Wednesday, July 23, 2008

National service: Back to feudalism

Jim Lindgren reports on Service Nation, the creepy cabal pushing for the imposition of universal national service for both military and civilian purposes -- ostensibly voluntary, but eventually compulsory. The organization is backed by political and media heavy-hitters including Caroline Kennedy, Alma Powell (wife of Colin Powell) and Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel. Stengel has already used his magazine as a vehicle for promoting the cause of national service.

In Part III of his report, Lindgren mentions the blast-from-the-past nature of compelled labor for the state -- how it's a return to the feudal relationship between the serf and the local warlord.

One thing so-far left unmentioned by the we're-all-in-this-together brigade is the fate of the inevitable resisters. While claiming that "Americans are ready to be asked to do something," Stengel at least had the good grace to admit that "yes, there are libertarians who believe that government asks too much of us — and that the principal right in a democracy is the right to be left alone." But neither he nor his co-conspirators have taken the next logical step of discussing what they plan to do to those dissenters who decline to submit to the state's demand for service. Will refusal be a misdemeanor? A felony? Will it carry prison time or just a fine? (Yes, the Time piece specifically says service should be voluntary, but the organization Stengel backs goes farther).

The National Service Act now gathering dust in the halls of Congress passes the buck, saying only that "The President shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out this title," with those regulations including "[s]tandards for satisfactory performance of civilian service and of penalties for failure to perform civilian service satisfactorily."

My curiosity has a practical purpose. If I'm covered by the proposed national service requirement, I plan to refuse to comply. If I'm not covered, I plan to counsel those who are covered to refuse, and to help them do so.

So come on, folks. Give us something to work with.



Blogger PlanetaryJim said...

The important question is not what they propose to do to me if I refuse to perform national service for them. The important question is what I propose to do when they come to demand compulsory service. I propose to kill them. As slowly and as brutally as possible, with as much ugliness, leaving the bodies eviscerated and displayed over the nearest lamp post.

Slavers deserve death.

July 24, 2008 6:20 PM  
OpenID HenryBowman said...

Compulsary national service, in contrast to voluntary national service, is plainly prohibited by the 13th Amendment. On the other hand, so is a military draft, but the U.S. Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that the 13th Amendment did not apply to the military, when in fact half of it was specifically designed to prevent a draft [the draft was horribly unpopular during the American Civil War].

July 28, 2008 9:46 PM  

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