William James (1842-1910) Father of Mandatory Youth Service

By Brannon S. Howse

Remember I promised you in the introduction of this book that I was going to rip away the pretty packaged lies and reveal the hidden truth so you could protect yourself and your children and grandchildren from their anti-God agenda? Well, pay close attention, because our opposition is marketing "community youth service" in such a way that even many Christian parents will think it a good thing and end up giving their children over to the State to be indoctrinated with a worldview contrary to a Biblical one and opposed to the values of their homes. 


As we’ve discussed, word manipulation is standard fare among those who foist social transformation on people who would otherwise utterly reject their advances. This manipulation of words reached perhaps its greatest heights in the work of a late-nineteenth-century Harvard University professor of physiology, psychology, philosophy, and anatomy. As his professorial titles suggest, William James wrote on a wide variety of topics that still influence American culture. One essay, however, is of such overwhelming influence that it deserves to be the central focus of the story of the William James legacy.


“The Moral Equivalent of War” lays groundwork for the insidious concept of organized national service. Much lauded in its Great Depression-era incarnation as FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, “national service” is a principle for undermining competing social institutions—including the family and church. Before digging into the specifics of James’s writings, though, you’ll want to know where his thinking comes from.  And much of it will sound familiar.


 Remember Alice Bailey and the Tibetan? James wrote of sitting with a medium named Leonora Piper as she would go into a trance. After being with Piper on several occasions, James wrote that he believed "she has supernatural powers." Predictably, spiritualism became one of James’s topics of writing.

In What Pragmatism Means James proclaims his commitment to a belief system based on the idea that truth is relative and situational. To him, truth is that which proves useful to the individual. And in The Meaning of Truth James writes, “…the pragmatist always means ‘true for him who experiences the workings’.” 


Against this background, William James conceived “The Moral Equivalent of War.” Christopher Chantrill, writing for American Thinker, reveals that the war that James envisions is against the ideas and values that make up our worldview and all that our ideals reinforce—families, parental authority, private property ownership, and all God-given liberties—so they might be surrendered to the state:

[quote] Ever since philosopher William James invented the concept of the "moral equivalent of war" our liberal friends have wanted to regard almost all conflicts between nations as misunderstandings that ought to be resolved by negotiation and diplomacy.

Writing in 1906 William James worried about what to do if pacific socialists like him ever got to stop war and militarism. He wanted to conscript young men to battle social evils, not foreign foes.

What James neglects to realize is that when you conduct domestic politics using the moral equivalent of war metaphor you do not just conduct a War on Poverty or a war for Energy Independence.  Wars are not conducted against an idea but against people.  You end up making your fellow Americans into a hated enemy.  You declare, in other words, a "moral equivalent of civil war" against people who disagree with your call to fight wars on poverty or who fail to grasp the Inconvenient Truth of the need to save the planet.

Our liberal friends are quick to worry about the dangers of "nationalism" and are ultra-sensitive about anyone questioning their patriotism.  But they have no problem in questioning the motives of anyone that dares to oppose their militant campaigns for universal health care and gay marriage. [end quote] 


President Carter referenced Williams James in an address to the nation on April 18, 1977, when talking about what he deemed an energy crisis:

"Then I declared the energy effort to be the moral equivalent of war, a phrase coined by William James and suggested to me by Admiral Hyman Rickover…,"


Author David Boaz reveals that President Clinton was likewise influenced by James:

[quote] In 1988 the Democratic Leadership Council proposed an almost-compulsory national service program, which would entail "sacrifice" and "self-denial" and revive "the American tradition of civic obligation." Nowhere in the DLC paper on the subject was there any mention of the American tradition of individual rights. The proposal was described as a way to "broaden the political base of support for new public initiatives that otherwise would not be possible in the current era of budgetary restraint." In other words, it would be a way for government to hand out benefits by enlisting cheap, quasi-conscript labor. The last chapter of the paper was, inevitably, titled "The Moral Equivalent of War."

Then, in 1993 DLC chairman Bill Clinton became president and proposed his own national service plan, and darned if it didn't sound a lot like "the moral equivalent of war." He wanted to "rekindle the excitement of being Americans" and "bring together men and women of every age and race and lift up our nation's spirit" to "attack the problems of our time." Eventually, perhaps, every young person would be enlisted. For the moment, however, the president envisioned "an army of 100,000 young people. . . to serve here at home . . . to serve our country." [end quote] 


Picking up the James theme, radical lesbian Margaret Mead viewed mandatory national service as a way to wage her war on the family and, more specifically, on marriage as described by Doug Bandow in his article, “National Service: The Enduring Panacea”:
[quote] In 1967, for instance, anthropologist Margaret Mead argued that universal service "would make it possible to assay the defects and the potentialities of every young American on the threshold of adulthood." The experience would have some unique impacts on women, she observed, since it "would replace for girls, even more than for boys, marriage as the route away from the parental home." [end quote] 

In the ideal society she outlined, people would be homosexual when young, then switch to heterosexuality during the breeding years, then switch back. 


Among the direct descendents of this notion of “universal service” are the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. 

Syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell expands on the anti-family, totalitarian goals of "community service":  

[quote] Professor Dewey, the godfather of "progressive" education, said it all, 70 years ago: "The great task of the school," he said "is to counteract and transform" the beliefs and values that the child brings from "the home and the Church." 

That is what the educational trends of the past two generations have been all about, whether the specifics were called "values clarification," "community service," "outcome-based education" or a thousand other pretty names. Once you look behind these glittering labels to the specific things that are said and done, the agenda becomes clear: Undermining the values and beliefs that parents have taught their children and replacing them with politically correct notions from the counter-culture. 

"Community service" is not about the community or about service. It is about using children for ideological agendas and using those agendas to insinuate the welfare-state view of the world on impressionable young minds. 

This is not about educating children. It is about using children as cannon fodder in ideological battles and as guinea pigs for experiments. Children are also being used by the schools as entering wedges through which to invade the family itself and insinuate and impose the agenda of the anointed on the unwary. 

Intruding into family privacy is the first step toward intruding into the family itself. Most parents have no idea how much personal family information is being collected from school children and fed into computer networks. 

These networks can integrate medical, psychological, academic and social information from numerous sources to create an electronic dossier on each individual child—a dossier that can follow that child on through school and out into the adult world. Assurances about the confidentiality of such information are absolutely meaningless. 

Even when the forms filled out by children or their families have no name on them, the forms themselves are pre-coded with identifying numbers that tell a computer whose form it is. Assurances that this information will never be given to any "unauthorized" individuals or organizations likewise mean nothing, because anyone they give it to will be called "authorized." It is one of the signs of our dumbed-down education that we are so easily taken in by people who play with words. [end quote] 

Please understand that I am in favor of students being involved in ministry work. What I am opposed to is children being manipulated by the State to believe that the solution to poverty is redistribution of wealth and bigger government. I am also opposed to the attempt by humanists to create new humanists out of our children and put them to work in government and humanist non-profits as their “agents of change.” 

Do not think for one minute that when a student is taken into the inner city through a government community service program that they are going to be told the reason many of the homeless and those suffering from extreme poverty is that ideas have consequences, that your worldview matters, and that sin has consequences. They will not be told that many of those living in poverty are unemployed and homeless because of illegal drug use and alcoholism. They will not be informed that the reason for generational poverty is rejection of God's standards and principles for sexuality. 

Copyright 2009 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative. 


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