If someone had real life mental powers could the US legally force them to work for the government?

I’m not really sure where to place this, but as it is entirely speculative I’ll locate it here.

If someone had *real *mental powers such as the ability to read minds and take thoughts from a person’s head without their cooperation, could the US government force that individual to cooperate in some issue they deemed mission critical like helping to find Bin Laden or find out what a kidnapper or child molester did with his victims etc., or where a con man squirreled away his billions?

Assuming the US is not on an active war footing where different rules might apply, is there any legal way to compel this person to do anything that involves the use of their abilities if they do not wish to cooperate?

Need answer fast

Look son, I know you can read my mind, so you and I both know that I’m not messing around. Straight out, you work for us now. We have need of your skills, and we will be able to provide you with a reasonable living in doing so.

No son, I’m not giving you a choice. If you decline this offer, we have plenty of ways to make your life miserable. Those men behind you? They don’t have guns. They have tasers and tranquilizer darts, which you should fear far more than guns. If we have to, we will drop your ass to the ground, sedate you into a coma and then take you to a secret facility from which you will NEVER escape. In that place we will do unspeakable things to your mind and your body in order to learn the secrets of your powers.

Because I assure you, if we didn’t do such a thing, there are plenty of other nations and powers that would be more than happy to do so.

So you can work for us, and help us ferret out spies, terrorists and criminal masterminds, or you can turn us down, in which case we will consider our other options.

What’s it going to be?

I’m not the mind-reader you’re looking for.

Pst, the OP is asking about “legal.” That sort of takes blackmail and torture off the table.

It would be the other way around. Person in question (if he’s smart) would be able to force the U.S. government to work for him.


It’s called the IRS.

A guy that actually had those abilities would be smart enough to keep it to himself, and no one would ever know. Ok, maybe after his 22nd consecutive World Series of Poker victory, people might get suspicious. Even then, the 13th Amendment would likely prevent his involuntary service, unless the draft was reinstated.

The other psychics working for the government would find him pretty quick.

Or…not, if the government is recruiting them by force. In that case, they’d probably be concentrating on escape, and misleading the government. And on convincing the government that any psychic loyal to it is planning to betray it and needs to be dealt with ( and they’d know exactly what they need to say to be convincing ). Psychics would logically be great at that sort of conspiracy.

And thus PsiCorps was born.

Bottom line with my response was this point:

Legally speaking, NO.

But legal has jack-all to do with it when you’re dealing with abilities like this that are not public knowledge. No way Uncle Sam is going to have Mr. Telepath in federal court before the public trying to force him into service, because that blows the cover of the telepaths, it blows the cover of Mr. Telepath (leading to the short life of fear and terror running from all the other people who want to play mad scientist with his DNA) and causes all sorts of problems they’d rather not have.

Hence you get the speech I gave above.

And as Director of Operations for the Department of Telepathic Services, I would make damn sure of several things;

1> These people were handled by Administrators who knew as little as possible about anything above or around them, because the minute the Administrator knew it, the Telepath would know it.

2> New agents would be occasionally checked out by existing agents, to check not just for loyalty, but for What They Are Hiding.

3> And as Serenity shows us, NEVER put these people in the same room with the people who know all the secrets. They never meet the President, they never visit the Pentagon or the CIA, they are kept FAR from such places, etc. The safest operation is to bring subjects TO them and keep them in a safe, dark, quiet place.

Am I right in thinking if you just give the guy who’s got the gift a complete 100% tax exemption, he’ll do anything you want?

The telepath now knows all of your secrets. He has just as much leverage on you.

If we don’t do that currently to phenomenally capable sharpshooters, generals, or scientists, why would we do it to anyone else with a rare and extremely useful talent?

I think telepaths would get catered to like rock stars.

I rather agree. What’s a few million a year compared to what they could get by just having him hang around any place he wanted to while unsuspecting people where brought to him.
I think most people would take the job.

Wouldn’t work with me. I imagine I can’t be all that original, so there’s other people it wouldn’t work with.

Phenomenally capable sharpshooters, generals, and scientists usually have CIA files and their international dealings are almost certainly monitored. Generals, sharpshooters, and scientists are often victims of political assasination or political imprisonment by the USA. Just some more recent examples:


I think they would be more likely to use illegal coercion.

Yeah, because we all know the government doesn’t do THAT sort of thing. :smiley:

“Million” with an “M”?