2011.01.21: January 21, 2011: Conservatives Like the Peace Corps

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By Admin1 (admin) ( on Thursday, June 02, 2011 - 10:22 am: Edit Post

Conservatives Like the Peace Corps

Conservatives Like the Peace Corps

"Joining the Peace Corps is the ultimate "walking the walk" action. Even the most leftist lefty earns my respect when he signs up to live in a hut in Belize for a couple of years. Putting your money where your mouth is ought to matter - especially because the act often disabuses Corps members of their previously cherished progressive fantasies!"

Conservatives Like the Peace Corps

A Note from a Peace Corps Dad

January 21, 2011 10:10 A.M.

By Jay Nordlinger

Yesterday, I had an article proposing that the U.S. Peace Corps be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. (That article is here.) Much of the mail on the subject said, "Disgusting lefty organization, disgusting lefty prize." Well, there is a certain amount of truth to that - certainly to the second part of that equation.

But I thought you might like to read this letter:

Just a quick note to thank you for your column . . . The Corps (or "Corpse," as our president would say) doesn't get a lot of respect from the right, so your words were a welcome change.

I was always a bit ambivalent toward them myself, having grown up in the '60s, when so much utopian nonsense was thrown around. I put them in more or less the same category as the U.N.: Nice idea, but easily abused.

I started to think differently when my middle daughter graduated from college a couple of years ago. She announced that she was putting in her application to the Peace Corps. Of my three voting-age children, she was the one to vote for McCain and is a pretty solid conservative. And her degree is in social work! . . .

She is now in Kenya, working with deaf children. (She's fluent in American Sign Language and competent in Kenyan Sign Language.) Kenya has an unusually large deaf population owing to certain childhood diseases, but the hearing population doesn't have much interest in helping them. As it happens, the only people making an effort are Americans through the Peace Corps.

Another reminder why our country is truly exceptional.

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Big Al

01/21/11 22:43


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I was a PCV back in the early days and have been very conservative ever since. I believe most volunteers are probably libs but the underlying premise of the corps ...hand up instead of a hand out etc...is actually quite conservative.


01/21/11 18:52


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re Spool32: Your comment is perceptive. I was a Peace Corps volunteer (Madagascar 04-06) following college. I went in a liberal and came out a liberal, but I was disabused of a number of naive beliefs I held prior to arriving (just as a conservative would have been I think). Most importantly, the scale of the differences between the US and a different society are difficult to appreciate without living in a foreign place (in a non-expat setting) for a significant period of time.

I do think that the Peace Corps has more liberal participants than conservatives, but my sense was that ideological tolerance (or detente) in both directions was the norm in most cases. In general, I'm in favor of vigorous argument, which is partly why I come to read the Corner, but I think the country suffers when some organizations (e.g. Peace Corps and the military) are associated with one side of a political debate or the other. This puts a responsibility on the organizations themselves and on people who resort to knee-jerk labeling.

re safety: The horror stories are sometimes real, and joining the Peace Corps does present real risks. Figuring out how to mitigate these risks is a continuing task, but the point shouldn't be to take volunteers out of the very settings (often remote villages) where they can be most effective. I don't have a daughter so you may decide to discount my opinion, but if a woman makes an informed decision to sign up for the Peace Corps I hope her family respects and supports her. Taking risks, even with one's own safety, is sometimes a requirement for doing something worthwhile.

[Approved commenter] DexterScott

01/21/11 12:53


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NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let your daughter serve in the Peace Corps!!!

External Link

Peace Corps Gang Rape: Volunteer Says U.S. Agency Ignored Warnings

ABC News Investigation Finds More Than 1,000 Rapes, Sexual Assaults Since 2000
Jan. 12, 2011

More than 1,000 young American women have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last decade while serving as Peace Corps volunteers in foreign countries, an ABC News 20/20 investigation has found.

In some cases, victims say, the Peace Corps has ignored safety concerns and later tried to blame the women who were raped for bringing on the attacks.

"I have two daughters now and I would never ever let them join the Peace Corps," said Adrianna Ault Nolan of New York, who was raped while serving in Haiti.

Mr. Sanman

01/21/11 12:39


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An important detail to point out regarding the Peace Corps is that service is VOLUNTARY rather than compulsory, which liberty-loving conservatives should celebrate.


01/21/11 12:10


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There have been 23 Peace Corps members murdered in 50 years. With 7-10,000 volunteers abroad at any time, this works out to a murder rate lower than that of the US.


01/21/11 11:05


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Mr Sherman, my condolensces with respect to your brother Matthew.

No one should be under any illusion that national service can be dangerous. I served in the Navy. I have friends in the Peace Corps in various places in Central America and on the west coast of Africa.

1988 as I recall was a muddled year for the US in central America, with the country perhaps suffering investgation burnout. I say this will all due respect for what your family has suffered, but perhaps times have changed enough that new inquiries could yield more now.

[Approved commenter] DrPalinIpresume

01/21/11 11:01


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I think people pay to live in a hut in Belize! It's real nice down there, they speak English, great diving and fishing and all that. Maybe you mean Benin.


01/21/11 11:01


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I served in the Peace Corps, at the time I felt as if I was the only Republican in the entire organization. For most of the volunteers they were their just to help people, although at times they seemed to blieve they knew more the than locals about their way of life. The sad truth is that for the most part the Peace Corps is designed to help the volunteers, not the local country. There are some great programs and volunteers who truely do God's work and help a lot of people. But, since the Peace Corps provides man power only and not money or employment oppurtonities for the local villages, there is little help being provided. In the end it really just makes left leaning 20 somethings feel better about themselves.

Bob Sherman

01/21/11 10:52


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My younger brother served in the Peace Corps in 1988 in Honduras. He was shot and killed on the Peace Corpse training grounds by guards of the grounds.

The investigation of what happened proved to be fruitless, as our American Government did not want anything to do with investigating this.

The training ground property was owned by an American Corporation based out of New York.

Our House of Representative official did attempt to help us, but ran into brickwalls, and we were never able to get our Senators to assist at all. They were silent.
Needless to say, we were left with no explanations, only felt as though no one would assist us, and that leads to distrust.

Having this background, my view on the Peace Corps is that "it all sounds good", yet when you hear of the number of volunteers that have been killed or raped over the years, the numbers are staggering.

On top of that, based upon my families actual personal experience, our government may want to "pay" for this program, but do not rely on the federal government for any assistance if you run into ANY issues.

People who volunteer for the Peace Corps are typically not told of the current political climate, and that if there is "trouble", typically the volunteer is going to be on their own.

Though I tend to agree with the philosophy with the Peace Corps, I think the Peace Corps management should limit the number of countries they send the volunteers to based upon the countries commitment to the safety of the volunteer

[Approved commenter] spool32

01/21/11 10:47


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They ought to, if for no other reason than this:

Joining the Peace Corps is the ultimate "walking the walk" action. Even the most leftist lefty earns my respect when he signs up to live in a hut in Belize for a couple of years. Putting your money where your mouth is ought to matter - especially because the act often disabuses Corps members of their previously cherished progressive fantasies!


01/21/11 10:45


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I'm an extreme right-winger, and I agree with Dr. PIP.

[Approved commenter] DrPalinIpresume

01/21/11 10:23


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What a bunch of winners criticizing an American volunteer organization that does more to advance American interests and goodwill than almost any agency in our government for a very small cost. You'd think conservatives would embrace that, but I guess they just can't help themselves.

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