Blogs > Liberty and Power > You Gotta Serve Somebody

Apr 28, 2004 9:49 am

You Gotta Serve Somebody

I have a piece on the American Spectator online today that focuses on post-9/11 national service schemes. Among them is John McCain's. From the piece:

Sen. John McCain's vision for national service is somewhat closer to James's"moral equivalent of war." In October 2001 McCain called for a quasi-militarized domestic national service corps as a way to address a"spiritual crisis in our national culture." What Senator McCain envisions is, well, rather creepy -- a sort of jackbooted Politics of Meaning.

McCain praises City Year, an AmeriCorps initiative operating in 13 cities:"City Year members wear uniforms, work in teams, learn public speaking skills, and gather together for daily calisthenics, often in highly public places such as in front of city hall." He also endorses the National Civilian Community Corps,"a service program consciously structured along military lines," in which enrollees"not only wear uniforms and work in teams… but actually live together in barracks on former military bases." McCain calls for expanding these two initiatives and"spread[ing] their group-cohesion techniques to other AmeriCorps programs."

"Group cohesion" and calisthenics in front of city hall reflect a version of patriotism, to be sure, albeit one that seems more North Korean than American....

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Jonathan Dresner - 4/29/2004

Actually, I suspect that there was a pre-POW experience (usually POW experiences are preceded by other, fairly specific, instances of calisthenics and social/sartorial cohesion), though that did probably train him pretty well for the other.

Keith Halderman - 4/28/2004

When McCain was in that North Vietnamese prison camp did they not do calisthenics everyday, all wear the same uniforms, and develop group cohesion?