Since I first started to write columns for NewsWithViews in 2005 about the need to revitalize “the Militia of the several States”—a full decade ago—that subject has received scant support, sympathy, or even mention from the run of self-styled conservatives, patriots, constitutionalists, and (most depressing of all) champions of the Second Amendment who have made themselves prominent on the Internet. Instead, if they say anything at all about the matter, they tend to parrot the line put out by a certain notorious “‘poverty’ law center”, that anyone who mentions the word “militia” (except to disparage the concept) is some sort of “extremist” or other crackpot whose goal is “to overthrow the federal government”. Or they take the position that the only “militia” in which Americans can have confidence are “militia” with no connections to “government” at all—and that somehow the Constitution provides for such “militia”. Or they contend that Americans’ right to defend themselves with arms against private criminals and tyrants in public office has nothing to do with any “militia”, but is exclusively an “individual” right with no “collective” purpose or manifestation. Apparently, as far as these people are concerned, that the original Constitution incorporates “the Militia of the several States” as permanent, integral components of the federal system of government—and that the Second Amendment conjoins “[a] well regulated Militia” with “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” in the very same sentence, and even declares that “[a] well regulated Militia” is “necessary to the security of a free State”—are facts without significance (or facts the significance of which has somehow escaped them).
These are not the only examples of the astoundingly tortuous mental gymnastics in which such people indulge, for what reasons Heaven alone can fathom. For, on the one hand, many of them predict with approval that Americans may soon have, and will want, to depend upon leaders in the Armed Forces who will thrust themselves into positions of political authority in order to save this country in the event of a nationwide crisis. Yet, on the other hand, not a few of these very same prophets repeatedly warn Americans that “the federal government” is plotting to deploy the Armed Forces to impose “martial law” throughout this country, under color of either a real calamity or a “false-flag” deception. Apparently, in these people’s imaginations, at one and the same time the Armed Forces are not just capable of, but also intent upon, both a coup d’état to enforce the Constitution and a coup d’état to eviscerate the Constitution. (Note that in the term “Armed Forces” I include both the regular Army of the United States and the National Guard—because, although people often assume that the National Guard is some sort of “militia”, it actually is not any kind of “militia” at all, but instead consists of the “Troops, or Ships of War” which the States may “keep * * * in time of Peace” “with[ ] the Consent of Congress”, pursuant to Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution.)
I presume, however, that the upper echelons of America’s Armed Forces are not yet composed predominantly of aspiring Bonapartists, Peronists, and other assorted uniformed usurpers and traitors who itch to seize control of this country under whatever pretext of faux patriotism or pressure of some manufactured crisis can supply them with a plausible excuse for the imposition of “martial law”. Rather, until the necessary experiment falsifies the hypothesis, I believe that the true patriots within the Armed Forces should, could, and (with the proper encouragement and education) would go a long way towards saving this country by doing exactly what that “‘poverty’ law center” and its partisans, dupes, and useful idiots of both the political “Left” and “Right” so deprecate. Through successfully promoting revitalization of “the Militia of the several States”, the Armed Forces would help to prevent the assassination of the Constitution, by foreclosing the deadly threat of “martial law”, not just now but once and for all. (As I have written a lengthy book, entitled By Tyranny Out of Necessity: The Bastardy of “Martial Law”, on this subject I shall not elaborate on it here.) Not only that, the Armed Forces would help to provide the institutions Americans desperately need in order (among other things) to secure honest elections, to introduce an economically sound and constitutional alternative currency within the several States, to put teeth into “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”, and to make meaningful the assertion of the Tenth Amendment that “[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”, both today and for the foreseeable future. (As I have written an even more lengthy book, entitled The Sword and Sovereignty on this subject I shall not elaborate on it here, either.)
But how should this be done? Quite simply. Every time questions of “homeland security” arise in Congress and the States’ legislatures, spokesmen for the Armed Forces who are called as expert witnesses should make it a point to testify in favor of revitalizing “the Militia of the several States” as the missing, critical, and indispensable element in any coherent, comprehensive, and constitutional plan for “homeland security”. Not just referring to revitalization, not just recommending it, not just urging it—but demanding it in no uncertain terms. Explaining that no fully constitutional Militia now exist in any State in this Union. And emphasizing that something needs to be done as soon as possible to correct this situation—because, without revitalization of the Militia, this country very soon will find itself in exceedingly dire trouble with which the Armed Forces are almost entirely unqualified, as well as quite ill prepared, to deal.
That is what spokesmen for the Armed Forces should be telling legislators at every opportunity. If they did, their audiences would have to pay serious attention to what was being said. The big “mainstream media” could not get away with refusing to report the story. Average Americans would take notice. And even the mass of self-described conservatives, patriots, constitutionalists, and champions of the Second Amendment could no longer disregard or dismiss the matter!
Exactly why, though, should the Armed Forces take it upon themselves—indeed, perhaps go out on a political limb—to promote revitalization of “the Militia of the several States”? For two reasons: principle and practicality.
I. Revitalization of “the Militia of the several States” is a matter of imperative moral, political, and legal principle. Perhaps the most familiar of the mottos people associate with the Armed Forces is “Duty, Honor, Country”. But what is the very first and most important duty all members of the Armed Forces—and especially the higher ranks in the Officer Corps—owe to their country? Why, to do their best to understand, to protect, to defend, and to promote America’s foundational laws: namely, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
Consider first the Declaration. Intent upon “let[ting] Facts be submitted to a candid world”, the Declaration set out a litany of abuses related to King George III’s deployment of “Standing Armies” and their imposition of “martial law” against the American Colonies:
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies, without the Consent of our legislatures.—He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.—He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:—For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:— * * * For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:—For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences * * * .—[and] He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging war against us.
These, the Declaration asserted, constituted “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States”.
Moreover, the Declaration did not reflect American patriots’ mere disapproval, or disparagement, or even disgust with those abuses, but instead evidenced their downright denunciation of such wrongdoing. Those “repeated injuries and usurpations” constituted no less than violations of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”, so serious that they justified “the good People” of the Colonies in absolving themselves “from all Allegiance to the British Crown” and in severing “all political connection between them[selves] and the State of Great Britain”.
Self-evidently, in the light of this history, no member of America’s Armed Forces who takes seriously the motto “Duty, Honor, Country” should desire to give anyone the impression—or worse, grounds for suspicion—or worst of all, an actual basis in “Facts [to] be submitted to a candid world”—that he would ever advocate, participate in, or aspire to take a commanding role with respect to the sort of abuses in condemnation of which the Declaration excoriated George III. Nonetheless, the present-day para-militarization of State and Local police forces, the provision to those forces of military equipment by the Department of Defense, and the close coöperation being effected between the Armed Forces and State and Local “law-enforcement agencies” in various domestic “anti-terrorism” exercises all supply “Facts” from which “a candid world” could reasonably draw the conclusion that someone is preparing the Armed Forces to implement something akin to “martial law” somewhere within this country under some circumstances in the foreseeable future—as well as conditioning common Americans to accept this turn of events as somehow justifiable as well as inevitable. The obvious danger is that, once the precedent for such a deployment has been set anywhere within the United States, rogue public officials can concoct one ersatz “crisis” or another in order to rationalize further deployments of the Armed Forces just about everywhere, until “martial law” (in effect if not in name) becomes commonplace.
Unless Americans will have lost their wits entirely, though, they will eventually recognize these events as parts of what the Declaration of Independence described as “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object[, which] evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism”—and the stage will then be set for desperate patriots once again to assert “their right” and “their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”. Yet that, one may rest assured, will be a consummation devoutly to be avoided, if at all possible. Certainly the Armed Forces should not want to be the immediate cause of such a calamity—indeed, to be the moving parties, as the Armed Forces are the only establishments that can actually attempt to impose “martial law” within America. Fortunately for them, they can always put that praiseworthy desire into effect. For they are the only parties capable of absolutely guaranteeing that “martial law” will never be imposed, because if they do not impose it no one else can.