shaming (of the kind you are doing here), then it is no longer a choice honouring the sacrifice of all of those lives, but rather a response of weakness, a capitulation to social pressure. If I were a soldier, I think that I would want people to think about what I was doing, and offer respect for it as a free choice, not out of fear of being seen as and named as an asshole.


  8. judgybitch January 5, 2014 at 15:40 #

    Oh, I want it to be a choice.

    One that everyone makes.



  9. David Shackleton January 5, 2014 at 17:40 #

    Then I don’t understand what you are saying. Your blog is an argument against Tom Chivers, who says that “Wearing a poppy should be a choice, not a moral obligation.” Which is it?

    And how does social shaming (calling someone an asshole) contribute to their ability to make a free choice?


  10. judgybitch January 5, 2014 at 17:43 #

    It doesn’t. I’m being a jerk. That was an old post. I suppose today I would point out what a poppy means and ask people to consider the spirit and choose to wear one.


  11. David Shackleton January 5, 2014 at 20:45 #

    Glad to hear it. I read somewhere on your site that you don’t mind admitting when you’re completely wrong. I am happy to see that it’s true. You’ve impressed me.


  12. b g October 5, 2014 at 02:43 #

    She is not completely wrong. Shitting on vets is pretty goddamned low.


  13. Richard Sanford December 26, 2014 at 01:11 #

    Amen to you Sarah. I’ve said to my Skippers a few times that if a draft is declared, they’ll have my resignation within 48 hours (LCDR USNR here). I refuse to play Sambo or Quimbo to Charlie Rangel’s Simon Legree.


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