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  • The Madness of Mandatory Service

       October 01, 2008

    I've been troubled for awhile now by Barack Obama's call for mandatory service programs. Sure, it's great to serve others and a horde of not-volunteers could probably do a lot of good. And, we'd all probably become better people for our service.

    Ah, but there's the rub. It's not government's place to coerce me (or hell, in this case force me) to be a better person. Contrary to the plans set forth by both Obama and McCain, I disagree that making Americans more community-oriented should be a priority for our government.

    I'm sure I sound like a selfish loon, but stick with me here. American was founded on principles of individual rights. While it's chic to mock the idea of rugged individualism as an outdated, red necked, cabin-in-the-woods concept, it's one of the very things that make America, America. I am important. I am an individual with my own right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". I exist for that. I don't exist to further someone's political agenda, to pursue "social justice" or even to be a member of the community. To put it more plainly, I am not a tool of the government. I am, I said!

    Oh, of course, in practice the government uses individuals all of the time - whether through taxes, drafts or whatever. Again, of course, just because the government may have already overstepped its bounds doesn't mean that we should accept any further intrusions, even if it's billed as something for the "greater good".

    Americans already do plenty for that greater good:

    Americans every year contribute close to $300 billion out of their own pockets to charities at home and abroad. This is the highest of any nation -- seven times more than Germans and 14 times more than Italians per capita. Americans are equally generous with their time. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service -- a federal agency -- last year Americans volunteered 8.1 billion hours of service valued at $150 billion to community organizations.

    The greater good would be best served by shelving these kinds of mandatory service proposals and leaving Americans the hell alone to pursue their lives as they best see fit.

    Posted by at October 1, 2008 11:35 AM

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    #  October 1st, 2008 6:59 PM      themandownthehall
    Yeah, I thought slavery was outlawed. That is exactly what confiscation or someones labor is: Slavery. Ironic.  
    #  October 1st, 2008 7:47 PM      Liberty
    Sounds to me like Obama wants to control one more area of our lives and bring government intrusion where it's not wanted nor needed. The problem with this celebrity candidate (technically he has more than one problem but I will mention this specific character flaw)is that he does not consider the citizens of America intelligent enough to make their own decisions. He has alluded to the fact that the people of this country would be better off if the government were allowed intrusion into every aspect of their lives. No thank you! I can and will (as long as I'm able) to decide if and when I want to participate in any sort of mandatory service.  



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