New York leads the country again, paying $141 per
thousand dollars of personal income in state and local taxes. This is 72
per cent more than the national average, according to a new Citizens
Budget Commission study.
There are many reasons to wish that the United States had a system of national service that offered all young Americans the bonding experience that many men and some women of previous generations found through membership in the armed forces.This is a bland call for the involuntary servitude ostensibly banned by the Thirteenth Amendment. That is what national service really means.
But how nice Mr. Broder makes it sound! The government would be offering a bonding experience, with benefits and rewards for its victims, including a sense of community and a sense of shared commitment. Formerly these blessings were restricted to men and only some women in the military, but now they can be offered to all, of both sexes.
And what if men and women should decline this offer? Thats the real point: it would be an offer they couldnt refuse. Involuntary servitude alias tasks assigned by their country.
The popularity among liberals of proposals for national service is yet another reminder that the connection between liberalism and liberty is strictly an etymological curiosity. Liberals are still nostalgic for the good old days, when the government could force young men to go to war; their only complaint is that this power was too narrow.
Most Americans accepted the military draft as a specific necessity: they thought that in emergencies young men should be required to fight for their country against foreign threats. But a growing number of liberals think men and women alike should be required to undertake tasks assigned by their country either military of civilian even in peacetime. Their country, of course, means the government.
This proposal ought to be shouted down as a radical step toward totalitarianism. But it wont be, because it isnt really a shocking departure. Its merely a slight extension of what we already accept. Namely, limitless government.
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