Congressman Ron Paul spoke against "national service" on the House floor yesterday:
Mr. Chair, I rise to oppose H.R. 1388. The idea that it is legitimate for the federal government to take money from one group of citizens and use that money to bribe other citizens into performing "national service" violates the basic moral principles of individual liberty that this country was founded upon.
I would make three points to those of my colleagues who try to justify this bill by saying that participation in the programs are voluntary. First, participation in the program is not voluntary for the taxpayers. Second, nothing in the bill prevents federal taxpayer dollars from being used to support state and local programs that force children to perform "community service" as a condition of graduating from high school. Because an increasing number of schools across the nation are forcing children to provide "service" as a condition of graduating, it is quite likely that the funds authorized by this bill will be used to support mandatory service. Third, and most importantly, by legitimizing the idea that it is an appropriate role for the government to promote "service," legislation such as H.R. 1388 opens the door for mandatory national service. Today, influential voices in both major parties are calling for a
The moral case against national service was eloquently expressed by former President Ronald Reagan in the publication Human Events in 1979: "..... it [national service and conscription] rests on the assumption that your kids belong to the state. If we buy that assumption then it is for the state--not for parents, the community, the religious institutions or teachers--to decide who shall have what values and who shall do what work, when, where and how in our society. That assumption isn't a new one. The Nazis thought it was a great idea."
Mr. Chair, millions of Americans including many young people, are already volunteering their time and talents to help their fellow citizens and better their communities without being bribed by the government. In fact, to suggest that the young Americans need a federal check as an incentive to volunteer is an insult to the American people. I hope all my colleagues to join me in standing up for individual liberty, the great American tradition of true volunteerism, and the Constitution by opposing H.R. 1388.