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  • America Serves

    President-elect Barack Obama has quietly changed the meaning of the American Dream and introduced a proposal for American Serfdom. In America, what it means to serve one’s country is very clear. It is voluntary and for the purpose of defending the country during a time of war, or for the purpose of upholding the constitution by serving, for example, as a judge or on a jury.

    Obama has reinterpreted the American Dream of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” as a collectivist ideology. He believes it is a dream about the collective happiness. He connects the notion of “service” to the American Dream, as he interprets it:

    When you choose to serve — whether it’s your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood — you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That’s why it’s called the American Dream.

    Obama is wrong. It is called the American Dream because in America the individual is secured rights and liberty, and with those rights protected and liberty ensured anything is possible. The American Dream is an individual dream. It is the dream of each of us, not the dream of a collective hive, or a collective outcome. This is not to say that private charity in un-American. Private charity and civil society are very much part of the American spirit. But this is because they are private and voluntary.

    But then Obama goes on to describe what it means to him to serve. He has a list of new “corps” to add to his expansion of the Peace Corps. Then he lists “a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.” That is, 500 hours of unpaid mandatory community service.

    Obama says that it is when “you choose to serve” that you are connected to the American Dream. But this quote is used to bolster support for a program that includes mandatory community service for every American child and college student. So, now mandatory community service is the American Dream. Now, it is not an independent pursuit of a better life but performing unpaid manual labor for the state that constitutes the American Dream.

    Now to serve one’s country in America will have the taste of being a servant to the state, a serf, rather than the proud voluntary service of a free man.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to America Serves

    1. Jack Danger Canty says:

      When he describes hours of community service as "mandatory" it's tied to college grants. To actually require forced labor would be highly illegal and against the whole spirit of the service.

      And this election has shown that a majority of citizens really do believe that the American Dream needs to be reinterpreted for 'we' rather than 'me'. Personal safety and prosperity is fragile if it's not shared broadly. I, along with tens of millions of other citizens, am willing to serve if called to do so for the greater good.

    2. Rob deFreese, Florid says:

      The middle school and high school service is not tied to any sort of grants. Only the college hours are.

      Therefore this is a form of involuntary servitude which is outlawed by the 13th amendment.

    3. Marie Stacey, Tennes says:

      I am not willing to serve 'for the greater good.' The moment any drone can define for me what the 'greater good' actually is, then I may consider supporting it. However, I know that it is impossible for them to define the greater good because it is an intentionally vague term meant to make people feel included.

      The Heritage Foundation made the most clear and concise argument against mandatory service that I have seen so far. I pledge that I will never serve Obama under any capacity for any reason, and that is my choice as an American. No mandate will change my mind. I will not sell my liberty for any price.

      Although perhaps this will be an eye-opener for the leftists, mandates don't work for the U.N. and they won't work for Obama either.

      The Conservative Revival is underway! Thank you Heritage Foundation.

    4. jawbreaker Kansas says:

      When I volunteer my time, money, hard work to a cause, it's called charity. When the government takes from me the time, money and hard work, simply put, it's called theft.

    5. tino says:

      Welcome to the new America…you voted for socialism, so now you've got it.

    6. Jenni McW., Californ says:

      "Obama says that it is when “you choose to serve” that you are connected to the American Dream." Choosing to serve is voluntary, the opposite of "mandatory." I volunteer at my Church, and have volunteered in the past to a local Pregnancy Resource Center. I have a feeling that (although I am not in middle or high school) Obama would disqualify either as public servitude… This is not freedom granted but a beginning of freedoms being taken away. He has not even entered office and already he is setting himself up for impeachment. I pray for our country and our country's children. Thank you for this article.

    7. M.E., Wisconsin says:

      I, too, will refuse the serfdom of required service. Of my own volition, I willing share countless hours of my time, unpaid, to service organizations of my choosing. In addition, I spend my life in service to my family, my aging parents, my parish, my neighbors.

      But would I give so much as one-half hour of mandatory service, required by Obama? Never. And I'll never let my children do so, either.

    8. Ted Chicago says:

      "Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year"


      50 hours of community service is a typical sentence for first time intoxicated drivers. That's not my idea of achieving the American Dream.

      "I, along with tens of millions of other citizens, am willing to serve if called to do so for the greater good."


      And I thank you for your service, but when it's compulsory it's called servitude.

    9. Richard, Texas says:

      Ted, you are right-on the mark. 500 hours of community is more than a third-time DWI will get you. Mandatory means just that mandatory.

    10. Andrew, Chicago says:

      Obama's plan does not require college students to participate in community service, as the article suggests. If students do decide to participate, and complete the program, they get $4,000 for college, and the community gets 100 hours of community service.

      I do agree that the American Dream is more of a personal concept.

    11. Pamela, DC says:

      It's interesting to me how change.gov's explanation of the America Serves initiative has changed as the scary implications of the words on the screen have come to light. The site's many agenda sub-pages, including plans for national defense and the economy, have also vanished.

      So far it seems that an open, transparent new administration really means deleting ill-chosen words and pretending they never existed at all.

    12. Pingback: RedPlanetCartoons » Overreach

    13. Pingback: Individuality and Freedom « Conservative Thoughts and Profundity

    14. Bill, Anchorage Alas says:

      This article is way off base and out of line. Government is NOT the problem,….lack of participation in governments role and irresponsible spending and an out of control military budget (60% of the worlds expedenture on military is done by the U.S. to control shipping lanes and support the petrodictators of the world). The Heritage Foundation should realize that asking citizens to serve their country is critical to rebuilding this country and rebuilding the middle class.

      Stop the war agains labor, help solve the rediculous and barbaric healthcare (we spend more per capita yet have 50million plus not covered) program.

      Heritage Foundation……get off your highhorse and help this country deal with climate change, solve our healthcare issue (employer based healthcare is a competitive disadvantage to our companies), help us get rid of corporate welfare, revitalize the country and get rid of the Cut tax and Borrow policies of the republican led leaderships. 80% of our Federal debt was incurred under the Bush and Reagan presidencies. Restructure our tax policies by taxing polluters and gasoline and diesel more and cutting income taxes further on the middle class and build a safer and cleaner energy system away from oil and gas and towards solar, wave, tidal, geothermal, wind, select biofuels (not corn)………..

      Why is it ok with you so-called conservatives to privatize profits and socialize losses…..did you not learn from the excesses of the 20's when we did not regulate margin debt, did not regulate our banks, and simply said "Greed" was good…….FDR adn the democrats had to rebuild this nation with the CCC, create some security with Social Security, and get this nation and the world through world war 2 successfully…………

      Be part of the problem and support Barack Obama as he helps you and others become better aware or our true "Heritage"…..which is based on citizen participation in both government and nongovernmental organizations.

      Remember, WE are the government and good government is the SOLUTION and not the problem.

      The financial services deregulation started in the Reagan years has ultimately led to the decimation of our Manufacturing industry and the irresponible and dumbly regulated buildup of the financial industry which has favored massive buildup of DEBT and threatens the financial future for all of us.

      We need to rebuild our economy based on Production and less debendence on consumption. We need to create energy security and we can NOT drill our way out of this problem…..even Boone Pickens knows that.

      Your foundation is part of the problem and is anti-labor, anti-healthcare, and favors rich over the poor, and unwisely believes in supplyside trickle down economics fueled by the military industrial complex and massive build up of National Debt to subzidize corporate excess and irresponsibility.

      Change Now while you still can.


    15. Cindy, MI says:

      What a lot of people are missing is the ALL. The supporters say "It's good for the kids to serve. Schools already require it. College kids get something for it."

      But his eye isn't on the kids (who, if they disobey, can't graduate from middle or high school), his eye is on ALL. A person away from home 10 hours a day at a job and commuting then has to Serve another hour a day, or ten on the weekends, picking up garbage on the roadside, or doing some other job that someone was previously getting paid to do. Exhausted people can't fight back, OR "participate in government".

      Health care professionals will have to work in areas they don't want to "because the need is there." Adults will have to fear job loss during their three-month stints in the Civilian Security Forces training camps (read up on it, it's real).

      Then there are the elderly (conveniently called "the retired" in his plan). No service? No Medicare/Medicaid. "In return for affordable health care" is how I remember it worded on his page — though that's likely been Changed also.

      No amount of "you're being stubborn, selfish and unpatriotic" rhetoric can alter the fact that he wants ALL to serve in this Corps and that Corps. That makes it mandatory, and unacceptable.

    16. Go pound sand, CA says:

      Obama can kiss my a$$. I work five months out of each year for the govt. for free. It's called paying TAXES. I will not submit to this thinly veiled attempt at indentured servitude at best; and quite possibly a Nazi brown shirt corps at worst. Does anyone remember recent history?

      This whole idea of sacrificing for the collective good is pure bull–it. If you live a right life, work for a living, and take care of your family, you are sacrificing for the collective good of this nation. And if you think this program will not end-up being a social welfare program, taking the labor and resources of the able and hard working American, and giving it to the leaches of society,(including the federal govt.) you are sorely mistaken.

      The govt. is a parasite. It takes and takes, growing larger, caring not for the host which it consumes and eventually kills. Good luck in the labor camps.

    17. Andrew, North Caroli says:

      The service being asked (or, in some cases, demanded) of us does not, in the least, constitute 'slavery'. We all want to see America prosper. Though I am a democrat, I fully supported the Bush Administration in voulenteerism. Our schools and hospitals need help, and the help they need is not partisan. Democrats and republicans need education, and, quite frankly, our government isn't providing the global standard. Let's help, for the sake of a brighter future for our beautiful country.

    18. Paul Bonacci says:

      I have to say I'm a huge fan of the Heritage Foundation.

      Whenever I'm need of revisionist history or I'm just looking for intellectually dishonest talking points to falsely justify my companies corporate greed, treason and/or fraud, I know which pros I should turn to.

      Many thanks,

      Big Industry Lobbyist

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