- In his State of the Union Address, President George W.
Bush proposed the formation of a USA Freedom Corps, calling for every
"to commit at least two years - 4,000 hours over the rest of your
lifetime - to the service of your neighbors and your nation."
- This will require 80 hours per year for every adult
On Jan. 29, 2002, at another function, Bush further explained the concept
and gave a pitch for the "volunteer" program that will require
$560 million from taxpayers by 2003.
- Doug Fiedor, who publishes an e-mail newsletter, "A
Weekly View from the Foothills of Appalachia," described what happened
when he tried to connect with the "volunteer"
- "So, I went to the new Freedom Corps web site and
tried to see how difficult it would be to sign up. A couple clicks down
into it I found Citizen Corps and clicked on 'join.' That was when my
software warned me that the certificates didn't match and I was actually
entering a FEMA web site."
- Mr. Fiedor went on to describe his cybervoyage through
the bureaucratic maze:
- Because it is a bureaucracy, there is a USA Freedom Corps
Blueprint (handbook) on the web site. "The USA Freedom Corps will
have a Council and Office within the Executive Office of the President.
The Council will be chaired by the President and include the heads of key
departments and agencies with public service programs and components."
So much for creating a citizens' "volunteer" group. It's a
bureaucracy. Another one! Even before the founding Executive Order was
signed, the bureaucracy's regulations were being written. (1) It's too
bad President Bush chose to insert the word "freedom" in the
name of this program. He is no Bill Clinton, and yet he might have learned,
perhaps simply by presidential osmosis, to use Orwellian Newspeak (i.e.,
doublespeak, using a term that means completely the opposite of what is
intended) to sell his program politically.
- In Orwell's "1984," for example, Big Brother's
ministry of propaganda and disinformation was called the "Ministry
of Truth," the ministry of war was called the "Ministry of
and so on.
- Writing in Investor's Business Daily, even before
Bush's remarks, James Bovard revealed presciently that "fighting
has become an excuse to expand state power and government
- Bovard points out that there have been plans to expand
the infamous National Service program AmeriCorps, established by Bill
from 50,000 to 250,000 members to assist in the "war against
The proponent of this expansion is none other than Sen. John McCain,
- If you wonder what the AmeriCorps members have been doing
all this time, here is a sampling:
- "In Mississippi, AmeriCorps members have gone
to sign up people for food stamps; In New Jersey, they recruited
families to accept subsidized federal health insurance for their children;
In California, they staged a puppet show to warn 4-year-olds of the danger
of earthquakes; Also in California, they were found foisting unreliable
'ultra-low-flush toilets' on poor people."
- It is no wonder that "almost half of AmeriCorps
members quit before completing their term of service. And, the General
Accounting Office has criticized AmeriCorps for failing to make any attempt
to measure the program's actual impact." (2)
- It is evident that National Service (NS) is bureaucratic
boondoggle. But it is more perverse than that. When National Service (or
Community Service, as we shall see) is directed by the State, it easily
becomes perverted into compulsory service, regardless of the purported
good intentions behind it.
- And if it is compulsory, then it's not freely exercised
or given charitably, but required - in other words, obligatory. And if
it is obligatory, then it cannot be a USA Freedom Corps but is instead
an alien form of compulsory fascism. It is not American, or voluntary,
or anything remotely associated with our legacy of freedom.
- In its more euphemistic conception, Community Service
(CS), or compassion fascism, is already sprouting in many communities,
even in private schools. Most independent (private) schools where I live
already require compulsory CS for graduation from high school. Depending
on the school, students must complete anywhere from 75 to 300 hours of
school-based Community Service.
- How, you ask, can anyone complain about having young
people serve in their communities, allowing them to give of themselves
to those who are less fortunate and assist our fellow men in need?
in the short-term, it's an excellent public relations requirement that
could pre-emptively disarm critics of private education. But is it really
good in the long-term for students and our communities?
- Rooted in Dictatorship
- National Service and compulsory Community Service have
their roots in authoritarianism and collectivism - e.g., the Total State
of Benito Mussolini (compassion fascism), the Soviet Communism of Lenin
and Stalin, Nazi Germany (Hitler Youth), the Little Red Book of
(the Red Guards), and in my native Cuba, the Young Pioneers of dictator
Fidel Castro. (3)
- First, NS is about forcing citizens to work for the
benefit of the State. Likewise, CS is about teaching the young to conform
in society - for the same ultimate benefit of the State.
- Second, when NS and CS are obligatory, the work of
is not freely given. It is not charity. It is not even altruism. It is
obligatory, and thus deprived of genuine good faith and voluntarism.
- Third, a country that already has an abundance of freely
giving volunteers (over 90 million citizens) for humanitarian and other
projects and which donates billions of dollars a year to philanthropy does
not need to force its citizens to "volunteer" in NS or its
mandated to undertake CS.
- The average American already donates 81 hours of
service and charitable work, in figures compiled for 2001 as cited in The
New York Times.
- As Thomas Sowell wrote in Human Events a year or so ago,
the actual theme of CS is "compulsory submission," where students
are used as "pawns in a propaganda program, which is more in keeping
with what happens in totalitarian societies."
- He is correct! In fact, that is why I do not oppose
service for juvenile transgressors as legal punishment or restitution.
Is CS, then, philanthropy, rehabilitation or punishment?
- National Service and Community Service
Teach Subservience and Conformity
- Rather than engendering a sense of true philanthropy
and charity, as is the case with volunteering for good works carried out
disinterestedly by churches, synagogues, voluntary associations and other
benevolent institutions of society, National Service and school-based
Community Service teaches students to conform and to surrender personal
- It's not by chance that Karl Marx's eighth plank of the
Communist Manifesto promulgates "equal liability of all to
and the 10th plank, the establishment of industrial armies and the
of education with labor for industrial production.
- From privately sponsored CS to state-sponsored,
NS, there is just one small, dangerous step.
- Certainly National Service was not what our Founding
Fathers intended for a free people endowed by their Creator with the
Natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
- I have nothing but praise for genuine voluntarism
la Mother Teresa when conducted freely and disinterestedly. Parents and
family should be teaching their children respect and discipline, while
churches should be teaching charity and philanthropy. NS or CS,
(whether public or private), is another story, for the aforementioned
- It is interesting that when CS becomes NS, required and
enforced by the State, it is the government that decides what qualifies
as "service," not the individual. Work that Christian groups
want to perform frequently doesn't qualify as "service."
- This is another reason that libertarians and
conservatives, as well as religious groups, oppose National Service (forced
labor). Liberals and statists love NS and CS for the wrong reason - viz.,
establishing subservience and enforcing conformity of the State over
members of society. (5)
- One well-informed legislator is Majority Leader Dick
Armey, R-Texas. He has seen this proposal for what it is and has rejected
it. The legislation "will not pass if I can help it," Armey told
CNSNews.com. "America is great at giving from the heart, but I think
it is a bad idea for government to mandate voluntarism." (6)
- President Bush should discard this authoritarian notion,
this collectivist idea, and instead promote true, genuine charitable acts
of individual philanthropy, based at the local level and not micro-managed
- As Thomas Jefferson said, "When all government,
domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to
as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided
of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as
the government from which we separated."
- Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D., is editor in chief of the
Medical Sentinel of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
and author of "Cuba in Revolution - Escape From a Lost Paradise"
- 1. Fiedor D. The new "freedom' corps. A Weekly View
from the Foothills of Appalachia, #259, Febr. 3, 2002, http://www.uhuh.com/repor
- 2. Bovard J. A call to cash: AmeriCorps is a boondoggle
for bureaucrats. Investor's Business Daily, November 8, 2001, cited in
National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) Daily Policy Digest, Nov. 8,
- 3. Faria MA Jr. Cuba in Revolution - Escape From a Lost
Paradise. Macon, GA, Hacienda Publishing, Inc., 2002, pp. 222-228. http://www.haciendapub.com
- 4. Faria MA Jr. On school-based community service - a
dissenting view and Avoiding thinking. The Macon Telegraph, June 16, 2001,
and July 1, 2002.
- 5. Grigg WN. Compassion fascism. The New American, June
9, 1997, http://www.thenewamerican.com
- 6. Hunter M. Armey: Bush's Freedom Corps 'obnoxious.'
CNSNews.com, Feb. 6, 2002.