The idea of voluntary national service-what City Year Co-Founder Michael Brown defines as "calling on America's youth to give a year or more in service to the community and country to tackle pressing domestic needs and problems" has a long history in the United States. More than 100 years ago, philosopher William James called national service the "moral equivalent to war," suggesting that national service could be seen as an alternative to military service, serving one's country through volunteerism. More recently, during the civil rights era, many advocated social integration through service. Political leaders and commentators ranging from Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts on the left to William Buckley on the right were champions of the idea . Despite considerable interest, however, national service never took off. Brown characterizes the issue as one of "passion and dissonance," and theorized that national service like the television and home computer, was an "experiential product" that the country needed a chance to see before they would know how much they wanted it. But national service was not the kind of service for which its beneficiaries could pay. Those serving would be volunteers, unlikely to be willing to pay for a volunteer opportunity even if they had the means. Those they would serve would also have limited if any means to pay.