The Longest Now

An Active Citizenry: Channels Between Government and Individuals
Sunday June 15th 2003, 4:03 am
Filed under: fly-by-wire

We need much better channels of communication b/t government and citizens, particularly right here in the old U. S. of A.  Everyone should have some firsthand experience of what their country is striving and fighting for, and some experience of performing serious public service for their nation in the company of a mob of others and directed by people who have chosen to devote their lives to the same.

I think a manadatory year of government service, following high school or naturalization and preceding gaining the right to vote, would make a great deal of sense.  Including intense physical and civics training in this service, regardless of whether it went on to involve the armed forces, wouldn’t be a bad idea either. 

People have been talking recently about the possible reinstatement of ‘the draft‘, or something quite different from drafts last century.  Here are some thoughts from a recent tacitus post:

What we need is two-three years of service between high school and college or directly after accepting US citizenship… combat vocations could remain volunteer… within that system.  For example, I’m uncomfortable with the reserves, but if service were a given, I would volunteer for combat in an instant. I’m sure there are other young men out there like me.

Those with particularly specific intelligence could serve out their time in the NSA or something, and those with a [pacific] conscience could serve their time in a supportive non-combat agency (work with NGO relief organizations in post-combat areas, etc).

The positive externalities associated with such a draft could be enormous–habitualized fitness, assimilation of immigrants, etc.  — Chris

And I can’t agree with this more: if we are to have a military, it should be a most honorable occupation, for people of all backgrounds and talents.

What needs to happen is an increase in recruiting. And I don’t mean just more ads. I mean an increase in aggressively promoting the Armed Forces as a honorable occupation.    — Rook

there’s a lot more to be said, and I don’t think a draft is what we need, even to solve the comparitively simple problem of an overextended military, but this is a good conversation to be having.

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