Volunteering is Un-American

Washington, D.C. -- By a wide (79-19) margin, the Senate approved a bill, the Serve America Act, last week that will massively expand so-called community service programs. Boosters have gushed that “This legislation represents the best of America’s ideals,” but according to Elan Journo, fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, “the Serve America Act represents a repudiation of the best of America’s ideals.”

“What made America unique in history,” said Journo in the Voices for Reason blog, “was its foundational political-moral recognition that each individual has a right to live for his own sake and pursue his own happiness, and that he has no duty to subordinate his time or effort to any allegedly higher good-neither his neighbor, nor the community, nor the government.”

Mr. Journo warned us to “not believe that pushers of ‘national service’ want it to remain voluntary,” and recalled that “past initiatives of this kind made receiving a high school diploma contingent on fulfilling a service requirement. They’ve now succeeded in expanding the gambit. What’s the end game? Compulsory service as a requirement of maintaining citizenship? There’s now good reason to believe that could become a reality.”