Saturday, June 23, 2007

And, he'll make Amtrak run on time?

Newsweek's Jonathan Alter is all ga ga for Chris Dodd's call for wholesale violations of the 16th Amendment's ban on involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime):

The part of the plan that will likely engender the most opposition is Dodd’s call for mandatory high-school community service. Schools would be required to have their students to perform 100 hours of community service in order to graduate—or risk losing federal funds. ....

The only state currently requiring community service is Maryland. The idea has not caught on elsewhere because schools—and students—don’t like to be compelled to act virtuous. But Dodd’s idea of a whole generation that performs service as a “rite of passage” does require some kind of kick in the pants to go along with the incentives. His “Summer of Service” component (which would carry with it a $500 college scholarship) would even extend down into middle school.

....The point is to get a conversation going about what Dodd calls the “New American Patriotism”—the latest extension of a spirit of national service that extends back to Franklin Roosevelt and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Now it’s up to the other candidates to show how they would, in Dodd’s words, “move forward in this new century in common cause and with muscular purpose.”

All of which has a rather unfortunate pedigree:

Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state.

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