Call us choosy, but we think “choice” should be voluntary. If you’ve ever been roped into collecting litter in the parking lot, changing diapers at the church nursery, or picking fleas off of dogs at the animal shelter, you are familiar with what I call voluntyranny. As a reluctant servant, you felt more like a slave than a saint. So you know that in most cases, voluntyranny is not the most effective way to foster a spirit of charity.
Candace de Russy has a new piece at Pajamas Media about president-elect Obama’s plans to strongly “encourage” volunteerism by setting community service goals for middle school, high school, and college students. De Russy quotes from John B. Egger, professor of economics at Towson University, who wrote in a recent Academic Questions article (login required) that the “service learning” trend undermines a free society and subverts the university’s purpose of training the mind. “By attempting to substitute emotions for reason,” Egger writes, “service-learning contravenes the purpose of liberal education while chipping away at students’ respect for the social order.”
Check out Candace de Russy’s article—not that you have to.