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Thou Shalt Serve!
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Does this bother anyone else?
In his speech on national service Wednesday at the University of Colorado, Obama promised that as president he would "set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year."

He would see that these goals are met by, among other things, attaching strings to federal education dollars. If you don't make the kids report for duty, he's essentially telling schools and college kids, you'll lose money you can't afford to lose. In short, he'll make service compulsory by merely compelling schools to make it compulsory.
Milton Friedman was instrumental in 1969 in convincing Congress that compulsory service in the Armed Forces was akin to slavery. Gen. William Westmoreland, then Chief of Staff of the Army, objected to the concept of a volunteer military saying he didn't want to command an army of mercenaries. Friedman asked:
“General, would you rather command an army of slaves?”

General Westmoreland retorted, “I don’t like to hear our draftee soldiers referred to as slaves.”

Friedman shot back, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher.”
It is one thing to encourage service. It is quite another to make it "compulsory". When it becomes compulsory, it is no longer service, it is a form of servitude. No matter how benign, when participation is mandated and rewards are withheld if requirements of the mandate aren't fulfilled, it becomes a form of tyranny.

Jonah Goldberg won't go as far as calling the idea slavery but he does address the central point of the rather bad idea:
No, national service isn't slavery. But it contributes to a slave mentality, at odds with American tradition. It assumes that work not done for the government isn't really for the "common good."
Well, it may not be slavery in the strictest sense of the word, but it isn't "national service" either. It is compulsory service and that has no place in American society.

But, as Goldberg points out, it does indeed play to the assumption held by many that government is the only institution that can provide "service" that is "worthwhile" and for the "common good".
 
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Minn. gambling authority questions Obama Web offer
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Well, that should take care of the slacker vote.

Dude, the big O is going to make us WORK 100 hours for NO MONEY. And if you don’t you’ll loose your student loan.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Perhaps, perhaps, you can make a case for doing this at school level, teaching kids responsibility, bla bla bla, but at college level?

College is optional, so it will be 100hours of compulsory national service, but only for those who are pursuing a degree... And if it’s about teaching kids social responsibility, are those who study at college likely to be less responsible than those who finish education after high school? What about people who go to college later in life? If a 40-year-old wants to pursue a degree do they need to clean up trash beside the highway to get their loan?
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
Well, they couldn’t reinstitute the draft, so this is the next best thing.

The whole idea is just awful.

I won’t call it slavery but I will call it serfdom. Those institutions with wealthy patrons who can tell the Uncle to sod off with his money will most likely do so- and the lack of compulsory service time will be a good recruitment draw for those with means to pay. Meanwhile, the rest of us proles do the scut work.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The interesting thing for National Review’s Jonah Goldberg is that one William F. Buckley, Jr. wrote an entire book advocating exactly what Obama was talking about. It’s not servitude, it is quid pro quo: these kids want some benefits from their government, they should give something back to their country (beside the potential to pay taxes). Nothing is requiring them to do the service that Obama asks them to do; just as nothing is requiring them to ask for the benefits the government is providing to them.

I’m not an Obama supporter (nor a McCain supporter, FWIW), but the idea isn’t so bad.
 
Written By: A.S.
URL: http://
Oh, the kids will think this is brilliant and vote for him. But when they are rounded up on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. to go into the projects to pick up trash...ennnnh.

Oh, and I think that somehow ACORN managed to use Americorps recruits, so this is probably what Obama is trying to do...get millions of free Democratic organizers.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"While not advocating compulsory service, Buckley does argue that the young should be encouraged, through various rewards and sanctions, to give a year of service out of gratitude for civil liberties inherited and protected."

From the review at Amazon...so is it really the same as Obama’s idea?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Buckley does argue that the young should be encouraged, through various rewards and sanctions
That is the key here - "the young should be encouraged" - not mandated. Personally, I think some form of public service would be good for a young person fresh out of High School, especially if they are unsure of the initial career path they should take, but as an option - not a mandate.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Most of the groups most kids might be able to find a roll will be likely groups that are part charity, part liberal activist group in varying proportion.

Its a chance to reinforce the indoctrination you get in school.

Many of these young people, for the first time in their lives, will get to see suffering like homelessness or illness, but won’t be shown the causes like drugs or dependancy cultivated by the government. Meanwhile your teachers and professors are espousing social!sm as the cure for these things.

A nice cocktail for indoctrination.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
so is it really the same as Obama’s idea?

Isn’t it? Doesn’t Obama’s plan reward students who give service with benefits like tax credits? I didn’t read Obama’s speech, but does it include a mandate for all kids to provide service? I would doubt it.

I think that kids should be encouraged to give more back to the country - there are a lot of things this country provides to them without asking anything more than taxes in return. Using government benefits (or the sanction of withholding some benefits) to provide that encouragement seems perfectly reasonable to me.
 
Written By: A.S.
URL: http://
I have this memroy of Volunteer Summit in Philadelphia that included Colin Powell, where the idea of "paid volunteers" was floated.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Shiites believe the reappearance of the 12th Imam will bring justice and peace to the world by establishing Islam throughout the world. They believe he will reappear when the world has fallen into chaos. It is believed the chaos will start in Afghanistan and then move into Iraq, where there will be blood and destruction everywhere (already in the works) and from there to the world with burning dark clouds (nuclear war). The 12th Imam will then come to destroy the “Dajjal,” the False Messiah, free the world from oppression and aggression, and then bring justice where it will be heaven on earth for many years to come. It is said Jesus will reappear at the same time and fight alongside Mahdi.
If I read this right, the Iranians predict Obama, the “Dajjal” (AKA the False Messiah), will win, but will be destroyed by Mahdi, the 12th imam.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Obama’s error is that he equates community service with educational success, as if the mere act of serving makes one successful elsewhere. In fact, successful students are drawn to these activities. No amount of coercion into service on the part of government is going to make other kids more successful as students or citizens.

Inner city children can scarcely be encouraged to show up for school. What makes Obama think they are going to be any more receptive to the idea of performing voluntary service?
 
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://
I wonder how actual work would be treated? I’m guessing if this was really about benefitting young people the far more valuable skills of working at the auto parts store or ice cream stand would be counted in place of the make work assignements they’ll be required to do. But most likely I’d be wrong.
 
Written By: Bandit
URL: http://
It sounds like a real warm and fuzzy idea, and I’m sure that many people envision students lining up to "help" the nation by performing endless good deeds, but in the long run, I think it’ll end up just like a lot of student loans.

Instead of paying back the loans, they simply default on them, and never pay them back. Taxpayers eat it. With this new idea, I can see someone who is supposed to show up for their 100 hours of service not ever completing it, or simply finding a way to get around it. What do you do then, hunt them down?

It looks great on paper, but I see another billion dollars or so going down the old "good idea" outhouse.
 
Written By: autot
URL: http://
No wonder that Obama, the “Dajjal”, is so big on “service”.
Charlie Rangel may finally get that draft he has been trying to get for years now.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
From the speech itself
So when I’m President, I will set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year. This means that by the time you graduate college, you’ll have done 17 weeks of service.

We’ll reach this goal in several ways. At the middle and high school level, we’ll make federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs, and give schools resources to offer new service opportunities. At the community level, we’ll develop public-private partnerships so students can serve more outside the classroom.

For college students, I have proposed an annual American Opportunity Tax Credit of $4,000. To receive this credit, we’ll require 100 hours of public service.
So the college thing is a straight payment for service - maybe a good idea, maybe a bad, but certainly not compulsory service. The people doing the work decide whether the reward is worth it.

The middle and high school level, however, is entirely different. The rewards/punishments go to the school district, the kids do the work, and it doesn’t sound like there’s going to be a choice.
 
Written By: SDM
URL: http://
It would seem more reasonable to me to make a service requirement such as this compulsory in order to receive welfare and other government handouts. Let’s see Obama propose that.
 
Written By: George
URL: http://
Would ROTC count as community service? What about the National Guard or the Reserves? The military is certainly providing for the common good.

 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
Would ROTC count as community service? What about the National Guard or the Reserves? The military is certainly providing for the common good.


That was a joke, right? The common good, the best thing for America and the world would be the DISBANDMENT of the US Armed Forces... ask the 650,000-plus dead Iraqi civilians, oh right you can’t they’re dead, in our war of nazi-like aggression.

The military serves as a holding pen/training ground for those who are too stoopit to avoid Iraq I guess, those who can’t be a US Senator/Community Organizer/World-Renowned Author....

Personally I think Obama has a geat idea, I have some concrete work that needs done and my yard needs some mulch and I’m safely out of high school and college...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
does this mean i should scrape my ’freedom isn’t free’ bumpersticker off the low rider?
 
Written By: Pedro the Illegal Alien
URL: http://
does this mean i should scrape my ’freedom isn’t free’ bumpersticker off the low rider?
So close, and yet so very far...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
For college students, I have proposed an annual American Opportunity Tax Credit of $4,000. To receive this credit, we’ll require 100 hours of public service.



Um....so Obama wants to pay $40 an hour for "public service"????



 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I think I’m a statistical outlier on this issue.

I believe that the generation of wealth by production of goods and services for which people are willing to fork over their hard-earned dollars serves the common good as much as "charity" work, or even more so.

In particular, I think that nothing serves the poor better than a thriving economy. Economies thrive when those with capital are willing to put that capital at risk because the chances of reward are high.

So, I might as well say it: if you love the poor and and want to serve them, give the "rich" a tax cut. The increased economic activity which will ensue will help the poor much more than any system of transfer payments...or "volunteer" work.

—-John Johnson



 
Written By: John Johnson
URL: http://
So, I might as well say it: if you love the poor and and want to serve them, give the "rich" a tax cut. The increased economic activity which will ensue will help the poor much more than any system of transfer payments...or "volunteer" work.
And from the Left you hear cries of: "GET A ROPE!!!"
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I can only imagine the absolutely worthless endeavors that the messiah and his sycophants would deem to be valuable service for which we would pay billions of dollars. They could volunteer at the National Resources Defense Council to work on education efforts about global warming. Maybe the student volunteers could go to high schools and hand out planned parenthood informational materials or work on gay marriage initiatives in the sate where they live. ROTC, no way.
 
Written By: jt007
URL: http://
Here’s my version of Obama’s idea:

At the age of 14 get a job and start paying the freight for some of your education. You’ll appreciate the education a lot more. And you’ll be doing the community a service.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
I think this is a great idea. Let’s call them "Obama Youth" and give them spiffy little brown shirts to wear.

Yikes.
 
Written By: Ronnie Gipper
URL: http://
"It would seem more reasonable to me to make a service requirement such as this compulsory in order to receive welfare and other government handouts."

We could call it ’workfare’!


I thought we already had people to do those jobs Americans don’t want to do.

Just how much unskilled, inexperienced, and unwilling labor can we actually productively use? What jobs will they do? Will kids who are already performing public service as members of groups like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, religious organizations, etc. get credit? What happens when little Johnny/Judy ’s parents get a notice that their little darlings need tetanus shots and up to date innoculations because they will be hauling garbage and trash out of the local wetlands/swamps?

I had a friend when I lived in Fla. who ran a summer jobs program for yoots. These kids were paid to work and he still couldn’t get them to do much of anything. I doubt that unpaid forced labor will be any more productive.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
If there are any sort of strings attached, then it’s not voluntary. Not to mention that any sort of community service that would be approved by the federal government will no doubt be harmful or counter productive.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
You know, it’s funny - when Putsch called on all americans to donate four thousand hours of volunteer service (without any form of reward for that service), I can’t quite find exactly where all the Republican’ts, who are wailing about Obama’s idea, got their knickers in a twist about the Illegally Installed Drunken Cokeheaded Deserter asking them to donate two years of their life to the cause. But I sure see a lot of Republican’ts on the fainting couch today.

Funny how that works...
 
Written By: (: Tom :)
URL: http://www.funnyfarmonline.org/
First off Tom...

Stop living in 2000... It’s just sad.

Second, calling for people to do community service is not the same as requiring people to do community service.

You do know there’s a difference, right?

Right?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
the Illegally Installed Drunken Cokeheaded Deserter
Snicker... sorry Tom, W reported for duty. Oh wait, it wasn’t until ’04 that we heard about reporting for duty. Right.

And to Scott’s point, do you see the difference? Are your eyes open?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
"For college students, I have proposed an annual American Opportunity Tax Credit of $4,000. To receive this credit, we’ll require 100 hours of public service."
This is $40/hour. I wonder who’s going to pay $40/hr for a college student to do anything? Wait a second, I’m starting to get an itch in my taxpayer britches...



 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
I remember when Maryland was the first state to implement it in the government schools.
I remember there was also follow-on controversy because Boy Scouts or work in a home for unwed mothers or some such was not honored.
I also remember the ACORN and AmeriCorps incident that Harun brought up.
He cites one particular example of money-rerouting malfeasance: the crooked dealings surrounding an AmeriCorps grant in 1996. According to an EPI study, when the ACORN Housing Corp. applied for the grant, they denied any connections to the main ACORN lobbying group (the grant is not for political advocacy). But the AmeriCorps inspector general discovered that "not only was AHC created by ACORN, engaged in numerous transactions with one another, and sharing staff and office space — but it utilized the AmeriCorps grant to increase ACORN membership, a violation of federal guidelines." (ACORN charges membership dues, much as labor unions do; thus, by exploiting AmeriCorps funding to inflate its membership rolls, ACORN used government resources to bring in even more money — money with no restrictions on its political use.)
This has been a contimual aim of leftist politics.
And long before Microsoft there was VISTA.
The "V" in VISTA stands for volunteers. Anytime a wage, stipend, gratuity, etc is received that person is no longer a volunteer. Any disagreement?
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Ooops. Messed up my tag after VISTA. Sorry.

BRYAN responds: Took care of it, Tom. No sweat.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Mmm-mm. Guaranteed $40 an hour for labor that’s probably worth less than $10 an hour on the market. That sure beats internships. Expect almost every kid to give it a go. And then, when almost every college student is carrying an extra $4000, expect tuition across the country to rise accordingly. Which will (A) make it that much harder to attend college without doing your time in ObamaCorps, and (B) draw cries from all around that the cost of college has risen so dramatically and put even more stress on recent graduates and families who are just trying to make ends meet.

Actually, if you hadn’t included Obama’s name in this post, I could have just as easily believed it came from John McCain. It appears we have two candidates who insist on us all serving a state-administered Cause Greater Than Ourselves.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Amazing, that a lawyer appears to have given no thought whatsoever to some of the most obvious issues ... what about injuries/illnesses/(forfend!)fatalities arising-out-of-and-in-the-course-of any of these little exercises? Who pays? The schools? The parents? The Feds? How much? We’re not talking Workers’ Comp here, no agreed-upon liability limitations: how much for the loss of your prospective linebacker’s agility, your wannabe concertmaster/mistress violinist’s finger-tip, your Doogie-Howser brain-surgeon’s visual acuity ... The nation’s population of adolescents, and he’s proposing to take on responsibility for every last one of ’em... ATLA must be thinking they’ve died and gone to Heaven. I’m feeling slightly ill, myself.
 
Written By: Megaera
URL: http://
Major television networks are considering curtailing coverage of the Democratic National Convention after Monday’s announcement that Barack Obama will accept his party’s nomination in a Denver stadium.
According to several broadcast executives, the networks will still cover all the major speeches. But beyond that, all options are open as they look for savings to balance out the anticipated costs surrounding the stadium event. The acceptance event is an unexpected departure from the traditional convention hall format for which they have spent months planning.
When is a convention "event" not a "convention event" ?
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
What if you held a press conference and the press didn’t come?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Joe:

60,000 died in the fighting in Iraq. The 650,000 number came from a long ago discredited George Soros funded Lancet Survey.

The US military is better educated than the American public. Virtually 100% are high school graduates. Nearly all officers have Bachelor’s degrees and many have advanced degrees. Petraeus has a PhD from Princeton? What do you have, a certificate from hair dresser school?

I assume the Nazi aggression was our fighting a war directed by the Commander in Chief and approved by a bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress.

One question: Does "safely out of high school and college" mean you graduated or flunked out?
 
Written By: Arch
URL: http://
See Joe?

That’s why you need to mark those posts...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Arch does your response mean;
1) you don’t come here often; or
2) you are humour-impaired?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
60,000 died in the fighting in Iraq. The 650,000 number came from a long ago discredited George Soros funded Lancet Survey.
It was a statistically VALID study that is quoted all the time, I’m sure all those nice KosKidz can’t be wrong...
The US military is better educated than the American public. Virtually 100% are high school graduates. Nearly all officers have Bachelor’s degrees and many have advanced degrees. Petraeus has a PhD from Princeton? What do you have, a certificate from hair dresser school?
All that means is that Petraeus really OUGHT TO KNOW BETER, then having a PhD from a good school, and yet he serves his Imperial Masters, Bush and Cheney, still. And who to believe, YOU, some Internet voice OR John Kerry and Stephen King? Yes I know the answer is obvious, but thank you for playing...If you can’t trust the author of Carrie and ’Salem’s Lot and the The Shining, and a US Senator, who is a decorated Vietnam War veteran, though he is too modest to mention it very often?

And what if I do have a certificate from hair dressing school? Are you some kind of gay-bashing, rich elitist? "Joe" has a hair dressing certificate, well what does that say? I guess in your homophobic, white picket fence, subservient wife, 2.3 child and a dog universe nothing good....and what if I do have a trade school certificate, does that make me less than in your eyes? Working classes need to know their place eh? And not question their betters, eh? I think I see thru your Rich 1%’er attitude, and I think I have your number now, sweetie...
I assume the Nazi aggression was our fighting a war directed by the Commander in Chief and approved by a bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress.
No it refers to our Nazi-like War of Aggression being waged on the Iraqi People...have you missed the noted PhD and International Relations experts Scott Erb and Ott Scerb pointing how much our war against Iraq is EXACTLY like the Nazi Aggression against Poland or the Japanese Aggression against its neighbors...Honestly, Duckie if you aren’t going to keep up with the trends, you really just need to sit it out *SNAP*


 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Guaranteed $40 an hour for labor that’s probably worth less than $10 an hour on the market. That sure beats internships. Expect almost every kid to give it a go. And then, when almost every college student is carrying an extra $4000, expect tuition across the country to rise accordingly.
Slight correction, students wouldn’t have an extra $4000, which in my case would have gone to beer, pizza, and other recreational uses. It’s a $4K tax credit for your tuition.

Personally, I say make ALL tuition tax deductible. And while we’re at it, make all health care deductible. Why put a limit on it at all? The return on investment is there, people who have degrees earn more, so in their lifetime they will be repaying that tax over and over again.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"For college students, I have proposed an annual American Opportunity Tax Credit of $4,000. "

If college students make enough money to owe $4k in income taxes, we can obviously do away with financial aid.



"Amazing, that a lawyer appears to have given no thought whatsoever to some of the most obvious issues"

Just because he is a lawyer does not mean that he is a good lawyer.


"And what if I do have a certificate from hair dressing school?..."

See, Scott? It’s much more fun when someone takes the bait. "...*SNAP*"
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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