Journal of Military Ethics 12 (2):111 - 128 (2013)

Mark Christopher Navin
Oakland University
Conscientious objectors to military service are either general objectors or selective objectors. The former object to all wars; the latter object to only some wars. There is widespread popular and political support in western liberal democracies for exemptions for general objectors, but currently there is little support for exemptions for selective objectors. Many who advocate exemptions for selective objectors attempt to build upon the strength of support that is enjoyed by exemptions for general objectors. They argue that selective objectors ? like general objectors ? sincerely believe that it would be deeply morally wrong for them to fight in the wars to which they object. I argue that a stronger moral case for exemptions for selective objectors relies upon a different claim: selective objections are often accurate. It is often immoral to fight in the wars to which selective objectors object. While some advocates of exemptions for selective objectors have identified accuracy as a reason for offering exemptions, they have usually not adequately distinguished sincerity from accuracy. However, keeping these two moral reasons for exemptions distinct clarifies and strengthens the moral case for exemptions for selective conscientious objectors
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DOI 10.1080/15027570.2013.818404
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