Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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Poll

Do you think there should be mandatory national service for each and every American?

Yes
 9 (45%)
No
 11 (55%)

Total Members Voted: 20

Author Topic: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?  (Read 3153 times)

CTL

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Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« on: March 23, 2009, 02:52:56 PM »
How do you feel about mandatory national service (not necessarily military) for all 18 year olds?  Let's say 18 months of service, or something to that effect.
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Re: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2009, 02:55:51 PM »
Why?  I know many other Western democracies follow this practice, but what compelling reasons exist, for a large country able to service its national security needs, to adopt this policy?

CTL

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Re: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2009, 03:01:24 PM »
It could change the way Americans conceive of nationhood, the necessity (and/or justifiable instances) of warfare, the treatment of (and benefits bestowed to) soldiers and/or peace corps/national guardspeople, the division of labor in our country.  It could also help to create a smarter/better national infrastructure/military.
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SASS

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Re: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2009, 03:04:33 PM »
Why?  I know many other Western democracies follow this practice, but what compelling reasons exist, for a large country able to service its national security needs, to adopt this policy?

The question did not say "national security needs" service, i.e. military. I think the OP was talking about other volunteer services to be included along with the military.

I think if they did this there would have to be some benefit and I still don't think it should be mandatory. For example, we have teach for america or the Peace Corps which is similar to what (I think) the OP is talking about and I think it is fine as a voluntary program. I don't think involuntary service would be a good idea but voluntary service with an incentive would be nice.

bl825

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Re: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2009, 03:45:24 PM »
How do you feel about mandatory national service (not necessarily military) for all 18 year olds?  Let's say 18 months of service, or something to that effect.

Who gets to decide what qualifies as national service?  My answer depends on your answer.  :)
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Re: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2009, 03:51:47 PM »
Yes. Would probably serve to give degenerate teenagers some sense of work ethic/nationalism.
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CTL

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Re: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2009, 04:10:48 PM »
How do you feel about mandatory national service (not necessarily military) for all 18 year olds?  Let's say 18 months of service, or something to that effect.

Who gets to decide what qualifies as national service?  My answer depends on your answer.  :)

Well, I would assume Congress would have to.
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Re: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2009, 04:20:00 PM »
There should have been a prerequisite poll asking who favors repealing the 13th Amendment.

CTL

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Re: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2009, 05:47:34 PM »
There has also been some question raised about the draft in regards to the 13th Amendment. Surely the draft, for at least some, constitutes involuntary servitude, prohibited by the 13th. The only exception the 13th contemplates for slavery or involuntary servitude is as a punishment for a duly convicted crime. However, the courts have ruled that the intent of the 13th was never to abolish the draft, and that serving in the military, even against your will, is not involuntary servitude. These "duties owed to the government" are exempted from 13th Amendment protection. In Butler v Perry (240 US 328 [1916]), the Supreme Court wrote:

[The 13th Amendment] introduced no novel doctrine with respect of services always treated as exceptional, and certainly was not intended to interdict enforcement of those duties which individuals owe to the state, such as services in the army, militia, on the jury, etc. The great purpose in view was liberty under the protection of effective government, not the destruction of the latter by depriving it of essential powers.

Butler did not directly concern the draft. It addressed laws that required able-bodied men to work on state roads for their maintenance when called by the state. However, its implications for the draft are clear and a case decided just two years later (Arver v US [245 US 366 {1918}]) set it in stone:

[A]s we are unable to conceive upon what theory the exaction by government from the citizen of the performance of his supreme and noble duty of contributing to the defense of the rights and honor of the nation as the result of a war declared by the great representative body of the people can be said to be the imposition of involuntary servitude in violation of the prohibitions of the Thirteenth Amendment, we are constrained to the conclusion that the contention to that effect is refuted by its mere statement.

Taken from: http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_drft.html.  Obviously, this is just one interpretation.
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Jamie Stringer

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Re: Should there be mandatory national service for Americans?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2009, 06:00:48 PM »
Yes, but not in adulthood. Make community service mandatory for HS graduation. Or if you want to foster givng back in adults, knock off some student loan debt for serving in lower paying nonprofits.
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