James Bovard

Mandatory ‘national service’ for America?


James Bovard, policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation, discusses the prospect of mandatory national service in the U.S., the often dubious contributions made by AmeriCorps programs, the expansion of civil service budgets from the Clinton to Obama presidencies and the general dislike of compulsory service among Americans.

MP3 here. (30:34)

James Bovard is a policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation and the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal and many other books.

21 thoughts on “James Bovard”

  1. Oh, really, that pick and pick act is really old. If you looked at any private corp you could find equally ridiculous stupidities.

    I’m no Americorp defender or detractor because I don’t know a lot about it. Too bad you didn’t “learn me.”

    A billion/year. Vs. AIG into the federal coffers for $180 billion in less than a year. Yep, gotta attack Americorp as one of the devils of librul government. Crickets on the devils of conservative government, some orders of magnitude larger.

    I agree with the principle that forced volunteerism is stupid, but surely there is an intelligent way to attack it. Like looking at the evidence: what are the benefits, what are the costs, including the opportunity costs. Too bad Bovard descended into mockery rather than serious analysis.

    There’s a rule that apparently you are not familiar with, which is that the person who mentions the Nazis first loses the arguement. (Neocons & Israelis are also unfamiliar with that rule.)

    What does posse comitatus have to do with Americorps?

    I’m a fan of yours, Scott Horton, but this interview is a 30:34 minutes of my life I won’t get back.

  2. I know a number of people who have been in this program and have never heard a good word about it. I is pluperfect waste and fraud.

  3. “There’s a rule that apparently you are not familiar with, which is that the person who mentions the Nazis first loses the arguement.”

    Oh really??? I’m not familiar with that “rule”. Is this something that you have proclaimed?

    Tell me… would it then be okay to reference Nazis if “enemies of the State” are ever “re-located”?

  4. As a teacher, I think Americorp is good. The programs that the speaker criticized, like helping children resolve playground disputes, getting cell phones for victims of domestic violence, etc. are all good. Disappointed in you Scott. First interview on anti war radio I strongly disagree with. Is anti war radio going right?

  5. Anonymous,

    It doesn’t surprise me that, as a teacher, you think AmeriCorp is good. Unless you work for a school that doesn’t accept any government funding, your salary and benefits are derived from the government’s taxing powers.

    When Peter is forced at gunpoint to hand over his property to support Paul, Peter is basically his slave. The fact that Paul might do something meaningful with the loot does not change this fact or somehow make the theft moral.

    So being a liberal that thinks it’s dandy for others to support your lifestyle against their will, it shouldn’t be a shocker to hear that you think dragooning teenagers into America’s version of the Hitler Youth is a good idea.

    At least you’re consistent.

  6. What if it’s voluntary and the activities are harmless and productive? Isn’t that possible? Can’t say I’m a fan of the idea, though….Service should be for the Church, for the people who live in your hamlet, in your hometown,
    in your county and in your state..,,That was patriotism as defined by Gen. Thomas J. Jackson and it makes sense to me..Lastly patriotism in a country as big as this must mean your region..beyond that is too much for one person to ponder..
    Hopefully Rahm Emmanuel won’t have a big say in this program or “National Service ” will include pulling border patrol duty in Israel ( along with the customary sniper actions against Palestinian civilians and farmers)..

  7. Great interview, Scott.

    Keep bringing Jim back, as while it is lost on some folks here, what Bovard writes of very much has to do with GWOT in the long term. Obama is simply going through the back door with GIVE and AmeriCorps.

  8. First of all, another good interview. I’d also like to respond to comments by “eCAHNomics”. He mentions a “rule” about mentioning Nazis. This is the so-called “Godwin’s Law” that states that as a Usenet discussion thread progresses, the probability of mention of Nazis or Hitler approaches 1. (roughly). People have extended this to imply that whoever mentions Hitler or Nazis first has lost the debate. It’s an irrational debate tactic and allows some folks to hide behind the “rule” rather than to rationally defend their positions. There are reasons to fear these proposed programs of the Obama administration. Obama is viewed in almost messianic awe by a significant part of the population. Legitimate criticism is often met with cries of racism and worse. The bailouts of AIG and others is an insidious act, but proposing mandatory service in a supposedly free country is much more insidious because it really does amount to government sponsored slavery.

  9. @ Odysseus: It is known as “Godwins Law” and it has many other connotations of what not to use during an argument and is used more in debate than in literature, as it also includes such as when a certain Colorado Professoer when referring to those who worked in the Twin “towers as “Little Eichmans” cost him his position; an action that just recently the Courts ruled as an Abridgement of Free Speech by the University .

    It is also a tacitc, much like you used, to try and disparage or bring discredit upon those who may atempt to place a legitimate comparison in order to either hide their own inability of debate with logical reasoning, or a deliberate attempt to hide the truth from being known.

    No matter what terms and wordage used to hifde behind Americorp and the new programs on the books Called “Mandatory Volunteerism” are acts of conscription, a Draft.

    Contrary to most of youthfull under 28 years of age belief that they cannot ever be drafted for military service,and for that matter adults if you can find one, the US Conscription Law was never repealed and is still in effect.

    A program that is being bandied about is for 50 hrs per year for all youths under th 8th grade level and 100 hrs between 9th grade level and 21years of age is a complelty seperate program from Americorp.

    It is what in todays Newspeak called “Mandatroy Volunteerism”.

    If a teacher cannot understand the conflict within the term and the principles it violates, both upon our system of Laws and the idea of Individual Sovereignty and the future dangr to individual liberty it poses is not surprising when one looks at U.S. education or what has passed or such for over the last 40 years by majority of those recieving teaching degrees.

    they for the main are not educators but trtainers who learned the techinques or mechanics of teaching as a primary and secondarily thaty of the topics they may be asked to know in order to educate their students.

    I suggest one of the best reads in over 25 years of what is wrong with US education and especially what is wrong with those within the educational fields, mainly in ways to reason; the Work of Dr. John Taylor Gatto, “Weapons of Mass Instruction”.

    This new push towards mandatroy volunteerism has much to do with the Anti-War stance of this site, especialy of those in power and the programs outsisde that this new mental conditioning is to support; and even higher than that when it comes to asking what is the indivduals place within humanity in the future.

    Alex de Toqueville described it over 200 years ago as “Democratic Despotism”; the results of which one can see by such easy acceptance of control over ones life by those in DC.

    Thus, “It every day renders the “Free Agency” of man less usefull and less frequent; it circumscribes the will with a narrower range and gradually robs the man of all use of himself.”

    To look around at a useless popualtion, good but little purpose other than to serve those of the richest and most powerfull in the land, and think they are free but know only the bounds of salvery, that is the people of United States have becoem.

  10. Hide Behind wrote:

    “It is also a tacitc, much like you used, to try and disparage or bring discredit upon those who may atempt to place a legitimate comparison in order to either hide their own inability of debate with logical reasoning, or a deliberate attempt to hide the truth from being known.”

    What do you mean directing “much like you used” at me??? Are you saying that by exposing the vulnerability “Godwin’s law”, that I sank to the same level as one who would use it?

  11. The Pentagon´s disarming and unanswerable first-strike capability + Launch On Warning = SUICIDE. Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge resigned for that reason.

    I recommend The Aftermath, published by SIPRI.

  12. I enjoyed that interview and the humour expressed too. Also, I’m glad that someone hates that wanker Glenn Beck nearly as much as I do. I’m just glad that the only time I see him these days is when the Daily Show is mocking him.

  13. Individual liberty comes with individual responsibility. However, I suspect those wanting liberty want only their idea of responsibility to rule the day.
    what is so horrible about volunteering to help make America a better place?
    Mandatory is not such a great idea but I do not believe that we will sign up for mandatory any more than folks will wish for the draft to return.
    The long winded responses on debate tactics are just smoke screens for the inability to say concisely what needs to be said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.