History is full of events that highlights man’s fight for freedom and whose culmination into the sacrosanct provisions of the constitution further affirm the importance of freedom; especially personal. The aspect of mandatory community service however, seems to violate the inalienable right of freedom expressed in spirit and literally, in amendments such as the First, Ninth and Thirteenth of the Constitution of United States. However, many proponents are of the opinion that this practice provides a lot of benefits that will outweigh the perceived negative elements and potential outcomes like encroachment on other rights and freedoms. Indeed, mandatory public service should be instituted because it strengthens public institutions and enhances character and life experience of participants despite opposition that the practice leads to a violation of personal freedom.
Mandatory Public Service: Pros
Mandatory public service positively serves to strengthen public institutions where participants provide essential services while being equipped with new knowledge and various general life and occupational skills. Services offered to public agencies enhance their efficiency while creating strong interpersonal and intergenerational relationships between people that can last beyond the service being provided. For instance, a youth who provides a mandatory service to a public agency creates strong relationships with co-workers, which enhances provision of services while learning and experiencing new things and novel situations. Further, compulsory military or civil service oriented to aspects of emergency and preparedness strengthens the associated agencies as the new participants provide enhanced capabilities for dealing with disasters and other challenges, when they arise. Furthermore, conscription of young soldiers or integration of young adults in the public sphere also comes with not only physical contributions but also intellectual ones that can enhance provision of public service.
Furthermore, those who participate in compulsory public service, gain a lot in terms of knowledge and skills, while generally enhancing their character and life experiences as participants are exposed to new environments. For instance, participants conscripted into the army build and enhances character traits such as discipline and responsibility, leadership and teamwork as well as respect for authority, among others. This is especially applicable to mandatory military service where conscripts are provided with relative military training that espouses respect for command and authority as well as self-discipline, which is not only important in the military but more so in civilian life. These traits are not only invaluable in strengthening a person’s quality to his/her life but more so his/her character which points out to greater maturity especially since mandatory service is directed mostly to young adults. Further, compulsory public service applied to high-school students can be quite beneficial, in that it provides vital hands-on experiences that augment what learners generally acquire in academic class instruction especially in relation to social studies.
However, despite the positive outcomes of mandatory service endeavors, they are usually perceived to be a violation of personal freedom; with arguments that the practice violates various provisions of the United States Constitution. Even though compulsory public service seems to be illegal, at least in spirit of the constitution, the goals of the practice are quiet worthwhile and of great value to the government, that is, the people, especially when it is accompanied by positive long-term benefits. The various benefits of mandatory public service alongside skills and experience include payment and provision of funds for college or university, which are quite good especially since the service is accompanied through positive contributions to one’s society. With the army providing enhanced character, life skills and experience in various occupations as well as funding benefits, the loss of freedom temporarily, is not coercive or negative. Furthermore, personal freedoms are also subject to many restrictions by many variables in the societal environment especially other people’s rights and freedoms.
In summary, it is evident that mandatory public service is indeed beneficial as it not only strengthens public institutions including military and civilian but also enhances character and life experiences of participants while inculcating general and specific skills and knowledge. Despite opposition that compulsory public service leads to a violation of personal freedom, the practice provides an avenue in which society and the individual can develop and grow together with positive benefits for all. Nonetheless, the construct of personal freedom is quite crucial and the use and enforcement of mandatory public service should be exploitative or coercive.