The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
The letter-writer and Larry sum up the animating contest of our time: Citizen or Subject?
I mostly focus on gun rights because I hew to the Lockean essentials -- guns, taxes, and property rights (life, liberty, property) -- and gun rights are where the action is these days, but the other two are very important to me as well. (This is also why I mostly stay out of things like monetary policy hot-button social issues: they're sideshows, and my energy and attention are finite.)
This "mandatory voluntarism" notion is a liberty issue akin to taxation. Individuals have a fixed span (barring the Singularity) of time in which to labor for their own benefit (which locution should be understood to include the family or anyone else he or she volunteers to assist). To claim some of that finite time at (implied) gunpoint for the benefit of someone else is a form of involuntary servitude. That's probably even more an uphill fight than gun rights, but dig we must. ;)
The sneering and name calling are not helpful to our cause.
staghounds - "The sneering and name calling are not helpful to our cause."
I wouldn't quite say that the writer was sneering or calling names. Yes, the one quoted by the writer was called a fool, but that's mild and not a cuss word. As for the sneering, I've read the article and the writer did make a point ("sneering") that voluteer work isn't something that a one-size-fits-all gov't bureaucracy can regulate. The writer, Larry, did alot of voluteer work but it was HIS choice to do it not some stranger's decision to tell him to "voluteer or don't graduate," which is an idea worthy of contempt.
Besides, as Larry put it in his previous article, community service through your church or just helping a neighbor isn't likely to be what Obama was suggesting. If anything, it'll be something extremely liberal like handing out abortion brochures at soup kitchens or crap like that.
This reeks of FDR's "Civilian Conservation Corps", a dried-up old idea that should be left on the rubbish bin of history.
At least the CCC had a choice and drew a paycheck.