Analysis: The Case Against Universal National Service
The push for "national service," or compelling young people to spend a year or two doing deeds on behalf of America, is beginning anew. Entrepreneur Arianna Huffington filed a dispatch yesterday from Aspen, Colorado, where she'll be participating in an effort "to make universal national service a new American rite of passage." She is one of several high profile participants in The Franklin Project, "formed after General Stanley McChrystal's call at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival for a national service program." Here is the 2012 conversation that started it all:
Here is a specific, realistic proposal that would create one million full-time civilian national-service positions for Americans ages 18-28 that would complement the active-duty military--and would change the current cultural expectation that service is only the duty of those in uniform. At age 18, every young man and woman would receive information on various options for national service. Along with the five branches of the military, graduates would learn about new civilian service branches organized around urgent issues like education, health care and poverty. The positions within these branches would be offered through AmeriCorps as well as through certified nonprofits. Service would last at least a year.