I have no grand philosophy of life. I wish I did, but at the end of the day, all I can deal with is simple concepts like "ownlife" as expressed by George Orwell,
In Principle a Party member had no spare time, and was never alone except in bed. It was assumed that when he was not working, eating, or sleeping he would be taking part in some kind of communal recreations; to do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: ownlife, it was called, meaning individualism.
1984 page 82
Yeah, go ahead and hit me with concepts like how horrible atomistic life is. Sorry, kids. If you are thinking for yourself, then a certain amount of the atomistic life is inescapable. This does not mean I'm in some ashram by myself. I get on with people, not many. There is a family I'm happily part of. I have served my time in unpaid community work. Still, at the end of the day, it's all part of ownlife if I can choose or reject it.
Ah, but there are people out there who believe the idea of being a separate independent person is pernicious. John McCain wants you to participate in "a cause greater than yourself." Gee, nothing he has ever expounded has grabbed me as a cause greater than myself, humble and worthless wretch that I am.
Obama is worse. While McCain was once for a military draft, he is smart enough to realize that whatever chance he has to be El Jefe Maximo would be gone if he uttered such sentiments now. Obama would also never give voice to the idea that he wishes to compel people to serve. No, he is smart enough to put it in terms such that you lose if you don't submit.
Per J.D. Tuccille
In fact, Obama's national service plan is "voluntary" in a technical sense -- nobody will be arrested for declining to participate. But non-participants also won't be allowed to graduate from high school, and without those diplomas, life could get a bit rough.
Obama's national service plan (PDF) says:
Schools that require service as part of the educational experience create improved learning environments and serve as resources for their communities. The Obama-Biden plan sets a goal for all students to engage in service, with middle and high school students performing 50 hours of service each year, and college students performing 100 hours of service each year. Under this plan, students would graduate college with as many as 17 weeks of public service experience under their belts.
But schools set their own policies, don't they? Well ... sort of. You see, as the saying goes, "he who takes the king's coin becomes the king's man." And most public schools depend on federal dollars. As Obama elaborated in a speech last December, "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."
I know that the word fascism is overused when accusing others of something you don't like. Heck, I do it (only in the right way, of course). Still, what else can one call the forced service of youth.
Let's use the words of Benito,
everything within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.
We can quibble about whether the above quote is applicable, but a state that will reach down to compel its citizens to service comes close enough for government work.
Both candidates, as J.D. puts it,
seem to think that donating your time to a soup kitchen, a clinic or a church is less valuable than participation in a grand-scale scheme managed by the state.
We all know how it will work out. Brad and Brooke, just out of Amherst will get some chi chi gig that will resemble a policy internship and Tyrone and Crystal will be handed mops.
One of the reasons I homeschooled my kids was the clicque that ran our region were for mandatory service. There are not many ways to resist this, but you should if you can.
In the end, the lesson any kid should get out of this is might makes right. Being forced to do good is extortion.
Il faut cultiver notre jardin. Not Holy Mother State's.
Have a look at national service as it has been practiced elsewhere.