Commentary Magazine


Okay Community, Prepare To Be Organized!

Ask not what your country can do for you, but do what I tell you to do for your country. That’s what I got from reading about a speech Barack Obama was scheduled to give today in Ohio. According to Political Intelligence, Obama planned to

Encourage national service to address the great challenges of our time, including combating climate change, extending health care, improving our schools and strengthening America overseas by showing the world the best of our nation.

– Expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots and double the size of the Peace Corps.

– Integrate service-learning into our schools and universities to enable students to graduate college with as many as 17 weeks of service experience under their belts.

– Provide new service opportunities for working Americans and retirees.

– Expand service initiatives that engage disadvantaged young people and advance their education.

– Expand the capacity of nonprofits to innovate and expand successful programs across the country.

– Enable more Americans to serve in the armed forces.

You can’t argue with the idea of citizen volunteers. It is, of course, a blessed feature of our free society. But taken together with Obama’s previous list of prohibitions (SUV’s, heated homes, and full bellies) and Michelle Obama’s drill sergeant approach to self-betterment, today’s slate of service injunctions rounds out a list of Obama’s shalts and shalt-nots to which no American should be subject. There’s a social engineering orthodoxy at work here, and it’s frankly chilling.

All of this is, of course, wrapped up in the most benign package imaginable. It’s as if Obama has a recipe for the better American citizen and he’s just dying to share it with the country. Don’t forget Obama’s most verifiable credential is that he was a “community organizer.” And while we don’t know what that title means, exactly, it sounds enough like some ancient union strong-arm position that we can be pretty sure we don’t want to be “organized” as such. We don’t want to be told what to drive, what to eat, and how to work. We don’t want to be told to volunteer.

In May, Barack Obama delivered a commencement speech at Weslyan University where he said “. . . I believe we can be unified in service to a greater good. I intend to make it a cause of my presidency.” I believe him and I’m scared.