The idea of a national service plan did not come from South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. It’s been around for quite some time. In fact, it even made its way into a congressional bill in 2013.
However, the revival of the idea should alarm anyone who values the freedom to choose their own course in life as it would call for young adults to spend one or even two years performing government-approved services. While Mayor Pete is loudly proclaiming that his national service plan would not be mandatory, the language he uses to describe it undermines his assertions and should not be ignored.
At first glance, the national service plan sounds like a great idea. As Buttigieg told MSNBC, his hope for the program is that it would bring together people from different ethnicities and backgrounds and thus help to unify the nation as people from different walks of life work together for the common good. Others have pitched the program as a “virtuous cycle” that would benefit the nation as young Americans work together to bring about improvements to society.
Given these positive program descriptions, it is not surprising that about half of all Americans currently think that a national service program is a good idea. However, the idea of making such a plan mandatory is sure to be unwelcome to anyone who wants to choose his or her own course in life.
In his recent MSNBC interview. Mayor Pete told Rachel Maddow that, if his program were not legally obligatory, his goal would be to make it the social norm. In other words, young people would not necessarily be forced to join, but employers and universities would count “failure to serve” against prospective employees or students. Young people who opt to join the military later in life could also be asked about their involvement, if any, in the national service program. As Pete Buttigieg clearly states, he would want it to be the first question on anyone’s college or job application.
The idea of using “social service” as a means to blackmail Americans into participating in a government program sounds like something that one would expect from communist China. Indeed, China has a terrifying social scoring program that won’t allow people to buy train or plane tickets or hold certain types of jobs if they commit particular social offenses. The national service plan proposed by Mr. Buttigieg is backed by the same idea; that is, young people should not be able to further their education or find a good job without first “paying their dues” to the federal government.
Freedom is widely considered to be one of the foundational principles that the United States was founded on. The Pilgrims and others came here because they did not want the government of their home countries telling them what to believe and how to worship. Others came to find economic freedom to pursue the career of their choice. Unfortunately, many of the ideas the Democrats have been coming up with recently seeks to greatly restrict what freedoms the nation has left.
The Green New Deal would seek to tell people how to build or renovate their own homes, Medicare for All would involve the government in the daily medical decisions of ordinary citizens, while gun control would render the Second Amendment moot. The idea of instituting a national service program, as noble as it sounds, is yet another power grab that would give the United States government control over the lives of millions of people.