November 07, 2008

To Serve The State

Via Gateway Pundit, Barack Obama's plan to require government service from middle, high school, and college students:

The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

I am all for volunteering, and think it is something that people should do as they are able. My wife and I find it to be spiritually rewarding in addition to being something that helps the community, and I'm proud to say that our elementary-aged daughter recently raised hundreds of dollars worth of food and cleaning supplies for a local animal shelter based on her desire to help.

But such service—any service—requires earnest and enthusiastic volunteers to be successful in the long-term, not dis-spirited, perhaps resentful draftees.

The required service Obama proposes is nothing more than dressed-up impressment or conscription, and is unpaid forced labor. Stripping the racial overtones from slavery by requiring all to participate doesn't make it any less degrading. Involuntary servitude is reprehensible in any guise, and we should not suddenly embrace it as a consequence of "change" under the Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers.

Claudia Rosette is wary of the motives of our statist President Elect, and rightfully wonders if he is a threat to individual freedoms.

Time was when America's creed could be summed up pretty well by the words of the 18th-century revolutionary Patrick Henry, whose reply in 1775 to the oppressive ways of British colonial rule was: "Give me liberty, or give me death."

In the American system built around that creed, the monstrous original failing and contradiction was the institution of slavery. America paid for that with a civil war, followed by another century in which, finally--about the time of Obama's childhood--segregation and discrimination began to give way to the equality and opportunities that Obama has now surfed to the presidency. Liberty prevailed.

The irony is that Obama arrives at the threshold of the White House steeped in ideas that subordinate individual freedom to the collective. In his campaign and his victory speech, Obama declares that America's "timeless creed" is now, "yes, we can." This is not a defense of liberty. It is a declaration so malleable and generic that it could have applied to anything from Lenin's Bolshevik Revolution to the Little Engine that Could.

Obama has called repeatedly upon America's people to sacrifice. What's not yet clear is whether this will entail sacrifice in the common defense of liberty, or whether it is liberty itself that will step by step be sacrificed in the name of the common good. If the latter, the implications are indeed world-changing. For the past century, America has stood as the world's great bulwark of freedom. That can no longer be taken as a given. Americans will be hard pressed to support freedom elsewhere if they do not protect it at home.

A propensity towards tyranny comes easily for statists, and when Obama trumpets his desire for radical change and hope, you would be wise to listen closely to what he is actually proposing and pushing to implement as law. Is he talking about what is best for individual Americans, or is he pushing his belief of how a larger government is better for... someone?

Update: At least he's a gutless statist.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 7, 2008 02:01 PM

And those who have retired are encouraged to participate as well. For crying out loud, what is wrong with this man?

Posted by: Karen at November 7, 2008 02:08 PM

Karen there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling for people to volunteer. It's where Obama requires state-ordered servitude that we lose our liberty.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at November 7, 2008 02:10 PM

You know something, this is really bothering me. I don't need Barak Obama stepping in to attempt to shape my children. That's MY job.

Posted by: karen at November 7, 2008 02:14 PM

How Orwellian: required volunteering.

I'm sure this dissonance will be lost on the swooning masses eager for THE ONE to usher in the new utopia.

What's missing from this dichotomy is the implicit notion that Americans don't already volunteer/donate/serve. Especially with regard Faith & Church.

But I think that's the whole point for Pres. elect Statist. His vision is to supersede any private faith or belief.

Welcome to the Obama Nation.

Posted by: locomotivebreath1901 at November 7, 2008 02:27 PM

At my small Jr College that I attended we were required to do 20 hours of Service to the comunity so I can see the value of the service. There were many choices of things to do ranging from parks and recreation to working the local events. However I feel that we should let the students do their job first, which is to learn. Then focus on comunity service. Forcing people to do something is not going to get a job done well, and will not make you like the job. It must come from the heart to have meaning and the desired effect.

Posted by: Picric at November 7, 2008 02:33 PM

Great blog you have here. I'm willing to add you to my blogroll if you're willing to link me. Let me know.

There is nothing wrong with doing community service but being forced to do it and volunteering is one thing. I'm a college student and there is no way in hell I'm doing 100 hours of community in service. In fact, there is no way in hell I'm allowing the government to force me to do a single minute of community service.

Posted by: Christopher Hamilton at November 7, 2008 03:33 PM

Is everyone going to have to register with the Unselective Service Office now?

Posted by: georgeh at November 7, 2008 03:44 PM

On re-reading, I'm not sure this policy would withstand a challenge on 14th amendment grounds.
This has none of the necessity that a military draft has to support it.

The Obama Administration had better think very carefully about whether or not they want to take a chance on being found by the Supreme Court to be engaging in slavery.

Posted by: georgeh at November 7, 2008 03:53 PM

I see no exemption for kids who are already active in their community, and would have to recognize this as a direct attack on America's existing civic institutions.

My children are active in scouts, church, supporting their small rural school district and many other activities. My son's eagle project involves many dozens of hours planning, developing and building a community prayer garden at the church using low-maintenance native plants.

He's also very active in conservation projects as we live in a rural county which has great need for volunteer efforts like the removal of invasive plants.

In Barack's America, those who produce and contribute already in society will be punished. We know that from his tax plans, and it's clear he's going to carry that message through to our children.

Posted by: redherkey at November 7, 2008 04:22 PM

This would ne approved by both houses as there are to many conservatives who think volunteering is a good idea.

Posted by: davod at November 7, 2008 04:29 PM

Does Barack realize that many college students actually work to pay a part of their college bills?

Posted by: Garrett at November 7, 2008 04:29 PM

What's with all the "Corps"? Is he in love with the CCC and the Peace Corps or what?

Posted by: Jeff Shultz at November 7, 2008 04:43 PM

I am against this idea for the same reasons as others have mentioned.

I'll add that --- what I love about it (snarky kinda love) is how it became big on college campus:

Where in the United States has liberalism been the mainstay - where have the had unmatched power?

On campus.

And where do you see the powers that be creating "speech codes" and "free speech zones" and forced community service.

Way back in the early 1990s, my undergrad school started forcing students to get so many credits in "cultural events" per semester or you couldn't graduate.

This is liberalism? Taking away freedoms? I thought that was what neoconservatives did???

I hate things like this.

I also marvel at the gated and non-gated middle to upper middle class neighborhoods, the ones lined with Obama-Biden signs, that have codes on how high your grass can grow or how far apart the slates of your picket fence must be -- not allowing you to completely block a view of your own yard....

I always marveled how people I was in college with who were very liberal and politically minded - would graduate, have their parents find them a cushy starter career, and start buying a house in a neighborhood where you had to live up to the community's code...

Posted by: usinkorea at November 7, 2008 05:13 PM

At my small Jr College that I attended we were required to do 20 hours of Service to the comunity

Someone at that school needs to read the US Constitution. Specifically the 13th amendment.

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Posted by: PA at November 7, 2008 05:15 PM

I try not to link sites that may appear too lefty.
I do respect that I am an outsider here.
As such I will leave it to you to find (if you did not watch) President-Elect Obama's Press Conference.
At the very least,; I would hope you would see, even if you disagree, someone respond with intelligence sorely lacking for the past 8 years.

Posted by: nogomore at November 7, 2008 06:03 PM

Perhaps the youth corps could be called Young Pioneers and wear red, white & blue uniforms:

Posted by: zhombre at November 7, 2008 06:16 PM

Volunteer? Maybe. Required community service? A fine opportunity for sabotage. Everybody can play. The harder one pushes, the harder the other pushes back. What's next? Public flogging?

Posted by: Tonto (USA) at November 7, 2008 06:37 PM

Barack H. Obama was a community organizer, had a long relationship with Syrian-born slum-lord convicted felon Tony Rezko, and what do the residents of the public housing projects Rezko and associates constructed have to show for it? I challenge anyone to find a single resident that is better off today, then when Barack Obama arrived in Chicago. If you can't fix a neighborhood, you've gone daft if you think you can save the world.

Posted by: Tom TB at November 7, 2008 06:39 PM

What is wrong with putting in community service as part of an educational curriculum? After all, it IS educational. Kids need ways to learn how to integrate what they absorb (or not) in the classroom into real work exercises.

Most of my classes required some sort of community engagement or service, whether helping database items at a museum, or scanning images at a library for an online digitalization project, or monitoring growth of shrubs and trees planted to ease soil erosion, or eliminating invasive plant species at parks. Students gain experience, network with potential future employers and references, and build skills that you don't get in the classroom.

Posted by: Aaron at November 7, 2008 07:31 PM

Nogo, ask Barack Confused Obama if there are 57 or 58 states.

Ask him if an asthma patient needs an inhalator or breathalyzer.

Then tell me more about the vaunted intelligence of your secular savior, particularly when he doesn't have a teleprompter in front of him.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 7, 2008 08:22 PM

Aaron, if your class required it, and yet you still had free will to decide for yourself as to whether you signed up for that class and the degree it led to, then that is still not forced. You were choosing to do it. I had classes like that at university too, and I chose to sign up for the classes.

This is different. The way it's written on his website, there would no option to opt out or to choose to do something else instead. Serving would be required, and the description is not specific enough as to say what type of field the required service would be in or whether it's anything to do with one's personal views, beliefs, and chosen concentrations.

Posted by: Matthew O'Brian at November 7, 2008 09:28 PM

Wait & see what avenues of "community service" will "qualify" for this "voluntary requirement"....

you can bet the list will be political.

Posted by: BD57 at November 7, 2008 09:39 PM

ahahahh sore losers... go crawl underground and dont resurface until 2012. and pick a decent VP next time, morons BhAhahaaa

Posted by: Harrison at November 7, 2008 10:02 PM

The phony is running around pretending to be the 'president elect' has offices pushing his agenda under that office name while he is not the president elect unless I missed the vote being certified by the electoral college and congressional approval. Right now he simply the same old criminal AH from Chicago.

And to the lefties, when and if he makes it into office we owe him the 'exact' same respect the democrats have shown GWB. We may be able to equal the disrespect but no way anyone can exceed it, so we have a free fire zone.

First official exposure to the media he insults one of the finest first ladies in history. Oh, he apologized after someone hit him on it, but that doesn't cover the fact he's a flaming AH.

Posted by: Scrapiron at November 7, 2008 10:21 PM

Harrison, before you start gloating, consider this (emphasis mine):

So consider this, my fellows in arms: On Tuesday, the Left — armed with the most attractive, eloquent, young, hip, and charismatic candidate I have seen with my adult eyes, a candidate shielded by a media so overtly that it can never be such a shield again, who appeared after eight years of a historically unpopular President, in the midst of two undefended wars and at the time of the worst financial crisis since the Depression and whose praises were sung by every movie, television, and musical icon without pause or challenge for 20 months . . . who ran against the oldest nominee in the country’s history, against a campaign rent with internal disarray and determined not to attack in the one area where attack could have succeeded, and who was out-spent no less than seven-to-one in a cycle where not a single debate question was unfavorable to his opponent — that historic victory, that perfect storm of opportunity . . .

Yielded a result of 53 percent.

If your party, with all those advantages, can't gain more than 53 percent against the GOP, then you should truly be worried.

But I doubt you're smart enough to see why you should be worried.

And that, neighbor, worries me.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 7, 2008 10:34 PM

I have long thought that the WPA and CCC could be put back into use for
the homeless and the chronically unemployed, it worked for FDR and they
Accomplished one hell of a lot. They would work strictly on Public works
Projects and be paid, housed and fed .This counties infrastructure is a
bloody mess and these folks could put is back into shape. As for Ayers
there are ways!!! As for this country turning socialist only if we let it.
Lock and load!!

Posted by: Gator at November 7, 2008 10:50 PM

But of course! Now I understand! Up until this point the civilian organization that was going to secure America and have as much funding and power as the military was a bit of a mystery. What would such an organization do after all? Don't we have a federal. state and local police forces, local fire departments, emergency services of all kinds?

Mirable dictu! Obama is so far ahead of all the lesser mortals (that's everyone but him, folks)! Who do you think is going to watch, track and force all of America's high school students to do community service, no doubt organizing for social justice? In it's brilliance, it's stunning...and not a little reminiscent of every despotic regime that has ever blighted humanity. There are tens of millions of bright faced kids, just waiting for the direction of the dear leader. And there will need to be millions of domestic security workers to ensure that they follow the dear leader's directions.

Posted by: Mike at November 8, 2008 12:32 AM

I just checked back at Obama's site, and the page has changed! They have removed the "requirement" parts and have added an exchange of tuition money for the hours.

Posted by: Vin at November 8, 2008 01:23 AM

Obama has proposed making community service or community post graduate employment a condition for student grants and loans. Forcing students to work for the government in return for taxpayer funded items strikes me as involuntary servitude.

Forcing retired people to provide community service is fine with me, but I'm very expensive. My terms include $1,500 a day plus expenses, NET 30 days.

Thank you very much!

Posted by: arch at November 8, 2008 08:13 AM

Ya know, I've been thinking... wasn't there, oh, about 70 or 80 years ago, in a European country, a program that required all boys from 14-18 to join and serve their country? And a similar program for girls 10-18?

Ah, yes. Here it is.

Everyone bow down and worship The One, now.

Posted by: C-C-G at November 8, 2008 08:58 AM

For my real response:

And I think it's more pretty smoke

First, it assumes that communtiy service is not already being performed, and that the satisfaction of helping your fellow man, and fostering a stronger sense of community is not reward enough on it's own. I do not want my lessons of charity and moral obligations to be underminded by the president because he is teaching that you should get paid for living up to expectiations of community envolvement.
It also does not say if any community service counts, or if you have to perform additional services that have been government approved. We (the kids and I) already put in about 300 hrs a year to community service.

They took out the part about 100 hours per year, for $4,000 per year, and left it that you will put in 100 hours and get $4,000 off your education. $4,000 over 4 years will not acheive much, especially if you had to carry a full load, and work, on top of finding that extra 2 hours a week outside of work, classes, and studying for that first year in order to get it.

It left open to receive an extra $4,000 for services rendered, even if you have already secured your college tuition.

Many states offer plans that allow you to open an interest bearing account with the state that will lock in the price of your child's tuition on the date you open it, which over 18 years would equal thousands of dollars a year in price-hike savings, plus what you have in your account.

Many states now offer free tuition to state college for all citizens that have met varying residency requirements (ours included, but it is only in the start-up phase and will take a few years to get going)

Many government grants are available for college, jr college, and trade school for those that have physical, mental, or financial disadvantages. These will pay between 75% and 100% and carry no repayment requirements, as long as you graduate.

Job Corps, Peace Corps, and many church missionary programs all provide some degree of free education in exchange for as little as one year of volunteer service.

The military has always provided 100% coverage for education, and you can ride that out for as many years as you want, and get as many degrees as you want, in exchange for 4 years of service to your country.

Armed with all of these facts and options, I really find his (revised) plan to be falling slightly short of "wonderful"

Posted by: Vin at November 8, 2008 09:38 AM

This all jogged my memory. Whatever happened to the Thousand Points of Light program way back when (Bush 41)? Did it merge with Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives program?

Posted by: Grace Nearing at November 8, 2008 09:03 PM

CCG..straight up..
Do you really need links when W had to slink in to an office the SCOUTS..said he deserved? As oppsed to what will take place this January?
Irony may just be the fulcrum of our lives...
CCG..your Party of fear and hate is gone..
A difference between your beliefs and ours?
You truly believe what worked last century matters this tine?...
What happened to the riots?
How sad it is to all of us...when everything we wrong.

Posted by: nogomore at November 9, 2008 04:25 PM
How sad it is to all of us...when everything we wrong.

You should know that better than anyone else.

Posted by: ConservativeWanderer (formerly C-C-G) at November 9, 2008 07:56 PM

Please fact check your links and don't rely on Gateway Pundit again. I went to the site and it says nothing about required service. Looks like he fell for an LGF photoshop.

Posted by: Isaac at November 10, 2008 02:45 AM


I had commented on this earlier, the original site has been edited since this was posted.
We have the same discussion going on over at my blog as well, because we DID go to the source to fact check......but true to form, when he was caught on something that became unpopular, someone came along to clean it up in an attempt to void our suspicions of this man and his motives and will pretend that we just made it up.

Posted by: vin at November 10, 2008 06:00 AM


See Vin's comment, above. I went to Obama's site to verify before posting. Perhaps you should verify your facts before making accusations.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at November 10, 2008 06:33 AM

Isaac isn't mistaken. He's lying.

He knows full well that the website was changed.

Otherwise he'd be an ignornat fool, and I like to give people the benifit of the doubt.

Posted by: brando at November 10, 2008 08:55 AM