Saturday, July 21, 2007


The Military. No, this is not a recruiting comment but a reaction to a book I recently read: The Trap. The thesis is that educated young people have practically no choice but to go into the corporate world and become everything they hate. What about an alternate, some kind of National Service. Why couldn't they do it. Well, according to this book, they could but won't: they want a lifestyle that working in corporate America would afford them while inwardly wishing they could pursue some altruistic course.

The book to me is almost beside the point but a realization that there are scores of young people out there who don't even consider they have a choice. WHY? The reasons are many. My personal favorite is that most of us need a push to do the right thing. National Service would need a push. Lamentably, based on the performance of our Congress in the last several years of both parties, this a far fetched hoped.

Some of these upper middle class kids do obviously choose a different course based on the statistics that come from nonprofits like Teach America. But, there's not enough of them. If National Service was a requirement, it would be a kind of forced volunteerism and why not? For all the benefits of being an American, why not have to give back from 18 months to two years in some kind of National Service: Peace Corps, Teach America, Habitat for Humanity, anything they might design and God forbid, even the military could be a choice.

One fascinating thing about The Trap is the fact that it is written by a twenty something. He's a good writer and has good ideas but imagine what a different book he might have written, had he served a tour in the Marines.


Anonymous said...

Forced vounteerism is a draft. The national service was designed as an alternative to the draft.

The national service has no pay, no insurance, and no benefits. If it is forced national service it should pay at least what the military pays.

This isn't being done because congress wants an academy and a burocracy before they will force work in national service.

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