I hereby apologize for ever saying anything nice about historian Niall Ferguson. His enthusiasm for an aggressive American empire overrides his moral sense. I had to read to page 292 of his 2004 book, Colossus, to have this rubbed in my face. I’ll spare you the effort:

“There is undoubtedly something perplexing about the apparent lack of American combat-effective troops at a time when the U.S. population is growing at 1.25 percent per annum, unemployment is proving stubbornly resistant to economic recovery, and the American prison population exceeds 2 million–1 in every 142 American residents.  If one adds together the illegal immigrants, the jobless, and the convicts, there is surely ample raw material for a larger American army. One of the keys to the expansion of the Roman Empire was, after all, the opportunity offered to non-Romans to earn citizenship through military service. One of the mainsprings of British colonization was the policy of transportation that emptied the prison hulks of eighteenth-century England into ships bound for Australia. Revising the draft would not necessarily be unpopular, so long as it was appropriately targeted.

WWOS–What would Orwell say? It only takes Ferguson one sentence to slide, serpentlike, from an “opportunity” to earn citizenship to a “draft.” I’m not qualified to judge his history, but this man worships at only one shrine, and it ain’t liberty.