McCain and Obama’s national service plans compared

Posted on September 16th, 2008 by bile
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Both John McCain and Barack Obama exhorted Americans to dedicate themselves to public service in an appearance at Columbia University on Thursday, to mark the seventh anniversary of 9/11. But Americans need no lectures from politicians to participate in their nation’s civic life. They need them to stay out of the way. Between the two, Sen. Obama is far less likely to do so.

At first blush, the two candidates appear indistinguishable on the subject. Both have urged Americans to look beyond their individual, material pursuits and commit themselves to causes greater than themselves — Sen. McCain arguably even more aggressively than Mr. Obama. The difference is that for Mr. McCain this is a moral ideal. For Mr. Obama, it is a governing mission. “Making that call to service will be a central cause of my presidency,” he declared in an Independence Day address at the University of Colorado and elsewhere.

Mr. McCain certainly uses his bully pulpit to proselytize Americans about public service. But he more or less stops there, even repeatedly cautioning during the Columbia forum against federalizing public service, although that doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t throw taxpayer money at some of his pet service projects. However, his Web site offers nothing near what Mr. Obama is proposing.

Mr. Obama has laid out a 10-page vision statement that includes virtually every program proposed by the left and the right in recent memory and then some. President Bush’s controversial faith-based initiative? He’ll keep it. President Kennedy’s Peace Corps? He’ll double it. Even Mr. McCain’s seven-year-old plan to raise a domestic civilian force to fight terrorism and triple enrollment in AmeriCorps gets a plug.

In addition, Mr. Obama would create several new corps of his own: a Classroom Corps to help teachers and students in underperforming schools; a Health Corps for underserved areas; a Clean Energy Corps to weatherize homes and promote energy independence. The last is separate from his Global Energy Corps, to promote low-carbon energy solutions in developing countries.

Mr. Obama calls all this his “Plan for Universal and Voluntary Citizen Service.” It might live up to its “universal” billing, given that it would prod Americans of all age groups — from preteens to retirees — to sign up. But as to its voluntariness, the plan will make generous use of Uncle Sam’s money — and muscle.

My coverage of national service and Service Nation can be found here.

Happy Independence Day

Posted on July 4th, 2008 by bile
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… or Secession Day or antiauthoritarian day or …

A few articles to check out while waiting for the hotdogs and burgers to cook.

A Fresh Look at HolidaysButler Shaffer

Just how far we have contorted our thinking about “independence day” is reflected in most people’s thinking about fireworks. Like private gun-ownership, our personal use of fireworks represents too much power in the hands of individuals. And so, we confine ourselves to the absurdity of having the state celebrate our liberty and independence for us!

July 4th In Bizarro WorldManuel Lora

What follows are just a few of the July 4th lies and errors that we are supposed to blindly accept:

  • The military is glorious, its heroes heroic, and our support is patriotic
  • Freedom is about authority
  • The police keep us safe and have a duty to protect us
  • We are better off now than when the war on drugs started decades ago
  • Continually increasing prices is a product of the market and thus the central bank must control credit and the money supply
  • With proper reform, government can become efficient, especially if we elect the right leaders
  • The Constitution gives people rights
  • The government has been formed by the consent of the governed
  • Without the state regulating/subsidizing/taxing/prohibiting activity or industry X, said industry or activity would be produced in quantities and/or qualities that are too high or too low; or would run rampant, cartelize and monopolize the market; or would not survive in a predatory competitive environment
  • The more politically democratic things are, the better for everyone
  • No matter what the cost to the public, protecting the children/our veterans/our senior citizens/our teachers is always the number one priority
  • The free movement of goods and people destroys jobs and threatens our standard of living
  • Businesses have no incentives to keep their customers safe; licenses ensure fair practices
  • The law may occasionally be wrong, but it should nonetheless be followed always
  • We must forever give up essential liberties to guarantee safety: it’s for your own good

Happy Secession Day! – Thomas DiLorenzo

That’s what Thomas Jefferson would be celebrating today. Unlike so many Americans, he would not be celebrating the American empire, with its “unitary executive,” swarms of tax-collecting bureaucrats, its militarization of society, protectionism, economic fascism, suspension of habeas corpus, domestic spying, etc., etc. The Hamiltonian republic that we now live under, which is celebrated by the liberal/left and neocons alike, is the opposite of Jefferson’s dream of an “empire of liberty.”

And of course there is the Decleration of Independence. Agreed upon on July 2nd and officially recognized on the 4th.

I’d imagine if you watch or today you’ll get plenty of other articles on the topic of freedom, secession, etc.

4th of July

Posted on July 4th, 2007 by bile
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It’s the 4th of July. The United States’ Independence day. The day our founding fathers adopted the Lee Resolution declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. I recommend all Americans and non-Americans alike to take some time and read Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the US Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights. If you have some more free time there’s also The Federalist Papers and On Liberty.

Freedom, liberty are not simply things to celebrate one day a year… but ideas which must be practiced and upheld every minute of every day by and for each and every individual. It requires great will and stamina and unfortunately sometimes blood. But it is an incredibly worthy cause and I wish to thank all those who have fought and are fighting the good fight for their fellow countrymen… their fellow man.

States passing laws to require every Old Glory sold be domestically produced

Posted on July 3rd, 2007 by bile
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What’s red, white and blue and made in China? A move is on in state legislatures to ensure that the flags folks will be flying and buying this Independence Day were made on this fruited plain.

Minnesota has passed the strongest measure, a new law that goes into effect at year’s end requiring every Old Glory sold in state stores to be domestically produced. Violations are a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

 Ah yes. What’s more American than forcing people to purchase things made domestically. This is almost as sad as the flag burning bans legislators occasionally try to pass. Do these politicians even read our history? Our founding documents? It’s sicking to see this… especially in my home state.


Happy belated Independence Day!

Posted on July 3rd, 2007 by bile
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On July 2nd, 1776 the Second Continental Congress passed the Lee Resolution to declare it’s independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. It was later adopted and formally declared on July 4th. You can read more here.