What would you think if the federal, state and local governments in the United States of America started passing laws requiring every American citizen between the ages of 18 and 65 to provide a month of their personal services on an involuntary basis every year to the public collective?
Medical doctors might be required to provide medical services at government hospitals or clinics. Lawyers might be ordered to provide legal services to the poor; accountants accounting services; teachers educational services; housewives housekeeping services; manual laborers their labor, and so on down the line.
What if a majority of the American population whole heatedly approved, believing that compulsory involuntary servitude is exactly what our democratic republic needs? What if they started enthusiastically voting for the politicians passing those laws?
The statist politicians of many nations on planet Earth are doing it right now and their enslaved populations are going along.
But the government in the United States of America most certainly can’t do that, can it? We can’t put involuntary servitude to a vote, can we? That would make a mockery of the Bill of Rights.
Such an Orwellian scheme would clearly be unconstitutional right? It would obviously constitute a substantial deprivation of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Fifth Amendment, right? It would also violate the First Amendment in many respects and the Fourth and Sixth Amendments as well, not to mention the Thirteenth Amendment, wouldn’t it.
Well … actually maybe not.
Maybe it’s in the future for the United States of America, a nation once considered as the land of liberty and a beacon of individual freedom to the rest of the world.
But that was more than 235 years ago. An awful lot has changed since then.
Military conscription has been practiced in America since colonial times. All 13 colonies employed a militia system for defense which continued after the War of Independence and the foundation of the United States. All able-bodied men were required to enroll in a militia, to undergo a minimum of military training, and serve in times of war or emergency.
The U.S. employed national conscription laws in both the North and South during the Civil War. President Woodrow Wilson decided to rely primarily on conscription during WWI. Compulsory military service was required during WWII, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War. The military draft was discontinued in 1973 but the Selective Service System remains law requiring all men between the ages of 18 and 25 to register.
The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently upheld military conscription laws even though it clearly mandates involuntary servitude.
In 1889 Congress ordered the Selective Service System to put in place a system capable of drafting "persons qualified for practice or employment in a health care and professional occupation", if such a special-skills draft should be ordered by Congress.
So you see a legal requirement for involuntary servitude is already in the pipeline for medical and other professionals and no constitutional amendment was necessary.
Compulsory education has been the rule in every state of our nation since the mid-nineteenth century and the constitutionality of these schemes has been upheld by the courts. As a general rule every person between the ages of 5 years to 16 years old is required by law to attend a school which meets the educational requirements of the government.
So the liberty of every American may be denied without due process of law or any other safeguard afforded by the United States Constitution during at least ten of their most formative years. It’s involuntary servitude yet no constitutional amendment was necessary.
Most Americans are obligated by the force of law every year on April the 15th to file a detailed report to the federal, state, and often local governments, disclosing some of the most private and intimate details of our lives, including most importantly our monetary income exactly right down to the very last penny. For that, a constitutional amendment was required and there is no way around it.
Your liberty is substantially curtailed by the tax laws and the U.S census laws. The government is entitled to know all kinds of information about you, especially what you are worth. It has access to your financial accounts, your employment records, and your investment portfolio. It knows everything it wants to know about you and you are required to provide that information upon penalties prescribed by law.
The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed just this year your legal obligation under the Omamacare law to purchase health insurance even if you don’t want to do it, and if you don’t do it as the government requires, you will be subject to financial penalties.
Yes, now it is financial penalties, tomorrow it might be prison.
A Texas man has been sent to jail recently for trying to avoid government mandated involuntary servitude, i.e. jury duty.
"He tried to get disqualified by stating he was a felon—that got denied," Jury Bailiff Paula Morales told a local Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate. "He tried to get excused by claiming he was the caretaker of an invalid. We couldn't substantiate that, so that was denied."
"I called him… his phone wasn't accepting phone messages. I sent him an email, told him it was imperative that he contact me immediately, and we never heard back from him," Morales said. "So then I was forced to take it to the judge."
The next day the man stood handcuffed in front of a judge who held him in contempt of court. "The judge told him he wasn't taking his jury duty seriously, considering his history. So he sentenced him to five days in the county jail," Morales added. "I mean, we've tried and tried and he just kept shirking it and shirking it and it wasn't going anywhere. So we didn't have a choice."
No notice; no hearing; no trial; no attorney; no due process of law whatsoever; just 5 days in the county jail; a total deprivation of his liberty for the “crime” of trying to avoid government imposed involuntary servitude in the United States of America.
So we see in the final analysis that there really is no such thing as individual liberty in America. We enjoy only that license which the government sees fit to allow us and the Constitution’s Bill of Rights might just as well be a roll of toilet paper.
The government may revoke that license almost at will.
To that I say:
Liberty? What Liberty?