National Service

There seems to be a renewed interests on the policy of national service……it all started with the CCC of the FDR days….and then later with the Kennedy-Hatch Act….

The year is 2008…….

Hatch announced the bill with Caroline Kennedy, Sen. Kennedy’s niece, in New York City at the ServeNation Summit, a gathering of business and government leaders discussing public service at the anniversary of 9/11.

John McCain and Barack Obama appeared at that summit on Thursday, and Hatch said both have agreed to co-sponsor the bill.

Hatch said he and Kennedy had long discussed the bill as a way “to marry two formerly competing visions of service,” the full-time national service programs such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps pushed by Presidents Kennedy and Clinton, and less structured volunteering through charities pushed by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Hatch said it would spend $5 billion over five years seeking to draw 175,000 more people into giving a year of service to address specific national challenges.

Obama had signed on to this idea and I wrote about it in 2008…….

Fast forward to the 2019 scramble for the Dem nomination… of the “rising stars” Mayor Pete has joined the call for a “national service”……

Now The American Conservative has joined in the call for shared experience for Americans…a call for a national service…..but their idea is a “Civilian Militia”…..

I received some fascinating responses and comments regarding my recent column about how the West can save masculinity. One email in particular caught my attention. It was from a friend of mine named Troy, a socially conservative, politically libertarian member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Troy is happily married with three young children and has been working in the IT field on the East Coast. However, he is feeling torn between his desire to serve in the military and his need to continue working a job that supports his family but leaves him feeling bereft of purpose and masculinity.  

Troy recently passed a preliminary screening to beginning the process of applying to  the Green Berets and is weighing his options. Although he badly wants to serve the country, he told me he doesn’t believe that the military will allow him enough time with his young children. He also disagrees with many of America’s current military deployments overseas.

Time to Bring Back Mandatory Citizen Militias?

While I totally agree with the concept of a National Service I have a problem with this idea of a “Civilian Militia”……but I try to give all sides of most ideas…….

Any thoughts on this?

11 thoughts on “National Service

  1. Father born in 1923 and was in the CCC’s. He got paid a little less than the alleged $30 a month though. One by product was that the barracks life, work and rules had a lot of men pre trained for army life and training when WW 2 began. A year or two of required national service between high school and college would go a long way to give a generation a much needed consciousness of citizenship plus the training for extra education and jobs skills. We need a national or corporate consciousness which leads to a sense of nationhood and stewardship so lacking in today’s society. Our common denominators must be found and nourished to overcome present day “us or them ” thinking. Identity politics has hurt the unity of America and weakened us as a nation.

  2. Establishing a civilian militia sounds worrying. That would be another well-armed and trained force to have to deal with, in the event of any popular unrest. And isn’t the National Guard already filing this role?
    Perhaps they should just go straight to Conscription? (The Draft) They might need a much bigger regular army, if they are going to take on Iran in a land war.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I agree……national service that I see does not mean a “militia” that is a conserv. thing….and let the national guard do their job and work on infrastructure….chuq

  3. I believe national service has merit, and likely a good application in part would be to tie it with maybe half-ing college tuition or something along those lines. But honestly.. mandatory national service is, in effect, creating an entirely new federalized entity with it’s own internal culture and work ethic. This couldn’t be like a “summer camp” or some frat house environment. It would be creating a new culture like the military. That’s not to suggest that a mandatory national service program wouldn’t or couldn’t be based on some level of military discipline to maintain order, focus, and direction… I can’t imagine you’d want yet another military arm.. nor under control of the Pentagon. Seems to me this would be a civilian-based organization… but not some country club environment. Maybe if the entire process is aimed at this mandatory service being designed to be served at local levels in the communities.. similar, or the same as, internships.. to augmenting governmental agencies, like in administration. Once you start re-locating young people to build federal projects, ala CCC or WPA, now you have to house them, protect them, police them.. and be responsible for their lives, health and welfare while in service (just imagine the rape threats and sexual harassment toward female members). Mandatory service idea has merit.. but needs to be COMPLETELY thought out.

      1. Agreed. Mandatory service should not become a breeding ground for political radicalism of any kind. But without some level of discipline.. rounding up a bunch of young people as a group to work in a service program will create certain public political discourse… unless they are kept too busy to think about it.

      2. I think if they are given a topic to service then they will become more political……I do not think that is bad….as long as their energy is focused making the society a better more equal place for us all chuq

      3. I trust nobody when it comes to ideas about compulsory national service since too many will not or do not support existing Vista, Americorps or Peace Corps. Right wingers really just want a pseudo military approach because they no longer will pay for public education 😡😜

      4. I am afraid the the idea in TAC was just that…..but some form of service would help the nation and its people….chuq

  4. One of my uncles worked for the CCC. Not to do public service but for the money. It was scare in those days. That was the motive for other people at the time. They build a lot of roads, parks and infrastructure in Appalachia back then. Good program.

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