National Service

Young Americans Oppose Mandatory National Service, Military or Otherwise

That could be bad news for 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.


Are Americans eager to be forced to surrender labor and years of their lives to work on government projects? Not so much, a recent survey reveals. When asked about a reinstated draft, roughly a third of of those in the age range most likely to be affected say they would resist—and their opposition extends beyond military conscription to all sorts of mandatory service.

Young Americans are particularly unthrilled at the prospect of a reinstated draft. Thirty-one percent of "male Millennials say that they would 'try to avoid being conscripted into the armed forces,'" the polling firm YouGov reported last week. Just as interesting, only 23 percent of male millennials said they would not try to avoid conscription (other respondents answered "don't know" or "not applicable").

Thirty-two percent of female millennials also said they would try to avoid conscription, while only 15 percent said they would not.

An even higher percentage of male respondents in the post-millennial Gen Z said they would try to avoid conscription, but their representation in the survey was too small to be considered representative.

Opposition to conscription unsurprisingly dropped among older generations, who are almost certainly beyond draft age.

"Wait a minute!" national service advocates complain. "We never said it had to be the military! It could be all sorts of peaceful government busywork."

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg—whose presidential campaign recently reached double-digit support nationally for the first time, after first showing signs of life in Iowa polls—specifically calls for the creation of new agencies, including a Community Health Corps, Intergenerational Corps, and Climate Corps, to facilitate non-military forms of national service. On his website, the Navy veteran emphasizes "a universal, national expectation of service for all 4 million high school graduates every year, such that the first question asked of every college freshman or new hire is: 'where did you serve?'"

Back in April, Buttegieg told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that he wanted "to make it, if not legally obligatory but certainly a social norm, that anybody after they're 18 spends a year in national service."

Coy phrases like "if not legally obligatory" make it unclear as to whether that "universal, national expectation of service" will be enforced by government or by magic. (Fellow Democratic hopeful John Delaney, who is allegedly still in the race, makes no bones about the "mandatory" nature of the national service he favors.) In a large, diverse, and factionalized country, it's difficult to imagine how you arrive at "universal" anything without (perhaps conscripted) enforcers.

Unfortunately for Buttigieg and other advocates of national service, the people who would be drafted into those non-military "service opportunities" don't seem to like them better.

"Almost half (49%) of Americans favor requiring young men and women to give a year of service to the nation," Gallup reported in 2017. "But a majority (57%) of the group most likely to be affected—those under the age of 30—oppose the idea."

An earlier survey found similar results.

"While solid support exists for voluntary service, 71 percent say they would oppose a system of national service if it were mandatory," Hart Research reported in 2013. "More than half (52 percent) are strongly opposed to the idea. Younger voters, age 18 to 39, most strongly oppose a mandatory system (59 percent), compared with 42 percent of voters over 65."

Basically, if you want enthusiastic support for compelled labor, ask those who won't have to do it. The folks who will be subject to involuntary servitude are largely resentful of the idea of compulsory national service. Any why wouldn't people oppose compelled service, no matter how well-intentioned, and even if it somehow rises above the level of inefficient busywork that inevitably accompanies every large-scale government project? After all, the core component of these schemes of mandatory national service is to take away the participants' freedom to choose.

"What is freedom? It is the right to choose one's own employment. Certainly it means that, if it means anything," Frederick Douglass, the 19th century escaped slave, writer, and reformer responded to the U.S. Army's Civil War-era policy in Louisiana of extracting one year of forced (albeit compensated) agricultural labor from freedmen on behalf of the federal government. "And when any individual or combination of individuals, undertakes to decide for any man when he shall work, where he shall work, at what he shall work, and for what he shall work, he or they practically reduce him to slavery."

It wasn't just life-long chattel slavery that Douglass opposed, it was compulsion that deprived people of their right to choose where and how to work.

Plenty of the people that Pete Buttigieg and other oh-so-concerned politicians and pundits would conscript into government service obviously agree with Douglass. In large numbers, they say they would resist a military draft. But they also oppose any sort of compelled labor on behalf of the government (or anybody else, we can assume).

Maybe Pete Buttigieg really is the less-awful presidential candidate when compared to a host of unimpressive rivals. But if he wants to convince voters that he's the guy they should put in the White House, he should drop his unpopular scheme to conscript the country into his pet projects.

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  1. Young Americans also oppose the Republican Party, bigotry, and backwardness, which is bad news for right-wingers but more good news for America and its future.

    1. Old Americans oppose paying for young snowflakes to have a year's paid vacation between the high school where they learned nothing, and college where they learn the world owes them a living.

      1. You will be replaced by one of those young people. boomer, and America will improve.

        1. You, sir, can be replaced with a toadstool.

        2. "You will be replaced by one of those young people. boomer, and America will improve."

          Notice how the comma/period conflict is confusing to the fucking asshole bigot, and now we get "boomer" tossed in. Thanks, you fucking ignoramus; now toss in "LOL".
          Please fuck off and die; the world doesn't deserve your stupidity.

        3. Jesus man - you keep talking about how educated you people are and here you are unable to use basic punctuation and grammar properly.

    2. They also eat tide pods and incorrectly believe your feelings can magically change your gender.

      Go take a look at what snowflakes are doing now at Syracuse. Tell me u are looking forward to these people running the world one day. Tell me you're eager to pay off their debt.

      1. It's possible that the good Reverend is a tax eater rather than a tax payer, in which case he won't be worried about paying off their debt.

      2. A few young people eat Tide pods. Some believe in magic.

        Many old people are superstitious and most of our society's bigots are older Americans.

        I'll take my chances with the generations that will replace our older generations.

        1. Haha. You won’t be around to take any chances on anyone, old man, and your replacement fantasy will be forever out of reach.

        2. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland
          December.3.2019 at 2:11 pm
          "A few young people eat Tide pods. Some believe in magic."

          And fucking ignoramuses like you think these people are 'our betters':
          1) Lincoln Stephens
          2) Walter Duranty
          3) Joseph Davies
          4) Julian Huxley
          5) Upton Sinclair
          6) John Dewey
          7) Jean Paul Sarte
          8) Henry Wallace
          9) Alger Hiss
          10) Malcom Cowley
          11) Edmund Wilson
          12) G. B. Shaw
          13) Lillian Hellman
          14) C. Wright Mills
          15-20)Donald MacLean, Kim Philby, and the remainder of the Cambridge useful idiots
          21) Harold Lasky
          22) Jacques Derrida
          23) Harrison Salisbury
          24) Norman Mailer
          25) Graham Greene
          26) Harry Bridges
          C'mon, shitstain, you can add to the list.

        3. Uhm, a lot of the young people in college seem to be bigots and the current rage on campus this year is to bring back segregation.

          As always - the Democratic Party is showing the world how it is still the party of slavery.

          "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever"

          That's from the *Democratic* governor of Alabama.

    3. Maybe so, but young people get older. As they do, some of them bump into the reality of real life and discover how fucked up socialism really is.

      1. Yep- as evidenced by the entirety of Europe having a lot of nice things and deciding it's a good thing to have a stable society.

        Btw- that's not socialism but you dolts don't seem to understand that.

        1. The entirety of Europe? You're sure of that?

          Ah, today it isn't socialism. I'm glad to know that. Progs have been telling me that damn near everything the government does is "socialism". And tomorrow, when somebody is defending some "free" something I'll be told I'm a socialist because I drive on the government's roads. It's hard to keep up with.

        2. Europe for the average person has a much less stable society than the US and the opportunity is less there as well.

        3. ... the entirety of Europe having a lot of nice things and deciding it’s a good thing to have a stable society.

          If you build a better mousetrap, there is no need to force people to buy it; they will do so voluntarily. If a "stable society" (whatever that is) is a "good thing," why has it been necessary for European governments to force people to buy it?

        4. then please explain, dullard

        5. Socialism, Fascism, Communism, all are different brands for a society in which the State has entirely too much power and concerns itself intimately with much that it is wholly unsuited to address.

          Look, the problem with a non-military draft is the workforce it will give the State, which is trying to do far too much...most of it badly. Completely setting aside the issue of the morality of Slave Labor, what is needed isn’t a State with more scope, but a State that will focus a trifle better on core issues. Such as keeping the road network in decent repair.

        6. That's funny.

          Because a) *they* call it socialism and, b) they're destroying their 'stable' society with it. Go check out the UK sometime. Go check out Germany or the northern coast of France. And no, its not a Muslim thing, its a welfare thing - natives are violent also.

      2. "Maybe so, but young people get older."

        Some change their economic views, often consequent to changed economic circumstances and selfishness, as they age, but I doubt age is going to make people become bigots, or succumb to adult-onset superstition, or move to rural backwaters. So long as Republicans emphasize intolerance; religion; and uneducated, rural America, they are not going to become more popular with current generations of Americans as they age.

        1. If anything, younger generations have become more bigoted thanks to the fine public education they have received. But I suppose that is inconceivable to you and your prog friends.

          1. This is among the reasons you will be replaced, NoVaNick. By your betters.

            1. The Reason gecko thinks that more bigotry is better. Not surprised.

        2. And then you can fulfill the progressive dream of reinstating slavery.

        3. So long as progs emphasize guilt, grievance and victim hood they will continue to lose their woke army of young “betters” as they age into the reality that they are individuals who are responsible for themselves, and reject the crutch of identity politics foisted on them by angry old hippies like you, rev.


        4. , or move to rural backwaters.

          Well, except for all those Californians moving to places like Boise and Tulsa. Or the New Yorkers moving to the Nevada side of Tahoe.

          Hey, did you know that something like 45% of New York state's income tax base is from the top one percent of earners. That's only 200,000 people. 1/3 of it comes from approximately 1000 people.

          Oh, and rich people, you know what they have a lot of? Mobility. And they're leaving New York.

    4. I for one cannot wait for enlightened leftists to take over my town.

      My town suffers from an acute lack of bums and human feces on its streets and sidewalks.

    5. The Buttigieg Youth just does not roll trippingly off the tongue.

      1. Yang Gang?

    6. actually the collectivism they embrace now is social recidivism (aka your "backwardness"), stop your affectation and buy a book sometime

    7. the collectivism they believe in is social recidivism (your "backwardness" you so ineloquently stated)

    8. Keep chewing that cud.

    9. “bigotry and backwardness”

      Would that be the bigotry and backwardness espoused by Islamofascists like Ilhan Omar and Linda Sarsour? The bigotry and backwardness of regular fascists like Hillary and Warren? Or the bigotry and backwardness of good ole homestyle Stalinists like Bernout?

  2. Let me show you my shocked face.

  3. If we can't drink until we're 21 it's weird to me we could potentially be drafted and sent off to fight in a war at age 18.

    1. Weird. People are too stupid to drink legal alcohol until they're 21, so financially inept that they remain covered by their parents' health insurance until they're 26, but smart enough to vote at 18.

      1. The fracturing of the threshold of adulthood has been idiotic from the first. Either an 18 year old is a full citizen, and entitled to go to hell in the manner of his (or her) choosing, or the threshold needs to be raised. The argument for setting the voting age to 18 was sound, as far as it went. If they are old enough for military service, they are old enough to vote. If they aren’t old enough to vote, then they aren’t old enough to be under arms.

    2. I remember the Democrats use to say this back during the Vietnam era. Then Obama happened, and they suddenly couldn’t get excited enough over the idea of slapping young people in chains to go fight his unauthorized wars while in the same breath demanding the smoking age be raised to 21.

      Almost like they’re a party completely sans consistency or integrity or basic humanity.

  4. What do those who favor national service think it would accomplish? I wish we had some advocates here or somewhere. Maybe I'll ask on Quora.

    1. Assign most of them to the San Francisco Feces Patrol. That'll learn 'em.

    2. Some arguments I’ve heard:

      1. It will force all Americans to put “skin in the game”, not just a warrior class or the poor as is the current model.

      2. It will silence the chickenhawks and lib-interventionalists who’s children would actually have to bear the costs of their policies.

      3. It would make for more careful foreign policy if the majority of our leadership (esp POTUS) had actually served in the military and/or who’s children would have to serve.

      1. Skipped straight to the comments. Thought we were talking about military service.

        I like the idea of an alternative to military service, but it should not be mandatory. And don’t we already have AmeriCorps? Maybe strengthen that?

        1. I have a feeling the federal employees unions don't like the idea of agencies taking on volunteer labor. Isn't it hilarious to see the left tripping over itself?!

        2. Why? You can always go to work for a nonprofit and take a gap year or two after high school. Look, no coercion involved.

        3. There's AmeriCorps
          There's The Peace Corps

          And then there's plenty of independent non-profits that you can volunteer for that actually make an impact.

        4. We already have an alternative to military service as part of a 'national service' . . . thingy.

          Its called 'go volunteer somewhere'. There is no more American form of national service than someone volunteering their time on a project they hold dear.

      2. OK, but those are only if it's military-only service.

      3. The counters are, of course

        1. The rich never had any skin in the game before - unless *they* chose to go.

        1a. Its not really 'the poor' that go anyway. Sure, most military members aren't coming from rich families but they didn't come from impoverished ones either. And that's not a new thing. That's been the way of it since 1990 at least.

        2. It didn't when we had a draft. How many years did Vietnam run for?

        3. It didn't when most of our political leadership did have that prior military experience.

    3. I don't like 'national' service at all. I strongly favor restoring mandatory MILITIA service. Which would be locally focused. Would go well beyond some obsessive nonsense about a purely military function (where I believe the standing army and foreign permawar and previous implementation of conscription has completely destroyed any 'national' credibility). Would encompass roughly 6-9 months of 'service' (mostly as training not output) between the ages of say 16-21. So part-time - incentivized by tax credits (a lower tax rate) for those years - ie I'm not interested in some 100% participation outcome. And combined with the tail years of HS - so a bit of practical, 'coming-of-age-now-you're-a-real-adult-citizen' that breaks the current cronyist assembly line of 'have no idea what I want to do and can't get hired so I'll go into debt for college I guess' BS.

      1. By militia I really do mean locally focused even though the Constitution also then requires federal involvement for the broad organizing/funding/equipping and 'disciplining'. I can easily see almost every municipal-type function getting involved (from police to fire to natural disaster to medical to transport to C3 etc). And even though most of the time would actually be 'training', the output would have immediately visible local results. Which is for that age group exactly the level of outcome that is meaningful.

        It would not merely be some NRA bullshit about handling guns or some fixated pre-urban idea of a very limited 'militia' because there was no such thing as a 'community' then. Rather it would be militia in the broadest sense - the age group that is deemed to be the adult polity.

      2. And two of the positive side-effects I can see would be:

        a. the undermining of gangs in urban areas. Gangs in fact do fill the vacuum when a local governance has nothing that teenage peers can 'accomplish' as a peer group. That in turn would (I think) pretty significantly reduce crime and increase a sense of neighborhood that could eliminate the BS assemblyline in our society of sending large numbers of teens to prison.

        b. the undermining of the credentialing BS among employers who insist on a college degree as the entry level. They may well not be interested in participating in that 'service' program. And they will then in all likelihood lose a significant part of their employee pipeline which will decide that they really don't need to go to college fulltime at age 18. Eliminating that HS-to-college fulltime pipeline also eliminates the stranglehold of colleges over that age group which is how college loans jack up college prices.

      3. You lost me at "mandatory"

        Make it voluntary and sell it as a resume builder, ok we can talk about that. I would still argue that there are plenty of private opportunities here. Government really doesn't need to be involved.

        But mandatory service is a violation of the NAP, the 13th amendment, and fundamental human rights against involuntary servitude. No thanks. How would you enforce against people who don't want to serve in your militia? Lock them up in a cage?

        1. I'm not gonna apologize for the use of the word. If you missed my blurb re the 'implementation' - So part-time – incentivized by tax credits (a lower tax rate) for those years – ie I’m not interested in some 100% participation outcome. - well that is all I am interested in actually mandating. ie there is no penalty whatsoever - except that if you don't participate you lose that tax incentive and you forever lose that 'peer experience'.

          But lose that word 'mandating' - and you end up in some fucking wheedling environment which for kids of that age is little more than 'I want more candy. That's not enough candy. I want more'. THAT is a mindset that is pervasive among kids of crappy parents - and that is exactly a mindset that needs to be broken as kids become adults and no longer are 'parental property'.

          1. well that is all I am interested in actually mandating. ie there is no penalty whatsoever – except that if you don’t participate you lose that tax incentive and you forever lose that ‘peer experience’.

            I don't see how what you describe here could ever be conceived of as being "mandatory."

            1. It's not. But it is mandatory that the word 'mandatory' be used. The idea can't be presented overtly or thought of as some opportunity to play let's make a deal. Once you head down that path, then you lose the ability to 'improve'/manage the actual participation rate over time. If the initial participation is 60% and you are in 'offering incentives' mode, then the way that will get increased is via higher incentives rather than meaningful experience. And the end-result will be a bunch of really expensive make-work BS. That in effect becomes a generational pig-trough which will simply get entrenched as more pig-trough as that generation ages. The worst of all possible worlds.

              1. Ok. So use the word “mandatory”, but it’s not really mandatory. And tax credits.

                You work for the government, right? So much faux empathy for the poor masses who are incapable of making their own decisions without your terrible ideas.

          2. Then its not mandatory. And what do you do if you don't get enough 'volunteers'? Like all government 'nudge' schemes the answer ends up being 'shoot a couple until the rest do what you want them to'.

            But still, there are already militia opportunities or similar. Volunteer police/EMS work. State militias (not the NG but you know, the ones with weird ranks and stuff).

            But still, the focus of your thing here seems to be *state* service. As in 'service to the state'. Not 'serving the nation'. Which is what everyone who has a job does - the output of your labor is a service to the rest of mankind. The ultimate value of every person's labor and every company is found in the product/service they provide and not the tax they pay to the state.

        2. And yeah - govt actually does need to be involved because the private sector has gone full-bore credentialing BS. They offer almost NOTHING to anyone in that age group under say 22 or so unless/until the kids go into debt and get a college degree. And because they almost all do that, it effectively becomes a 'labor market cartel' (though not at all a formal cartel and easily 'breakable' once 'competition' for some meaningful activity is introduced).

          1. My employer hires people with only high school diplomas all the time. They start out doing manual labor and through additional training, school, or on-the-job experience they can move up to a higher level of pay and position.

            If you're complaining that it often requires a college degree to immediately get a good paying job, then to that I would say... "well, duh."

            1. Well there are a ton of employers who 'require' (whether formally or de facto or by simple bad habit and laziness) college degree as their entry-level. In particular employers who do have a lot of good jobs that may ultimately but not immediately require a college degree. Often they actually won't have 'manual' jobs. Those will have all been outsourced to contractors. But they have plenty of office scutwork type jobs and their entry-level jobs do not remotely require college and they know it. But entry into the door 'requires' college.

              Employers who do have manual labor jobs are usually better nowadays in thinking about a workforce pipeline that includes different education minimums. But business-wise, they have often been forced into niches that can limit the top-level jobs there.

              In your case, your employer would likely also find it very valuable to participate in that local 'mandatory militia service' program. Gives them a chance to observe how different potential young employees actually work to solve problems. And they then also have a leg up in hiring those folks a couple years into that program. Might even give them a product/sales insight into what different munis actually need. The lazy employers who just 'credential' would likely not participate at first. But as they start losing prospective employees - or muni sales - they will 'learn'.

              And no - that does not mean that program should be serving the needs of any of those employers. They remain purely observers - and probably paying observers. That sort of kowtow shit is one reason our K-12 system is producing such poor tiered outcomes. 'Low expectation' employers work with HS to coopt what they need while 'high expectation' employers work only colleges to coopt what they need.

          2. The private sector is responding to the demands of the EEOC. It's hard to legally administer job qualification tests, since those are apparently racist. But you can require a college degree or certification which screens out a large chunk of applicants.

            1. The function served by credentialing is economic signaling. But that is a function of asymmetric information in the marketplace - and nowadays simple laziness.

              The impact of EEOC and Civil Rights Act of 1964 on completely bogus credentialing was actually the opposite of what you claim. See Griggs v Duke Power.

      4. Mandatory milita service is slavery. Period. Once you cross that line then there's no particular reason - other than worrying that your slave will shoot you - that you won't push the line further and further away.

    4. I'm trying to get into the heads of those who advocate mandatory national not-exclusively-military service, like corvee. Its essence is that for some period, during some period of their early adult lives, everybody has to work for the government, within some limited range of choices. There's not enough actual "government work", military or otherwise, to be done, so it would have to be mostly make-work — "jobs" that don't really need doing — or government organization of tasks that are currently done by private enterprise.

      What do these people imagine young adults doing otherwise? Being idle or doing something less worthy, or extending their schooling? Like somehow being a government employee and maybe wearing some kind of badge saying, "I'm in the exalted conscript category, love me!" would give them esprit de corps and therefore a better start to productive life? Or do the advocates simply not think about what people would be doing otherwise, or think only of a few characters they know who they think would be better off in some service corps the advocate has in mind?

      1. Robert, I think JFree is advocating something very similar to what you describe here. I'm still confused a little on his idea of "mandatory" but not punishable if you don't participate.

        1. Think of it this way - the only useful element of actually 'mandatory' is making sure everyone in the age group hears about what the program actually is. Because the Army is voluntary now, it has to spend money for recruiting - for marketing - to compete for attention - for selling itself as a career. That costs roughly $16,000 per new recruit. That $1-2billion is simply wasted money that does not improve defense. But while the cost might be a bit lower for a militia service, it is far more wasteful for what would be temporary service.

          There's no value - hell there's negative value - in wasting lengthy training/prep time on people who are unwilling or hostile. Chances are they would never show up in a community emergency anyway. You really don't even want some asshole showing up at the info/sales pitch to waste everyone else's time with some passive-aggressive BS. But it is simply dumb to fail to use the word mandatory cuz you're scared that someone gets their panties in a wad about that word.

      2. I've had actual experience with organizations that were charged with assigning welfare recipients to made-up-volunteer jobs, deciding which of the charitable organizations affiliated with them would have an appropriate place, and then having that organization try to put that person in place and out of trouble, and it's a joke. All they can do is have that person sit in the hall and try to literally stay out of the way. I'm trying to imagine such a program being scaled up to include the entire population for, say, a year of their lives. A band of persons picking up trash all day in an area of a park they could finish in half an hour, so they just mill about, maybe dropping the trash again to give themselves something to do, and half the park is filled with such persons? School hallways lined with "helpers" sitting in chairs and not allowed to do anything useful, so they doze off? An endless parade of "volunteers" going from hospital room to hospital room to cheer up the sick people and carry infections from one to the next? An "extra watch" on a military base who'd clean the enlistees' quarters, over and over, while they were out drilling?

      3. There’s not enough actual “government work”, military or otherwise, to be done, so it would have to be mostly make-work

        If the purpose is to 'do productive work', if you are trying to measure this program by what YOU (adult/taxpayer) get out of it as an ROI this year, then YOU are setting the program up to fail. The only time any immediate sort of payback/ROI will be visible is in those rare unpredictable times when a natural/other disaster actually hits a muni and the program already-in-place makes it possible to ramp up and respond. At those times, the ROI will be damn near infinity. All other times, it's gonna look like preparation/training/makework - just like a militia muster of old. That sort of extremes of outcome does not translate well to Excel spreadsheets by MBA monkeys. Doesn't really translate well to politics nowadays either which is just as short-term oriented.

        Private sector and professionalized full-time govt really does not do this sort of massively excess discontinuous capacity rampup well at all. eg see 1918 flu epidemic. It is EXACTLY what militia does well. Ramp up fast - but cost very little when not actually needed. But in order for that to work, you can't wait until after SHTF to prepare/train for the different scenarios.

        And I am specifically proposing that it start at 16. Not 18 after HS - but DURING HS when we already have some notion of 'mandatory' but are already failing a significant number of kids by then who don't have the slightest clue what they want to do when they grow up. Who just follow the crowd wherever.

        1. That said - I do imagine that there is a lot of make-work stuff that muni governments already do do - very expensively. Because it is a crappy job and it costs a lot of money to incentivize someone to do a crappy job full-time - for their entire career. This could easily be a way to lower govt spending longer-term - cuz as those expensive folks retire they get replaced by a continual flow of work-done-cheaper-for-awhile-and-no-pension-either. And yeah - that outcome is far more realistic than some come-to-Jesus 'libertarian moment' re govt spending.

          I only have detailed age distribution for federal non-postal employees but muni prob isn't much different - 6.2% are under-30; 28.9% are over-55. That's a ton of people who in 10 years might not need replacing even if the job still gets done. And 7 of the 20 oldest occupations are muni-type jobs (from library/archivist to sewage to public finance to transport).

        2. You are, as normal, full of shit:
          "If the purpose is to ‘do productive work’, if you are trying to measure this program by what YOU (adult/taxpayer) get out of it as an ROI this year, then YOU are setting the program up to fail. The only time any immediate sort of payback/ROI will be visible is in those rare unpredictable times when a natural/other disaster actually hits a muni and the program already-in-place makes it possible to ramp up and respond. At those times, the ROI will be damn near infinity."
          Imbecilic lefty assertions are NWS.

          "Private sector and professionalized full-time govt really does not do this sort of massively excess discontinuous capacity rampup well at all. eg see 1918 flu epidemic. It is EXACTLY what militia does well. Ramp up fast – but cost very little when not actually needed. But in order for that to work, you can’t wait until after SHTF to prepare/train for the different scenarios."
          Your cite, of course, proves nothing of your claims.
          Tiresome; fuck off.

        3. I look at this from the point of view of a military member that has had to handle reservists coming aboard for two weeks to drill.

          Nothing against reservists (I was one for a while) but they're a drain. Because you have your work sized to meet your standing workforce. You send a guy to my division for two weeks and then what? I have to figure out how to integrate him in? For two weeks? My workload is already full-time. Putting him in as raw labor is pointless as I already have enough and these people are supposed to be there for *training*. But training? I don't know what he knows. I don't know what he needs to know. I don't know where he is in respect to the division's training cycle. Am I to upset the training schedule of 30-45 people to accommodate this one person? In the end, a lot of the time its basically a two-week vacation.

          Now back to topic at hand - if we're not getting productive work out of them, what are we getting? Some ill-defined feeling of 'national unity'? How much are you willing to pay for that? I'm not willing to pay anything.

          As for training them - I'm running a business, and that business is not a school. Sure, its unfair that the credentialing process (and a high minimum wage) screws young people over. I didn't do that and its *still unfair* to them if you force me to train them - and its also unfair to me.

          So we're back to making it mandatory for *someone* or else there simply won't be enough places to send these people to.

          1. AS for the private sector not being able to ramp up quickly - I disagree.

            In fact, compare the private sector's response to Hurricane Katrina and the response of all the other government agencies outside of the military.

            Their response was to *freeze everything in place* until they could 'understand' what was happening. Meanwhile the private sector had already leveraged its logistics experience to move supplies - stopped at the edge of the disaster area by a government that couldn't ramp up its *control* of operations quickly enough - and then the tons of private volunteers that flocked in to conduct small-scale, dispersed, NON-CENTRALLY CONTROLLED operations to bring relief into the disaster areas.

            But for some reason you insist this sort of thing be a nationally controlled operation where, at a minimum, state level governments are directing these young people.

            Again - service to the *state*, not service to the nation.

            1. Meanwhile the private sector had already leveraged its logistics experience to move supplies

              Emphasis on MOVE supplies. The pricing system signalled that existing stuff needed to be moved from area one to area two. It didn't ramp up the capacity to produce anything.

              Katrina is exactly what shows the probs with our lack of a militia/reserve. Before, an entire city that had no clue what to do or where to go and little/no ability to get there anyway. So 'avoiding or preparing' depended entirely on one's previous wealth and INDIVIDUAL risk assessment.

              For everyone else, dependent in stage 1 on a Mayor/Gov with no experience of 'what do we do if hurricanes/floods hit a hurricane/flood-prone area' nor the reserve resources to draw on who did. IOW - a 'fulltime' govt with fulltime employees that can do every day what it does every day but can't handle 'OK this is new/different'.

              In immediate aftermath, a DISPLACEMENT of 1 million people. ie - what you laud as 'private sector solution' is still more about people moving to goods not goods moving to people. Which because there is no militia/reserve anywhere in the US turned into a permanent displacement for close to half of them as they could only move into perm housing and then restart their lives entirely in a new place. There was very little temp/reserve housing moved closer to New Orleans. So the moment/place where you need people to do the initial cleanup, water pumping, repair - motivated by 'this is my home/neighborhood' rather than 'how much you gonna pay me' - you got nothing. N.O. immediately becomes the most expensive place on Earth to rebuild a city and/or hire employees. Rather than a place with a temporary unemployment rate of 100%. Any guess why the taxpayer bills get so big and why they remain so for years afterward?

              The immediate job of restoring order was done by importing armed strangers to the area (who also then took up the already near non-existent temp housing). Because we no longer do militia/reserve where locals can be deputized to protect their own community because they have already been trained to do that. No surprise THAT caused problems.

              It goes on and on. 'Libertarians' and DeRps - as usual - have absolutely nothing.

              1. It didn’t ramp up the capacity to produce anything.

                Neither does the government. And at least the private side *pays attention to price signals*. Unlike the government side.

              2. The immediate job of restoring order was done by importing armed strangers to the area (who also then took up the already near non-existent temp housing). Because we no longer do militia/reserve where locals can be deputized

                There was never any real loss of order in the first place. And what locals? The government forced most everyone to evacuate. So there goes your local militia.

          2. Because you have your work sized to meet your standing workforce.

            That is exactly why private sector and 'full-time professionalized' govt don't work well in actual emergencies that do require a massive capacity rampup. They size their workforce to meet their work and limit their work by their workforce. Change is always marginal - not massively discontinuous. Emergencies OTOH are not marginal. They are massively discontinuous.

            That is also why militia/reserves cannot simply be put into an existing structure to 'train'. Because that will just reinforce the marginalism. And is as you say a waste in both that context and in the emergency. Rather, those who train reserves have to leave their regular units for that time - to specifically train those reserves for those scenarios where reserves are important.

  5. It's the same thing with taxes, support (for raising taxes) is greatest among the people not paying them.

    1. Of course it is; and they sure as hell do not want to work for their largess, it's a human right, you know. Gimmedat.

  6. "Maybe Pete Buttigieg really is the less-awful presidential candidate when compared to a host of unimpressive rivals."

    From a Koch / Reason perspective, Mayor Pete would be a better President than any Republican — even if he succeeds in implementing mandatory national service. Because at least he'd be better on immigration.


  7. Democrats aren't opposed to slavery, so long as they get to be the slave masters and overseers.

    1. Rs and the "libertarians" here aren't opposed to being slaves, so long as "their guy" is in charge.

      1. Yep, pretty much two wings of the same bird of prey.

      2. wearingit
        December.3.2019 at 9:00 am
        "Rs and the “libertarians” here aren’t opposed to being slaves, so long as “their guy” is in charge."

        And your missing cites prove it.

    2. Most people don’t realize that we are all slaves to some master or another. But it’s the illusion of freedom that matters I guess.

      1. "Most people don’t realize that we are all slaves to some master or another. But it’s the illusion of freedom that matters I guess."

        Some people are stupid enough to think your comment makes sense.

  8. Would the national service crowd have to repeal the 13th Amendment first? It seems pretty clear in this regard. Military conscription has only been upheld (wrongly in my opinion) officially because of Congress' power to declare war and raise armies. That is a very specific power, and they have no such powers, constitutionally speaking, for most of these other things. Not that this has stopped them from legislating in these areas, but 13A is pretty clear in its language as a fundamental right of the people against involuntary servitude.

    The reality of military conscription was that it existed at the time of the founding, the time of passing 13A, etc. It's probably true that the Founders, and those that drafted 13A, saw the draft as a proper function of government. I can't imagine that they saw these other forms of national service as fundamental roles of the government.

    I think forced national service would have a tough time getting through today's Supreme Court if challenged on 13A grounds.

    1. One way to circumvent that might be to make military service mandatory, slipping it in under the power to raise armies, but to allow conscriptees to "voluntarily" waive their 13th Amendment right in order to get out of military service and go pick up trash or something instead.

      Slavers are not lacking in imagination, so I expect that there are lots of other workarounds being thought up, including the business as usual approach of simply ignoring the Constitution.

      1. The military has changed a lot since Vietnam; they don't wont a bunch a bad attitude grifters in their ranks.

      2. They won't ignore it entirely. They'll claim it says something it clearly does not, and proceed on their merry way.

    2. Tie national slavery to free college is the obvious next step. How one year of litter patrol equates to four years of college is beyond me, but it's still the obvious next step. What strikes me as most interesting there is that most college "education" is geared towards the very occupations most unlike the military. Sociology? Political science?

      There's also the puzzle of what you do with 4M unskilled slaves. Litter patrol doesn't require that many. The military is what, around 1M? That implies 3 months service and out would double the military size, so time for boot camp and nothing else -- and getting out in three months provides zero incentive to do well anything a DI says. All you'd teach them is how to dodge responsibility.

      1. Not to mention the other obvious downside of doubling the military. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. At least with the draft in its current form, you have to theoretically convince the majority that the war you're drafting our kids for is justified. See the different responses for drafts for WW2 vs Vietnam. If we automatically require military service, you're sure to see even more unjustified wars because we'll have twice as many troops.

        This is just a horrible idea altogether.

        1. I used to have a great collection of quotes from various politicians, all worried that their fine military was sitting idle and they wanted to find some useful employment for it.

    3. Your objection can be addressed easily. All they need to do is declare "War on..." whatever and call the conscripts an army.

      War On Poor Drainage. War on Aging Infrastructure. War on Litter. War on Unmonitored Hallways in Schools.

  9. If where one served is to be the first question for every college applicant and every new hire, then the intention is, at least, that those who did not serve be outcaste.

  10. "Service guarantees citizenship"

    Heinlein's supposedly quasi-fascist "Starship Troopers" had national service be a completely voluntary federal service system.

    1. I'd be in favor of that model as long as those who can't fight get to serve in some other capacity

      1. "Laboratory Test Subject" was one of the options, as I tecall.

        1. That was the point. They had to find a do-able job for everybody who applied, and it was a 1-time, take-it-or-leave-it offer. And yeah, if it looked like somebody wasn't capable of anything else, experimental subject was given as an example of a last resort option. But they didn't have to find anything you'd like, just some place they thought you'd "fit". And if you quit, fine, see ya, but no backsies.

          1. And the "recruiter" wasn't much of a recruiter, really. He discouraged applicants, deliberately wearing a bad prosthesis (or maybe none, I forgot which) to show off his service-connected injury, and then when he went off the job and took off his uniform, he put on a good prosthesis! Because under the constraints of the must-take-everybody policy, they really needed to hold down the number of recruits.

      2. In Heinlein's novel, they did.

        If you were a blind quadriplegic you'd be assigned something like counting the hairs on fuzzy caterpillars.

        *What* you did, in this system was less important that you affirmatively showing your buy-in of the system.

    2. The fact that it was A), completely voluntary, and B), the vote was only for veterans (not those actually in the service), means that the idea is completely opposite of Fascism.

      Also, with the exception of a few jobs which were reserved to veterans, about the only benefit was getting the vote -- which most people didn't consider being worth the effort (no surprise, when you consider the number of people who have the vote NOW and don't consider it worth the effort).

      Interestingly, the Constitution would have to be amended to require Federal Elect Officials to be veterans, but nothing would prevent a law being passed tomorrow to require voters to be veterans.

      If such a requirement WERE to be imposed, within a generation the Federal budget would be a fraction of what it is today, because it wouldn't be used to buy votes. Most of the laws restricting personal liberty would be repealed, because there would be a constituency in favor of doing so, and not as many people with a vested interest in keeping the infringements that currently exist. The welfare state would be reined in, with common-sense approaches replacing the current system.

      There would be fewer wars, simply because the people in charge would have to convince VETERANS that any particular provocation was sufficient to commit to combat. And what wars there were would be shorter, because there would be far less micromanagement by the Elect Officials.

  11. I served the Navy for 23 years. We had a few unmotivated sailors who did not want to be on the ship, but we never had to deal with scores of them. IMOP conscripts (particularly for a year) would take 10 times more work to supervise than we would ever get out of them.

    1. I remember seeing some show and they were talking to a petty officer about Vietnam and draftees. He basically said he was glad they were gone because now he could have his Navy back.

      1. It would be semi-adult day care.

      2. From 1940 until 1973 the US military utilized conscription. No one in the Navy in 1973 would have experienced a non-conscript Navy.

  12. Young Americans Oppose Mandatory National Service, Military or Otherwise . . .
    I wonder if it is because they want to enjoy the fruits of this nation but do not want to contribute to it?

    1. I'd say that the vast majority of young Americans want to work for their fruits. The problem is those who think they should get the fruits even if unwilling to work.

  13. What is missing here is one of the main goals of some type of national service and that is to broaden one's experience with fellow citizens. If you look at national service as simply working involuntarily for period you miss this idea. I favor voluntary national service. I think both the government and private sector should support the idea. We have plenty of commercials and other advertisements for the military. What about recognizing a Peace Core volunteer at a football or baseball game? What about a TV commercial for AMERICORPS? We don't have to make it mandatory but we could sell it a little harder.

    1. Because people are unaware that nonprofit organizations exist?

      1. PEOPLE are definitely aware. I managed a volunteer program that encompassed AmeriCorps and VISTA programs. And these are generally decent programs. But the truth of the matter is that the people, from all backgrounds and ages, who I helped find volunteer positions for at churches, local Salvation Army corps, hospitals, food banks, animal-rescue programs, organizations large and small, outnumbered those "national volunteers" hundreds-to-one. I had a "catalog" of about four hundred volunteer position descriptions covering two counties. And even at that, most volunteers didn't even need my service, since they knew where they wanted to be. Americans don't have any problem with volunteering, short-term or long-term.

    2. Moderation4ever
      December.3.2019 at 11:49 am
      "What is missing here is one of the main goals of some type of national service and that is to broaden one’s experience with fellow citizens."

      What is missing here is the notion that it's none of the government's business.
      Fuck off, slaver.

    3. The private sector has supported the idea for generations. They're called 'volunteering'. They're called 'internships'. They're called 'gap year'.

      Its the *government* that opposes 'voluntary national service' because the people in control of the government don't want that. They want mandatory service to the state. Under state control

      Tutto nello stato

  14. surprise some Reason idiot isn't claiming, based on this poll, that the young generation libertarian moment is finally here (been happening for about 5 decades now)

    1. I've come to find that everyone is a "libertarian" when it requires that they have to give up freedom, personally. It's recognizing and respecting the freedoms and choices of others that sets us apart.

      These polls tend to support that worldview.

  15. I suspect it might be the "national" rather than the "service" part that puts them off. Yelling at fascists about global warming is *global* service - it's right there in the name.

  16. Mayor Pete Buttigieg ... specifically calls for the creation of new agencies, including a Community Health Corps, Intergenerational Corps, and Climate Corps, to facilitate non-military forms of national service.

    Pete volunteered, and he's going to force you to do it too!

  17. a universal, national expectation of service for all 4 million high school graduates every year

    You know who else...?

  18. I spent a year working with a national service program. It was great. And for those who want to do it, it is there. I absolutely oppose any kind of "mandatory" national service.

  19. Based on my taxes relative to income, about 1/3 of my working hours are already spent in service to the nation.

  20. A giant pool of free labor would never be used to push an agenda that no one would ever be willing to pay for, would it?

  21. “Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates. Instead they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service. The very spirit of rebellion is reprehensible.”

    Ernesto "Che" Guevara

    1. If that was printed over his head on all those crappy shirts, you think he’d still adorn every campus Commie?

  22. The resounding moral of the day seems to be that Democrats are still very much the party of segregation and slavery.

  23. What part of "from each according to his ability" don't the young commies understand?

    1. "What part of “from each according to his ability” don’t the young commies understand?"

      They thought it was from YOUR ability, not theirs.

  24. "...Coy phrases like "if not legally obligatory" make it unclear as to whether that "universal, national expectation of service" will be enforced by government or by magic..."

    Naah. Only to brain-deads like the asshole bigot are stupid enough to misunderstand that.

  25. "mandatory national service"

    Let's dispense with the euphemisms and call it what it is - slavery.

  26. I'd guess such a program wouldn't be legally mandatory -- nobody would be put in prison for refusing. Instead, I'd imagine it working like China's social credit scores. No national service on your record? No guaranteed student loan for you. Perhaps colleges and universities would be allowed (or even encouraged) to use a student's (lack of) national service in admissions decisions. Employers would be allowed/encouraged to use this as a factor in hiring, and so on. Think of it as a milder version of being on a sex offender registry.

  27. I am very opposed to the idea of mandatory national service. I say that as a career disabled retired Marine. If you are required to "volunteer", it is not volunteering. Just like with taxes, it is not compassion to want higher taxes for social programs. If you want to give more money to a cause, give it. You can even give more money to the govt.
    I will say that at least military service provides life changing personal growth. Any demanding national service would probably do the same. But it has to be voluntary, otherwise, no one will put a lot of effort into it. There has to be some incentive for participants to put forth effort and participate fully.
    My uncle was one of the first paratroopers in WWII, he volunteered for the Army and volunteered for the Airborne. He was recalled involuntarily for Korea and was a drill sergeant for draftees. He said it was very difficult to motivate them because they didn't care if they got kicked out for not following orders. In the WWII Airborne the soldiers were motivated about being there, being part of this "elite" force. In my generation, USMC recruits were volunteers motivated about being one of "the few, the proud". My uncle's solution was to beat the crap out of the first draftee that lipped off to him and the ask if anyone else had anything to say. Hardly an ideal situation.
    I think a "Starship Troopers" model might work. Voter participation rate is fairly low, so if we assume that only people who bother to vote would volunteer for service, we get an idea of numbers, and it is very possible that the people who already serve- armed forces, peace corps, volunteer fire dept, whatever-are voters so we might not be talking about a huge number of additional service spots needed.
    But no way to mandatory service. this would merely provide manpower for all the leftist causes. Didn't Obama talk about some sort of national "police" service separate from the armed forces? I doubt he was merely concerned with writing more speeding tickets.

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  29. Just abide by the contract, if you can find one.

  30. The idea needs tuning up. Proposed adjustments:

    1. Delay Social Security to age 70, changes rules on 401K and such to disallow cashing out until age 70.
    2. Mandatory national service period starts on 65th birthday and lasts for five years. That should solve the complaints about inexperienced conscripts and not enough time to train them.
    3. Controlled "camp" environment with limited visitation periods. This will prevent truancy, reduce distractions, and move recruits away from a selfish commitment to their old personal relationships and more toward a spirit of national shared sacrifice.

    Advantages: Clears out senior level positions in industry and government to make room for the next generation and new ideas. Conscripts who are mature enough to understand why they are there and thus get the full benefit. Help people escape from marriages that have gone on long enough. Really big savings on social security if the work is made serious enough.

  31. Some of you need to actually read the 13th amendment. Mandatory service violates it.

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