Enslavement in the Name of Service

Written by Frugal Libertarian on November 9, 2008 in: What Would a Libertarian Do |

According to Obama and many liberals like him, we have a right to education, the right to healthcare, the right to be paid a living wage, the right to unionize, and the right to any other future “rights” that they deem essential to pander for votes.  But, apparently, they do not believe that we have a right not to be enslaved.

The right not to be enslaved or forced into servitude is at the core of libertarianism.  It is the core of liberty.  What good is education if you are not free to receive the fruits of your knowledge?  What good is health care if you are not free to choose what level of health you wish to maintain?  What good is a living wage if a portion is forcefully removed from your possession and then used to finance those that would enforce tyrannical rules regarding how you must live?  Aesop said it is “Better to starve free than be a fat slave.”  If you do not own yourself, than nothing else matters.

It is for this reason that I find Obama’s Universal Service plan so offensive and contrary to our most basic ideas of freedom.  The plan would require 50 hours of service for middle and high school students.

Obama’s pick for Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel goes even a step further in his book The Plan:  Big Ideas for America. He wants compulsory service for all Americans between the age of 18 and 25.  It sounds like Obama agrees with Emanuel’s vision.  He said “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.  We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”  Both ideas are nothing more than enslavement in the name of service.  They say it would be voluntary, but they call it universal.  How can it be both?  What will be the punishment if you do not wish to serve?

Service to your community should be encouraged.  It is my job as a parent to instill the virtues of charity in my child.  The government should not have the authority to arbitrarily choose the number of hours of service that makes you a good little citizen and then use coercion to be sure you perform that service.  The philosopher Martimer Adler said that “Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men”.  We must resist enslavement, no matter its intentions, and embrace freedom.

Note: When I went to link to Obama’s website for this post, the part about ”requiring” universal service had disappeared.  Just so you don’t think I made the whole thing up, I found a couple of blogs that had the original plan.  View them here and here.  Also, be sure to read the second post’s analysis about the practicality of the plan.  Even if it was not a detestible action against freedom, it would still just be a dumb idea.


  • More of the childish “theft” rhetoric that has been increasingly cast off my mainstream libertarianism, and much to their advantage. it is absurd to talk about redistribution as theft. It is absurd to speak of absolute self-ownership. These are child-like concepts that have no place in discussing real political philosophy.

    Aside from the patently absurd talking points you are advocating above you are being hypocritical about your own system. Laissez-Fair capitalism is nothing but the arbitrary rule by other men. It is wage slavery. You cannot condemn all servitude save for your own brand and not be called a hypocrite. There is no freedom, of the absurd idealistic variety you advocate, in capitalism.

    Not only that but your simply abusing the word freedom as an all purpose STOP sign. Freedom has only instrumental value, it is both freedom from and freedom to, and in it’s purest form exists only as a concept. You have taken the large amorphous word “freedom” and narrowed it down to “freedom from liberalism” and “freedom to engage in hard capitalism”.

    You can never hope to sway the unconverted with empty rhetoric, you have to have substantive philosophy behind it. You have to have meat and potatoes. You have to be able to address the serious flaws in your own, self-professed, philosophy.

    And all I see here is some ideological-line “Ra! Ra!”.

    Comment by Sue Denim — November 10, 2008
  • I am not sure where to start with my response to your comment. I guess I will have to start my asking, where are your “meat and potatoes”? You said “it is absurd to speak of absolute self-ownership.” If I do not own my self then who does? Please explain. Explain how it is not theft to take my property without my consent.

    How is it hypocritical to believe in voluntary exchange. I did not condemn all servitude. I am against forced, involuntary servitude.

    So that there is no more confusion, let me define the freedom that I am referring to. It is living without being subjected to a arbitrary or despotic government. It is only being governed by my consent.

    I assure you that I have “substantive philosophy” behind my rhetoric, but I did not know that I was expected to write a manifesto. I could but too many have already written much better ones. You can find them in my store.

    Comment by Frugal Libertarian — November 10, 2008
  • Don’t bother, man. Sue is too far gone.

    Comment by Dave — November 13, 2008

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