The Price of Non-Conformity

The Price of Non-Conformity

IT IS A WELL-ESTABLISHED axiom that a state must jealously guard itself against the large-scale disaffection of its citizens. Those whose personal convictions have prevented them from adequately fulfilling their obligations to the state have often been punished as an example to others. In obvious demonstration of this fact, the United States recently sentenced Minnesota’s four Doty brothers to serve their second term in prison for their refusal to conform to the provisions of the Selective Service law.

The history of the Doty brothers’ plight starts in 1951 when they refused to register for the draft on the grounds that to do so would be a violation of their religious convictions. Joel, the oldest brother, was sentenced to two years in prison, while Orin, Paul, and Sid were sentenced to eighteen months each. Thus, like their father before them who had served a prison sentence during World War I for the same thing, the Doty brothers were made to pay the price of non-conformity.

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