Q: Some people think a national, mandatory period of service for young people would be …You'll note that everyone in the army today is a volunteer. I doubt there's one draftee still in, considering that the draft ended in 1973. But that's not the real issue; no, the real issue is the compulsion, the belief that "I know better what's good for you than you do", the lack of individual choice and freedom. How appropriate to point this out on American Independence Day.
A: I think it would be very helpful, something that would integrate middle class and lower income people. I think that would be very good...
Q: Why would it be a good idea? What do you think you would gain from a national mandatory service program?
A: First, it’d be an integrative experience, which increasingly is very remote, since the country’s being stratified so much by income. So that’s one thing. Also, it helps to instill ideas and understandings of public service and the larger ... issues that go beyond the individual person and that person’s convenience. So it is, it’s a character-building exercise, as well as doing good things for the community. But that, you know, I think it would be helpful. I think a lot of people get a lot out of being in the Army. Now that’s mostly low-income people, but it would be very good for everybody to have the same experience.
Over 5 years ago I wrote about why requiring community service as a high school graduation requirement is a bad idea. The points are still valid when considered against Jerry's ideas. And in a post a few weeks shy of 8 years old I made a couple other cogent points on the topic of forced volunteerism.