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The Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute
Subject: Thar She Blows!

The Great White One has been spotted, and it's coming home to roost.*

In a number of previous articles on the subject of mandatory national and community service, I predicted that once the distractions of Obamacare and the 2012 elections were behind them, the Obama administration would once again resume the push to implement its goal of involuntary servitude to the federal government as a requirement of citizenship. And while a new set of distraction has arisen surrounding the Benghazi Embassy killings, the IRS targeting of individuals and groups, the Justice Department's AP and Fox News wiretaps and secret investigations and the deaths surrounding the ATF's "Fast and Furious" program, this has not stopped Obama from keeping this issue in the forefront of his overall agenda, with two recent examples discussed here and here.

Team Obama has now recruited General Stanley McChrystal to pick up the ball for this cause and move it down the field. On May 29th, McChrystal penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, titled, Lincoln's Call to Service—and Ours, and which is subtitled:

"A proposal that would help young Americans understand that civic duty is not restricted to the military."

The purpose of that statement is to get the phrase, "civic duty," to fly under the radar and be accepted as a given, without the need to evaluate the truth or falsity of this proposition.

In an attempt to evoke sympathy for his cause through association with Abraham Lincoln, McChrystal speaks of that president's "Call to Service." But there was no such "call." That is a word implying a request for voluntary action on the part of others. What Lincoln and Congress did was to reinstitute military conscription and force men to fight, even if it went against their will. A "duty" imposed by some upon others is no duty at all, but nothing short of slavery—which, of course, is the immense and tragic irony underlying the Civil War. McChrystal's failure to identify this simple truth shows what game he is playing here.

Here is some of what McChrystal had to say in his article:

Universal national service should become a new American rite of passage. Here is a specific, realistic proposal that would create one million full-time civilian national-service positions for Americans ages 18-28 that would complement the active-duty military—and would change the current cultural expectation that service is only the duty of those in uniform.
At age 18, every young man and woman would receive information on various options for national service. Along with the five branches of the military, graduates would learn about new civilian service branches organized around urgent issues like education, health care and poverty. The positions within these branches would be offered through AmeriCorps as well as through certified nonprofits. Service would last at least a year.
Serving full-time for a year or two needs to be a realistic option for all young Americans, regardless of their family's finances.

Well, he has certainly mastered the art of Newspeak as he tosses out phrases like "new American rite of passage"— passage to what, and defined by whom?—and "various options"—as if choice rather than force would still be a prerogative. And look how quickly and easily one year of service becomes two!

And in case some might think that having the government show up on your doorstep and drag you off to perform your "duty" might not be something that Americans would quietly tolerate (you do remember the 60s don't you?), well we have other ways to "persuade" your "voluntarily" compliance!

Instead of making national service legally mandatory, corporations and universities, among other institutions, could be enlisted to make national service socially obligatory. Schools can adjust their acceptance policies and employers their hiring practices to benefit those who have served—and effectively penalize those who do not.

Can you see McChrystal, hunched over, cackling, rubbing his hands together, as he mutters:

"I'll get you my pretty. And your little dog too!"

But it's no laughing matter. Consider the totalitarian implications of a military/government official speaking of "enlisting" the cooperation of schools and employers in service of his goals. And what are those goals? Why, to destroy the possibility of you having any sort of life at all unless you submit to your government masters. These are chilling words that McChrystal tosses off in such a cavalier manner.

Exactly what are you, and all other citizens to General McChrystal?

More than most Americans realize, the demand to serve already exists. In 2011, there were nearly 600,000 applications to AmeriCorps—a program with only 80,000 positions, only half of which are full time. The Peace Corps received 150,000 requests for applications but has funding for only 4,000 new positions each year. This gap represents democratic energy wasted and a generation of patriotism needlessly squandered.

Forget for a moment that, if true, these numbers likely reflect youth searching for any form of employment in a jobless economy created by our government's own policies, rather than a "demand to serve" — whatever that's supposed to mean. Instead, what McChrystal observes is wasted "democratic energy." And you thought that The Matrix was just fiction. But am I just misreading the good General here and taking his words out of context? Well, there is this other passage:

Returning military veterans would be treated as the civic assets they are and permitted to use a portion of their GI Bill benefits to support a period of civilian national service, since such service helps them transition to life back home.

That's right. The military men and women that McChrystal was responsible for are, in his eyes, nothing more than "civic assets," to be redeployed to "civilian national service" upon returning home.

This is nothing less than the bald-faced evil of a totalitarian state that regards its citizens as a natural resource and its property, to be utilized is whatever manner desired. This is collectivism writ large, where duty to society replaces all recognition of individual autonomy and the right to one's own life. And remember, these are not just McChrystal's views, but precisely match those of Obama. This is part of a coordinated effort by this administration to get mandatory national service implemented during the second term.

Were this just an editorial in the paper, it would be bad enough. But The Aspen Institute, a policy studies organization, has taken up this cause and created an initiative knows as the Franklin Project, kicked off with the 21st Century National Service Summit, being held this June 24-25 in Aspen, CO.

The 21st Century National Service Summit will serve as the first-ever signature lead-in event to the Aspen Ideas Festival and will be centered around the Franklin Project's plan to build a bold vision of civilian national service as a common expectation and common opportunity for all Americans. The event will convene 200 outstanding Americans from the private sector, higher education, government, the military, the faith community, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations to be active participants in this action oriented Summit.

As with all things Obama, rather than a direct assault through normal channels, goals are more conveniently pursued through indirect means. In this case, the Summit, coordinated around McChrystal's editorial, appears to be an attempt to create a privately funded grass-roots movement for national service. Precisely what you would expect from a community organizer at heart.

This whale is coming and must be beached before being allowed to gain ramming speed. Clearly, the Obama administration has a game plan that it is putting into place and we must get out in front of this beast. I'm asking people who care about the personal freedom or all people, to pay close attention to this issue and begin writing and speaking out against this completely unconstitutional call for involuntary servitude. If appeals are to be made to Lincoln, then let's stand behind his possibly inconsistent, but nevertheless most important contribution—The Thirteenth Amendment:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

* Just for you fans of the mixed metaphor!

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