Friday, November 7, 2008

Yes We Can

The poster says, "Our youth is hard-working indeed, it is performing notable feats, our youth is devoted to Socialism”

Change the last word to Obamaism, and you have his policy in a nutshell.
Restless, your rebuttal was not to your normal form. WWII was a war, which I would regard as a poor analogy to volunteer service, not least because national defense is one of the explicit functions of the national government. Litter collection is not.
Israel is an even worse analog for countless reasons - it is small, always had citizen army since birth, homogenous, paranoid, etc. I don't think either of us want to model U.S. policies from Israel.
And citing Vietnam makes no sense. You can't say something is good because it is relatively less bad than something really bad. The Vietnam draft was a mistake. Mandatory community service is arguably less of a mistake than the Vietnam draft, but that doesn't make it a good idea.
I am not "wildly opposed" to community service, but I happen to think it should be voluntary. As I understood the Obama platform, he wanted the government to offer tuition assistance in exchange for community service. You volunteer to help the community, the community in return subsidizes your education. I actually thought that was a fine idea in principle (I didn't think the math worked - just how much community service is necessary to make up for $40K in tuition -but the idea had merit). But his platform decrees something completely different. It is no longer voluntary.
In principle, that is un-American. In practice, it creates all kind of potential conflicts (ex. if you are working PT to save for college, do you have take leave from your job to do your community service? If so, how is that good for the economy?)
It seems to come back to a basic liberal conceit with which I disagree. "Community service" is defined as something "good". We (the government) do not trust you as a person to independently do this "good", so we are going to make this "good" mandatory. We know what is best for society better than you do, and not only are we going to inform you of what is better, we are going to require you to live that better life, whether you like it or not.
Apply to charity, education, guns, etc.
Incidentally, I freely admit that there are forces on the right with the same mindset, although their definition of a "good" is usually more personally moralistic (sex, gambling, etc), unlike the left's "goods" which are more societal, but at it's core it is the same thing. The government telling you how to live your life, instead of granting you the liberty to make those decisions for yourself.

No comments: