Universal Service, or Universal Income? (EP. 352)

Universal Service speaks to what we feel that we owe to our nation. Universal Income speaks to what we feel the nation owes to us. That is the subject of today's 10 minute episode.
Universal Service speaks to what we feel that we owe to our nation. Universal Income speaks to what we feel the nation owes to us.


Universal Service speaks to what we feel that we owe to our fellow countrymen and the nation itself. Universal Income speaks to what we feel those very same people and nation owes to us.

Universal Service speaks to what we feel that we owe to our fellow countrymen and the nation itself. Universal Income speaks to what we feel those very same people and nation owes to us. Are we asking what our countrymen can do for us, or what we can do for our countrymen?

That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.


Universal Service is also known as Universal Mandatory Service, or Universal Compulsory Service. I don’t like either term, because words like mandatory and compulsory make the service provided sound more like a hated task than something we all ought to know that we owe our neighbors and our country–and want to provide. 

I am not suggesting Universal Military Service; I am suggesting Universal National Service. The duration of the service could vary with the type. For example, military service might be 18 months, teaching or assistant teaching in a disadvantaged school or a paid AmeriCorps like service might be 2 years. AmeriCorps is a voluntary program that engages adults in public service work with a goal of helping others and meeting critical needs in the community. Members commit to full-time or part-time positions offered by a network of nonprofit community organizations and public agencies, to fulfill assignments in the fields of education, public safety, health care, and environmental protection. Think of AmeriCorps as a domestic Peace Corps.

From Medium.com. “This past summer, France, Morocco, and Colombia made news when it came to mandatory service.

France announced that beginning in 2019, it will require all men and women at age 16 to commit a month to learning service skills, such as first aid, and applying these skills in real-word settings. After completing their month of service, they will be encouraged to volunteer for three to twelve months. Volunteer service could include tutoring, helping the environment, or supporting national defense and security via army, police, or civil security.

Morocco announced that it will reinstate compulsory military service. All men and women between the age of 19 and 25 years old will be required to serve in the Moroccan military for twelve months.

Colombia currently has a mandatory military service requirement for all its male citizens. This summer, Colombia reduced the term length for service from twenty-four months to eighteen months.

In total, about seventy-five countries have some form of mandatory service. Nigeria, Germany, and Denmark have mandatory national service. Countries like Russia, China, Brazil, Sweden, Israel, and South Korea have military conscription — though their military personnel systems vary greatly in policy, objectives, and structure. Some of the key differences in conscription models include gender, age groups, service time periods, the number of conscripts required, the goals of mandatory service, the existence of an alternative service option, and public opinion surrounding the draft.” Reminder; I am not talking about volunteer service; I am talking about paid service.

In the US, jury duty is all that is required, and that is extremely rare given how easy it is to get out of serving.

The opposite of Universal Service is Universal Income, which is being pushed in many quarters. I believe that I am a lone voice in advocating for Universal Service. Q. Why do you suppose that is? A. If you want things like attention, approval and to be elected to office, which is easier to sell: Giving or taking? Serving or being served? Being told that you have personal responsibility or that you are a victim deserving of money and other types of support? 

Various candidates and current office holders push a Universal Basic Income (UBI). Don’t be fooled by the word “basic”, that is the camel’s nose under the tent. The same people who are advocating a UBI are the ones pushing for free healthcare, free rent and free food, by claiming these–and many other products and services–to be human rights; they will not stop at basic anything. Universal Basic Income will quickly turn into full taxpayer funded support. Whether it is a power grab, a simple misread of human nature and human needs, or a combination of both, continuing on this road can lead nowhere but to disaster. If you want to cure the sick, treat, motivate and encourage them to leave their beds, and stand on their own. The last thing anyone should do would be to encourage them to be on permanent life support. In exactly the same way, and for the same reasons, we all should want to treat, to help, motivate and encourage those who need assistance to be able to stand on their own. The last thing we should ever want to do is to encourage them to be on permanent government life support.

It has long been recognized, both in the military and in civilian endeavors, that things work best when we push responsibility down to the lowest level. This encourages initiative, and allows for the best decisions to be made by the people who are at the scene. Organizations that pull the responsibility to the top quickly become top heavy, lose connection with what is important, and fail. Yet knowing this, politicians keep pulling responsibly away from individuals and vest ever more control in government. If we keep this up, it will fail. It can do nothing but fail.

Today’s Key Point. Until we as voters, as the citizens of these United States, stop asking for things to be easy, and start stepping up to taking personal responsibility, including taking on the necessarily hard parts of life, nothing will change. Until we as voters start looking for and encouraging politicians who push the hard work of personal responsibility over the easy path of being victims, we will continue on the downhill slide to complete government support. We will wake up one unhappy day to find that we have voted for a security blanket at the sacrifice of our pride, confidence, sense of purpose, overall ability to cope, and freedom. By then it will be too late. 

Speaking of personal responsibility, it does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

We will close this part with that powerful quote from President John Kennedy at his Inaugural address on January 20th, 1961. Sixty years ago. “And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.

As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:14


As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.

Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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One Response

  1. Charles Cabral Reply

    As a self defined conservative, my basic principle is minimal government involvement in anything. I concede that there are some endeavors that make sense or are more efficient when done by government at some level. The idea of universal public service seems good at first glance, but also brings forth the possibility of propaganda camps or other forms of “normalization “. See the Nazi Youth and Uighur training as examples. Then there are the inevitable corruption and inefficiency that come with any government program. Some transactional service programs are worth trying, such as state or local grants for medical training in return for committing to a period of local practice. While I think that all of today’s youth would gain from a period of disciplined community service, the potential dangers outweigh the possible benefits.

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