I sympathize with the impulse to expose Americans from different backgrounds to one another in the hopes that it would lead to better cooperation. I’d support all sorts of voluntary initiatives with that purpose in mind. But I am repulsed by the notion that every American can or ought to be united around a single “purpose” or agree on the country’s “destiny,” which even John Adams and Thomas Jefferson could not. And forced labor transgresses against natural rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

How strange that any Democrat fails to see associated perils at this moment. If mandatory national service was in place today, it would be run by Donald Trump. How would the Trump administration marshal the nation’s youth if it were able to compel the labor of each young man and woman, “no exceptions”?

Perhaps White House political adviser Stephen Miller would help decide where to assign them and how best to advance the “national destiny” as he sees it. Perhaps some would be assigned to help patrol the border.