National Service

Presidential Candidate John Delaney Has a Plan for America's Young Adults. It's Called Forced Labor.

The only way mandatory national service would "unify" the teens of America would be to cause them to loathe the government together.

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A presidential candidate hopes to break out from the back of the pack and into America's hearts by promising to force America's high school graduates to spend a year working for the government, whether they want to or not.

John Delaney has made it into the Democratic Primary debates this week, despite polling between 0 and 1 percent recently and looking and sounding like a character invented by Will Ferrell. Over the weekend he attempted to grab some attention by rolling out a plan for mandatory national service:

Under his plan, he explains on his site, "all Americans would be required to serve their country for at least one year, with an option to serve for two. This requirement would apply to everyone upon turning 18, no exceptions."

What if they haven't yet graduated high school? Is there an exception for that? It would seem like there would have to be. Does Delaney even grasp that birthdays don't always line up with high school graduations?

But the stupidity doesn't stop with the "no exceptions." The whole program is dumb. He says that participants will be paid and will get two free years at a public college or university. If they serve two years, they'll get three free years of college.

These new adults will have four options. They can join the military; they can join a new community service organization, similar to AmeriCorps, that will tutor disadvantaged children or whatever social programs the government decides to emphasize; they can take on a proposed "infrastructure apprenticeship" that would use public/private partnerships to do things like improving parks and upgrading federal buildings; or they can join a new Climate Corps, which "would assist in clean energy projects, including solar installation, improving building efficiency, developing community gardens, and increasing awareness about sustainable practices."

Remarkably, Delaney insists that forcing 18-year-olds to serve government agencies and contractors against their will would "restore our sense of shared purpose and a common and inclusive national destiny."

But we're Americans. We shouldn't have a "sense of shared purpose" and we don't have a common "national destiny," whatever the heck that's supposed to mean. Part of being an American is claiming the right to choose your own adventure and to draw your own map of your future.

This is flat-out forced labor, and paying the laborers doesn't change the fact that you are stealing a year of young people's lives. It's comically absurd to think that compelling them to do whatever tasks are currently on officials' agendas is going to unify them in any way. Just the assumption that these projects match the values of all or even most Americans is itself galling. Forcing an entire younger generation to do an oler generation's bidding will not bring a "sense of shared purpose," any more than drafting them to fight in Vietnam did.

The vast majority of these kids have had 12 years of mandated government schooling. If that has failed to create a sense of unity among them, another year of paving streets and digging gardens isn't going to do it.

And it shouldn't. The American government belongs to the citizens, not the other way around. America's 18-year-olds are not Delaney's property to decide how to best deploy across the country.

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  1. Goes right along with multi-billion dollars fines against tech companies. They are running out of way to steal other people’s money. So steal their labor instead!

    I doubt very many slave tutors will be appreciated by parents of disabled children. And when some of those tutors go rogue and do stupid things, like hit kids or rape them, or even just steal from the household, will the parents get any accountability form the government?

    1. Well, one fair type of tax allocation is a head tax, based on the complicated formula:

      Head Tax = federal budget/population

      And those who can’t pay in cash could pay in labor.

      1. Is it constitutional to make those here illegally pay taxes?

        1. Constitutional? Yes. We already require it.

          Practical? That’s a lot harder.

      2. Nice fantasy, but …. federal, state,and local governments spend around $9T a year. Divide that by 300M people (easy arithmetic) and that’s $30K per person per year.

        We can’t afford the government we got!

        It does make you think … where is all that money coming from? Even if you cut it back some for all the federal borrowing, that’s still a lot of money. Property tax, sales tax, business tax, most of it is invisible in practical terms.

      3. No there is nothing fair about that, what you have proposed is evil. What you suggest would imposeva burden on people just for existing with no consideration for their ability to pay. I suggest you do some reaserch on the uk poll tax riots.

        1. No there is nothing fair about that, what you have proposed is evil. What you suggest would imposeva burden on people just for existing with no consideration for their ability to pay.

          So it’s fair that people get to vote “just for existing” and that they receive government benefits “just for existing”, but it is not fair to then demand that they work “just for existing”? Why should people who contribute nothing to government have a say in how government operates or spends its money? How is that even remotely “fair”?

          I suggest you do some reaserch on the uk poll tax riots.

          So you’re advocating decision making by violent mob rule? How is that even democratic, let alone fair?

    2. Unless those children are already home schooled, where are you even going to find the hours to employ all these tutors full time? No, you’re not going to have them going from house to house waking up the schoolchildren at night to tutor each for an hour and move on.

      If they ever installed this part of this hare brained scheme, the only way I can see it happening is that the schools install an office for them, and kids considered disadvantaged are shuffled thru it on a weekly schedule, where the “tutor” just reads or watches porn or whatever while the kids do nothing. Or less. When I and another “beneficiary” (whatever they called us) were assigned to help at a Catholic pre-school, the nuns just had us sit in the hall and stay out of the way, since having us involved in any instruction was judged to be a liability.

      1. Are you sure the nuns just didn’t want you to see how they treated the students?

  2. Although we Koch / Reason libertarians should always vote Democrat, we shouldn’t endorse every dumb idea a Democrat puts forth. And mandatory service is certainly a dumb idea.

    However, even with Delaney nowhere near Harris and Warren in my top tier, he’s still clearly better than Drumpf. Just look at what he says about immigration — The United States is a nation of immigrants and almost all of us have a story of our families coming to the U.S. for a better life. We need to remember our history and be a welcoming country for those who want a better life for their families and who are seeking to be productive members of society.

    It’s not quite the explicit call for open borders I’d like to hear, but we can be sure a President Delaney wouldn’t put children in cages or run literal concentration camps.

    1. Democrats are broken. After the election, I found it amusing. Now it’s just sad.

    2. Why should “Koch / Reason libertarians” vote for eliminating choice in health care? Why should they support transferring of money, at the point of a government gun, from one person to benefit another? The latter is just about as much forced servitude as one year of mandatory public service is – it’s just the former lasts for a lifetime while the latter lasts for 365 days. Forcing one to give up the fruits of their labor is not much less evil than forcing them to do the labor and be paid for it.

      It’s hard to see why anyone who would label themselves libertarian, even with modifiers, would vote for most of this crop of Democratic candidates — unless, perhaps, the goal is to overload and collapse our (proposed to be massively expanded) social welfare network by opening the borders.

    3. On what planet is it a good idea to always vote for Democrats, especially the leading lights? They’re the very definition of state control of everything. They represent the opposite of any libertarian thought.

      For that matter when is it a good idea to always vote any party?

      Open borders are just as foolish as leaving your doors & windows unlocked while you’re gone. In particular, you deliberately ignore the fact that many people in this country are opposed to illegal immigration; they have no problem with anyone entering the country legally.

      Frankly it’s hard to take seriously anyone who is willing to toss the “Drumpf” insult around. You can go back 5 or 6 generations and never see “Drumpf” anywhere. “Trumpf,” yes. One of his forefathers Anglicized the last name.

  3. “It’s time to bring the country together, to restore our sense of shared purpose and rebuild a common and inclusive national destiny. That’s why we need mandatory national service.”

    Nothing like a dose of slavery to bring people together.

    1. It doesn’t even bring them together! They’d all be in different places doing different things. Other than the slavery aspect, how does that differ from working any job?

      Now, if they were all herded together into a big camp, that would bring them together!

  4. Presidential Candidate John Delaney Has a Plan for America’s Young Adults. It’s Called Forced Labor.

    You mean ‘enslavement’. Let’s not use euphemisms to make things more palatable.

  5. Who the fook is this guy?

    1. Will Farrell, obviously

  6. He says that participants will be paid and will get two free years at a public college or university. If they serve two years, they’ll get three free years of college.

    At any public college or university? Or any they can get in. Because 2 free years at the local community college – even at ‘non-resident’ prices – is a fraction of what you could earn working a min-wage job during that time.

    Also – where are they going to live? Is the first iteration going to be living in tent cities while their first project is building the encampments that will contain the later ones?

    Or are we to extend ‘national service’ to those who own homes and require them to house workers during their servitude? Its not a Third Amendment violation if they’re not soldiers, right?

    1. “Also – where are they going to live? Is the first iteration going to be living in tent cities while their first project is building the encampments that will contain the later ones?”

      And how do you think the Gulags got built?

      1. I am thinking this would be similar to doing mandatory community service. You show up, you do your mandatory shift, except minus the orange vests, you go home. Rinse and repeat for 1 year, except maybe you can get reassigned to another program.

        I am not sure what the plan is for people who slack off or underperform. Or people who get injured on the job.

      2. Don’t call them concentration camps. Call them STD camps. Because large groups of 18 year olds.

        And the cast new class of overseerers this would require. They’d want some too.

    2. Wait a minute, I thought college was going to be “free.” Sounds like a bait-and-switch to me.

      1. Yes it is free and so is your labor; now get back to work before I have to put you in the hot box.

      2. Yes comrade, yes.

  7. As bad as the idea of forced labor “for the good of the motherland” is, it’s a very bad sign that these sorts of things are something a presidential candidate feels comfortable dropping into the conversation. Almost as bad as the fact that we’ve got people loud and proud about being socialists as serious candidates. Socialists! Are you fucking kidding me?

  8. Send them to West Baltimore. That should unify them pretty quickly.

    1. What are you one of those who don’t stand for the national anthem? Show a little respect towards the city that kept you speaking Merican, instead of the queen’s English.

      Just kidding, Baltimore has fallen into disrepair. But I do find it funny how easy he can criticize the city that gave rise to the song that was an early hobby horse of his.

  9. You know who else had a youth program to rebuild a common and inclusive national destiny?

    1. Robert Baden-Powell?

  10. I prefer the idea in Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers”. Make government service voluntary, but only those who finish their term of service (usually 2 years) get to vote, run for office, or be police.

    Oh, and if you volunteer, the government has to take you, even if you have a disability. You just have to be able to understand what you’re signing up for.

    Not exactly libertarian, but better than a virtual national draft.

    1. So if you don’t indenture yourself to the government of the country you live in, you shouldn’t have a say in your government’s power over you?

      Yeah, hard pass.

      1. Also, the pool of candidates for public office will be drawn from a self-selecting and reinforcing pool of people already highly predisposed to sacrificing themselves and others for the empire public good?

        Better than forced servitude but not better than what we’ve got.

      2. Well, let’s compare it to the status quo.

        If you don’t fork over about a third of your income every year, we’ll throw you in jail. Not only won’t you have a say in your government’s power over you during your sentence, as a felon you won’t have any say in the future either. Not exactly indentured servitude but maybe not that far off either.

        Heinlein’s proposal has its problems but it’s still better than Delaney’s plan.

        1. Its not in place of the status quo.

          You will still fork over 1/3rd your income for the duration of your working life *and* get no say in anything unless you also sign up for a term of indentured servitude.

    2. Politician plots have one common factor: they are unworkable fantasies that only someone with no principles and no real world experience could ever dream up.

      Starship Troopers’ citizenship qualification was right up there with them.

      It’s fun, when daydreaming, to conjure up weird societies with weird rules, just to see if you can one-up your buddies. You end up with stupid things like powdered wigs, two foot tall bear hats, and odd titles and curtsy rules that even the royals get wrong.

      “Oh, and if you volunteer, the government has to take you, even if you have a disability. You just have to be able to understand what you’re signing up for.” is right up there with all the other idiotic stuff Heinlein wrote. Moon is a Harsh Mistress had more than it’s share, but it was meant to be idiots dreaming up idiotic rules.

      1. Politician plots have one common factor: they are unworkable fantasies that only someone with no principles and no real world experience could ever dream up.

        I’m not a huge fan of Heinlein, but this begs to have you point out which of your works earned you the Hugo (or comparable) Award.

        1. The Hugo and Nebula awards today are a sign that you’ll get progressive Social Justice Whackadoodle shoved down your throat.

          The Dragon Award is where it’s at.

          1. Not really relevant. Heinlein got his a long time ago.

    3. “Not exactly libertarian…”

      Yeah, indentured servitude and enslavement don’t rate very high on the “libertarian scale.” To borrow from another political stance: “You want my hands and mind to do your dirty-work for you? Molon labe, baby.”

    4. So if you don’t prostrate yourself before the altar of government power and submission to the collective then you get no say in what the force that will be used against you will be used for?

  11. No doubt the fear is that some of our youth will figure out that college isn’t a good idea for everybody and go to a trade school instead; this means the government will lose the chance to further hammer home the vitally important lessons of “wokeness”. This will make sure none of the little rotters–even the homeschooled–will escape.

  12. Delaney is confused. He seems to think he is running for Pharaoh rather than President.

    1. Well, those pyramids aren’t going to build themselves…

    2. I’m just here for the pyramid jokes.

  13. One HUGE upside: We will have a whole generation of folks growing up loathing, and mistrusting, the federal government. Good yes? (sarc font off)

  14. A reach for the progressive dream of organizing society as if on a total war footing without the messy inconvenience of having an existential war to fight put forward by a desparate candidate.

  15. So. Delaney is attempting to outflank Marianne Williamson for the truly unhinged vote.

  16. Delaney had “scored” fairly high in the first debate, so … Oops!

  17. > A presidential candidate hopes to break out from the back of the pack and into America’s hearts by promising to force America’s high school graduates to spend a year working for the government, whether they want to or not.

    Translation for Democrats: Your kids will be forced to work for Trump for a year.

    Translation for Republicans: You’re kids will be forced to work for Warren for a year.

    Okay, maybe it won’t be Trump or Warren. But eventually you’ll have someone in office that is NOT from your team. Someone you will be shitting your pants over. You don’t want your children being slaves to them.

    The problem with modern Democrats (and quite a few Republicans) is that they can’t imagine not being in power. Even while they are out of of power they can’t imagine it. They keep demanding moar and moar government even while they are freaking out over someone they loathe having too much power. They are unable to conceive of the idea to limit power, even to those they despise.

    They sincerely think that once their team is in power it will forever be in power. You would think they would have learned after November 8th, 2016. But nope. They didn’t.

  18. Ugh. Will Farrell was funnier when he wasn’t an authoritarian douchebag.

  19. Fascist is as fascist does.

  20. Remarkably, Delaney insists that forcing 18-year-olds to serve government agencies and contractors against their will would “restore our sense of shared purpose and a common and inclusive national destiny.”

    True. And the Gadsen flag would be am expression of that unity!

    1. Or it could be AN expression – – – –

      Or it am an expression – – – – – without the ‘would be’

      1. But it would never, ever be an edit button

  21. Can we get the current round of reparations taken care of before we go and trigger another round.

  22. Woodchipper
    Dummy
    Picture of Delaney’s smug face

    Some assembly required.

  23. “The only way mandatory national service would “unify” the teens of America would be to cause them to loathe the government together.”

    You say that almost like you think it would be a bad thing. The biggest political problem among young adults is that they trust government entirely too much. The best thing for this country would be some healthy skepticism about the power of government to fix your problem.

  24. Don’t we already have enough government people who have no idea of what they’re doing?

  25. Like the armed forces want a bunch of 1-year signups? Like having unskilled laborers work on construction in government buildings is a good idea? Like you could possibly employ anyone full time tutoring children, unless you took those children out of school (which the teachers’ union’s gonna love)? The sheer impracticality of this proposal is staggering.

    Have you ever seen the make-work assignments they give welfare recipients? Nobody even wants or has a clue what to do with those people at their work sites.

    1. Like the armed forces want a bunch of 1-year signups?

      Hell, most units have trouble dealing with reservists on their two-week – and those people come in knowing how to do their job.

      1. Clearly the answer to these objections is a vast new permanent federal bureau to promulgate regulations as to the utilization management and supervision of these new resources.

        Working there will count toward “green jobs” of course

  26. The idea in Delaney’s plan of some of the draftees being apprentices is a laugh too. If you want to apprentice seriously, you really gotta want it, and gonna need a lot more than a year. With this plan, you’re sure to get a majority of so-called apprentices having no interest in a career at whatever they’re apprenticing in, and the people they’re apprenticed to are gonna know it, so you’re going to have to draft them too, or pay them a lot to waste their time training someone who’s going away.

  27. Indentured servitude brought to you by another freedom hating statist.

  28. Clearly the answer to these objections is a vast new permanent federal bureau to promulgate regulations as to the utilization management and supervision of these new resources.

    Working there will count toward “green jobs” of course

  29. This guy will quietly bow out of the race within the next month, guaranteed. Probably less.

  30. Not that I’m for this program at all but if you’re going to draft anyone into national service it shouldn’t be young adults – it should be seniors. Young adults have enough to worry about with starting careers and establishing themselves. The retirees on the other hand have plenty of time to spare. Let them clean up the parks and paint federal buildings.

  31. Here is a link to an article on the subject that I wrote back in 2009.

    http://smallthoughts.com/blog/service.html

  32. “… developing community gardens, and increasing awareness about sustainable practices.” Send them to farms and ranches and let them pick vegetables or muck out stalls for a year. That should be fun.

    And for those who disagree I expect he has a camp in mind where they can be re-educated on the concept of compulsory volunteerism in the service of the Motherland or Fatherland or, er, Personland or something.

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