July 23, 2008

One man's "justice nerve" is another man's "collectivist nerve."

Jim Lindgren objects to a regime of mandatory community service.
Let’s hope that the Supreme Court would not permit Service Nation's move backwards to a more feudal relationship between ordinary people and the people who govern them. One senses that de Toqueville understood American values of volunteerism and freedom of association much better than the people behind Service Nation, an understanding that was also concerned about the tyranny of the majority.
Service Nation. It sounds like the title of a dystopian novel.

You'd think before naming your movement, you'd check the etymology of your key word:
service...

ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin servitium, slavery, from servus, slave.
But as Lindgren notes, one man's "justice nerve" is another man's "collectivist nerve." Something might sound so right to you, that you don't even notice how it sounds to others.

93 comments:

Troy said...

It's like "New Coke" -- only more sinister.

knox said...

mandatory community service

Creepy.

Host with the Most said...

John Kennedy, 1961:

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"


Socialist-leaning Barack and Michelle Obama:

"Shut-up, get in line, and follow whatever the government tells you to do."

rdkraus said...

I think this is covered by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Roger and Denise said...

military draft appeared to be not covered by the 13th amendment--just saying.

Of all the things Obama has said and done to date, this is the scariest IMO. By all means lets create a huge bureaucracy, fund it even more than US military, and compel people to serve--yeah--thats a great idea.

Speaking of ideas like that on a smaller scale: whatever happened to AmericaCorps; and does anyone remember CETA?

On the other hand, serfdom was one of the bases of feudalism, so maybe this is OK.

rdkraus said...

Roger and Denise

The Constitution also specifically gives congress power to raise armies. I don't think mandatory community service is covered.

Roger and Denise said...

RD Krause--thanks for clarification--hadn't thought of it like that.

P. Rich said...

Obama was a "community organizer". This is community organization on a national scale. After the White House it's on to Secretary General of the UN, then Glorious Leader of the Known Universe.

There are only four things one needs to know about Obama and his beliefs:

1. His ambition is boundless.
2. His qualifications are irrelevant.
3. His definition of achievement is measured solely on his ambitions. (flea; elephant)
4. There are no rules or constraints on his conduct re 1-3.

AJ Lynch said...

P. Rich said:

"his ambitions are boundless".

I don't see that in Obama. In fact I see the opposite - he was unambitious almost lazy or unmotivated. Hence the career track into community organizer whatever that means and then the state legislature.

But then a wave started after he made that speech in 2004 and he was swept up and away by the wave- like the beach ball in the stands at the a baseball game.

The Drill SGT said...

Involuntary servitude would be a bad idea.

particularly by folks who talk about a "justice nerve". sounds a lot like "social justice" to me and we know who supports that line of thinking.

I'd love however, to see a national service requirement for running for Congress. Don't care if the candiate was in the Army, or Peace Corps or emptied bed pans at the VA hospital. I think it would do all of our Congresspeople a lot of good.

UWS guy said...

Why does the power to "raise and support armies" translate to "force service"? Because congress has raised and supported armies and navies for 30 years without forcing anything.

Why shouldn't that section of the constitution mean that only Congress (the purse strings of the Federal government) has the power to go around hiring people to start an army.



On topic: College students already have forced community service foisted upon them, ironically college students pay for this.

If people (rightly) love america as the land of the free, how are we suppose to feel about our country when it becomes less so? Why should a farm boy in Iowa who takes care of his families farm have to prove to the government that he's a good citizen? Or go fight the Huns for that matter.


Our ancestors fled benighted Europe to escape the tyranny of the ruling classes....where is left for us to go if the nobles follow us here?

UWS guy said...

And all the conservatives doing the boogy man dance about Obama; I'm willing to wager ya'll would be all for young men being pressed into service if McCain decided that the best way to curb Irans ambition is to invade.

Or I guess it's ok as long as the state wants you to kill people.

Der Hahn said...

UWS guy .... get real, the only people yammering about starting a draft are Democrats like Charlie Rangel.

OT .. what's up with that almost-NSFW blogad?

El Presidente said...

UWS,

I can't fail to point out that it was noted conservatives Charles Rangle, John Conyers and Cynthia McKinney who were in favor of the draft.

vbspurs said...

Do you know what is the most gallingly insulting about this idea?

That it presupposes that young Americans are not voluntarily-inclined to begin with -- which is a pathetic presumption.

The ethos of America has always been "should". It is the Fascists and Communists that transform any personal impulse into "must".

I am appalled if any true Liberal doesn't see this mandatory service for the dressed up Fascism that it is.

Cheers,
Victoria

UWS guy said...

That's not my point der Hahn. It's that posters like you think that the idea of forced community service is the next logical step to turning the US into Castro's Cuba, but don't have a problem with the idea of forced military service when you decided that it's needed.


I on the other hand hold a principled instead of partisan view that both are abhorrent.

fcai said...

UWS - what are you contracting to end up with "ya'll"?

I for one, welcome Rangel's Rangers as my new overlords...

UWS guy said...

Rangel's a douche.

you all = ya'll.

Maxine Weiss said...

The thousand points points of light, have morphed into one big albatross full of drudgery and burden.

rdkraus said...

I think that's a good point about whether raising armies means conscription, and I don't know the answer. I always think of that power as one including the ability to draft, but that's more a function of what existed when I was growing up, not any legal analysis.

I'm pretty sure uws isn't the only one here with principles. It is possible to disagree about political or philosophical matters without impugning the "other's" integrity.

Randy said...

That it presupposes that young Americans are not voluntarily-inclined to begin with -- which is a pathetic presumption.

I agree, Victoria. But it is an integral part of the leftist belief that only officially organized community service of the correct nature led by approved leaders counts for anything. (Think Sean Penn in his rowboat and the thousands of church-organized volunteers helping Katrina victims. One counted for everything; the other counted for nothing.) The ignorant masses shall be led to the promised land by the self-appointed intelligentsia and Nirvana shall be achieved.

vbspurs said...

I figured out what this "Service Nation" most reminded me of:

Hugo Chavez' Urban Civilian Militias, which are his civilian first-line of defense against "invasion" from the hated Yankees (something he speaks of for hours on television).

And it's also redolent of his usage of the word "Mission".

He also established Missions, which are social programmes that deal with targetted areas of poverty and victims of past racism in his country.

"From the beginning, the new programs were set up outside the formal channels of the state, constituting a parallel structure unaccountable to anyone but Chavez. The missions had different purposes. The goal of the Barrio Adentro mission was to place one Cuban doctor for every 250 poor families. Missions named Robinson, Sucre and Ribas promised to provide education at different levels starting with literacy courses, while Mercal aimed to make basic food accessible at very cheap prices. And so on."

Quasi-socialist programmes always have a "forward march onward from oppression!"-sounding collectivist title.

"Service Nation" is not that far removed from the creepy "Urban Civilian Militia" or "Mission".

We have a mission, yes we can!

Cheers,
Victoria

Cedarford said...

"Service nation" is the Boomers own way of saying that after most of them did no service, enjoyed services financed by debt while they demanded huge tax cuts, and of course deindustrialized America so they could pack their houses to the gills with China trinkets and lost 10 million good-paying jobs for McJobs....that subsequent generations will need to "serve" them for free.

UWS Guy - If people (rightly) love america as the land of the free, how are we suppose to feel about our country when it becomes less so? Why should a farm boy in Iowa who takes care of his families farm have to prove to the government that he's a good citizen? Or go fight the Huns for that matter.

One area I see has historically necessary for mandated service is of course military service. The volunteer military was always designed to be the "standing army" with agreement that in a major war, we would Draft - because experience has shown that many Americans are shirkers. Worse, some are natural profiteers in war - that believe shirking will make them far richer than serving the nation.

Even WWII, when we were attacked and the stakes were fairly clear - had to Draft 9 million of the 16 million that served in the military. All too many were natural shirkers, aspiring war profiteers, were scared and selfish. Many rationalized hanging back as morally right - because trying to avoid the military and land a high-paying war job was merely "putting God & family" above nation.

Mandatory national service was also needed in WWII because certain religions and ethnicities were noted volunteers and others were noted shirkers. And frictions and resentments - serious ones when Scotts Irish, Southerners, and Native Americans had volunteer rates 9-12 times higher than other groups and were seeing major casualties were openly questioning the patriotism of shirker groups - were largely defused by the Draft.

Political philosophers who explored the legitimacy of Rulers and what rights were due to the governed never believed - looking at history - that private property, freedom - was magically guaranteed by either God or some scrap of paper signed by N American Elites, the Chinese Emperor, or even modern Jewish human rights lawyers.

They must be fought for, at times. They involve sacrifice and duty, even short-term losses of freedom, their free speech subordinated to the UCMJ or similar military law set up to get good order and discipline in groups that faced life and death situations.

And there is a long tradition of labor conscription for large public works that serve the good of the whole nation.

But history is very thin on mandating forced labor for "welfare" projects aimed at special "victims groups".

Triangle Man said...

I checked the roster and it's my turn to be Teh Gramer Snoot today. The proper contraction of "you all" is y'all and not ya'll. Under certain circumstances you may use youse or yins. This will all be covered during the cultural sensitivity training portion of your induction to mandatory service.

Cedarford said...

vbspurs said...
Do you know what is the most gallingly insulting about this idea?

That it presupposes that young Americans are not voluntarily-inclined to begin with -- which is a pathetic presumption.


Pathetic, but true. A large percentage of Americans are selfish and natural shirkers that will avoid any effort that does not aim for the greater wealth or position of Numero Uno, or the family of Numero Uno.

Many people who describe themselves as "selfless volunteers" are not motivated by charitable impulse, by by acquiring power and control over others, with attendent large money rewards expected down the road, expected access to great jobs and admittance into Elite circles.

I've never met an ambituous lawyer working as a low-paid activist or charity that did not have some ambitious plan to later leverage that into wealth and/or power.

Rates of volunteerism vary enormously in America across regions, religions, and ethnicities. Many are conditioned by culture and law they brought to America to shun helping others:

"For our own kind, everything, for outsiders - nothing".

"You feed a starving peasant, you assume that creatures burdern forevermore."

"Fighting and working in a national cause is for people too stupid to advance themselves by selling the goods and services needed by militaries, medical facilities, NGOs. After all, they will all need the contribution of well-paid lawyers, financiers, professional administrators, business owners.... Charity and the military are more than just uneducated proletariat workers with simple minds and simple tools like shovels and guns,,, you know..."

"I ain't got no beef against no communist Viet Cong"

Ann Althouse said...

"OT .. what's up with that almost-NSFW blogad?"

It's an animal rights ad. I considered rejecting it because of the partial view of a large breast, but I've never rejected an ad and decided to go ahead with it.

AllenS said...

Cedarford--

The draft started in 1940. The original Act was allowed to expire in 1947 because it was thought that a sufficient number of volunteers would enlist for the nation's defense. The number of volunteers was not enough, a new draft act was passed in 1948. We were not at war then. The draft was stopped by President Ford in 1975. Most people that I knew, some who were star atheletes never served. The draft was not fair. The pay was as close as you could get to forced servitude. In 1967 I made $1,1622.36, paid Fed taxes of $141.48 and FICA taxes of $73.22. That was for the whole year.

AllenS
drafted 20 June 1966.

rdkraus said...

According to Wikipedia, the legal issue has been decided:

In 1918, the Supreme Court ruled that the World War I draft did not violate the United States Constitution. Arver v. United States, 245 U.S. 366 (1918).[61] The Court summarized the history of conscription in England and in colonial America, a history that it read as establishing that the Framers envisioned compulsory military service as a governmental power. It held that the Constitution's grant to Congress of the powers to declare war and to create standing armies included the power to mandate conscription. It rejected arguments based on states' rights, the Thirteenth Amendment, and other provisions of the Constitution.

Later, during the Vietnam War, a lower appellate court also concluded that the draft was constitutional. United States v. Holmes, 387 F.2d 781 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 391 U.S. 936 (1968).[62] (Justice William O. Douglas, in voting to hear the appeal in Holmes, agreed that the government had the authority to employ conscription in wartime, but argued that the constitutionality of a draft in the absence of a declaration of war was an open question, which the Supreme Court should address.)

rdkraus said...

I would hope that the idea that, absent WAR, the government still has the power to pluck you out of your life, and give you a job to do (that it chooses) at a compensation (if any) to be set by the government would at least CONCERN people.

God help us if it doesn't.

reader_iam said...

There's a practical aspect to be considered. In my not-inconsiderable experience, "forced" volunteers often don't work out all that well and can actually make things harder on paid staff and "voluntary" volunteers.

I'm all for voluntarism and for promoting that ethic in kids and throughout life. The work of volunteers provides almost immeasurable benefits to society, and certainly many organizations and areas are crying out for more volunteers. Some of the hardest workers I've ever seen have been working on a volunteer basis, some--especially women of another generation--close to full time.

But I'll tell you what: As a general rule, I'd rather have 1 hour of serious, committed volunteer work than 5 hours of "forced" presence. I've experienced both way, way too many times not to know, and appreciate, the difference.

Sometimes I do think that the practical trumps the philosophical. And it should.

MarkW said...

The draft started in 1940. The original Act was allowed to expire in 1947 because it was thought that a sufficient number of volunteers would enlist for the nation's defense. The number of volunteers was not enough, a new draft act was passed in 1948.

If the number of volunteers is not enough, the proper solution is to raise the salary, not institute involuntary servitude.

Quayle said...

The crucial issue isn't collectivism or justice. The issue is liberty. I'm all in favor of a society that collectively follows some leader to achieve good ends, but that following must be voluntary, not forced.

Holding the line on the liberty and voluntary point is the most safe, and only universal line of defense against the power lustful controllers, who will always be looking for some good and noble public end to justify putting them in control of everything and everyone.

Whenever I see someone restrict liberty for some good end, I shudder. That’s how we have, are, and will lose our freedom – in pursuit of some crucial result.

vbspurs said...

Reader_Iam wrote:

I'm all for voluntarism and for promoting that ethic in kids and throughout life.

The problem is that voluntarism rates in low-income communities lag behind other ones. They are, after all, the main beneficiaries of others' voluntarism.

In instituting Service Nation, Obama is using his experience as a "community activist" in the mean streets of Chicago, and projecting it to the whole of America.

It's further proof of his basic lack of knowledge about his fellow Americans and what they do and think, without government programmes telling them to.

Cheers,
Victoria

P. Rich said...

aj

I agree with you that Obama is superficial (my term), but he is in love with the idea of being a greater thing. Once achieved, that becomes just a layover to the next, even greater thing. It is a peculiar kind of ambition, I believe, and his dedication to it is reflected in his response to anyone or anything that appears to be an obstacle in his path.

KLDAVIS said...

What strikes me as most alarming about this mandatory service campaign is that the entire justification confuses correlation with causation. Obama likes to talk about how those that serve do so much better in college, and have such successful lives. But, aren't the people that choose to serve those who are more likely to have success in college and in life to begin with? I'm not saying that the correlation will completely disappear if you force servitude on people, but it should be substantially diminished. For every person who finds a path to wisdom in their service, I'm sure at least 10 will gain nothing but a sore back and a grudge.

vbspurs said...

P. Rich wrote:

but he is in love with the idea of being a greater thing. Once achieved, that becomes just a layover to the next, even greater thing.

Yes, and that's what makes him a very scary kind of politician to some.

It used to be that our friends to the Left were scared witless about Bush's hearing God telling him to invade Iraq (they claimed).

It appears that an egomaniac's inner monologue with himself doesn't frighten them at all.

Cheers,
Victoria

Randy said...

For every person who finds a path to wisdom in their service, I'm sure at least 10 will gain nothing but a sore back and a grudge.

LOL! How true! And every one of them with the right to vote, too. Did someone mention the Law of Unintended Consequences?

Steven said...

Availability for military service as a logical concomitant of free citizenship goes back to Aristotle's Politics, and is consistent with both the classicalist ethos and militia theory of the Founding Fathers. Forced nonmilitary service for the state has no such tradition of association with citizenship.

So, despite both being involuntary infringements on liberty, the symbolism of being drafted for military service is being treated as a citizen, while the symbolism of being forced to perform other service is to be treated as a serf.

Accordingly, forced national service is somewhat more objectionable than military conscription, because the former both in actuality and symbolically treats the national servant as a servant of the state, while the latter at least symbolically treats him as a citizen sharing in the sovereignty of the state, even if in action it treats him as a servant.

John K. said...

Ann said, in response to a commenter who asked "OT .. what's up with that almost-NSFW blogad?":
"It's an animal rights ad. I considered rejecting it because of the partial view of a large breast, but I've never rejected an ad and decided to go ahead with it."

I was going to say something about that blogad, but was afraid that, like the Amazon ads, it was custom-tailored to each individual visitor's reading habits.

vbspurs said...

LOL, JohnK!

vbspurs said...

P.S.: Why put Pam Anderson on an anti-KFC ad?

Wouldn't Ballpark Franks, "they plump up when you cook 'em", have been more apposite?

Ann Althouse said...

Why put Pam on the ad? I'll check the click-through rate on it. I'll bet it's high.

John K. said...

Steven said: "Accordingly, forced national service is somewhat more objectionable than military conscription, because the former both in actuality and symbolically treats the national servant as a servant of the state, while the latter at least symbolically treats him as a citizen sharing in the sovereignty of the state, even if in action it treats him as a servant."

Let's forget the strained distinction between "actuality" and "symbolically," and traditions which find their roots in feudal prerogatives. In REALITY, there are few things more wrong-headed than the idea that the state has the right to force its subjects to try their damnedest to murder foreign people whose overlords are in turn forcing them to engage in the same insanity. Making a slave of anyone is immoral, but it becomes more not less immoral if what you're trying to force them to do is itself immoral. This is not to say that violence is always immoral (I don't think it is), but forcing someone to engage in a campaign of violence who is not sufficiently convinced of the necessity for that campaign of violence to sign up for it voluntarily certainly is, and profoundly so.

vbspurs said...

Why put Pam on the ad?

I'm not questioning the sexist choice of putting a semi-naked famous woman exposing her watermelon freak-show boobs on an ad.

I'm just wonderin' why KFC and not Ballpark Franks.

Mmm, KFC. Do you know they have Chipotle Crispy now?

Cheers,
Victoria

lurker2209 said...

What I find odd is the assumption that young people today aren't interested in community service. My own experience and a smattering of empirical data tells me otherwise. Teach for America, for example, has many more applicants than they have available slots. I'm not saying Generation Y is incredibly selfless; there are lots of kids who just want to be rich and/or famous. But there are a lot who have a desire to do something good for the world at large.

Plus, a lot of young people already have to do mandatory community service. It's an increasingly popular requirement for high school graduation

Eli Blake said...

Of course the logical and non-mandatory alternative was to propose voluntary service in exchange for help with college tuition, but when that has been proposed conservatives invariably fight it tooth and nail.

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AJ Lynch said...

How does this "Service Nation" initiative mesh with Obama's plan to have college kids do 100 hours of voluntary (and paid) community sevice and get $4,000? BTW that is a pretty sweet $40 per hour or about 5X the minimum wage!

Anyone take a look at the Service Nation board members? Its like a Who's who of liberal baby boomer buttinskys.

Eli Blake said...

aj lynch:

That $40 an hour is also too little. Have you priced four year colleges lately? One of the byproducts of years of state budget cuts is that tuition and fees have skyrocketed at even state universities to the point where only the genuinely wealthy can afford to go to a university unless they get financial help from somewhere (and a lot of it.) For that matter, even textbooks typically cost $100 or more for a small paperback at a college bookstore (the result of required textbook + monopoly on supply + no regulation.)

Revenant said...

military draft appeared to be not covered by the 13th amendment--just saying

It should have been.

And actually I suspect the court might find that it was, if it came before the courts again today. The argument at the time was that a draft was vital to the nation. We now know for a fact that we don't need a draft to have an awesome military; our all-volunteer military is far superior to any of our earlier conscript forces. But even if the courts didn't change their minds on that, the argument used to defend the draft doesn't work for mandatory "service".

Revenant said...

One of the byproducts of years of state budget cuts is that tuition and fees have skyrocketed at even state universities to the point where only the genuinely wealthy can afford to go to a university unless they get financial help from somewhere

Student loans are easy to get.

The obvious problem with the argument that normal people can't afford to go to college anymore is that "normal people" are attending college in far greater numbers than they were a generation ago. There aren't enough "genuinely wealthy" people in the United States to fill the nation's colleges.

The main factor driving costs is supply and demand. A college degree is worth a million dollars or more over the lifetime of its recipient. Naturally, everyone with the minimal intelligence necessary to stagger to the local campus wants one -- which means that colleges raise their fees to whatever the market will bear.

UWS guy said...

cederford:

Japanese bombed us because both of us laid claim to the pacific ocean (guam/philipines).

If Washington DC wants an empire, why should the farm boy in Iowa be pressed into service? Obviously, victory in WW2 was a net plus for the world, but freedom to be free of nation-states and nobles squabling over protectorates is why we came here in the first place.

The U.S. blockade of oil into japan was an act of war in itself.


The founding fathers new better than to get between france and england, some of our more roman senators should do well to emulate them in similar situations.


lol I sound like a ron paul supporter.

knox said...

it is an integral part of the leftist belief that only officially organized community service of the correct nature led by approved leaders counts for anything.

Randy took the words right out of my mouth. If I remember correctly, voluntary giving by American individuals and corporations for tsunami relief exceeded that of any nation--including the US government itself. But that somehow doesn't count; the US is still seen as greedy, and never giving enough. If it's not institutionalized and mandated, it's irrelevant.

jim said...

Another swing - & another miss.

Yes, one shudders to think that the USA might follow in the footsteps of fascist regimes like Switzerland, Israel or the Scandinavian countries that require every able-bodied adult to perform regular mandatory MILITARY service. Even if it's a right-wing party in power.

Your Executive Branch happily treat your Constitution, your Bill Of Rights & even the bloody Magna Carta like Charmin, & the silence is deafening - but this idea (both intelligent & well overdue) has your collective panties in a knot. Yet you wonder why you're rapidly becoming the laughing-stock of the entire world?

Irony: still alive & well.

Ralph said...

help with college tuition, but when that has been proposed conservatives invariably fight it tooth and nail.
Why would we want to increase the already huge (involuntary) government subsidies to our adversaries in academia? They'll only raise tuition higher and demand another subsidy.

UWS guy said...

Be careful with the phrase, "our enemies in academia."

"Authoritarian politics
Anti-intellectualism is often used by dictators or those seeking to establish dictatorships. Educated people as a social group have often been seen by totalitarian elements as a threat because of the tendency of intellectuals to question existing social norms and to dissent from established opinion. Thus, often violent anti-intellectual backlashes are common during the rise and rule of authoritarian political movements, such as Fascism, Stalinism and Theocratic rule. Moreover, because many intellectuals refuse to embrace nationalism, they are also commonly portrayed as unpatriotic and subversive.

The most extreme dictatorships, such as that of the Khmer Rouge, simply murdered anyone with more than a rudimentary education. Other expressions of anti-intellectualism range from the closure of public libraries and places of learning, to keeping intellectuals and scientists isolated from the world in an "ivory tower"

Revenant said...

Your Executive Branch happily treat your Constitution, your Bill Of Rights & even the bloody Magna Carta like Charmin, & the silence is deafening - but this idea (both intelligent & well overdue) has your collective panties in a knot.

The Left has mostly just been pissing its drawers over violations of the Imaginary Constitution -- the one containing a right to a fair trial for every captured enemy soldier and so forth. What we're talking about here are violations of the constitutional restrictions on involuntary servitude, which are found in the real-life Constitution. :)

Yet you wonder why you're rapidly becoming the laughing-stock of the entire world?

I hate to disappoint you, but for the most part Americans don't actually care what other countries think about us. The lesser nations have been pissing and moaning about us for over two hundred years. The only time we hear nice things from other nations is when they need us to help them. Again.

If you tell a typical American that Europeans laugh at us for our silly ways, the likely response will be an eye-roll.

knox said...

help with college tuition, but when that has been proposed conservatives invariably fight it tooth and nail.

The last thing we need is to send more money to the bloated budgets of academia. No thanks.

Revenant said...

UWS

Be careful with the phrase, "our enemies in academia."

"Intellectuals", "educated people", and "academics" are three different things, although there is overlap between the groups. Many academics are hopelessly ignorant of anything outside their area of expertise and -- depending on their area -- aren't necessarily all that bright, either. Academics like to pretend that attacks on academia are attacks on education and intellectualism, but in fact it is often the opposite; it is often academia itself which is the enemy of education and the intellect.

It is also a bit odd to defend academics on the grounds that past totalitarian regimes used anti-intellectualism to gain support. After all, totalitarianism has always found lots of friends in the nation's universities.

The most extreme dictatorships, such as that of the Khmer Rouge

Those would be the folks that MIT linguistics professor and self-proclaimed political scientist Noam Chomsky devoted a couple books and articles to defending?

AJ Lynch said...

Eli:
You are drinking the Kool Aid as per usual.

CNN reports average cost of 4 year public colleges and universities was $5,836 for the 2007-2007 school year. Here is the link:

http://money.cnn.com/2006/10/24/pf/college/college_costs/index.htm

WTF should some college kid get $40 an hour when the average wage in this country is maybe $19 per hour? Think for yourself for a change!

AJ Lynch said...

Eli:

Here is some research I found in a birthday card I bought at Cracker Barrel.

Costs in 1955 vs. Today:
Harvard $800 (has increased 50 x)
Gasoline $0.23 (has increased 20x)
Movie Ticket $0.75 (increased 12x)
New Car $1,910 (increased 15x)
Postage stamp $0.03 (increase 14X)

As you can see the increase in tuition is way way more than other essentials. Why is that you think?

SGT Ted said...

Thus, often violent anti-intellectual backlashes are common during the rise and rule of authoritarian political movements, such as Fascism, Stalinism

Then, why did a great many of the alleged "intellectuals" in our universities show overwhelming support for fascism and Stalinism in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s? Oh, thats right, it's because the "anti-intellectual rightwingers" meme is bullshit, thats why.

Todays university "intellectuals" still have great love affairs with various and sundry dictators and thugs, as long as they are anti-American and especially if they are non-western and spout leftwing propaganda, like Ahmedinejad. Another refutation of "anti-intellectual rightwingers ushering in the Dark Night of Fascism" bullshit.

Anti-nationalism is a hallmark of Communism and the Communist left, and is one of the main differences between it and fascism, which is why it is defended as a sign of "intellectualism" when it is actually an indication of their contempt for Democracy, National Sovereignity and the US Constitution, which have always stood in their way of building Utopia on Earth.

SGT Ted said...

Yet you wonder why you're rapidly becoming the laughing-stock of the entire world?

Most of our ancestors fled these countries because of their distinct lack of freedom and opportunity; sometimes so that they wouldn't be killed for being from the wrong group.

Why should any freedom loving person care what a bunch of socialists, dictators and thugs think about the USA?

vbspurs said...

AJ, what a fascinating list of prices! So much so, that I Googled for more:

House: $22,000
Average income: $4,137
Ford car: $1606-$2944
Milk: $.92
Gas: $.23
Bread $.18
Postage stamp: $.03
Sirloin chops: $ .69 lb.
Pot Roast: $.43 lb.
Eggs, doz.: $.61
Coffee: $.93 lb.
Milk, ½ gal. $.43
Potatoes, 10 lb. bag: $.53
Starkist Tuna, 6 ½ oz. can: $.25 lb.
Oreo cookies, 11¾ .oz pkg: $.39
Potato Salad, pint: $.29
Cracker Jack, 24 pac: $1.49
Apple cider,½ gal.: $.49
Gum Drops, 1½ lb. pkg: $.29
Ivory Soap, 2 bars: $.29
Mickey Mouse lunchbox: $.88
Slinky: $.88
Nylons, pair: $1.00
Home permanent: $1.50
Baseball Glove: $9.95


You know, except for the Harvard edumacation, and the housing prices, and well, obviously the gas prices -- prices are not THAT outrageous after 53 years.

I recall when I lived in Brazil, being inside our condo lift when an older couple entered, holding a bag of groceries.

The man turned around and said to the rest, "In 1960, I paid for my apartment the same price I just paid for this bag of milk today."

(Yes, they have leaky bags in Brazil)

Prices have shot up, yes. But they're not crazy-ass skyhigh either so that a carton of milk today ($2.99) would've bought you a house in 1955.

Cheers,
Victoria

Cedarford said...

Civilization is a choice, it’s an act of will that’s brought into being by the blood and sacrifice of real human beings - it’s not some “magical” occurrence, brought about by “inherent rights” or some small band of leaders declaring that they have invented The Sacred Parchment - eternally binding and guaranteeing all sorts of goodies and rights with no attendent responsibilities, duties or limits.

And for civilization to flourish and endure, one must understand that stern, strict punishment should await those - namely, criminals and enemy combatants - who abuse the inherent openness of a civilized society in order to prey upon law-abiding members of society. Or attack it externally aiming to vanquish it.

Excuses are pointless…”root causes” don’t matter, a persons "preference" to make money rather than risk their life in vommon defense..…maintenance of the social contract must come first.

John K - In REALITY, there are few things more wrong-headed than the idea that the state has the right to force its subjects to try their damnedest to murder foreign people whose overlords are in turn forcing them to engage in the same insanity.

Pacifist crap.

Or infantile libertarianism along the lines of "no one has to defend the Republic as The People Voted to Defend it - if they themselves personally object to the risk and imposition - anymore than anyone should be forced to pay taxes if they don't like the Republic's laws in those matters."

Infantilism harkening back to false notions that just having words written saying rights exist means that those freedoms are "free" and magically inviolable by enemy.

UWS guy - Why does the power to "raise and support armies" translate to "force service"? Because congress has raised and supported armies and navies for 30 years without forcing anything.

Because Nixon and other creators of the volunteer military stated it was a peacetime military that could handle a sudden, small piddling, prolonged war. Or global thermonuclear war button-pushing, or the early phases of a large conventional conflict.....but not two minor wars at once or sustain itself in a large prolonged conflict.
For that reason, Nixon, The Congress, and military all agreed that the Draft would remain legal, the full Selective Service maintained in standby and ready to go in a national emergency.

****************************
markw - If the number of volunteers is not enough, the proper solution is to raise the salary, not institute involuntary servitude.

In a big shooting war, with high casualties, bribery to induce the poorer to take all the risk while the well-off skate - may not be credible. And is also a screwing of the volunteers already in because they would effectively pay in taxes for new "volunteers" making substantially more than them.

Kirk Parker said...

Ann,

"Why put Pam on the ad? I'll check the click-through rate on it. I'll bet it's high."

I'll bet it's inflated!

fcai said...

UWS - how one gets from "you" to "ya" is beyond me. Perhaps if you move your apostrophe over, as in "y'all" it would make more sense to you. Or not.

UWS guy said...

fcai...I'm guessing you aren't american and don't know the argot of the midwest (in which case you're forgiven your ignorance.)

Or, if my guess is correct you're being a pedant. God forbid were I to mistype "your" for "you're" in the preceding sentence, you could waste my time with silly games of spelling "gotcha!"


I'll appreciate your due diligence to impeccable punctuation next time when I forget to add periods to the end of my sentences

UWS guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
UWS guy said...

Or is it ends of my sentences...

UWS guy said...

wait wait! I got it. Fcai is acting as one of Wright's commentators at bloggingheads.tv!

This is his version of reasonable yet substantive differences of opinion in a comment section!

Ralph said...

UWS guy said: Be careful with the phrase, "our enemies in academia."

Which is why I used "adversary", you nitwit. "One who is actively hostile or unfriendly" according to my Funk & Wagnalls. Appropriate, and not quite as harsh as "enemy."
Why did you feel the need to misquote me?

AJ Lynch said...

Victoria:

Yes facts are amazing things. Thanks for noticing.

Too bad libs can't deal with them ( Eli will not respond to my fact-based comment I bet even if he reads this one-heh).

vbspurs said...

AJ, Eli is pretty good about answering tough "get back to me" questions.

He's even answered a few of mine, and they pull no punches. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

UWS guy said...

Hello, Ralph, I believe someone made the same point as you some posts before yours using the phrase enemies.

I think they deleted said comment. Or, I indeed misquoted you, normally I state the name of the person whom I quote so I could be wrong.

secondly, nitwit hurts my feelings and I'd ask that you not speak in that manner.



and re: Fcai again...Ann Althouse does use the word "etymology" in her post so lets delve into the word, "y'all"


Would you like some pie. Would be pronounced in the midwest, "Would ya like some pie".

Would you all like some pie---> Would ya all like some pie.

Would ya'll like some pie takes out the un needed "a".

Ya'll would be perfectly fine to use.


Take that Robert Wright!

AlmaGarret said...

I was a Peace Corps volunteer back in the early 80s. What surprised me most about applying and being accepted was how rigorous the process was. First you had to deal with the federal bureaucracy. We had to have a physical, and the reimbursement rate was very low, which meant you had to go to a VA hospital for the physical. That was an eye-opener. Only after submitting many recommendations and various forms were you preliminarily accepted.

After you were assigned a country and given a start date, you had to attend a 3 or 4 day in-country assessment (at least that's how it was then). We were flown into a mid-level resort the government uses a lot and spent 3 days in small/large groups, doing various activities, games, role-playing etc. All the while we were being intently watched by a team of former volunteers who were trained to weed out the undesireables. Besides a few obvious nuts, the ones they most seemed to be worried about were the totally altruistic types who just wanted to serve. In other words, they encouraged us to have some self-serving motives for giving up two years of our lives in a godforsaken ruin of a country lacking basic sanitation and reliable electricity.

My point is that the Peace Corps doesn't need a bunch of starry-eyed do-gooders or disgruntled mandatory "volunteers" over promising and under-delivering to yet another group of needy Africans. In the same way our all-volunteer military has benefitted from choosing its members, the Peace Corps really does well with people who have a firm grasp of what can realistically be accomplished in two years by one person. Even with all those safeguards in place, my particular group lost over 1/3 of its people in the first year, primarily due to the very difficult physical environment (think dysentery, malaria, and even more exotic sicknesses).

I would hate to have respectable service opportunities be watered down so that every slacker can get that box checked off on some form.

On the other hand, I wouldn't mind sending that group of UC Berkeley tree dwellers to Liberia for a year or two to find out just how difficult life can be for people who don't have the time to spend their lives living in a tree and dropping feces on the police. Reality show, anyone?

Ralph said...

UWS NW: if you don't want your feelings hurt, don't compare other commenters to Stalin and the Khmer Rouge.

Ralph said...

had to go to a VA hospital for the physical. That was an eye-opener
I'd like a pollster to ask how many military dependents (esp. from the 70's) are in favor of greater federal control of health care.

John K. said...

Cedarford said: "Infantilism harkening back to false notions that just having words written saying rights exist means that those freedoms are 'free' and magically inviolable by enemy."

I don't subscribe to that caricature of my views at all Cedarford. I just think that governments, ours included, are the biggest violators of rights in the world. My predisposition, in contrast to yours, is to ask not how I or others can help (with our blood and servitude) government protect everybody's rights, because I'm more inclined than you to see government as the primary source of rights violations. I agree with you that neither our rights nor the protection of our rights come from a piece of paper.

Steven said...

Okay, less theoretical and more legal.

Why does the power to "raise and support armies" translate to "force service"?

It doesn't.

On the other hand, there's the power "to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions".

The militia includes, by statute, all male citizens and aliens who have declared intent to become citizens from ages 18 to 45, with a limited list of exceptions. The Constitution does not specify how they are called into military service, it leaves that up to Congress. So calling them by conscription class seems to be within the granted powers of Congress.

Now, one can argue that it is superseded by the Thirteenth Amendment, sure; a reasonable if not necessarily persuasive counterargument is that the Thirteenth was not intended to impair the specific power of Congress to call the militia in to service. One can also argue that certain circumstances involving military service do not have a reasonable relation to "repelling invasion", though the courts may call that non-justicable. Those two arguments aside, the draft is an unquestionably legitimate exercise of a specific granted power.

Now, national service? The only ends permitted for calling up the militia are enforcing the laws, suppressing insurrection, and repelling invasions. That's it. No other end is permissible, and so no other end is within Congress's specifically enumerated powers. Without any enumerated power, the Thirteenth Amendment, banning involuntary servitude, certainly controls. National service is thus certainly unconstitutional by any reasonable construction of the Constitution, while the draft may be permissible under certain reasonable constructions but not others.

Accordingly, national service is unquestionably beyond the bounds of the law; the draft is not.

glen said...

What a great thread. It certainly stands up to anything I've read over at Blogging Heads TV. Take THAT Robert Wright.

AJ Lynch said...

Freedom freedom! Sometimes I feel like Freedom.

For some reason I just thought of this Richie Havens song from Woodstock. Freedom.

I think this song is ripe for a re-write if Service Nation becomes a reality and we get closer and closer to a NINNY state.

UWS guy said...

If the founders wanted to be able to call up the militia when congress "declares war" why did they say, instead use the term, "to repel invasion"?

Didn't the SCOTUS decide the hand gun law based on this interpretation of the Constitution?

In England in the 18th century was war and invasion the same thing (based upon the geographical distance of your historical enemies)?

Enforce laws, suppress insurrections, and repel invasion seems pretty specific.

UWS guy said...

unless the insurrection is because of a draft...

UWS guy said...

On Bob Wrights challenge to be gruntally and substantively disagreeable, lets use Megan McCardle as an example.

I enjoy her blog over at the Atlantic, but the level of wonkishness and economic-argot in the comment section makes my eyes glaze over with boredom.

Seven Machos said...

Your Executive Branch happily treat your Constitution, your Bill Of Rights & even the bloody Magna Carta like Charmin

Wow. Where to start? I guess I'll start with Magna Carta. Virtually all of Magna Carta is about simple common law issues. The part I assume you are foolishly talking about -- continuous arrest without trial -- is thrown in as more or less an afterthought. Please do us a favor and read the documents you cite.

Moreover, the people arrested and not tried have been arrested by the military, and are no different than prisoners of war in every way since the United States has been in existence.

chuck b. said...

"The thousand points points of light, have morphed into one big albatross full of drudgery and burden."

This amuses me because I was in college when the first President Bush talked about the thousand points of light.

Liberals where I was saw it as an covert attack on government programs they supported.

A culture of "compulsory volunteerism" was much bemoaned. We talked about it in class and agreed that it was a very bad thing. Republicans everywhere were evil and racist.

Randy said...

Republicans everywhere were evil and racist.

That was accepted wisdom when I was there and remains accepted wisdom there today.

Fiat slug.

vbspurs said...

Republicans everywhere were evil

We still are. MUAHAHAHAHAHA. Pikers.

Randy said...

LOL! So it would appear.

Revenant said...

On the other hand, there's the power "to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions".

The 13th amendment banning involuntary servitude was added to the Constitution after that. Thus, even if that passage was meant to given Congress the power to draft people (which is unlikely, considering that the Revolutionary War was fought by a volunteer militia), the 13th amendment would have eliminated that power.

fcai said...

Midwesterners speak a language barely recognizable by the rest of the English speakers in the world. So I shall discount any attempt by someone from up and out there to corrupt the actual spelling of y'all.

And have you noticed how talking heads now say that people have "gone missing"? What is up with that? Next thing you know they will be saying that victims are "in hospital" or that "Watergate buggers" is a bleeding obscenity. Slag off, you pommie-wannabes.

Ya, you betcha!

blake said...

Good lord, I just took a look at that PETA ad.

What are those, tumors? If so, why is she smiling and showing them off so proudly?

Sorry. Never mind. Carry on.