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Compulsory military training
January 22, 2002 4:46 AM   Subscribe

Compulsory military training is not just for Switzerland and Israel anymore. The Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001 seeks "To require the induction into the Armed Forces of young men registered under the Military Selective Service Act, and to authorize young women to volunteer, to receive basic military training and education for a period of up to one year." (more inside)
posted by headspace (65 comments total)

 
First of all, aren't American women already allowed to volunteer for the armed forces? (I seem to remember having no trouble joining the U.S. Army myself in 1991...) And secondly, more importantly, is it constitutional to force all men to join the military, even for a brief time? They'd be paid as E-1s, and with only a mandatory year of service, they couldn't possibly compete for training in the more useful fields of military education- for example, the linguistics program is 13 months of language training alone; that doesn't include 3 months of basic training.

It seems to me that this bill is not only discriminatory toward men, but the 8th Amendment only allows conscription to to suppress insurrections and repel invasions, and the 14th Amendment is pretty clear that the government "...shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." Taking away an entire year of a man's life for compulsory military training sounds like abridging the privileges of the citizen to me.
posted by headspace at 4:47 AM on January 22, 2002


Uh, bad quote. 14th Amendment says that "No State shall make or enforce any law..." I accidentally lost the negative, sorry about that.
posted by headspace at 4:49 AM on January 22, 2002


Your link appears to be broken.
posted by atom128 at 4:54 AM on January 22, 2002


Indymedia article on this bill, which I hadn't been aware of. I don't see a need for a draft, but I do think women should be treated equally with men.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:00 AM on January 22, 2002


Gack! This is not my day for posting. To read the entire bill in the link, go to Thomas and type in HR3598 in the search box. Pulls it right up, and I am terribly sorry for all the trouble.
posted by headspace at 5:04 AM on January 22, 2002


I'd like to see a form of what several European countries do. In general, they mandate that individuals of a certain age (usually 16 through 19) do a finite time (one year, 18 months, 2 years), either in the military or in national volunteer service. It's the national volunteer service that I want. It'd be a huge change of the American identity, towards a more responsible populace and more mature university students (because enrollment would be delayed until service is complete). The biggest complaint would be that it would derail students from their fast track towards a career, but I think that would be a good thing, too. The kind of volunteer experiences available can easily provide another dimension to balance responsibility and humanism against greed and corporate ambition.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:44 AM on January 22, 2002


1. It would be insanely expensive to support the massive logistical needs of such a plan. All of a sudden you've got not only short-term costs, but would all these people become eligible for VA benefits? There's a system that has enough trouble helping the people who do at least three years in the military.

2. It's hard enough dealing with the training/discipline/life problems of volunteer soldiers. The basic training system would have to return to the days of beating the crap out of people to get them to comply.

3. The army has spent thirty years trying to solve the problems created by the draft during Vietnam. This would take us right back to a broken armed forces. I'd rather lead five motivated soldiers than ten I'm forcing to participate.
posted by spslsausse at 5:48 AM on January 22, 2002


The military as one of the options of National Service sounds like a more workable idea.
posted by revbrian at 6:04 AM on January 22, 2002


Well said, spslsausse. This seems like some kind of rose-tinted vision of some rep's "the military made me the man I am today" dream to transform America into a nation full of clean-cut young patriotic taxpayers.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:10 AM on January 22, 2002


I cannot fathom why we would need to spend the god-awful sums necessary to force 9 million+ people to participate in a military service that:
a) doesn't need that many people and
b) doesn't want them.

While the idea of a national volunteer force sounds good (when was volunteering ever a bad thing?), forced volunteering is hypocritical. Not to mention the political unrealities:
a) You'll never get the government to agree on programs that would employ 9 million people.
b) You've got strong ideological reasons on both ends of the political spectrum to oppose this. Conservatives will not want to spend the money on employing that many people, whether in the army or simply as a volunteer force, and liberals will object to the abrogation of personal freedom.
c) The idea of forcing the residents of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin islands and Guam into this seems particularly wrong, seeing as how they have no voice in opposing such legislation.

The sooner this bill dies, the better.
posted by thewittyname at 6:13 AM on January 22, 2002


What a stupid idea.
posted by rushmc at 6:35 AM on January 22, 2002


Mo Nickels: It's the national volunteer service that I want

I take it for granted that you actually mean the volunteer part of that sentence?

it would derail students from their fast track towards a career, but I think that would be a good thing, too

Yeah, let the government decide what is good for people. That has always worked, and is certainly the moral solution. Sigh...
posted by dagny at 6:36 AM on January 22, 2002


yeah, slavery!
posted by Mick at 6:44 AM on January 22, 2002


Let me rephrase that, if this passes I'll choose para-military action over forced inscription.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
  -TJ
posted by Mick at 6:49 AM on January 22, 2002


Breif aside:

  -TJ

Hmm, I hope you're from Virginia. Having grown up there, I know for certain that the rules allow only members of the Commonwealth to refer to TJ as TJ. You know, he was in tight with us and all...
posted by warhol at 7:08 AM on January 22, 2002


Wow, I was just reading through the resolution and came across:

SEC. 11. PAY AND ALLOWANCES.
A person inducted or accepted as a volunteer under this Act and receiving basic military training and education shall be considered to be on active duty for purposes of pay and allowances under title 37, United States Code, except that the monthly basic pay of the person may not exceed 35 percent of the basic pay of an enlisted member in a regular component in the pay grade E-1 with less than four months of service.


Let's see, according to this FAQ, an E-1 gets paid $964.80/month for the first four months. That means they'll earn $3859.20 for the year of service. Assuming someone works 2080 hours a year, and I expect the military requires a few more hours than that, someone will be earning about $1.85/hour. A little bit below minimum wage in most states...

True, housing and food are being provided, but not uniforms and other basic life supplies. Sounds like an incredible rip-off.
posted by warhol at 7:19 AM on January 22, 2002


It's the national volunteer service that I want. It'd be a huge change of the American identity, towards a more responsible populace and more mature university students (because enrollment would be delayed until service is complete).

Yeah right, the military churns out responsible and mature students? Don't make me laugh. European countries have to have mandatory service because of their small populations and inability to afford a costly US style military. Not to mention they may have different priorities than maintaining a cutting edge one million man military machine.
posted by skallas at 7:20 AM on January 22, 2002


Mick - I thinik the correct inflammatory label would be "indentured servitude."

***

Separately, keep in mind that the motivations behind some of these proposals is not just to instill some stereotypical view of military discipline and thinking into the populace as a whole, but to instill the thinking of the populace as a whole into the military.

Many believe it is dangerous to have a military that sees itself as a distinct (and superior) culture from the nation it serves. Mandatory military service injects a much broader range of thinking into the military, keeping the service and the served representative of each other.
posted by NortonDC at 7:35 AM on January 22, 2002


Icksnay, guys. It's good that the government may try to force us to serve in the army. It's a good thing that they did that. Real good. Don't think bad thoughts about the government. You know they can hear you. It's a good life.
posted by Hildago at 7:43 AM on January 22, 2002


Let us not forget that they fingerprint everyone when they own them. If you make everyone join, you have an instant database of eveyone in the country. It is hardly anything at all to grab a swab and start building a DNA inventory as well.

Why do I feel like I exist to serve the government and society more and more? Nobody signed on for this.
posted by thirteen at 8:14 AM on January 22, 2002


Let's hope the reason this has gotten so little news coverage since it was introduced is that it's just a test balloon -- nobody has any serious expectation that it'll ever pass. Reps. Smith and Weldon win a gold star each from the hawk constituency for introducing it; meanwhile the Dems avoid drawing any undue attention to it, knowing it'll die a quiet death before ever coming to a vote.

Let's hope.
posted by ook at 8:20 AM on January 22, 2002


I cannot fathom why we would need to... force 9 million+ people to participate in a military service that: a) doesn't need that many people and b) doesn't want them.

They appear to have thought of this objection already... see para 4(d), TRANSFER TO NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAMS. Do you suppose they're envisioning something like the WPA?

My biggest question about this bill is, why? What need does it fulfill, from anybody's perspective?
posted by ook at 8:29 AM on January 22, 2002


They appear to have thought of this objection already... see para 4(d), TRANSFER TO NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAMS. Do you suppose they're envisioning something like the WPA?

Yeah, that's where I think the big payoff is for the government. They get a work force of about 9 million people to which they only need to pay $1.85/hour. What better way to do a ton of infrastructure work on the country - the hell with the bidding process, no company can underbid the Indentured Servant Brigade! They don't even need to meet OSHA requirements and other employee niceties like holidays and such.
posted by warhol at 8:43 AM on January 22, 2002


Here's the working link. My strong suspicion is that this bill ain't going anywhere. Just my opinion, of course, but it is sort of my job to know this stuff.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:44 AM on January 22, 2002


Hey, will homosexuals be exempt? Is that the easy way to subvert the system? Will the declared homosexual population suddenly balloon by about, oh, say 9 million?
posted by warhol at 8:49 AM on January 22, 2002


NortonDC:Mandatory military service injects a much broader range of thinking into the military, keeping the service and the served representative of each other.
Let's see, Franco-Spain, Portugal-Salazar, Greece- Papadopoulos, Turkey- Evren (list continues)... all conscript army officers (professional themselves) imposing a military dictatorship on their respective people. That argument doesn't hold water.
Hey I've been there folks (army), done that (mandatory service) and I tell you it's time wasted to further the officers' military carriers, do public work for free and disguise the unelployment rate. I live in Greece where the population is approximately that of NYC and feels threatened by a much larger (population wise) neighbor and still the ministry of defence is thinking of going proffesional and slowly downgrade mandatory service to just mandatory training. Why would the US need (from a defence standpoint) 9 million conscripts?
posted by talos at 9:07 AM on January 22, 2002


European countries have to have mandatory service because of their small populations and inability to afford a costly US style military.

Oh really? I assume that's why the UK doesn't have mandatory service, yet has a well-sized army, and the best elite forces in the world? Perhaps you meant smaller European countries? And even so, Switzerland is always an exception.. they're a neutral country, and have been free of conflict for *hundreds* of years.

Either way, conscription (even dressed up as 'national service') is a bad idea. The government already forces us all to pay taxes, so why do we owe them our time doing exercises and training for a whole year of our lives? Some of us hate that sort of thing.

Once again, it seems the Feds are trying to force people to respect authority. If everyone can do a year of national service and get yelled at by dumb army officers, then perhaps they'll be more responsive in the future huh?

Either way, this sort of thing scares me. I certainly wouldn't want to be in a country that forces me to spend my time doing something I don't want to do. It's my life, not the government's.
posted by wackybrit at 9:09 AM on January 22, 2002


talos said: I live in Greece [..] threatened by a much larger [..] neighbor and still the ministry of defence is thinking of going proffesional and slowly downgrade mandatory service [..]

You know why that is don't you? Turkey wants to join the EU, and it'd be banned for eternity if it chose to attack Greece any time in the next fifty years.
posted by wackybrit at 9:12 AM on January 22, 2002


[It is hardly anything at all to grab a swab and start building a DNA inventory as well.]

They do that already for (at least) US Army troops. At least they did to to everyone in my company on the first day of basic training.
posted by revbrian at 9:18 AM on January 22, 2002


wackybrit: Maybe...maybe... that's a whole other big discussion, but either way it supports the argument: no imminent external threat -> no mandatory service.
posted by talos at 9:18 AM on January 22, 2002


Let us not forget that they fingerprint everyone when they own them. If you make everyone join, you have an instant database of eveyone in the country. It is hardly anything at all to grab a swab and start building a DNA inventory as well.

Already being done with Aircrew. For the purposes of identifying their bodies in the event of a crash. They have my DNA.
posted by a3matrix at 9:25 AM on January 22, 2002


they'll earn $3859.20 for the year of service....

Um, warhol. from your own link..."According to the current Military Pay Schedule, this amounts to a BASIC PAY of $964.80 per month, under 4 months, and $1042.80 after your 4 month anniversary".
that's 3859.20 for the first four months and 1042.80 for each month there after. Still not a lot of money by any stretch but no need to make it sound worse than it is.
posted by srw12 at 9:37 AM on January 22, 2002


Headspace, the 8th amendment has nothing whatever to do with this. Conscription isn't a punishment.

And as to "abridging the privileges of a citizen", citizens also have duties. That's why you have an obligation to show up for jury duty, and an obligation to pay taxes. Sometimes it is the duty of citizens to serve in the armed forces to defend the nation.

I know of no rule of law or principle in the Constitution that limits conscription to times of active warfare. The United States had conscription continuously from 1940 all the way through 1972 when it was abolished. That covered periods like the late 1950's when we were not actively involved in war and there was no insurrection.

I don't think that universal conscription is unconstitutional. I do think it is economically unsupportable, and also politically impossible to pass.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:49 AM on January 22, 2002


Um, srw12, from the resolution:

"except that the monthly basic pay of the person may not exceed 35 percent of the basic pay"

35% of the basic pay rate is what the resolution wants to pay people for their time.
posted by warhol at 10:17 AM on January 22, 2002


Um, srw12, from the resolution:

"except that the monthly basic pay of the person may not exceed 35 percent of the basic pay"

35% of the basic pay rate is what the resolution wants to pay people for their time.
posted by warhol at 10:23 AM on January 22, 2002


Part of the Swiss version of this is that the gov't provides each "recruit" with their own automatic rifle which they keep at home when they are not doing their annual two weeks of compulsory duty. It is commonplace to see traveling bands of armed youngsters walking the streets of Zurich going to or from the train station en route to training. When I lived there it was just one of those culture shock things I had to get used to. Here in the US, I would find that unacceptable. Imagine EVERY male american over 18 possessing a gov't funded automatic rifle. *shudder* Besides, with the trend being toward techno-war and zero-casualty 'surgical' battles using what is already the best funded and best trained military in the world, why expand the ranks?
posted by plaino at 10:39 AM on January 22, 2002


Hey, will homosexuals be exempt?

Yeah, but you have to prove it. Now grab your ankles, son!

(I wouldn't call it an easy way to subvert the system!)
posted by David Dark at 11:45 AM on January 22, 2002


Imagine EVERY male american over 18 possessing a gov't funded automatic rifle.

In Israel, you walk around and see 18-21 year old men, and women as well, hanging out in cafes with their uzis leaning against the table nearby. Actually I think it was kind of sexy. But I agree that it's not such a good idea here, although I do support private handgun ownership.

Interesting to me that nobody, I think, on this thread has actually said this bill is a good idea (and I'm no exception). Seems to me that conscription in the US only would/should/could happen if we were in a war in which most of our professional armed forces were being quickly killed off. I don't have the statistics, but isn't the current combined population of our armed forces already larger than the number of Americans killed in Vietnam? With the massive media recruitment campaign ("be all you can be") etc. that's been going on for the last two decades, I had come to think that the current plan was just to mesmerize people into joining up.
posted by bingo at 11:51 AM on January 22, 2002


I'm sorry, Steven, you're right. I meant Section 8, Article one. Obviously I was having a hard time with thinking straight and posting well this morning. However, I have to disagree that universal conscription is constitutional, based solely on the 14th amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law. This bill clearly discriminates on the basis of gender- women can serve in the military (albeit not in infantry divisions) but this act makes men's participation compulsory, but women's participation elective.
posted by headspace at 11:58 AM on January 22, 2002


Yes, practically this bill's a wash (army doesn't need more people) but if we are going to have some sort of "volunteer" national service, why exclude women? Are women assumed to have fewer duties as citizens?
posted by Charmian at 12:13 PM on January 22, 2002


warhol, you're right. I was too lazy to read the whole resolution.

Moreover, while I'm not wild about the manditory nature of it, I would have liked to have had the option of joining the military for only one or two years between high school and college. I guess given how long training is, you have to go longer to get the government's money's worth out of a enlisted person. Which I guess means this bill makes even less sense. What good is a year?
posted by srw12 at 12:36 PM on January 22, 2002


Does anyone remember Heinlan's Starship Troopers where you had to serve your country (not only in the military) in some way to be a citizen? Should a citizen need to "consciously (place) the interests of (his/her) society above (his/her) own personal interests." Are we Americans too selfish to appreciate this idea?
posted by tcobretti at 1:04 PM on January 22, 2002


By the way, I'm not trying to be incendiary. I'm honestly asking.
posted by tcobretti at 1:06 PM on January 22, 2002


Heinlein, that is.
posted by tcobretti at 1:12 PM on January 22, 2002


tcobretti - I do believe most people here would call that facism. That said, I think individuals owe (society as a whole) something in return for what society does for them.
posted by revbrian at 1:13 PM on January 22, 2002


tcobretti - I do believe most people here would call that facism.

That would be a serious misunderstanding of what fascism is, then. We're forced to go to school throughout childhood, aren't we? We're forced to pay taxes. If we think of a nation as a club we all belong to, the rules and duties to which we have the right to collectively decide, then we could theoretically decide that it would be a benefit to us all to each spend a year in some sort of service to the group at an age when a)we might not think of doing it ourselves and b)we don't yet have other obligations that preclude us from taking the time and pay cut. It would be especially desirable if it involved travel and learning new skills (a shorter, younger peace corps/americorps type thing)

I think making it easy to take a year between high school and college in the military or a national volunteer service would be a good idea; making it mandatory would clearly not work, though. I always envied my british relatives who were generally expected to take a gap year to travel and live in the real world before going to university...
posted by mdn at 2:10 PM on January 22, 2002


Are we Americans too selfish to appreciate this idea?
I come at this idea from the other direction. I would love to have the ability to downgrade my citizenship. I would be willing to pay a sales tax, and a greatly reduced tax rate for infrastructure. The trade off would be not being eligible for any social programs, and to be free of the military service. Citizenship Lite™
If we think of a nation as a club we all belong to
Again, this sounds unbearable to me. Why on earth should I feel anything but hatred for a club that won't let me quit?
posted by thirteen at 2:25 PM on January 22, 2002


According to this pay schedule, E1's under 4 make
$1022.70 per month. At 8 hours per day, five days per
week, 4 weeks per month, that's $6.39 per hour. 35%
of that is $2.23 per hour.

Unfortunately, the military doesn't work 8 hours a day, nor do they work 5 days a week. We have this nifty concept called duty, and when it's your turn, you work 24 hours. You can sleep when you get a chance, usually 4 or five hours. Your turn is every 3 or 4 days.

I still don't think it's a good idea. It will only make it harder on those of us who volunteered, trying to make people do things they don't want to do. Do we want a military full of minimum-effort-to-avoid-jail soldiers and sailors?

Actually I think the whole thing is a trick to get the federal government on the hook for paying for education for everyone in the country. Simply don't go to school until your conscription time, then, "The Secretary concerned shall assist such members in earning the equivalent of a high school
diploma while receiving their basic military training and education."
posted by flestrin at 2:28 PM on January 22, 2002


Again, this sounds unbearable to me. Why on earth should I feel anything but hatred for a club that won't let me quit?

Family doesn't let you quit either... "Club" makes it sound too dorky, but it's true there's a problem, since a nation is geographically determined and therefore everyone must belong to one or another. Still, whether you like it or not you do depend on the group for many important elements of your life.

Implementing a new policy like this would upset enough people that it's not feasible, but really it's just due to what you're used to and what you're not. Most citizens comfortably accept that they're expected to go to school until they're 17; generally public school is seen as a benefit of our society, not a fascist demand. A year of low-paying but interesting and opportunity-filled service might also be considered a beneficial program if we were used to it.

Anyway, like I said, it would work best as an easily arranged, highly respectable, totally optional but well promoted alternative to going straight into college.
posted by mdn at 2:37 PM on January 22, 2002


Should a citizen need to "consciously (place) the interests of (his/her) society above (his/her) own personal interests." Are we Americans too selfish to appreciate this idea?
tcobreti, Austria's the place where the law explicitly required that voluntary national service impose "hardship." Here in America, we are entitled to interesting and opportunity-filled experiences.
There's a story that Tibetans imposed a very strict upbringing on the rich kids, so they wouldn't abuse their position as adults. In contrast, poor kids were spoiled as much as possible, since poor kids would have it rough for the rest of their lives. Compared to the rest of the world, we Americans are the rich kids. We just got a pretty drastic wake-up call that rich kids need to show an attitude of service and noblesse oblige, but it hasn't sunk in yet. Personally I'd be all for every able-bodied US citizen spending one year at taxpayer expense working in disaster relief and third world public health. Unfortunately, we're too selfish. And too slow-witted to see that arrogance eventually provokes aggression by its victims ...
posted by sheauga at 3:35 PM on January 22, 2002


Alright, lets break it down.

GOOD POINTS: would give young guys a chance to mature before the collegiate fraternity binge-drink-o-thon, and maybe even score them college funding; if every guy knows combat skills then being a criminal becomes more difficult; since military requires regular drug testing, addicts might maybe get treatment (granted on the public tab, but still cheaper than prison); military culture becomes part of the people, not above the people; could result in large pool of workers for public works and charitable projects; solves armed forces recruitment quota problems; some folks may actually discover thier purpose in life; in the event of Really Bad Things, local defense militias are easily raised.

BAD POINTS: allows for easy brainwashing of the population; instant DNA and biometric database, just add GIs; interrupts life plans of young people by forcing them to accept a job that is hazardous and low paying by any standard; too many recruits for necessary tasks; too much turnover in military personnel, since most folks won't stay beyond thier mandatory year; really expensive to implement; invasive of population; there is likely to be massive opposition.

MAYBE GOOD, MAYBE NOT: everybody has a gun, prominently; everybody knows certain things about how the military works; makes the military record of future politicians public record (or rather, insures that there *is* a military record).

For the record, I don't like the idea. I hope it does not become law.
posted by ilsa at 4:44 PM on January 22, 2002


hmmm. I need to get me one of those really big fucking motorcycles. Also: a bandana.

The social effect the bill would have would be quite interesting. I'm sure it's passing would create entertaining memoirs. Hopefully and probably it won't pass and I won't have to become a deviant. Although I might anyway.
posted by fuq at 5:05 PM on January 22, 2002


Excellent post, ilsa.
posted by rodii at 5:12 PM on January 22, 2002


Conscription isn't a punishment.

That, it very much seems to me, depends entirely upon your perspective on it.
posted by rushmc at 5:19 PM on January 22, 2002


But I agree that it's not such a good idea here

Okay, so you all think that these other folks are clearly and demonstrably superior to Americans, who should not be trusted with the same responsiblities. Would you care to present the reasoning by which you arrive at this conclusion?
posted by rushmc at 5:21 PM on January 22, 2002


OK, looks like I may be alone here. But I have often thought than a draft featuring NON-MILITARY options,(while still allowing for GI benefits), might be a good idea. This may sound odd coming from someone who loudly proclaims himself a libertarian, but hear me out.
Maybe at 18 everyone would be drafted but if the Army, Navy or Marines wasn't their thing(or if they physically weren't up to it) they could serve a year with VISTA, the Peace Corps, the Park Service, maybe even the Police Force.
This could benefit our society in multiple ways: these angencies would recive young, needed employees, the young people themselves would gain valuable skills and discipline, and our nation's most social-pathology prone age bracket (18-20 year olds) would be being productive instead of developing bad habits and committing crimes that follow them into adulthood.
Now both my father and my boss are draftee veterans of the Vietnam War. And while neither of them looks back on that time with fondness, they DO both walk through life with the perspective, that after that experience the day-to-day bullshit of modern life seems like a cakewalk. Looking back on my own idiotic behavior at draft age, I think I might have benefitted from the discipline be it military or otherwise.
I know from personal experience that young men(and women for that matter) do all kinds of stupid shit to try and prove themselves to the world-drinking, drugs, promiscuity, criminality. The options I mentioned above, including the miltary offer a constructive alternative.

For the record, I understand that the above mentioned bill is "miltary only," I just thought this a good oppurtunity to bring up this idea.
posted by jonmc at 5:21 PM on January 22, 2002


Family doesn't let you quit either...

LOLOL It's called "divorce," and is startlingly common, actually.
posted by rushmc at 5:22 PM on January 22, 2002


Looking back on my own idiotic behavior at draft age, I think I might have benefitted from the discipline be it military or otherwise.

You are, of course, entitled to make such an assessment of your own life.

You are out of line, however, in attempting to generalize from your own experiences and impose specific choices upon other human beings.
posted by rushmc at 5:24 PM on January 22, 2002


Wrong, bad, terrible idea. Americans are NOT the property of their government -- it's supposed to be the other way around, isn't it? Veiling slavery under the more acceptable language of "national service" does nothing to diminish the inherent evil of it.
posted by davidmsc at 5:25 PM on January 22, 2002


rushmc - I wasn't attempting to generalize, just offering an observation from personal experience to try and support my point. And the "discipline" angle was only one among many in my argument.
posted by jonmc at 5:27 PM on January 22, 2002


Again, this sounds unbearable to me. Why on earth should I feel anything but hatred for a club that won't let me quit?

What's keeping you from quitting? Move to another country and renounce your American citizenship. It's that easy.

What? You don't want to move? Why should you get to continue to make use of club facilities if you're not a member?
posted by warhol at 7:01 AM on January 23, 2002


At 8 hours per day, five days per
week, 4 weeks per month, that's $6.39 per hour. 35%
of that is $2.23 per hour.


Except that only February has four weeks. All the other months have a bit more. It's better to work with the idea of 2080 hours worked in a year. That's 40 hours/week for 52 weeks.
posted by warhol at 7:04 AM on January 23, 2002


Again, this sounds unbearable to me. Why on earth should I feel anything but hatred for a club that won't let me quit?

What's keeping you from quitting? Move to another country and renounce your American citizenship. It's that easy.

What? You don't want to move? Why should you get to continue to make use of club facilities if you're not a member?

Yer real sweet, I bet you are made of candy.

The problem with the analogy is that I was born here, and there is no critical thought involved with being in the club. I never joined the club, I was just inducted. More than half of the reasons people crow about being an American are so sad I could cry. It is pathetic to be proud of basic freedoms that I consider the bare minimum, and horrible to use these scraps to prop up unjust concessions. I get your point tho, "love it or leave it" right? I might just do that if I could find someplace that "offers" less.
What? You don't want to move? Why should you get to continue to make use of club facilities if you're not a member?/i>
I don't want to use the facilities, I thought I said that.

posted by thirteen at 7:59 AM on January 23, 2002


Part of this is already in place and look at what happens. College work-study was chartered to promote nonprofit and community service work. Instead, less than 10 percent of college work-study funds are spent on nonprofit sector jobs.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:06 AM on January 23, 2002


I was fortunate enough to have parents who could afford to send me to other countries several times while I was college age and younger, and I have to admit that it changed my view of life, the world, politics, other people, and myself in a number of positive (I think) ways. I have often thought it would ultimately help America to become a bit less arrogant, and therefore stronger in the long run, if everyone was required/helped to take such adventures.

But I think that there should be more options than military or service jobs, and more room for exceptions. Some people are better off inheriting the family farm and staying where they are, and some people get a career started early and they just want focus on what they already know they're going to do. I don't know how it would work, but from an abstract perspective, maybe something like that would be a good idea.
posted by bingo at 1:10 PM on January 23, 2002


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