Ignoring the Constitution is not patriotic.

I’m seeing a little bump in attention for Sen. Christopher Dodd’s run for the presidency, thanks to his comments at the latest Democratic get-together on decriminalizing medical marijuana. Interesting, I thought. I haven’t paid attention to the candidates so far because they’re all objectionable. But I really haven’t paid attention to Sen. Dodd. I figured today would be a perfect time to maybe find a dark horse who could make me hold my nose and cast my vote his way. Or not.

While perusing Sen. Dodd’s campaign site, I found every stance he has to be the same ridiculous trust in government through a drastic lack of understanding about economics and results. But I only want to focus on his plan for national service A New American Patriotism:

Chris Dodd believes that with leadership that inspires a new sense of American community, we can face the challenges of the 21st Century with the boldness and optimism that have always been the hallmark of our nation. That is why he is calling for a new American Community Initiative – a comprehensive national service plan that will draw upon the very best of our character to call Americans to service.

“Call Americans to service” is an interesting euphemism for mandatory volunteerism. He offers many prongs to his plan, but a few are worth exploring. For example:

Mandate community service as a requirement for high school graduation.

Every teen’s time will be better spent serving his community in some approved manner, as opposed to allowing the teen’s judgment of how her time should be best spent. Presumably the college of her choice would realize that the extra-curricular activity representing her interests is a poor substitute for the mandatory community service she must now undertake to improve herself the more important community.

Double the size of the Peace Corps and create a Rapid Response Reserve Corps made up of all national service alumni, as well as retired military and National Guard personnel, to respond to disasters and emergencies in America, whenever and wherever they occur.

Engage in national service and you, too, could be recalled to duty whenever and wherever disasters and emergencies occur. Your country needs you more than your personal life needs you.

Dramatically increase the number of AmeriCorps members to 1,000,000 and raise the education award to reflect the skyrocketing cost of tuition.

This is a good idea. I’m sure that increasing the demand for college tuition by having taxpayers subsidize the cost will have no effect on the price of tuition in a market where supply doesn’t change.

Create a new Senior Heroes Program that will provide older Americans with a $1,000 education award to further their own education or that of a deserving child.

This is my favorite, since I can think of no better way to spend $1,000 of taxpayer money than educating senior citizens. We care about seniors. Who cares that spending $1,000 educating 20-year-olds will, inevitably, return more to the community in the long-term than spending $1,000 educating 70-year-olds?

But about that furthering education as a public good: it’s not a public good. If it generates a return of more than $1,000, it will occur without government intervention. If it generates a return of less than $1,000, it doesn’t deserve government intervention. But it’s for the seniors! This warrants a little more detail from Sen. Dodd’s platform:

We can pass on no greater gift to future generations than the lessons of the past. Yet, too often, we fail to draw upon the experience, knowledge and ideas of our greatest generation. A Senior Heroes Program will provide such an opportunity by encouraging retired Americans already living longer, healthier lives to volunteer in our nation’s schools. In exchange for giving 1,000 hours of their time in our nation’s public schools, seniors will earn a $1,000 education award to further their own education or that of a designated child. Under the Dodd plan, Senior Heroes will be eligible to receive this award tax–free.

Interesting new twist, designating the $1,000 to a child. Fine, whatever. It’s for the children! I get it. You want to help your grandkids, right? Serve!

But seriously, 6 months of work for $1,000? Democrats demand that economics be damned in favor of a mandatory minimum wage. Wouldn’t $1 per hour violate such a policy stance in a most abysmal way? I don’t think Sen. Dodd can claim that it’s not a wage. If the volunteer work is so compelling that people aren’t volunteering without the financial incentive, it’s hard to view the $1,000 as a bonus. Why does Sen. Dodd hate seniors?

I will not be voting for Sen. Dodd, on the non-chance that he wins the Democratic nomination. And, yes, the mere proposal of national service A New American Patriotism was enough for me to decide.

One thought on “Ignoring the Constitution is not patriotic.”

  1. I don’t think I have a problem with a fleeting, non-conscriptive “community service project” requirement for high school students, if it were packaged as an educational “life experience” rather than as “compulsory volunteerism” (ugh).
    But I’m with you on the rest of it.

Comments are closed.