November 7th, 2008

The Obama Youth: Compulsory Service on the Horizon


photo credit: Sergio’s viewfinder

On a new website launched by the “Obama-Biden Transition Project”, the Nation’s next Decider-in-chief hides in plain sight a startling stance on compulsory national service. Intended for the youth of America, this plan boldly lays down Barack Obama’s desire for mandatory “community service” by all school-age children:

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.

Note the deception intended to soften the blow: the opening line describes only encouragement or persuasion by referencing a “call on Americans to serve”, whereas the statement later admits to requiring a certain number of hours of community service for each age group. Not to be outdone, Obama apparently intends to put retirees back to work in his service as well—so much for pursuing one’s own desires.

President-elect Barack Obama is not alone in his desire for federally-mandated compulsory service. As this article reports, Obama’s new chief of staff has previously advocated three months of compulsory service for all individuals ages 18-24.

This article reminds us of a speech given in July where Obama also outlined his tyrannical desire:

In July, Obama revealed his plan for “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the U.S. military. In the speech, Obama said “People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve.” He also said this mass movement requiring servitude “will be a central cause of my presidency.”

Barack Obama, while not a descendant of slaves himself, would do well to recall the idea behind the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution—namely, the part about involuntary servitude. Whether coerced by an individual to satisfy his demands, or forced by government to do the same, the result is identical: slavery, fascism, force, and the loss of liberty.

While one court ruling has held that the military draft does not qualify as involuntary servitude (something with which I strongly disagree), the quest to mandate compulsory community service at a federal level will break new ground and likely will be challenged in court, if pursued by the Obama administration (whether legislated by his messianic followers in Congress, or issued by executive order). While I lack faith in the impartial, fair judgment of many of those appointed to the bench, I nevertheless hope that some clarity and reason will attend the hearings that seek to bury this fascist policy into the ground.

38 Responses to “The Obama Youth: Compulsory Service on the Horizon”

  1. vontrapp
    November 7, 2008 at 8:26 pm #

    The link just before the first quote doesn’t read quite like you quoted it. I wonder if it has been changed? I don’t doubt Obama would _require_ this grand scheme of service, but I would have the audacity to hope that the _goal_ of service (as it read when I followed the link) would be just a mere goal. If you tell me it did indeed read _require_, even if it has since changed, I will take that to heart and make a point to warn everyone to NOT LET THIS STUFF PASS. Well, I would warn them anyways, but I shall warn them much more specifically and emphatically should it truly prove compulsory.

  2. Clumpy
    November 7, 2008 at 8:27 pm #

    Geez, why must we always move from one class of self-assured fascist nonsense to another?

  3. vontrapp
    November 7, 2008 at 8:36 pm #

    I read a little more, and I found verbiage about requiring the 100 hours of service for college students. However it’s unclear whether the requirement is prerequisite to the tax “credits” or strictly a requirement period.

  4. Connor
    November 7, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    The link just before the first quote doesn’t read quite like you quoted it. I wonder if it has been changed?

    Interesting—they changed the text tonight after I posted this. No doubt they’ve seen all the referring traffic coming into that page and wanted to soften the blow even further.

    They may have added a little fluff to the policy, but the desire remains the same: to enlist all Americans in serving the nation.

    At its core, this is a ludicrous idea. One might compare this to an employee mandating (or “encouraging”) that his employer do some community service. An elected representative is essentially the employee of “we the people”, and thus our elected employee is now encouraging/asking/requirement that we, his employers, go to work as he sees fit.

    Sorry, but I don’t buy it. Obama may have changed a few words around this evening to avoid unwanted media attention (though his messianic worshipers in the media would no doubt pass on the story to save face for him anyways), but his underlying desire remains the same. Count me out, President-elect Obama.

  5. Connor
    November 7, 2008 at 8:42 pm #

    To further clarify: the paragraph cited in the blog post above was copied and pasted directly from the website at around 6:15pm Mountain time. The typo “underserved” was in the original, and remains in the modified text. There’s one “change” they can begin working on…

  6. Rick
    November 7, 2008 at 9:17 pm #

    I pasted “by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community” into google and searched on the theory that their data would not be updated yet. The following was the first result:

    America Serves | Change.gov
    Nov 7, 2008 … 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 …
    http://www.change.gov/americaserves – Similar pages – Duly noted

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I guess these people have never heard of the saying “One volunteer is worth ten pressed men.”

  7. Connor
    November 7, 2008 at 9:22 pm #

    The cached version currently (at 9:20pm Mountain time) says that it was indexed nine hours ago (so, at 12:20pm), and until it is re-indexed, can be accessed here.

    Here is the google search result Rick described above:

    And here is the cached page, highlighted with the search term:

  8. bloggernacleburner
    November 7, 2008 at 10:13 pm #

    Dood. Hate to burn your little World Net Daily shriekfest, but the election was two days ago. That is the transition team website. It is likely to be updated as the site went active… oh what, yesterday?

    Burningly stupid.

    Burning, Connor. This one is a bonfire. Third degree. Sulfuric Acid playing bass. Homer Simpson wrapped in greased candle wicks and playing with matches on stupid juice. Beevis and Butthead, 35 lb of reefer, 2 lb of nitroglycerin and a rusty tanker truck stupid. 15 grams of francium in a rusty tub stupid.

    And totally expected! Rock on!

  9. Rick
    November 7, 2008 at 10:30 pm #

    This blog and a number of others post about the word “require” and within hours the wording and meaning is changed. Hmm… just coincidence? I don’t think so.

  10. Carborendum
    November 7, 2008 at 11:32 pm #

    burner, I don’t know which is worse the fact that you’re using those various terms to describe who knows what or that you even know what those things are.

  11. Adrien
    November 8, 2008 at 12:18 am #

    What’s wrong with compulsory service? You’re required to go to school and that costs money. . . it’s time for the youth, a not only the youth, to earn their keep.

    Another idea. . .instead of bailing out homeowners, why not just educate them that it is the law for creditors to lower ALL interest rates to the maximum level for those who join the military. If you join the military, all debt that you racked up before joining, can only be charged a maximum interest rate. I don’t know what it is today but when I joined the military, it was around 5 or 6 percent. If homeowners are strugglign when their mortgages reset at 8 or 9 percent, this is a way out as opposed to the proposed hand outs.

    The only policy I would support that makes the government bigger would be compusory military service. It could be the equivalent of two years of college after high school, with practical experience in addition to a basic curriculum – kind of like an extension of high school where you earn another degree before going to a university to specialize. Again, I am not a fan of big government, but if we are going to waste money on the military (or any social service) we might as well put the money to use by educating the public and increasing productivity.

    The government education doesn’t have to be all that bad – we graduated from a decent public system. The point is that if we are going to spend money on people, we should put it to good use. If this means requiring people to participate and build the community, so be it.

  12. Cassandra
    November 8, 2008 at 12:58 am #

    I have nothing against voluntary service (esp. if it results in credits for college, taxes, etc.), it is the _compulsory_ part I am worried about – compulsory means it is no longer voluntary – it is forced and I don’t know anyone who likes to be forced to do things much less several weeks worth of work in a year. Let the youth and adults decide whether they want to participate. Anything else will promote resentment in many if not most, regardless of credits. Then there is the constitutional aspect… or rather lack of constitutionality. What’s the point of having a constitution if we don’t actually follow it?

    change.gov just went on line but I can guarantee you, it has been months in the making probably before Biden was even brought on board. You don’t just slap a site together with that much content and webdesign. Everything written on that site is there for a reason.

  13. Velska
    November 8, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    As much as people obviously hate giving back to the community, I have found it a good idea to have to give some service. It has been proven to make kids grow up – not everybody benefits from the youth programs of the churches. And, besides, it’ll give much-needed interactivity to people who would otherwise be sequestered from their peers.

    Or did you have a more Hitler-Jugend type of “service” in mind – or, more contemporaneously, Putin-Jugend, which they call “Nashi”, which comes within an ouch of being “Nazi”? (The Nashi have been the most active harrassers of foreigners in recent uprising of Russian nationalism.)

    I admit it’s complex, but you paint it simply evil, and it’s hard to agree with.

  14. Jayce^
    November 8, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    And don’t forget, *any* federal program will have strings attached. Sure we’ll hear about how the service will offer tax credits, but there will always be something extra with it.

    I’m all for giving service, regularly do. But I in no way want it forced, especially when I’m sure I’ll have no choice in what that service really is.

  15. Cassandra
    November 8, 2008 at 10:23 am #

    Just because I believe many people would resent being forced to give community service does not automatically mean that I or anyone else in particular ‘hate’ giving back to the community. My goodness. Millions of people give millions of hours of community service already across the country and in all areas. Once you actually get involved in some sort of community or any voluntary service, you will start to understand just how much our communities benefit from voluntary service – and without the enticement of some sort of government credit. Gee, many people actually _pay_ money for privilege of volunteering.

    If you want young people to volunteer, set an example and volunteer yourself. And then invite them to see what the deal is – and many if not most will follow – because they want to.

  16. Gabriel
    November 8, 2008 at 11:10 am #

    “Obama and Biden will establish a new American Opportunity Tax Credit that is worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.”

    Now you can make $40 an hour at taxpayer expense. This is ridiculous.

  17. Connor
    November 8, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    One wonders if these kids will get extra credit under Obama’s plan?

  18. adrien
    November 8, 2008 at 5:30 pm #

    Yeah, I am against cash for service. But if you use public services subsidized by taxes – industrial food, public education (including public universities), the services of fannie mae or freddie mac, and the FDIC to name a few- then you should give back . . .

    Why should it be wrong to make contributing service to take part in these services? It is the least we could do, especially those of us in the lower tax brackets.

  19. Connor
    November 8, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    Why should it be wrong to make contributing service to take part in these services? It is the least we could do, especially those of us in the lower tax brackets.

    Aren’t we being taxed to fund these services? So the services are funded by our money taken from us, and then to be able to use some of that money, we must fulfill some service requirement?

    Despite the many other problems I have with this policy, one thing trumps them all: the lack of Constitutional authority for the federal government to do anything like this. Where does Obama get the power to demand that I render service to others?

  20. adrien
    November 8, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    We are being taxed. . . but most of us pay much less for our share of the services. I know my measly tax liability doesn’t compare to my boss’. We need to stop the building the give-it-to-me-now society and start encouraging personal responsibility. My point is that the government needs to stop rendering these services to people who don’t want to throw their fair share into the pot. Those that cannot pay their fair share in money should at least contribute in other ways. Those that don’t want to contribute ought to not receive the services. . . maybe we should have an opt-out mechanism in our tax system. I know it would never fly but that is probably how I would amend the next administration’s proposal, if I were a participating member of the legislature.

    I think it is important to note the difference between compulsory service and service in exchange for service.

  21. Connor
    November 8, 2008 at 5:56 pm #

    We need to stop the building the give-it-to-me-now society and start encouraging personal responsibility.

    Agreed, so long as your word of choice remains “encourage”.

    My point is that the government needs to stop rendering these services to people who don’t want to throw their fair share into the pot.

    Or perhaps get out of the “services” business altogether?

    Those that cannot pay their fair share in money should at least contribute in other ways.

    I think the plausibility of this depends on what services you’re talking about. If somebody wanted to receive welfare (which I’d rather see eliminated), I’d have no problem with the government adding one more item to the list of requirements necessary to qualify, and thus require some community service in exchange for the money.

    But mandating the service for all individuals, especially the youth, who may or may not ever need to use such services? Requiring every single person to do what Obama thinks is best? That I can’t stand for.

  22. adrien
    November 8, 2008 at 6:04 pm #

    Well, I haven’t seen a proposal to force kids to volunteer to do something for nothing. The only thing being floated around is to exchange 100 hours of community service for $4,000 of refundable tax credit to be applied towards college tuition.

    First of all, our public education system is already heavily subsidized. Just look at the tuition discrepancy between public and private universities. Now, this is largely due to state subsidies but the federal government also subsidizes these institutions. The federal government subsidizes much more than this though – the interstate system, the industrial food production, and yes, welfare. I, too, am against welfare. When I do volunteer work, I specifically choose charities that do not give handouts because I believe that these charities try to help symptoms and not the root problems. Handouts should definitely be eliminated. If they aren’t going to be eliminated, and they are going to continue to be paid for by the people who don’t use them, then the people who do use them ought to contribute.

  23. Cassandra
    November 8, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    Hey guys! check out http://change.gov/americaserves/ now – ‘requires’ is no longer there – we will be ‘called on’ to serve. Seems someone pointed out the obvious flaw in their cunning plan.

  24. Cassandra
    November 8, 2008 at 6:43 pm #

    ok I’m a little slow noticing things…what you guys said about the text change before has just hit my radar when you guys have obviously already noticed and processed it….

  25. Jordy
    November 8, 2008 at 10:53 pm #

    Will passing out condoms to underprivileged school children count? Sadly, I think it just might…

    Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

  26. Connor
    November 9, 2008 at 1:47 pm #

    The NRO published an article in July about this same issue, including a portion of a speech given by Obama showing that—contrary to some assertions—this has been one of his goals all along, and was not simply a mistype included on a hastily-thrown-together website.

    That the text has been altered as it has is evidence of the hesitancy of pushing an agenda that will meet resistance. Better to keep it under wraps until it can be rammed through Congress with appropriate pressure applied.

  27. Didge
    November 9, 2008 at 2:07 pm #

    Velska-

    “As much as people obviously hate giving back to the community, I have found it a good idea to have to give some service. It has been proven to make kids grow up – not everybody benefits from the youth programs of the churches. And, besides, it’ll give much-needed interactivity to people who would otherwise be sequestered from their peers.”

    Providing service to the community does have great benefits for the server, and it does help kids grow up. But the government shouldn’t be in the business of requiring this service (nor does it have the authority to do so). If parents want to require that their children provide some service or other to help them grow up, that is their prerogative.

    The idea that ‘community service has some great benefits, therefore the government should mandate it’ is a non-sequitur. Much like ‘following a nutritious diet has many health benefits, therefore the government should control the diets of all citizens’. It’s all for the greater good, right? Would cheesecake then be illegal? Just because some action has benefits, it doesn’t follow that the government should require it.

  28. Rick
    November 9, 2008 at 2:43 pm #

    Mostly because of church influence my children already are very service oriented. The last thing I need is a bunch of jokers in Washington mandating where to give service. Good grief, my children already have it figured out, as have most of their friends. And is Washington going to be as successful with this so-called service program as they are at balancing the budget?

  29. Connor
    November 12, 2008 at 2:28 pm #

    Alex Jones & Co. published an article today that further sheds light on Rahm Emanuel’s plan which, as we’ve seen, seems to closely align with Obama’s. Key point:

    Asked by Smith about the universal service plan and whether people would have to live in military barracks, Emanuel laughed before responding, “We’re going to have universal civil defense training, somewhere between the ages of 18 to 25 you will do three months of training….but there can be nothing wrong with all Americans having a joint similar experience of what we call civil defense training or civil service in service of the country, in preparation, which will give people a sense of what it means to be an American.” (emphasis mine)

    Thanks, Mr. Emanuel, for helping us remember what it is to be an American. I guess I forgot, somewhere around the time that Pres. Bush urged me to go shopping to cope with the devastation of 9/11.

  30. David
    November 15, 2008 at 10:42 am #

    I think it’s actually quite hopeful that they changed the text of the plan, away from required to encourage and incentive based, so quickly. It strikes me as a revolutionary willingness to listen to Americans, assuming he is indeed listening to Americans and not just changing the text. The simple reality of the president-elect delivering messages on youtube and having a section on his website for American’s to “share their vision” is an indication of the dramatic potential change in level of participation in democracy that is possible under Obama’s presidency. It’s too early to tell for sure but I think looking at the way he mobilized people in his campaign I think there is interesting potential there.

  31. Connor
    January 3, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

    Here’s a clip from a 2006 C-SPAN interview of Rahm Immanuel regarding his advocacy of compulsory national service. As if I needed any more reasons to dislike the guy…

  32. Cindy
    January 20, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    I think that mandatory service is a good idea. This country was built on labor and I think it is a small price to pay to have to do some community service every year. We are a part of a great nation by choice and being a part of something great requires some work on everyone’s part. It would be nice if everyone would do it voluntarily but for it to be mandatory tells the truth that a good proportion of the nation is not doing community service and it is needed.

    I mean, the administration is not asking for that much with those amount of hours in a year. Also, they are not asking us to do something risky to our lives or well-being. They are just requiring that we do a little each year. Is that too much to ask?

  33. Connor
    January 20, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    They are just requiring that we do a little each year. Is that too much to ask?

    They’re not asking, they’re requiring (or soon will be, rather).

    Where did we ever delegate the authority to our President to tell us to perform community service, and even further, to mandate it? You may think that volunteering is a good idea (as do I), but introducing the element of compulsion nullifies any virtue that volunteering once had. The president is our employee, and I don’t recall him ever having been granted the power to tell me to serve others.

    Or did I skip over that part of the Constitution?

  34. Jeff T.
    January 20, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Compulsory service = slavery.

    Slavery’s a great idea. I mean, doesn’t being part of a great nation require work?

  35. richard shumate
    March 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    volunentary at the start but when they say not enough are voluntering they will make it mandatory.hitler did this, stalin did this.these kids will be taught to spy on there parents and friends.i allready sent an e-mail to obama asking him what he was going to rename america because when he is done it wont be america anymore.

  36. Connor
    June 6, 2009 at 8:12 am #

    This issue is still being promoted, the latest effort being a bill to establish a committee that will explore how best to enslave both young and old alike.

  37. Connor
    March 20, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    Here’s a great article on this subject. Here’s a snippet:

    Most galling of all Obama thinks he and the government have a right to take decision-making out of students’, parents’, and professionals’ hands, and to insist that the government has a claim on their time because it knows best. Many people choose not to perform community service, but Obama does not respect that decision; rather, he believes that community service provides such great benefits to society that individual decisions not to participate have no legitimacy.

    One of the benefits of voluntary community service is the opportunity to willingly help others less fortunate or to promote a cause about which one feels so passionate that he offers his most valuable asset — his time. In return, the volunteer can take great pride in knowing he has done something worthwhile.

    But can psychic benefit be achieved if the person is forced to assist others, or forced to select a cause to promote? There is just as much potential to feel that the activity is punishment — as if the “volunteer” is a cog in nothing more than a glorified chain gang.

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