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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

National Service

Many people have pointed out that service in the armed forces is not the only way for young people to "serve their country". Many such people often cite service through AmeriCorps (http://www.americorps.gov/) as an alternative to military service. But is a government-sponsored organization the only way for young people to "serve their country"? And is there a difference between serving one's country and serving the government of one's country?

In a March 1990 article "re-printed" today (2/28/2006) at fee.org, economist Thomas J. DiLorenzo writes (http://www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/article.asp?aid=585),

The phrase “national service” is misleading because it implies that people pursuing their own careers, independent of governmental direction, are not providing a national service. The truth is that every private- sector business provides a service to consumers; otherwise it wouldn’t survive, at least not without government subsidies.

Young people who are working in pizza joints, bakeries, etc. might not be serving their government, but are they not in a very real sense "serving their country"?

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