Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Friday, April 23, 2004
Bad in so many dimensions
Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias are both trying to advocate mandatory national service on the grounds that it'll bring our country together and it's fairer than our current volunteer army, which disproportionately kills off the poor. Now, I've proposed ideas for voluntary national service to be rewarded by college tuition/free health care for life/other welfare state goodies, but I don't want to make national service at all mandatory. It deeply offends my civil libertarian sensibilities; I believe that a person should have control over their labor and their time. Moreover, I believe that our country was founded on the right to not participate--if you want to live in a cave and prepare for Armageddon, I feel you have the right to do so. (Whether you have the right to complete control over your minor children's lives is an entirely different matter).

And oh, yeah, mandatory public service also violates the Thirteenth Amendment.

(NOTE: If World War Three were to start, I would not oppose a draft if the need for it were evident--if it's a choice between the draft and the destruction of our country. But that's a pretty big "if".)

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