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Old Codger Draft

Dan Glickman, draft, selective service, slavery, freedom

Stay calm. Dan Glickman has discovered serious problems. 

“Washington is a divided town in a very politically divided nation,” Glickman wrote in The Hill last year. “From the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, to the extreme rhetoric on social media, to the bombs mailed to public officials, to the mass shooting in Pittsburgh, to the inability of our elected leaders to reach consensus on nearly all major issues facing the country, it is not easy to see a way out of this mess.”

Nonetheless, he’s found one: less freedom.

Specifically, he wants to take away young people’s freedom. 

For how long? Say a year or so, he argues, right after high school or college, when they don’t have a hold yet in society and are less able to fight back; force them to join the military or some non-military federal conscript workforce. It’ll be good for the little buggers. And very egalitarian. 

Always-adult-acting Washington knows best.

“Not only does this benefit the individual,” asserts this current Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Program and former Cabinet Secretary,* “but helps our national community move away from division and towards a more cohesive society.”

Wait a second. The exceptionally well-connected Glickman and friends screwed up our world. So, make young people pay for their mistakes?

And where does Congress conjure up such power?

This Thursday, a congressional commission debates mandatory “national service” for young people.** 

It would make more sense to draft 74-year-old Glickman, who actually helped cause the problems . . . or even 58-year-old me, who couldn’t stop him.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* Glickman’s career path, prior to his current position, has been illustrious: a former nine-term congressman; Secretary of Agriculture under President Clinton; Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; and Motion Picture Association of America Chairman.

** Please go here to submit your own comments on forcing young people to give up a year of their life to the federal government.

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Dan Glickman, draft, selective service, slavery, freedom

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By: Redactor


  1. JFB says:

    Essential for the left for once indoctrinated the youth must learn their final lesson, that their freedoms are a grant form the government, to be suspended at the will of the maternal government at any time it is necessary to teach them another “civics” lesson.
    Abomination, slavery by any other name is still slavery.  

  2. Clifford Fargason says:

    I voluntarily served for over thirty years, even voluntarily coming out of retirement to deploy to Iraq. It is my personal opinion that the all volunteer force is much better than using draftees to fill slots like when I first enlisted. However, it is not inconceivable that we might be in such dire straits as to require a call up for the defense of the nation. I don’t see that as unconstitutional, but rather what the founding fathers fully expected to happen in an emergency.

    • Paul Jacob says:

      I agree that the AVF is far superior to draftees. In any call up following a bona fide threat, Americans will volunteer. And the state-based guards can be called up, which is what the founders would expect. But a national conscription program would not be expected, per Daniel Webster below. Nor would they fathom conscripting citizens “for their own good” or to clean up trash or sweep sidewalks, etc as part of a national service program.

      DANIEL WEBSTER (1814): “Let us examine the nature and extent of the power which is assumed by the various military measures before us. In the present want of men and money, the Secretary of War has proposed to Congress a Military Conscription. For the conquest of Canada the people will not enlist, and if they would the treasury is exhausted and they could not be paid. Conscription is chosen as the most promising instrument, both of overcoming the reluctance to the Service, and of subduing the difficulties which arise from the deficiencies of the exchequer. The administration asserts the right to fill the ranks of the Regular Army by compulsion. It contends that it may now take one out of every twenty-five men, and any part or whole of the rest, whenever its occasions require. Persons thus taken by force and put into an army may be compelled to serve there, during the war, or for life. They may be put on any service, at home or abroad, for defense or for invasion, according to the will and pleasure of the government. This power does not grow out of any invasion of the country, or even out of a state of war. It belongs to government at all times, in peace as well as war, and is to be exercised under all circumstances according to its mere discretion. This, Sir, is the amount of principle contended for by the Secretary of War.

      “Is this, Sir, consistent with the character of a free government? Is this civil liberty? Is this the real character of our constitution? No, Sir, indeed it is not. The Constitution is libelled, foully libelled. The people of this country have not established for themselves such a fabric of despotism. They have not purchased at a vast expense of their own treasures and their own blood a Magna Charta to be slaves. Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children and compel them to fight the battles of any war which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage in? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest rights of personal liberty? Who will show me any constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life itself, not when the safety of their country and its liberties may demand the sacrifice, but whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it? Sir, I almost disdain to go to quotations and references to prove that such an adominable doctrine has no foundation in the Constitution of the country. It is enough to know that that instrument was intended as the basis of a free government and that the power contended for is incompatible with any notion of personal liberty. An attempt to maintain this doctrine upon the provisions of the Constitution is an exercise of perverse ingenuity to extract slavery from the substance of a free government. It is an attempt to show, by proof and argument, that we ourselves are subjects of despotism and that we have a right to chains and bondage, firmly secured to us and our children by the provisions of our government. It has been the labor of other men at other times, to mitigate and reform the powers of government by construction; to support the rights of personal security by every species of favorable and benign interpretation, and thus to infuse a free spirit into governments not friendly in their general structure and formation to public liberty.

      “. . . And what would have been more absurd, than for this constitution to have said, that to secure the great blessings of liberty it gave to government an uncontrolled power of military conscription?

      “. . . If the administration has found that it cannot form an army without conscription, it will find, if it venture on these experiments, that it cannot enforce conscription without an army.”

  3. Paul, let’s consider the idea of two programmes. Under one, the state undertakes to indoctrinate its citizens against left-wing thought beyond some notion of a center. Under the second, the state similarly undertakes to indoctrinate citizens against right-wing thought beyond some notion of a center. Each programme would plainly violate the Constitution and deeper principles of freedom of thought. Yet Mr Glickman proposes to combine these two programmes into one, perhaps himself oblivious of the paralogism, but otherwise counting on his audience not to see the intellectual legerdemain.

    There are many reasons for opposing conscription in general, but even setting those aside, this proposal is an abomination.

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