Barack Obama

GIVE a Little Bit of Your Service to Me

|

The House o' Reps yesterday passed by a 321-105 vote the marvelously named Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, or–you know it!–GIVE. It is a veritable corpsapalooza, and may serve as the gateway drug to the illiberal oxymoron of compulsory volunteerism:

Strengthening the social fabric of the nation

The legislation, slated to cost $6 billion over five years, would create 175,000 "new service opportunities" under AmeriCorps, bringing the number of participants in the national volunteer program to 250,000. It would also create additional "corps" to expand the reach of volunteerism into new sectors, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps and Veterans Service Corps, and it expands the National Civilian Community Corps to focus on additional areas like disaster relief and energy conservation. …

[T]he bill creates a "Congressional Commission on Civic Service."

The bipartisan commission will be tasked with exploring a number of topics, including "whether a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the nation."

This is an idea so terrible that it's hard to muster a wisecrack. For a few thoughts on why, see Reason's archive on national service.

Advertisement

NEXT: When Hairless Genitalia Is Banned, Only Criminals Will Have Hairless Genitalia

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yo, fuuuuuuck

  2. it’s hard to muster a wisecrack.

    It would have been easier if it was a “Congressional Commision on Civic Partnerships”.

  3. We’re going to need more czars to run this shit.

  4. Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, or-you know it!-GIVE

    I just threw up a little, and not just in my mouth.

  5. GIVE

    Isn’t the implied command for every interaction with the gubmint?

  6. Dig a hole, fill it up.
    Dig a hole, fill it up.
    Dig a hole, fill it up.
    Dig a hole, fill it up.
    Dig a hole, fill it up.

    Look at me! I’m helping AMERICA!

  7. Oh don’t worry they merely want to explore the idea. There is no grand conspiracy to have conscription. First the MIAC silliness, now this. It seems everyone is over-reacting to minor things these days. Have you seen the latest nutcase movie one too many times?

    The Obama Deception

  8. I guess the good news is: When’s the last time a bipartisan congressional committee ever accomplished anything?

  9. Isn’t the implied command for every interaction with the gubmint?

    No. They are more than happy to take. The real implied command is STFU.

  10. Hey Time/Newsweek, you know how the go-to cover story of late has been to frame Obama and/or his agenda in reference to some Great President or turning point in America? I have a concept for next week.

    The Emancipation Proclamation. But Backwards!

    Call me.

  11. It’s not a august legislative body — it’s the fucking Special Olympics of legislative bodies.

  12. You go SugarFree! I’m breaking windows as fast as I can.

  13. Off Topic Again: If you have not seen this, Ezra Klein, aka the Ayn Rand/William F. Buckley, Jr. of the Left, celebrates Obama’s outreach to Iran for their New Year.

    You Bush worshipers should be hiding in shame now.

    Note, it is posted at American Progress and they do not call it Liberal Intelligence for nothing.

  14. Kolohe,
    The bipartisian committe for social security reform that Greenspan headed wa a godsend. It resulted in doubling the payroll tax…they saved Social Security.

  15. Oh don’t worry they merely want to explore the idea.
    __________________________________________
    yeah i am sure thats all it is. plus, why explore unamerican and unconstitutional ideas, oh wait, I’m sorry i forgot we are socialist now

  16. Gabe,

    I did not know that Randite did anything good. Thank you for finding the exception.

  17. The Negro Hitler believes in service to der vaterland uber alles.

    Godwined? You’re goddamned.

  18. No. They are more than happy to take. The real implied command is STFU.

    TAKE is their perogative. STFU is just helpful advice. Don’t you want their advice?

  19. I just thank G-d I’m really, really old.

  20. Take note that 40% of House Republicans voted for this shit.

  21. “whether a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the nation.”

    the question, though, of how such a requirement could be implemented in a way that respects inalienable rights has yet to be addressed.

  22. Fair and reasonable…mandatory service. Okay, I just explored the topic, and it is conceptually impossible. Can I get my government grant now?

  23. Made it ma! Top of the world!!!

  24. Take note that 40% of House Republicans voted for this . . .

    Progressivism on the march!

  25. the National Civilian Community Corps to focus on additional areas like disaster relief and energy conservation. …

    LOL! What a fucking joke!

    I work with someone who in an NCCC volunteer and went to help during Katrina. Under my breath, I thought she was a gullible fool (not hard to do as I work with her and that’s the way she is at work.)

    FEMA told them to get the fuck out and sent them to various areas to pass out blankets and toilet paper.

    She said “That ain’t help, that’s KP duty” and went home.

    These volunteer corps are nothing more than trade schools for future bureaucrats. Energy conservation will consist of handing out free fluorescent light bulbs passing out handbills on where to drop off old phone books. No one with a sense of accomplishment will find any of these volunteer activities rewarding. However, high school students looking for zero-effort ways to get NHS props for their scholarship applications will sign up in droves.

  26. I just thank G-d I’m really, really old.

    Not so fast, gramps. Our ruling class has “created opportunities” for seniors to “better their communities and themselves” too:

    `NATIONAL SENIOR SERVICE CORPS’

  27. I would expect any mandatory program to be rather quickly challenged under the 13th Amendment.

  28. GG,

    You seem to have SugarFreed the link.

  29. I think this is a great idea. We can use these volunteers to patrol our southern border to stop the flow of illegal dugs. I consider everyone volunteer to be a great American.

  30. Cool Cal,
    You mean the inalienable rights to free health care and education?
    UN declaration of Human Rights

    Article 23
    Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

    Article 26
    Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free,

    Article 25
    Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care

    Article 28
    Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

    Article 29
    Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible

  31. Gabe,

    If our forefathers were willing to die rather than submit to the authority of an island nation thousands of mikes away in the North Atlantic, then how might they feel about bending over for the UN.

    My take is that they’d simply nuke New York.

  32. “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible”

    “his” peronality? Did the Taliban write this shit?

  33. Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, or-you know it!-GIVE.

    Hmm. Howsabout:

    Taxpayer Accelerated Kleptocrat Empowerment – TAKE.

  34. peronality = personality

  35. You seem to have SugarFreed the link.

    Try this one.

  36. I would expect any mandatory program to be rather quickly challenged under the 13th Amendment.

    And any such challenge to be roundly denounced by the media and the Party as uncaring.

  37. I would expect any mandatory program to be rather quickly challenged under the 13th Amendment.

    And I would expect the SCOTUS to cower and say that it ain’t slavery if the State is your Master.

  38. The SCOTUS wouldn’t kill mandatory service. Not a chance.

    How quaint, to expect a court to defend your liberty from an overbearing government….

  39. But people should help out the community. It is their civic duty.

  40. Best way to help the community is to promote private property rights and to oppose governmental kleptocrats.

  41. “it’s hard to muster a wisecrack.”

    Hey Congress! Service this!

  42. But people should help out the community. It is their civic duty.

    They try to force my kid into this bullshit, I’ll help the community out all right. I’ll be all about urban renewal and opening up jobs in the government.

  43. peronality = personality

    Actually, peronality works quite nicely in this case.

  44. It appears that the version that passed the house did NOT include Title VI, which was the part that called for the involuntary servitude (err, mandatory volunteering) commission. The two earlier versions included it, but the final one passed by the House did not.

    I’m not totally clear on the story behind the change. If anyone can provide more details, they’d be welcome. I’d love to know who was behind the change. (Or did the commission end up getting put somewhere else and passed?)

  45. “may serve as the gateway drug to the illiberal oxymoron of compulsory volunteerism”

    This isn’t the only type of “volunteerism” the Obamamanicas are pushing.

    Barak the magnificant has exhorted people to base their career choices on what (he thinks) is good for the country.

    Therefore one should aspire to be an engineer, not an investment banker because Barak in his infinite wisdom has determined that engineers are good for the country and investment bankers are not.

  46. Slave keepers, slave traders, and slave drivers (wherever and whenever they exist) have no moral claim whatsoever on the behavior of their alleged chattels.

    Owned things cannot commit crimes, only people have that capacity.

  47. I volunteer to beat the fuck out of politicians.

    Just give me a get-out-of-jail-free card and I’ll start making the world a better place.

  48. Therefore one should aspire to be an engineer, not an investment banker because Barak in his infinite wisdom has determined that engineers are good for the country and investment bankers are not.

    What’s the line on politicians and bureaucrats? I think we’ve got an oversupply of those two. Can we ban children from entering those careers?

  49. Here in California, I attended one of several “town hall” meetings, which are being held throughout the State, to gauge the public sentiment on how best (or most palatably) to “modernize” our tax system here. Translated into plain English, they are trying to knock down the barriers to and grease the skids for taking more of our money, more quickly, in order to realize “California’s ambitious vision.”

    So, from those who have money, take money, and as much of it as you can grab. With national service, it is clear that the object is to find a way for people without money to contribute to that same ambitious political vision, “in kind” as it were. If this trend continues, it won’t be long before we’re giving up 50% of our income, which is generated using only 50% of our time, the other 50% going to mandatory government service. Not content with making people into “tax slaves,” our leaders now push to create a cadre of REAL slaves. How ironic that Mr. Obama may be the one to succeed at THAT task.

  50. “Owned things cannot commit crimes, only people have that capacity.”

    On the other hand, owned things can be involved in crimes, and so can be subject to civil asset forfeiture. At least, that’s the government’s theory. You got a problem with that?

  51. “Not content with making people into “tax slaves,””

    I like the way you think, Mr. Merritt.

  52. Fuck Communism, this is fucking Feudalism!

  53. “Fuck Communism, this is fucking Feudalism!”

    Technically not, as long as they let us shoot and eat the rabbits and squirrels.

  54. “Owned things cannot commit crimes, only people have that capacity.”

    On the other hand, owned things can be involved in crimes, and so can be subject to civil asset forfeiture. At least, that’s the government’s theory. You got a problem with that?

    Let’s see…our hypothetical slave, having disposed of one person who held the whip, is confronted with another of the same ilk.

    I wonder what happens next?

    Of course, the answer is the state has more guns so the slave will die, and the state will preen about what a good job they’re doing. Life’s not fair.

    Unless and until the slaves rise up en mass and slaughter even the nice people among the rulers. Life’s not fair, sauce for the goose edition

  55. I would expect any mandatory program to be rather quickly challenged under the 13th Amendment.

    I find your naive faith disturbing.

  56. I “explored” the concept of Mandatory National Service in just the moments it took me to open up my Constitution and flip to the 13th Amendment:

    “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

    Do we need a “commission” to do over months or years the same thing I could do in a couple of minutes? Hey Obama! Once they figure out what a suitable budget might be for this commission, why don’t you just send me half for the research I did and cancel the project…?

    The hell with such screwball commissions. We need every citizen to have and read their own copies of the Constitution.

    On the other hand, given that “community service” is such a popular punishment for the gazillions of petty crimes now on the books, I suppose that the proper function of a “Mandatory National Service” commission, apart from figuring out how to repeal the 13th Amendment, would be to ensure that laws, which are particularly easy for young people to break, are on the books of every state, and that the National Service Corp is authorized as a way (perhaps the PREFERRED or ONLY way) to discharge any community service component of sentences for conviction of violating those laws. That would be all nice and constitutional, but it would of course give the government even greater incentive than it has now to label EVERY citizen as a criminal, at least technically. So might the concept of “original sin” be secularized, I think.

  57. I wonder if I can get some of these yutes to pass out libertarian pamphlets…

  58. I would expect any mandatory program to be rather quickly challenged under the 13th Amendment.

    Doesn’t Maryland have one of these bullshit service programs for the kiddies that was found to be a-okay?

  59. Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act

    If that doesn’t say, syntactically challenged Maoist, I don’t know what does. Hello, Madame Speaker.

  60. Being invigorated makes me very angry. Very angry, indeed.

  61. If that doesn’t say, syntactically challenged Maoist, I don’t know what does. Hello, Madame Speaker.

    It’s almost as if they’re not even trying anymore. I mean, at least put some cologne on before sticking it to us.

  62. I’m surely voting straight GOP in 2010. Not LP. Not independent. And no way Democratic.

    That’s what overreaching gets you, dudes. Give me divided government ASAP.

  63. It’s obvious they’re not going to make it “mandatory” for everyone. What I fully expect is that they are going to make it mandatory — maybe not immediately, but in the future — for people who are trying to get student loans. Since the Supreme Court has long taken the view that “the government can do anything they want so long as they attach the right to receive $ or not receive $ to it”, it’ll be upheld.

  64. I’m surely voting straight GOP in 2010.

    That’ll help.

  65. “Unless and until the slaves rise up en mass and slaughter even the nice people among the rulers.”

    I have been saying something similar for years: Unless and until we start firing incumbents — even the “good ones” — business as usual in DC and the State capitals and county seats will continue unabated. Firing incumbents not only sends a powerful, clear message, it prepares the ground, in which the seeds of that message can take root.

    The revolution I have had in mind all these years isn’t bloody, but of course at the mention of it, anyone who works in or otherwise adores government screams bloody murder. It’s hard to find anyone who likes being fired. It’s also hard to find people who like to fire anyone. But this is what must happen, to reduce the pressure that otherwise will grow to the point of explosion, and trigger the kind of situation “no middle ground” describes. That’s how I see it, anyway.

    I fear, however, that Jefferson was right in the Declaration of Independence:

    “…all Experience hath shewn that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.”

    This appears to apply as well to the simple act of voting to toss out incumbents, thus guaranteeing substantial turnover in a clearly malfunctioning — some says intrinsically dysfunctional — government.

    They had an excuse for apathy in the old days: regime change was difficult and almost invariably bloody. So here in this country we made it about as easy and bloodless as anyone could imagine it being. Still the public won’t employ the remedy. Using ballots was conceived as a way of avoiding the use of bullets. But if we can’t bring ourselves to employ the former, the latter will be inevitable. I invite anyone who wants to avoid that latter case to join me in my project. Fire the incumbents! Or, said another way, “Yes, we CAN!”

  66. . . .not that I like the GOP. It’s just necessary to slow down this rush to destruction by re-introducing the possibility of gridlock.

    That said, it pisses me off that the Republicans don’t really get how much this is their fault.

  67. “I would expect any mandatory program to be rather quickly challenged under the 13th Amendment.”

    I am altering the deal.

    Pray I do not alter it any further.

  68. Andrew S. wrote, “What I fully expect is that they are going to make it mandatory — maybe not immediately, but in the future — for people who are trying to get student loans. Since the Supreme Court has long taken the view that ‘the government can do anything they want so long as they attach the right to receive $ or not receive $ to it,” it’ll be upheld.”

    Perhaps not, at least if the “loan” remains a “loan” and not a “grant.” If the students still has to pay back full principal and interest, then any national service requirement would have to be seen as part of the interest, the value of which could be characterized as usurious and perhaps effectively challenged on that basis. On the other hand, the student might be able to select how to repay the interest, with cash or equivalent-value “service.” Perhaps some or all of the principal could be forgiven in exchange for “service,” too. I would expect those or similar arrangements to stand up in court.

    Once again, I do the “mandatory national service” commission’s evil work for them in the space of five minutes or so. I suppose I should quit giving them ideas to effect our virtual enslavement, though. 🙁

  69. I hate to pile on, but it seems that when curd boy is off doing something else, the level of discourse here greatly improves.

  70. Well, the 13th Amendment explicitly exempts people convicted of crimes, so the government could just start busting everybody for violating any crime on the books. That should account for most of our younger population. If it doesn’t, then they can just criminalize something everyone is doing, then complete the filling of the slave camps.

    Simple!

  71. # Pro Libertate | March 20, 2009, 4:49pm | #

    # I’m surely voting straight GOP in 2010.
    # Not LP. Not independent. And no way Democratic.

    Unfortunately, if the “division” is a false one — if you simply vote for the other side of Two-Face’s coin, as most of us seem to do — you’re just perpetuating the good-cop/bad-cop scam, and the growth and power of government continues its steady progress toward totalitarianism. Good luck with that.

    The way to give a salutary shock to the system is to fire the incumbents, even the “good ones,” and replace them NOT with their rivals from the opposite major party, but rather with independent or third-party candidates. Additionally, I think it would be a good idea to select from among those alternative candidates someone who has a track record of respecting the people, knowing their rights, and understanding the value of having constitutional limits on authority. But in the worst case, even if you replace an incumbent with, say, Gary Coleman, you send the message that politics as usual isn’t acceptable, and that big changes MUST occur — that the public is the boss, that ANY pol holds his or her job by grace of the public, and that ANYONE can be replaced. That’s the most important message that we have needed to send for the past decade or so, and it will continue to be important as the politicians take their opportunity in our time of crisis to grab more power for their “ruling class.”

  72. “If it doesn’t, then they can just criminalize something everyone is doing, then complete the filling of the slave camps.”

    Hmmmm.

    Something everyone is doing.

    I’ve got it!

    They can criminalize breathing.

    After all, putting all that nasty “pollutant” carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is a crime against GAIA and her ever so delicate ecological balances.

    We must all serve to remediate our sins.

  73. “Pro Libertate | March 20, 2009, 5:13pm | #”

    Glad to see we agree (see my last graf from 4:31). When the government sends me my half of the hypothetical budget for the “National Service Commission” that my postings here have obviated, I’ll gladly cut you in for say, a fifth. 😉

  74. peronality = personality

    See, folks? That’s why we have RC’z Law.

    “Fuck Communism, this is fucking Feudalism!”

    Technically not, as long as they let us shoot and eat the rabbits and squirrels.

    What makes you think the people behind this intend to let you have anything with which to shoot rabbits and squirrels?

  75. Unless and until we start firing incumbents — even the “good ones” — business as usual in DC and the State capitals and county seats will continue unabated. Firing incumbents not only sends a powerful, clear message, it prepares the ground, in which the seeds of that message can take root.

    Not gonna happen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymander

  76. Fair enough.

    The GOP sucks ass. Did I say that earlier? I’m not looking to put them back in charge in 2012. Just looking for a house or two in 2010. Maybe just the one would be best. Not sure. It would be nice if they’d act all uppity like they did in 1994.

    R C Dean,

    Why do you think we’ll be allowed to eat meat?

  77. Gilbert Martin wrote, “I’ve got it!

    “They can criminalize breathing.

    “After all, putting all that nasty ‘pollutant’ carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is a crime against GAIA and her ever so delicate ecological balances.”

    You laugh now, monkey boy, but you weren’t at the “CALIFORNIA FORWARD” regional town-hall meeting I attended last night, during which the idea of a “carbon tax” was matter-of-factly presented as one potential “tool” to “fix” the State’s “broken” tax system.

    By “broken,” of course, is meant severe inefficiency in appropriating and transporting taxpayer dollars to government agencies, in order to pay for politicians’ “ambitious vision” for California. They use the phrase “our ambitious vision,” but they only seem to include the public as part of “us” when it comes time to pay.

  78. I’m hording carbon. I’m up to 18% of my body mass in pure, evil carbon. Oh, yeah.

  79. This is dismal. At least I can take comfort in knowing that the pendulum will swing back eventually. It may not be in my lifetimes, but the cycle of history eventually turns full circle.

  80. Pro Liberate, I just read your post on carbon. Thanks for cheering me up.

  81. # Stagman | March 20, 2009, 5:28pm | #

    ## Unless and until we start firing
    ## incumbents — even the “good ones” —
    ## business as usual in DC and the State
    ## capitals and county seats will continue
    ## unabated. Firing incumbents not only
    ## sends a powerful, clear message, it
    ## prepares the ground, in which the seeds
    ## of that message can take root.

    # Not gonna happen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymander

    Normally I would agree with you, especially after the public’s repeated failure to exercise the “lather-rinse-repeat” option at the ballot box in election after election. But watch California. We recently passed an initiative to make districts more competitive. The effects (or lack of same) should be apparent over the next several years. If it works, the mechanism could spread to other States and perhaps help the voters once again select their representatives, instead of the representatives cherry-picking (“gerry”-picking?) their voters. I’m crossing my fingers.

  82. jtuf,

    No problem. I just hope the government doesn’t find out.

  83. But watch California. We recently passed an initiative to make districts more competitive.

    I live in California, and I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Per the Wikipedia article: “In an unusual occurrence in 2000, for example, the two dominant parties in the state of California cooperatively redrew both state and Federal legislative districts to preserve the status quo, ensuring the electoral safety of the politicians from unpredictable voting by the electorate. This move proved completely effective, as no State or Federal legislative office changed party in the 2004 election, although 53 congressional, 20 state senate, and 80 state assembly seats were potentially at risk.”

    That’s right, not one seat changed hands.

  84. “jtuf | March 20, 2009, 5:35pm | #

    This is dismal. At least I can take comfort in knowing that the pendulum will swing back eventually. It may not be in my lifetimes, but the cycle of history eventually turns full circle.”

    You are making the assumption that the Obama Youth program, among others, will somehow not be a huge success.

    Out of curiosity, how did you manage to snake more than one lifetime?

  85. Wasn’t it just two months ago maybe that we were told how kooky we are to think a bill like this one would even be considered?

  86. I live in California, and I’ll believe it when I see it.

    That’s exactly why the politicians have been removed from drawing the next set of boundaries. And it’s bad enough when the majority party imposes it’s will, it is even worse when the minority party accepts a ‘safe’ minority status.

    Personally I think it should be done with a lottery. You win a million bucks and sit on the commission that draws the districts.

  87. Wasn’t it just two months ago maybe that we were told how kooky we are to think a bill like this one would even be considered?

    Don’t forget that comparing the national service idea promoted in the campaign to brown shirts was such a stupid thing and that makes you racist and your mother is ugly!

    But here’s a real question: what do the intellectuals over at Daily Kossumist have to say?

  88. This is dismal. At least I can take comfort in knowing that the pendulum will swing back eventually. It may not be in my lifetimes, but the cycle of history eventually turns full circle.”

    I disagree with this premise, and I have one of my own. I take it as a given that the Chinese will never repeat the disaster of the cultural revolution. After that disaster, they slowly turned to capitalist economic means while retaining an authoritarian state as we well know.

    This is shaping up to be our cultural revolution. There is very little in the way of sense or sensibility to stop what Bush started and Obama and Pelosi have escalated. After this disaster, I am hoping the American people will be as permanently disenchanted with the left and crony capitalist right as the Chinese are for those who wrecked their society.

  89. “Wasn’t it just two months ago maybe that we were told how kooky we are to think a bill like this one would even be considered?”

    Oh joe, where art thou to save us?

    Asshole’s probably in favor of it.

    And how about all the “reasonable” and level-headed people, so careful not to preserve that delicately perceived balance of evils between Republicans and Democrats.

    Idiots.

  90. I wish I could track down all those people who, back in October, were telling me how important it was to vote for Obama because McCain was going to bring back the draft.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.