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Friday, January 15, 2016

Refuge of Scoundrels

"...An overweening vanity leads the fond many, each man against the conviction of his own heart, to believe or affect to believe, that militia can beat veteran troops in the open field and even play of battle. This idle notion, fed by vaunting demagogues, alarmed us for our country, when in the course of that time and chance, which happen to all, she should be at war with a great power."
  - US Senator Gouverneur Morris, Founding Father and Penman of the US Constitution, Boston, 1815

It’s been what?

Two centuries and some change maybe?

I mean, when exactly was the last time defense of the country depended on a bunch of raggedy-ass pig farmers?

Exactly when was it, that glorious time of independence and freedom, when the heavenly white light of liberty depended on a dirty band of fake Marines, ersatz soldiers, and drunken beer bellied louts led by a couple of second-rate cattle barons whose own grasp of civilization most closely resembles that of their bovine stock in trade?

When?

We’ll come back to that.

We Americans, oh how we love to tell ourselves fairytales of the fabled citizen soldier.

We love to believe a bunch of simple farmers, untrained in war, armed only with primitive muskets and the fierce righteous fire of liberty in their bellies, faced down the greatest professional army in the world and sent the Red Coats back to King George. Oh yes, we proudly puff out our chests and tell ourselves how a rag-tag militia of common men rose up to drive tyranny from the land, how those patriots watered the tree of liberty with their own blood, and went on to pen the Constitution and lay the foundation of the United States with nothing more than the sweat of their own brows and the blessings of their creator.

It’s all bullshit, of course.

Bullshit, but that myth is so entrenched in the American psyche that to suggest otherwise is oft considered treason.

The idea is ludicrous. It is. It’s so ridiculous in fact that we laugh, we Americans, when the idea comes up in any other context but for our own Revolutionary War. The thought of some rag-tag half-assed militia facing down our own modern military? Hilarious. They’re nothing but a bunch of goat herders, towelheads, camel jockeys, we sneer with contempt. All the IEDs and suicide-belts in the world can’t so much as blunt our advance. Yeehaw!

And we’re right about that.

Sure we are. For no misfit militia can stand against a trained and equipped professional force.

Oh, certainly, militia might get lucky in an ambush or even a skirmish, but not in open battle. Not against professionals. Not against tanks and well equipped infantry and air superiority and advanced communications and technology. Which is why that militia so often resorts to guerrilla tactics and terrorism and a war of attrition – and even those things can’t win the day, not if the professional military and those who sent them are willing to stay the course.

The simple truth of the matter is this: American freedom, American liberty, has never depended on an irregular militia.

Not really.

George Washington himself had a particular contempt for the militia, writing to his nephew, Lund Washington, in September of 1776 after the loss of Long Island and Manhattan to British forces,

“I am wearied to death all day with a variety of perplexing circumstances, disturbed at the conduct of the militia, whose behavior and want of discipline has done great injury to the other troops, who never had officers, except in a few instances, worth the bread they eat. In confidence I tell you that I never was in such an unhappy, divided state since I was born.”

Note that in the battle which prompted Washington’s letter, the Redcoats took New York in less than twelve hours, while the various American militias (forces actually sworn to the country and with some modicum of training unlike the modern militia movement) deserted almost to a man at the first sight of the professional soldiers advancing on them. At the Battle of Kip’s Bay, General Washington attempted to rally the panicked and fleeing militia by first commanding “take the walls!” pointing to the stone walls of the cornfields that made up the battleground. The men ignored him and continued to run away. Then because they were in utter disarray and their officers unwilling to stand their ground, Washington commanded the militia to “take the cornfields!” just to get them off the road and to stop running. Instead, the militia dropped their weapons and ran blindly away up the Post Road. Washington literally beat the fleeing militiamen with his cane and the flat of his sword in an attempt to turn their cowardice. Finally in frustration, Washington declared he would start running them through if they didn’t stand and fight. They didn’t.

Meanwhile on Long Island, the militia, facing battle hardened German troops under command of British General William Howe, threw down their weapons, raised their hands and attempted to surrender. The Germans shot the Americans in the face and then stabbed them with bayonets.

In anything but a support role – and often not even then – the militia was an abject failure. They were worse than useless and held in utter contempt by actual soldiers both on the British and the American side of the Revolution. The truth of the matter is that the Continental Army which Washington demanded from the Continental Congress and that eventually won our independence from King George, those soldiers were a professional military force. Untested and unsure at first, but after that terrible winter at Valley Forge, they were well trained courtesy of Baron Friedrich von Steuben and increasingly well supplied by the Continental Congress and supported by France.

If the Founding Fathers had depended for their independence on the various irregular militias, they surely would have all been hanged – separately and together.

Those men, those men who led the Continental Army and fought for our freedom, those men knew exactly what they were doing when they included the words “well-regulated militia” in the Second Amendment.

And they for damned sure weren’t talking about giving Americans the right to shoot down their own government – because those Founders were the government.

 

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There are few things professional soldiers despise more than some fake wannabe warrior.

Professional military personnel look upon militias and paramilitaries the same way cops regard amateur security guards.

And for good reason.

Irregular militias, paramilitaries, are worse than useless when it comes to defense of a nation. Literally worse than useless. They are untrained, undisciplined, undependable, and too often belligerently unaware of their own pitiful state. They take up resources and risk the security of real soldiers. Irregular militias are often indistinguishable from an armed mob. Like those currently occupying Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, militias are almost always composed of misfits and rejects, wannabe soldiers and pretend Marines puffed up with stolen valor, disaffected braggarts, belligerent drunkards, criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, conspiracy theorists, and angry losers of every stripe.

These raggedy-assed pretend patriots are not out there defending your freedom.

Most of them don’t even rise to the level of the militiamen who fled the British at Kip’s Bay.

They’re in it for themselves.

They’re in it for themselves and only for themselves and make no mistake about it.

These are Sovereign Citizens – an oxymoron if ever there was one. These are people who have declared themselves a nation unto themselves and have rejected the obligations of civilization. They are citizens of nothing, an army of one, defenders of mob rule and rights by force.  

They believe freedom comes at the muzzle of a gun and only at the muzzle of a gun, and they believe in their freedom not yours.

They literally believe a gun gives them the right to do anything they want.

Literally, these people believe might makes right - or more correctly might makes rights. Their rights, not yours.

Those militiamen occupying Malheur Wildlife Refuge are little different from the mobs of armed men currently roaming Somalia or Iraq or Syria. They are lawless thugs, nothing more. They want you to believe they are defending freedom, defending America, defending their twisted and simplistic interpretation of the Constitution.

They’ve turned the Second Amendment into a religion, a bizarre sexual fetish, into mental illness.

But those guns? The ones they’re so proud of? Those weapons are not turned to defense of the nation. They’re not aimed at some foreign invader. They’re aimed at you.

They’re aimed at the United States of America.

These militias exist solely for one reason: to shoot down Americans.

They are not preparing to face some foreign invader. They are not standing in defense of their countrymen. In point of fact, they declared us, you and me, their enemy. This is the face of the modern militia movement, just the same as any ISIS fighter who would shoot down Americans in the name of ideology. Same as any Muslim extremist, these militiamen hate the American government, they hate liberals, they hate gays, and they hate those who don’t adhere to their particular religion. These are racists, homophobes, anti-Semites, Islamophobes, sexists, and bigots of every stripe and bitter flavor – don’t take my word for it, go read their statements in their own words. These are fake soldiers who pretend valor they never earned. These are drunks and murderers, liars and cheats, wife beaters and tax dodgers, and blustering cowards. They are busy fighting amongst themselves, literally murdering each other, and raging against illusionary tyranny that exists only in their fevered imaginations.

These are not patriots.

They do not believe in democracy.

They do not believe in the republic.

They do not stand with the rest of us against the fall of night.

They believe in guns and violence and brutality. They are a howling mob and nothing more.

These are nothing less than self-declared enemy combatants who intend violent overthrow of the United States government. They fully intend to impose their idea of America, their idea of who is and is not an American, their idea of religion and race and sexuality, their idea of freedom and liberty and happiness, on the rest of us by force of arms or gun us down in cold blood if we will not submit.

They intend civil war.

They intend civil war, no less. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is listen to their rhetoric. All you have to do is read their websites and manifestos. All you have to do is listen to their endless threats of violence and look where it is directed.

All you have to do is take them at their own words.

They are not patriots.

A gun doesn’t make you a patriot.

A patriot is someone who rallies to the defense of country, of community, of civilization. In the American tradition, a patriot is a citizen soldier, a minuteman, a reservist, a guardsman, one who turns out in the dark of night, in the most bitter of winters, sworn to defense of the United States when called.

A gun doesn’t make you a soldier.

A soldier is a professional. A soldier first and foremost is part of a team, not a mob, not an individual. It takes courage, discipline, endless training, and a willingness to give your life in defense of others – not for yourself, not for heroism, not for glory, but for them. In the American tradition, a soldier is willingly sworn to defend the rule of law with his or her own life at the command of the elected civilian leadership – even when that soldier may disagree with that leadership, perhaps most especially then.

In the American tradition, more than anything else, a soldier is one who believes this: I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

That, that right there, is what makes us exceptional.

A gun doesn’t make you a citizen.

A citizen is one who is part of civilization, not outside it. A citizen is one who works to hold society together instead of working to burn it down, who learns from the past in order to build a better future for all. And in hard-won, hard-learned American tradition, a citizen is one who believes that the benefits of civilization are the birthright of all – not just a select few. Not just those brutal enough, ruthless enough, to take it at the muzzle of a gun.  

Citizenship is an ideal, an obligation, a duty.

Citizenship is not an excuse to act like a lout or a thug.

Citizenship is an acknowledgement that we are stronger together, despite our differences or maybe because of them, than we ever were alone.

And if civilization does not protect the weak from the ruthless, then what damned good is it?

Those squatting in Malheur are not patriots. They are not soldiers. They are not citizens. They are an armed rabble of selfish malcontents, thieves and scoundrels, louts and violent drunkards. They believe they are protecting themselves from government, but civilization, government, exists to protect us from them.

They are nothing but bums with guns.

 

And that too is an American tradition, this ongoing lunatic tolerance for sedition in our own midst.

 

We ignore the cancer while it eats us alive. This is not freedom. This is not the liberty our ancestors fought and died for. This is not patriotism. This is like living with a rabid dog, one who foams at the mouth and bares its diseased fangs at our families and who sooner or later will be at our throats.

The men who wrote the Constitution did not intend this.

They did not.

Twenty years after the Revolutionary War, malcontents on the Western Frontier, those who benefited from the newly formed United States but who didn’t want to contribute to the maintenance of civilization, rose in sedition. Farmers long accustomed to doing whatever they wanted without regard for their fellows or the rule of law declared themselves exempt from government – just as those currently occupying Malheur do today. President George Washington sent an army of 13,000 trained militiamen into Western Pennsylvania and Kentucky to explain to those insurrectionists the error of their ways. The Whiskey Insurrection (more commonly called the Whiskey Rebellion) collapsed in short order – and those vowing to overthrow the United States government and shoot down their fellow Americans fled.

And that, my shiny electronic friends is the answer to the question. That was the only time the militia stood in defense of the United States.

Ironic, no?

The Founders very clearly never intended for Americans to shoot down their own government or turn arms on their fellow citizens. And George Washington himself was willing to send the militia to enforce government authority on the land. Unless you are now going to tell me how George Washington was unamerican and ignorant of the Constitution?

Your freedoms, your liberty, are protected by the sworn soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, guardsmen, and reservists of the US Military. Along with the countless men and women who labor unknown and unacknowledged, in uniform and out, to hold civilization together with their bare hands every single day.

Most of all, your freedom is protected by you, by the government you create, by rule of law, by equal justice for all, by the maintenance of civilization for the benefit of all, by citizenship.

If you want a better nation, be better citizens.

Pointing guns at your fellow countrymen isn’t it. Ignoring the rule of law isn’t it. Demanding freedom to do as you please at the expense of others, at the muzzle of a gun, in the company of false patriots and wannabe heroes isn’t it.

It is long past time to put this ridiculous myth of the militia to rest.

218 comments:

  1. Dead solid perfect, sir.
    Sorry about the "sir", I know you worked for a living, but you earned this one.

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    1. There should be a recording of this, broadcast at 120 decibels in Noriega fashion, until they surrender to the law or go completely, undeniably insane and turn on each other. Stellar commentary as usual, Mr. Jim

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    2. Thank you, Jim!The language may be salty at times, but it always makes the point perfectly!

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    3. While I totally agree with you about the Bundy characters in particular and more generally about our modern-day self-styled "militias", I'm not so sure about your analysis of the American Revolution. Since there WAS no United States of America prior to its founding as a consequence of the American Revolution, there was no "professional" military as such, certainly no American military. A few British army regulars may have joined the colonial rebellion, but the vast majority of our Minutemen were just that - men called from home and hearth at more or less a moment's notice to fight the British. They were hunters, most of them, and no doubt received a little training from Washington and the German baron. But by and large they were militia, and "unpatriotic" at that since the owner and ruler of what is now the United States, or rather the eastern portion thereof, was in fact Great Britain at that time.

      Seven of my maternal ancestors fought in the American Revolution. None of them was a professional soldier. They were farmers from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. When the war was over they went back to their families and their farms.

      You say this: "Oh, certainly, militia might get lucky in an ambush or even a skirmish, but not in open battle. Not against professionals. Not against tanks and well equipped infantry and air superiority and advanced communications and technology. Which is why that militia so often resorts to guerrilla tactics and terrorism and a war of attrition – and even those things can’t win the day, not if the professional military and those who sent them are willing to stay the course."

      Well, I suppose that's true. But isn't that the point of a "war of attrition"? The Brits DID eventually lose the will to fight for the North American colony, because it became too costly and too much trouble to try to control. The same thing, incidentally, happened in Viet Nam, when a ragtag bunch of Viet Cong (militia? professional army?) simply outlasted both the French professional military and then the American professional military. Neither professional military, or its government, was willing to "stay the course".

      Ah, well, we agree on most things most of the time, Jim. And I'm willing to be proven wrong here.

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    4. John, please don't confuse "professional soldier" with "career soldier"--that might clear up some seeming disagreement there.

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    5. Many of the troops that Washington depended on were veterans of the seven year war.

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    6. The Brits lost their will to fight in the Colonies for multiple reasons, the largest being because it was getting too expensive.
      It was getting too expensive because the Colonists were being
      A) Trained by professionals such as von Stueben and Lafayette
      B) Financially supported by the Crown of France
      C) German mercenaries (stopgaps against poor peacetime spending) do insist on being paid
      D) They were fighting in India at the same time. India had spices, gemstones and the tea trade. India was far more important.

      BJ

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    7. The grade school version of the American Revolution always baffled me. I grew up in a military town and the notion of rag-tag militias defeating the world's greatest superpower was laughable on its face. It wasn't until I did some digging that I figured out the same things as BJ. The whole reason the Crown was taxing the colonies was because Parliament refused to raise taxes to pay off the Crown's debt from the 7 Years War. By 1782 the Crown was barely able even pay the interest on the debt that had run up fighting the war, and national bankruptcy loomed. When Cornwallis was defeated at Yorktown that was less than 10% of the British soldiers on American soil, but *there was no money left to hire more* -- or to pay the soldiers *already* on American soil, for that matter, and as you know, unpaid mercenaries don't fight.

      Now add in the India situation. When the French and Spanish entered the war, they went straight at India, and were making gains there. In the end, trading Florida back to the Spanish and releasing the United States as an independent nation that was dependent on France for much of its arms was the best deal they could make without risking the loss of India, which would have been disaster for the nation.

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    8. And BTW, the Vietnam War was won by the professionally trained and equipped soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army, not by the Viet Cong, who basically ceased to exist in 1968 after being thrown at the professional soldiers in the Tet Offensive as a distraction from a NVA offensive. This notion that the U.S. military was defeated by a buncha pajama-wearing guerrillas in Vietnam doesn't pass the laugh and giggle test once you know that the Viet Cong basically did not exist after 1968, we were fighting professional soldiers after that, albeit professional soldiers who did use guerilla tactics as necessary.

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    9. "The whole reason the Crown was taxing the colonies was because Parliament refused to raise taxes to pay off the Crown's debt from the 7 Years War. By 1782 the Crown was barely able even pay the interest on the debt that had run up fighting the war, and national bankruptcy loomed."

      That had always been my understanding of the seeds of the American Revolution as well. The colonists were happy to accept British help in the 7 Years War, but when it came time to repay, they turned their backs on the British. Tradition teaches the US was formed out of nothing by high minded noble principles--and in part it was, but that was far from the entire story--namely the colonists wanted something for nothing...something to think about!

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    10. Anthony, the slogan was "no taxation without representation", not "no taxation". The colonists were upset that their rights as Englishmen were being violated by being taxed without representation in and the consent of Parliament. It didn't help that King George III had rescinded the charters of the proprietary and charter colonies and made them Crown colonies with his own governors-general (one reason why Cornwallis thought he might find support in the southern colonies was that they'd always been Crown colonies so he thought they might not have as many objections to British rule). In short, there were a multitude of objections, virtually none of which had anything to do with "free stuff", and everything to do with being treated like enemy aliens rather than Englishmen.

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  2. Outstanding, Jim.

    As a veteran, I don't think I've seen anyone explain this difference between an actual member of the military and these pansies who want to "play" at being in the military. When you actually have defended the country - even when you haven't agreed with its leadership - and still love the country, then you are a true military member. If you are only in the game for yourself, you make a mockery of the entire situation.

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    1. Indeed, I've studied martial arts for decades and due to my interest in history know how to ride, use a bow, guns and swords well and I still realize that I'm no match for professional solders particularly the US military.

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  3. The sentiment and the logic are compelling. Well said, Jim.

    My compulsive copy editor has to point out:

    "These are Sovereign Citizens – and oxymoron if ever there was one." "An" oxymoron.

    "These[s] militias exist solely for one reason: to shoot down Americans." Delete the extra "s."

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    1. Fixed. Thanks for the assist.

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    2. I revel in your posts, as do so many others, and--to bring up something I'm pretty sure no one else will--I appreciate that you so graciously accept people's corrections of your typos. This is one way I know you to be a solid guy and not a poser. You're secure and you appreciate help. You're not just out there swinging to aggrandize yourself. Carry on!

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    3. A _writer_ always appreciates a good editor. And Jim, you are a _writer_. Thank you for all your writing, your solid understanding of America and our history, and for sharing it. Can't wait for the book...

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    4. I'm happy readers care enough about my work to want to make it better. Honestly, where's the downside of that?

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    5. The last sentence in the paragraph after

      A gun doesn't make you a patriot.

      'sworn to defense of the United States when called.'

      Should read, and I have two alternatives....

      sworn to THE defense of the United States when called.

      or

      sworn to DEFEND the United States when called.
      ------
      caps added to emphasis the changed wording.

      Jim

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  4. The most powerful defense of what it means to be a citizen that I've ever read. Bravo!

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  5. Just a couple of nits to be picked. "

    "An oxymoron", not and.

    "They are drunks and murderers", not murders.

    Other than those two items, damn fine job.

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  6. I have been calling them Faketriots. They have no clue what real Patriotism is. Even as an Army wife, I don't think I did until I sat by the phone for over 24 hours waiting to hear how badly my husband was injured, if he survived the surgery, and praying that I didn't see an official vehicle show up in front of my house.

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    1. I LIKE that, Amy! "Faketriots"...that sums up their entire raison d'etre so well!

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    2. Amy Butler. You are my hero. Thank you for being there. It's really tough standing by a man who puts his life on the line for an abstract concept like the Constitution. As a 20-year veteran, I salute you.

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    3. Amy - I got one of those calls. Fortunately my husband was not hurt badly enough to need surgery. Still, the E7 who called me basically said "We're flying him off of the ship to the closest hospital," then said she couldn't tell me more. I had no clue what happened, what kind of injury he had, or what condition he was in since they don't fly you off of the ship for minor things. I have never been so scared. The Faketriots have no idea what any of that is like.

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  7. Typo: "These are drunks and murders, liars and cheats"
    should be
    "These are drunks and murderers, liars and cheats"

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  8. The ignoramuses who have created a fetish of the "birth of the nation" do not understand that the people who took to Lexington Green to oppose the progress of the detachment of light infantry and grenadier companies at Lexington Green were not amateurs, not by a long chalk. They had among them men who had been present at the Reduction of Louisbourg during the 7 Years' War (F&I war). Hugh, Earl Percy, whose relief column rescued the regulars during their retreat back to Boston, wrote later that "they have men among them who know very well what they are about." They had trained, experienced veterans, in other words. These guys were no mere farmers, and they most certainly were NOT ammosexuals. These gun-humping pukes would make our founders vomit, and George Washington would definitely know what to do with them.

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  9. Another brilliant essay. I salute you, sir

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  10. Wow! Just wow.

    Now, tell us what you really think.

    P.S., Heinlein's definition of a citizen, from the book not the movie, applies.

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  11. Thank you for laying out the issue so clearly.

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  12. Well, damn, yes. Fair comment and wise.

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  13. Another trivial nit,

    "the Continental Army which Washington demanded"

    should that read

    "the Continental Army which Washington commanded"?

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    1. Nope. That one is correct. Follow the link regarding Washington's letter to Lund Washington, the General was ashamed of the militia, disgusted with what it was doing to his reputation, and demanded the Continental Congress raise a professional army.

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    2. Washington rode at the head of the 13,000 man army supplied by various states.

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    3. Congress allowed one regiment, the 1st. The fear of a standing army prohibited more. That lasted until the battle of the Wabash, known as St. Clair's defeat. Worst defeat in our history, per capita. The militia did not distinguish themselves. Camp followers fought harder. The 1st attempted to save the day with a series of bayonet charges. Problem was, even pros can only make so many bayonet charges. A
      After that Congress came to their senses.

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  14. You have given me chills, to see the truth of this insanity in black and white, to have my feelings about it expressed so beautifully. I am in awe. I thank you.

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  15. If only your words would reach the ears and minds of the militiamen. Sadly, your heartfelt words are reaching only those who already share your worry and concern. I fail to understand why those idiots are allowed to leave and go to the nearest store to purchase things, then allowed to return. Why aren't they gathered up when they leave and arrested for trespassing, or misuse of property, or something? That would allow them all to be slowly taken into custody or die from starvation. I vote for the second option.

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    1. Oh, I do think Wright's words reach them - it's why he gets so much hate mail from them and their ilk.

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    2. Anonymous, your words are wise. Two members have already been arrested. One for warrants in Arizona (Fluffy Unicorn)and a second man nailed in town driving a truck owned by the Nature Center.Gotta love irony!

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  16. Thank you, Jim, for the timely history lesson. You have painted them exactly as I have experienced them.

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  17. Excellent. Thoughtful, well-researched and easy to understand. As usual you hit it right on the head.

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  18. An excellent book on what happens when war is conducted by amateurs -- militia or otherwise -- and the sometimes horrible consequences which can ensue is "Amateurs, to Arms!: A Military History of the War of 1812"

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  19. Yes! Perfect! I was made 4F at MEPS thanks to a crooked leg, but I still try to do what I can to help my community. I worked for 15 years as a Paramedic, and now I am a Hospice nurse. I also take part in my states LEGALLY SANCTIONED state guard. Check out MiVDF.org and see if your own state has a state guard (38 states do, I think). Ironically, the one thing our state guard is NOT trained in is firearms. We are not intended for use as cannon fodder, but to assist our TRAINED soldiers in whatever manner we can. Being part of a REAL militia has NOTHING to do with guns, and I love it. This isn't to say I don't have guns of my own, and take classes and keep in practice with their use. I am a single woman, living out in the countryside. I have to be able to defend myself when the nearest police officer is 20 minutes away. And yes, I HAVE had to defend myself from idiot meth-heads. It was one of the most terrifying hours of my life, and I've had some crazy stuff happen on the ambulance, too.
    Thank you, Jim, for another well written article on (what should be) common sense.

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  20. Jim, your essay/post should be required reading in civics classes. Thank you!

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  21. I've detested how the word "patriot" has been bastardized and taken over by people who are anything but. Thank you for this. Let's take it back!

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  22. Bravo Jim. I shall share this far and wide (will all credits attached). I only hope that the anyone who reads it has the mental capacity to understand it.

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  23. You continue to impress me. I don't like reading much of the political word wall out there but you make reading an education, a pleasure and challenge to think. I am grateful for thinkers and writers like you out there--when so many seem to use the dull economy of language and the endless echoes of propaganda.

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  24. Brilliant essay as always! A good read and a lot of food for thought. That's what I so love about your writing, it helps me understand the American mentality.
    One thing though ...
    "otherwise is oft considered treason. " Shouldn't that be "often"? On the other hand, "oft" is the German word for often, so you might have put it in there for me to find.

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    1. In the American dialect of English, "oft" is an archaic form of "often." Nowadays it is most commonly used poetically or in a literary fashion to give the text a more formal feel. That was my intention here. I liked the way it sounded in the context of the essay, given that we are talking about certain archaic ideas. //Jim

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    2. Thanks for the explanation. I didn't know that and put in that context it makes perfect sense.

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    3. There is absolutely nothing wrong with 'oft', I grew up in the former Danelaw, speaking a dialect of English (now, sadly dying) larded with old Norse terms, e.g. local street names included St. Peter's Gate, Saddler Gate, etc. - nothing to do with gates, the names reflected the fact that the archaic name for a street in Norse was 'gatta'. English has been described as a language which lurks in dark alleyways, waiting to mug other passing languages for nouns and verb tenses. Long may you employ these archaic flourishes, Mr Wright!

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  25. Thank You Jim. Two things jumped out to me. There are few things professional soldiers despise more than some fake wannabe warrior.

    Professional military personnel look upon militias the same way cops regard amateur security guards.

    I wondered why I despised these guys so much..I have had this feeling since this bullsh** started after the president was elected. I feel I was a professional by the time I got my 20 in, so this struck me as a reason for my dislike for these posers.

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  26. You've explained part of American history which is never taught and really ought to be.

    What little I know about militia units is confined to Virginia and Pennsylvania militia units which were subesquently attached to the Continental Line. I've had to learn my way thru all of that history in the process of doing family genealogy and trying to figure out who was at what battles in which theatre, and when.

    Milita units in the Revolution were organized county by county in each colony and each unit elected their Sergeants and Officers. They simply would not follow men they hadn't elected. Part of the problem during combat came when they were melded with other units into the Continental Army and told to follow officers they hadn't elected. The men refused.

    There was also the generation gap problem. Revolutionary War soldiers were of two generational make-ups often fighting side-by-side. The older generation was George Washington's generation who'd been combat trained and hardened under British commanders in the French & Indian Wars, which was really the proxy war England and France wanted to fight (7 Years War) just not on the Continent, so they decided to slug it out across our farms and orchards here on this continent instead. Thanks Kings. And for that dubious "privilege," we were then expected to pay increased taxes to help pay for the war we never wanted to have fought in our homes and on our farms. Thanks again Kings.

    But really The Revolution was the biggest land grab in history and it was really about removing the Proclamation Line of 1763. And that's where the younger generation comes in. The generation born into the French and Indian War grew to adulthood hemmed in on the east side of the Appalachians due to that line and yet men like Washington and his brothers and many of the Founders were surveying off millions of acres of acres *west* of that line and moving in tenant farmers. The Crown was removing them. Things were getting tense. But this generation was the best fed healthiest most literate generation ever seen and had grown up on a rich Continent unfettered by Imperial control. And they wanted land.

    Many of them weren't farmers but wanted to be. Many of them ran - cattle.

    And many of them ended up in the very militias you've written about and performed just about as you've described. But not in all cases.

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    1. Yes, so much of what was going on then (and now, of course) was about who got to use or sell land. This wasn't mentioned in my schoolbooks, but it becomes obvious when you start researching the details.

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    2. Don't forget to mention that the western lands were not empty. England had treaties with Indian confederacies south and west of the colonies and treated them as sovereign foreign nations. (Not the Indians in the colonies, many of whom were subjects of the king.) The Revolution abrogated those treaties and allowed for "Manifest Destiny" idea to flourish and the land grab of the west of the continent. The Trail of Tears under Andrew Jackson was theft of land and pretty close to genocidal, not covering the U.S. with glory. The wars with Mexico and Spain were about conquering significant territory, not philosophical disputes. Much early U.S. history is indeed poorly taught, deliberately glossed over, and that's because a lot of it was shameful by their time's standards, not just ours of today.

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  27. Very well presented! I agree with you!

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  28. Thank you Jim for another great essay

    One of the most basic characteristics of a democracy. None of us will be entirely happy with all of it.
    Were it not for the lethal weapons what these guys are engaged in would be a tantrum.

    Question: Would Shays' Rebellion count as another insurrection put down by militia? The militia in that case was under Massachusetts state control not the federal government. Nonetheless, the militia did serve the same intended purpose.

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    1. Shay's Rebellion, also, by extension, when the Guard has been called out by a state governor to put down various civil disorders - which more than once has resulted in US troops firing on US citizens (once was at the command of Ronald Reagan, which conservatives rationalize away by pointing out the guardsmen were only firing upon liberals). However, none of these were in defense of the Nation, which is why I left them out.

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    2. Thank you for the clarification. I knew it was not oversight

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    3. What was the incident under the command of Reagan? I'm unaware of this.

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    4. May 15th, 1969. The People's Park. Commonly called "Bloody Thursday."

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    5. The National Guard wasn't called in until after Bloody Thursday - the violence was perpetrated by Berkeley PD, Alameda County Sheriff's deputies, and CHP officers.
      (I wasn't there, but my parents were.)

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    6. I was also at People's Park. I had worked on the Park, and when the fence was put up to keep us out, I was there, perhaps ten feet from the cops. The flash point that started the riot occurred immediately in front of me. A large guy with short hair- one whom I had not seen before- ran up, pushed me aside, and threw a brick at a cop. The brick missed by ten feet, despite the fact that the guy who threw it was only 10 feet from the police line. 45 degree angle miss. The guy who threw the brick turned and ran off as fast as he could. I have always thought that he was a police agent. The guns and batons came out, and the rest of the mess is well recorded. The violence was indeed committed (mostly) by the police agencies axolotl9 listed, but the mass arrest was done by the National guard, with M14s and fixed bayonets. Everyone in the cordon, including at least one postal worker with his leather bag of mail, was hauled off to the Alameda County detention facility- Santa Rita. Hundreds were arrested. A few days later, the Guard was activated by Reagan, who actively hated Berkeley and its liberals (see the movie 'Berkeley in Sixties'). Things eventually calmed down, and we finally took back the Park. One of my classmates was shot from behind, and the field medics from the Free Clinic took six pellets of double ought buckshot out of his lower back and butt. Fortunately, it was at long range, so he was not seriously injured. The newspapers reported that the police had used bird shot. Must have been hunting ostriches, I guess. Jim, this was a great column.

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    7. Great info, thanks James (the name hinted, the photo of armor and belt confirmed your id, Your Grace)

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    8. From Wikipedia:

      Authorities initially claimed that only birdshot had been used as shotgun ammunition. When physicians provided "00" pellets removed from the wounded as evidence that buckshot had been used,[22] Sheriff Frank Madigan of Alameda County justified the use of shotguns loaded with lethal buckshot by stating, "The choice was essentially this: to use shotguns—because we didn't have the available manpower—or retreat and abandon the City of Berkeley to the mob."[21] Sheriff Madigan did admit, however, that some of his deputies (many of whom were Vietnam War veterans) had been overly aggressive in their pursuit of the protesters, acting "as though they were Viet Cong."

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  29. And yes, these current yahoos want Civil War in the worst way. That is precisely what they are after. It ended badly for everyone, even the victors, in many ways, last time. We do not want to let this happen again, Folks. Not.

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  30. Thank you for yet another well written essay; taking my thoughts and expressing them in a coherent fashion.

    I will share this in hopes that at least one of my ammosexual friends can understand that I am not a communist who wants every gun removed from America.

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  31. Jim, once again, well done. A lesson for the masses, but sadly missed by those that most need the lesson. In an reply to someone's comment, I believe to be from facebook, someone stated, and I paraphrase, that you were a superhero and should wear a cape. You said you don't do cape's. I saw a meme the other day the said... 'Common sense is so rare these day's, it should be classified a super power'. You my friend, should reconsider the cape!

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    1. Scott, go watch 'The Incredibles' to understand the 'No Capes' rule. ��

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  32. Exactly right, Jim, except that the Ammon brothers aren't even "a couple of second-rate cattle barons." That's their deadbeat father, Cliven. Ammon Bundy lives in a Phoenix, Arizona, suburb and runs a valet car fleet service. Ryan Bundy lives in Cedar City, Utah, and owns a construction company.

    They are pretend cattle barons, all hat and no cattle. As well as pretend soldiers and pretend patriots.

    /WC

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  33. I think this may be the finest thing you've ever written.

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  34. I'm English, and have been following your blog for a couple of months now, and it's one of the few things assuring me that the whole of America is not entirely ( yet) swamped with maniacs waving AR15s and demanding their rights at the expense of everyone else's. The rest of the world is, to some extent dependent on the USA's attitude to the rest of it, and let me tell you we are scared shitless of these lunatics. Not just for us - when the GOP is siding with them it's not good news for anyone they don't like, but also for Americans everywhere. These folks (the Ammosexuals and fake militiamen)want a world where they keep themselves to themselves, a world sterile of those who aren't like them. It's good to know that people like you not only call them on their shit, but do it with erudition and and a just eye. Thanks Jim, keep up the brilliant work: As someone said;"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

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    1. Please, please, please remember that the people on the news are the ones who are considered "newsworthy". Most of us--in fact, I'd go so far as to say the vast majority of us--are, honestly, reasonable human beings. We just don't get the press. And for what it's worth, WE'RE scared shitless of these lunatics, too--with the added fury that they are the group by which all of us are being judged.

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    2. Hey Melissa, I hear you. I really do. I worry for Americans who don't agree with these maniacs, because the GOP and it's press lackeys are determined to make sure anything you say as your democratic right is ridiculed, erased and negated. It looks like the loudest are being heard, because they are the loudest, at the exception of reason or truth. I really do find myself wondering what the hell these people are thinking: are some of them dumb enough to believe their own rhetoric? I assure you though, the people I know don't see all Americans like them, but sadly we see America being stolen by the likes of them. I hope it changes. ( And I think it can - it's bad here too with the demonisation of the poor and sick and foreign, the main difference being they don't have access to guns, and most of our redneck types are too dumb to organise. Sadly, the right wingers in government are VERY organised.

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  35. Acute analysis Jim. And as ever a great read.
    Thanks for the historical perpective too. I found that really helpful.As a foreigner my knowledge of U S history is somewhat sketchy.
    There's an excellent thread on the Fogbow about the occupation at Malheur.They were following it from before the occupation took place, but not quite back as far as the revolutionary war.
    http://thefogbow.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=721684#p721687

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    1. US citizens' knowledge of their history is LESS than sketchy. We don't teach history in public schools, we promote myths.

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  36. If I thought they could read, I would send the clowns in Oregon a copy of this.

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  37. I no longer need to write stuff when arguing with these dipsticks on line. Just post the link and a couple salient quotes and say, "Go read it. Now." They won't, of course, but the onlookers who do will be rewarded with the most concise discussion of the topic I've ever read. Bravo zulu, and thank you.

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  38. Brilliant. You always boil down the issues to facts with common sense.

    One thing I'm completely confused over. Why is nothing being done about those people? Are they waiting them out? The longer they're there the more they become heroes and martyrs to their followers.
    Maybe the solution instead of prison is an automatic 6 year forced enlistment in the military.

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    1. "Maybe the solution instead of prison is an automatic 6 year forced enlistment in the military."

      I know next to nothing about the military, but I wouldn't want the Bundys' militia being foisted off on the military. I suspect that there would be debate over whether an equal amount of live rattlesnakes would be more valuable.

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    2. NO.They will not obey orders.They will not support the troops around them.They will run. Bob

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    3. Interesting idea. We could put them all on their own base and call it F Troop.

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    4. Back in WW2 the Soviets had prison battalions which they used to clear minefields with sticks, and other jobs along the same line. So there's a use for anybody in the military, with the proper precautions.
      Sounds like these guys' advanced self-training would qualify them for positions in Squeal Team Six.

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  39. YES!!!

    Now to get those idiots (and their ilk) to read and comprehend this!

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  40. Cheers to another brilliant essay!

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  41. Damn right. 'Bout time someone spelled it out. We tolerate these fools at our own peril, not because of any patriotic loyalty to their vision of the Republic, but because we fear riling up the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing troglodytes who send them their money and support. We'd be better served if ridicule hounded them back to their mommies' basements for the next "mission".

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    1. Please don't insult knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing troglodytes in this manner! ;-)

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  42. I'm a grateful woman having read this along with my husband reading right over my shoulder. He and I have had long discussions in talking about the duties of citizenship. It's why we have no truck with the kind of people who'd align themselves with the militia types (along with a few other sorts of low-lifes). And you have beautifully elucidated the spirit of so many of our discussions.

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  43. This was such a refreshing thing to read, Brutally honest... Thank you..

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  44. "If you want a better nation, be better citizens." That's the whole of democracy right there.

    These "squatters" would rather walk around in their tacticool getups, cradling their laser-sighted sex toys than attend a school board meeting or county planning board session where the dirty work of democracy gets done.

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    1. May I quote you? All of your good snarky phrases.

      Unfortunately, so many of these camo-wearing morons are out there precisely because the right wing has infiltrated school boards, especially in rural areas, and dumbed down our educational system standards county by county. I cringe whenever I hear about the latest stupidity from the Texas school book board, e.g. deciding to make textbooks more "patriotic" by removing all the bad parts of U.S. history. That's why Jim's essay is a history lesson for so many people.

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  45. As usual Jim, you manage to put my rather confused thoughts and feelings into cogent, succinct and eloquent words. I can't wait for the novel!

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  46. ......I have long since stopped being surprised by any of your cogent essay's ....delighted, amused, blown away, uplifted, and many more depending upon the subject....I haven't been paying much attention to those morons in Oregon, I figured out immediately that they were the very definition of bogus....but you have pointed out beautifully why we should be paying attention to them ....but while you have explained the situation perfectly .....now what the hell do we do about these morons ? ...

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  47. As a member of the choir, I so wish this would get through to the people who don’t understand.

    (One minor correction: “In anything but a support role – and often not even then – the militia was an abject failure.” I think you mean “… and often even then…”)

    Also, about another post, please don’t tick Canada off by threatening to send Cruz. Canadians are polite but also tenacious, and I don’t think you would wish him on them or anyone, for that matter. You don’t strike me as being cruel.

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  48. George Washington's disdain for the militia is indeed well known but only by those of us who studied military history and military tactics, which were dictated by the weapons of the era, which in turn dictated that battles were won by cannon and bayonets and massed fire from muskets fired by men in ranks, not by dipsticks sniping from behind trees with civilian rifles not capable of rapid fire or of mounting bayonets. Yet somehow everybody in the US who *hasn't* studied the history, weapons, and tactics of the era thinks the US won because they sniped from behind trees -- something that both sides did to a certain extent via their skirmishers, but which had no real effect on the outcome of battles because of the limitations of those rifles. Well, maybe Cowpens, but that was an exceptional battle in many ways (General Morgan wisely put his militia with their backs to a river so they couldn't run), and it was the regulars who put the final touches on the victory once the militia came back into the battle from the flanks, Morgan then turned the retreating regulars around and had them charge with bayonets and the British thinking they were surrounded on all sides by regulars surrendered en masse. I.e., it was still the regulars that won that battle in the end.

    Anyhow, the whole point of the Militia Clauses of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, clauses 15-16) is to put the militia under Federal regulation and, especially, to set standards for training and professionalism so that the militia would be at least trainable as real soldiers in case of another war. The anti-Federalists had said that they didn't want a standing army. George Washington was, like, "well then give me a militia that isn't totally useless." Thus those clauses of the Constitution, which empower Congress to federalize the militias of the various states in event of a declared war or state of emergency (which, uhm, has been the case for decades now), and set standards for training and weaponry.

    In short, the militia clause plus the Commander in Chief clause (Section 2 Clause 1) which puts the President in charge of the Army, Navy, and federalized militia says that if those dipsticks in Oregon really *are* militia, then it takes only one stroke of a pen and their boss is... uhm... President Barack Obama. Somehow I suspect they didn't quite think that one through when they called themselves "militia", LOL!

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    1. "...set standards for training and weaponry."

      I wonder what happens if a militia fails to meet these standards?

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    2. The current answer is "nothing". The National Guard gets federalized to be sent overseas, they drill and train for several months beforehand to get them up to snuff, and are subject to the UCMJ only during their term of federal service. Look at the chaos in the New Jersey National Guard as a result of political generals placed in charge by Governor Sammiches as a perfect example. That said, if they've been federalized (something that happens with the stroke of a pen nowadays), they *are* subject to the UCMJ, with all that implies...

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  49. Nicely done--as always. You have a penchant for backing everything you write with hard evidence. Unfortunately, too many ignore evidence that conflicts with what they want to believe.

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  50. ". . . but every state shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accounted, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition, and camp equipage."
    -- Articles of Confederation, Article VI

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
    -- U.S. Constitution, Amendment 2

    I can't see how either document gives license to armed and dangerous morons.

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    1. I am flabbergasted! In all the reading I've done on the 2nd amendment, I don't remember seeing article 6 of the articles of Confederation cited. This would seem to be the key text as to the meaning of "a well-regulated militia."

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    2. In further clarification:

      "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."

      Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, District of Columbia v. Heller, 2008

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  51. Well done. I have been following you now for a few months and couldn't agree more with your statement. I grew up in Oregon, and it is appalling to me that these bozos think they can come in and impose their agenda on the locals. We have a system for dealing with issues; it's called democracy. Maybe they should try it.

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  52. Jim, and fellow commenters...you have to remember....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHJbSvidohg

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  53. I'd sure would like to share your essay with the people in Obama's circle that could do something about them morons. Except I don't know anyone... Does anyone here know someone?

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  54. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

    I've listened the last few days to the live stream of the "embedded reporter" Santilli, which has been a chore akin to cleaning out the hog pen, to understand whether these people are high, delusional, or just stupid. Conclusion: all of the above.. But then, of course, you said it better!

    "They are untrained, undisciplined, undependable, and too often belligerently unaware of their own pitiful state. They take up resources and risk the security of real soldiers. Irregular militias are often indistinguishable from an armed mob. Like those currently occupying Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, militias are almost always composed of misfits and rejects, wannabe soldiers and pretend Marines puffed up with stolen valor, disaffected braggarts, belligerent drunkards, criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, conspiracy theorists, and angry losers of every stripe."

    It's like a VERY BAD space opera radio show, with the whole mishmash of their conspiracies and grandiose ideas of forcing freedom at gunpoint. But, like a train wreck, I can't look away.

    They are a cancer. I'd find them utterly amusing if they weren't so hell bent on becoming martyrs for the cause and "God". Can't wait to see how the planned "confrontation" of the FBI at the Airport pans out tomorrow. It's the same anticipation I'd feel if I were watching someone kiss a cobra, or a snake handler in a Pentecostal church...

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  55. Thanks Jim! As a 33+ years civil servant (24 seasons of which I spent in the wild land/prescribed fire program) I can't agree more with your observations. I took seriously the oath I signed on with and still do to this day in retirement. This clutch of clowns insults citizens everywhere.

    Oath

    I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

    5 U.S.C. §3331

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  56. Fantastic!!! Needs to be in history books!

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  57. These neo-confederates at Malheur NWR seek to destroy an amazing area that belongs to each of us. This mob acts as though they know what is best for all ranchers, residents of Harney County and all Americans in general.They in no way speak for me. I am sickened by this assault on "We the People" and hope that this pack of ignorant, radical militants are flushed out of the refuge HQ very soon. These guys are attempting to setup an illegal government in Harney County and fully intend to institute their laws and rules about who can enter and what they want imposed across the board. These are folks no different than the Nazis of old. The rule of law has been replaced by the rule of might. Call your State and Federal Legislators and instruct them to get on the stick and protect this refuge and our nation as both are in danger-cut this cancer out now. Thank-you Mike Denny

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  58. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...." is how the second amendment to your constitution begins.

    You have written "Those men, those men who led the Continental Army and fought for our freedom, those men knew exactly what they were doing when they included the words “well-regulated militia” in the Second Amendment."

    I contend that the words "well-regulated militia" by the fact of their prior position are not an inclusion, but a prior condition, without recognition of which the amendment cannot be construed properly.

    I have been arguing this this since 1966, and expect to do so for the rest of my life.

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  59. Thank you again for being the voice of sanity.

    One minor edit toward the beginning: "We love to believe *A* bunch of..."

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  60. I just finished reading The Postman, by David Brin. It struck a particular chord at the moment, becaues these guys are wannabe Holnists...

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  61. Thank you. But now you've got me all emotional, feeling patriotic and shit, to the point where I feel like I need to actually do something instead of just sitting behind my keyboard bitching. In the immortal words of DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard "Bones" MeCoy of Star Trek, "Dammit, Jim."
    How do we get it through these Neanderthals' heads that the Pledge of Allegiance says, "...with liberty and justice for all", and not "With liberty and all for just us"?
    ami in Indiana

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  62. I do not know how you can read all these replies but I'll add mine if for no other reason than a show of support. Bravo Zulu to you, sir!

    In grade school during the early 70's we were taught often about citizenship, much of it in black and white 16mm films. To be honest, I dismissed most of it, as it was so Cold War oriented that I couldn't help but imagine children in the USSR watching the same exact film just with the soundtrack altered for the Russian language (and the possible exception of the nod to individualism and an emphasis on religion). None the less, I understood and believed in the basics of good citizenship: obey the law, respect authority, treat others fairly. Growing up, my parents had a citizenship pamphlet (more like a small book) published by an insurance company circa 1910 that belonged to my great grandfather. It was so nationalistic that it makes today's GOP form of nationalism appear as a fraud in comparison. It just oozed Red, White, and Blue. It also came complete with an uncomfortably strong early 20th century theme of collectivism.

    But then one day it hit me like a ton of bricks and I understood with perfect clarity. A week or two from graduating Boot Camp at RTC Great Lakes I was out by myself performing some company business. Making my way back to the barracks, I was caught by morning colors (the very reason I was double timing it as fast as possible). There I stood all by myself on a sidewalk next to a deserted street. I came to attention and saluted as required (maybe while muttering something like,"Man, I was so close". Then without any warning I was fighting back tears. Not just a single tear rolling down my cheek, but full on bawling with the flowing liquid staining my blue chambary shirt, lips trembling uncontrollably and jaw seemingly set on knocking out the teeth that it is supposed to hold in place.

    It was then that I realized I wasn't saluting a piece of colored cloth, but rather every citizen of the United Sates of America that came before, currently living, and those not yet born. I was affirming my allegiance to the people of the United States. I was acknowledging, I was prepared to give my life for my ship mates, my country men, and my country. I, alone on a desolate street, was not alone at all. I was part of something way bigger than myself. Not a boy scout troop, a choir, a band, a church or high school. A country. Maybe the greatest in all of history; maybe not. I belonged to a country that I love, warts and all. And then at that moment I realized I served in a navy that I love; perhaps the greatest navy of all time or not, didn't matter. I found what lies between nationalism and globalism, individualism and collectivism and that is called citizenship. The down side, I also came to the conclusion that by our very nature American's will always struggle with this ballance.

    Your comments brought this memory to the forefront of my mind. And the belief that citizenship may be completely unknown in a certain populace of our nation.

    Thank you for another great read.

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    1. Huh. You may have changed my mind about saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in my classroom. I haven't for years, because I figured once I'd taken an oath of loyalty, it was insulting to ask me to take it again every day just to prove I'm a loyal citizen. This has made me rethink the reasoning behind it. Thanks for that.

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  63. This is America where Red Dawn fantasies are viewed as legitimate and studying history is not.

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  64. Bravo Zulu, Jim.

    I spent twenty-four years in the uniform of the United States Army, having sworn, as the men and women to either side of side of me did, to "...stand, between their love'd homes and the war's desolation." I could not agree with you more. About pretty much everything you've said here.

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  65. sorry, I don't get it. Are you arguing against the 2nd amendment? Nowadays most people take it to mean, not the right to create a militia, but to own a gun to defend themselves, their family and their home from attack by armed criminals. or Are you arguing against some group in your neck of the woods you're at odds with?

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    1. Groovy, did you READ the essay? All of it? With an open mind? Try going back through it slowly, and I believe you will get clarity.

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  66. Truth. It hurts. It's scary as hell. Thanks for the history lesson. It's time to end the farce in Oregon, by whatever means necessary. JMHO.

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  67. Thorough, spirited, and perfectly targeted. Well done.

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  68. Being a foreign stranger I have always thought that the National Guard was the well regulated militia the amendment where referring to.

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    1. I think it's the closest we have right now to one. They certainly are citizen-soldiers to be called up at need, and they certainly are well-regulated.

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  69. Another one hit out of the park. I look forward to the massive trolling coming your way. It should be highly entertaining

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  70. The numbnuts occupying the Bad Luck Refuge pretend they hark back to Frontier Values. Okay, give 'em some Frontier Values: declare them Outlaws. Which is to say put them outside the pale of the law. Ain't no crime in the killing of an outlaw, and anybody who feels up to it can have at it. Hell, declare them Outlaws and put a bounty on their heads. You'd you'd have to duck and cover to get out of the way of the stampede of 'militia' trying to cash in. Would some of them get shot in the process? Sure, but who cares.

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  71. Thanks for a thought-provoking article. I'm Canadian, and I've been following the Malheur story closely. It's got several interesting angles and it's probably going to be a big influence on militia movements for years to come, however it turns out. Once of the parts that interests me, coming from Canada where we don't have the same commitment to gun ownership, is the Second Amendment rhetoric. (I grew up hunting, and still own a rifle.)

    How much of the attitudes of the people at the wildlife refuge and militia sympathizers is due to NRA advertising over the last 30 years? Is this behavior the natural outcome of a country where everyone has guns and where fear of the government and your neighbors has been used to sell guns? Thanks again.

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    1. Well, not everyone has guns. I know more people who don't than do, but I also live in a pinko-liberal-commie area of the country (Seattle metro). I think we're at something like 40% of households have a gun, though we have a large enough military and former-military population that I may well be off on that number. However, I do think the NRA rhetoric is largely to blame. Guns and freedom are conflated, and anyone who wants any restrictions on gun ownership or increased security measures when buying a gun is, by their definition, trying to take away guns from everyone so that they can move in and force Communism down your throat, or something.

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  72. Damn, Jim, another ace. I'm spoilt for the right words of praise for this, so I'll simply say, Bravo Zulu.

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  73. Very well written essay. Thank you for taking the time to demonstrate that these lunatics are just that.

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  74. Thanks, Jim! Great essay. I’m a lifelong civilian, so the military history content is definitely informative.

    I’m also a biologist, and I’ve been seething over the assault on Malheur for that reason as well. The pseudo-militia idiots are howling about their alleged rights to seize and exploit federal land, without having the slightest idea of what land management means. They have also been harassing the researchers and other employees of Malheur, who seem to have offended their petty faketriot sensibilities because these employees are actually being paid by the federal government for their work.

    I could probably rant on this subject for hours, but for brevity, here’s a link to another ecologist’s excellent essay, which I think has summarized the situation from our perspective very well.

    https://medium.com/@travislongcore/i-stand-with-linda-sue-beck-a651895b71ce#.f06asxsbm

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  75. Even better than sending LARP militia a box of dildos.

    Thank you, Jim.

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  76. Thank you, this is really, really great!

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  77. Spot-on. And I say this as a teacher with 18 years of experience and a history minor.

    We Americans (at least, the fruits, nuts, and flakes among us who are the ones who get the press) have a distressing tendency to read documents--religious, historical, what have you--with an end in mind. Rather than, "Let's see what the words are, then interpret what they have to say," too many of us say instead, "It says THIS! Here, let me look at it for the first time and find where it does." It's like listening to reply, rather than to hear (which we also do, far too often).

    I didn't grow up with guns. I've become moderately familiar with handguns in the last couple of years, because I've got family, friends, and an ex-boyfriend (still a buddy) who carry, and I figured, if I'm going to be around guns, I'd better damn well know how they work and how to avoid injuring myself or someone else because I'm clueless. I took a class at a local range (the one where the off-duty cops and former military go to practice) and make a point of going to shoot at least every couple of months. But I'm still not convinced I want to own a gun, because I'm not convinced it will do more good than harm. And also because I'm not convinced I want to be lumped in with the abovementioned fruits, nuts, and flakes.

    I read your Facebook because you're well-educated and well-spoken and funny. The fact that you back up my own personal opinions doesn't hurt either, though. :D

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  78. Late to the party (as usual), but Thank You for another wonderful essay.

    I really wish they would stop teaching the crap version of US History in the early grades. Kids take that stuff into adulthood with them and it's hard to erase if they don't take any serious history courses later.

    I also wish teachers would put more emphasis on the responsibilities of citizenship. All anyone seems to hear these days is rights. Yes, I vote. Everyone should be required to.

    Surprised there are any typos left, but:
    at the muzzle of gun. --> at the muzzle of a gun.

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    1. Heh heh. Me too. Got it. Thanks!

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    2. Kerry- yep. In another, similar, conversation I went on a considerable rant about the whitewashed, celebratory, and completely non-critical version of history that gets taught at least K-12, and I suspect in survey courses in college.

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  79. Another great article; thank you.

    "If you want a better nation, be better citizens." This. It bears constant repetition.

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  80. Works for me. The rebels of 1776 and beyond did not get really effective until whipped into something that looked like the army against which they were fighting. In other words, trained troops, not a rag tag militia. The rebels also got a considerable amount of help from the French (yes, those Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys) Navy, when de Grasse removed a British fleet from their backs in 1781, leading directly to the surrender at Yorktown.

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  81. Also note that the BLM fence, which Y'allQuaida tore down with great fanfare, has been replaced by the rancher in question. He was angry as spit at having to replace it, and horrifically upset at the contention that he had problems with the BLM. He claimed to be a good steward of his land who worked with the BLM and has no need of the refuge land for his cattle.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/rancher_i_didnt_know_anything.html

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  82. Bravo yet again. This is one of the mot cogent explanations I have ever seen on this topic. Those morons have no earthly clue what being a real soldier involves, and most would cut and run at the first sign of trouble just like thy did back in Washington's time.

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  83. I have gotten into the habit of, when I hear some piece of news, wondering, "What will Jim think of this? What will his response or explanation be." You see, I don't have any elders I can turn to, no one talked to me about politics while I was growing up, and so I had no guidance in working out what was happening. Jim has the military experience, the intelligence experience, and the common sense and literacy to explain what I need to know, without, as I see it, a prejudiced slant. So, thank you, young man, for your clear exposition.

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  84. Simply magnificent. Thanks so much for your essay, which IMO captures the essence of what it is to be an American citizen.

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  85. Thank you so much. I have been saying similar things, especially regarding the offensive idiocy of a small group's declaring themselves to be THE PEOPLE and then proposing to redistribute control of land and judicial power and every other function of legitimate government according to their own estimation of how fanatically you serve their bullshit ideology. There's no difference between these guys and ISIS, or Stalin for that matter, except that their ideology is particularly noxious insofar as it blasphemes against American values and the history of the difficult accomplishment of those values. They are not "patriots", they are the worst kind of deceived, lost tools or outright thieves, and their military posturing is nothing but the fetishization of violence. They invent imaginary "combat experience" and want to pass off the scars from drunken accidents as wounds taken in the service of others, and they don't even UNDERSTAND that the effectiveness and lethality they fetishize is the result of the discipline and self-abnegation and dedication and sheer drudgery they won't themselves undergo. They are to military service as the Renaissance Faire is to medieval life... if the RenFaire cosplayers tried to force everyone else to treat their pretend kings as real monarchs. Every strutting, posing fool who wants to play soldier in order to scam beers and get laid, trading on the idiot fetishization of violence like it was some sort of pheromone cologne, betrays his own falsity by the way they fail to be revolted by that "combat groupie" fascination. They understand nothing about freedom other than "some guy like me didn't get something he wanted, or got something he didn't want, so TYRANNY, and I'm gonna shoot somebody for freedom!" and base their ideology on a cartoon caricature of American history, false in every line, which reduces absolutely everything that is really worthwhile about the American experiment into a single moment of tantrum, as though the outbreak of violence separating us from the British monarchy is the only "American" moment in American history and only their beloved "three percent" count as the American people.

    But there is no need to rant further, as you've nailed the issue with such cogency. Henceforth I may just link to here rather than even engage with anyone on the topic, and if so, I'll send to Stonekettle instead of Bernie Sanders the lunch money I save up this week :)

    My thanks,
    Judith

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  86. I'm interested to know why you make no mention of their religious beliefs which they have mentioned many times.

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  87. There are many facts here that are quite true. But it's also true that those same militiamen who feared to face the Redcoats in 1777 did much better in 1780 and 1781. The difference? Guys like Barron Von Stubben (who wasn't a baron and wasn't named Von Stubben) who trained farmers to go toe to toe with some of the best infantry in the world. And officers who learned the craft of war in the hardest school there is: the school of hard knocks. Oh, and a leavening of French Regulars.

    How would the author explain the Battle of Saratoga? As the old song goes:

    Old Burgoyne in the wilderness
    Got his army in an awful mess.
    He riled up the farmers with his British and his Huns
    And they captured 10,000 of the son of a guns

    And then there’s Gen. Dan Morgan who thrashed a bunch of Redcoat Regulars at Cowpens.

    Last, and far from least, the ragtag militia of 1777 matured and turned the world upside down at Yorktown.

    Go through any American war and you’ll find that militia could be wildly inept and/or cowardly or display imagination and gallantry that stunned Regulars. The story is a lot more complicated than the writer would have us believe. This failure is either ignorance on the part of the writer or a decision to ignore history.

    Militia was relied upon in the Constitution, and the Second Amendment was there to ensure militia was available, for two reasons. First, the Founding Fathers did not trust a standing, regular army. Their experience with British Regulars, who were enforcers of the King's decrees, was one of being the victims of a tyrannical force. Second, they didn't want to spend the money necessary to support such a force (witness the Constitution's limit of two years on a military expenditure; this limit did not apply to naval expenditures).

    Prior to the Cold War the U.S. had NEVER kept a large, standing army. Every American war prior to WWII was fought mainly by militia. Even the massive WWII buildup was begun by a Federalization of National Guard in the summer of 1941 (and this mirrored the beginning of the buildup of the Army in 1917).

    President Eisenhower, in his farewell address, warned against the "military-industrial complex," which is what standing armies had evolved into, prior to leaving office as President. And he was a 5 Star Regular Officer.

    The writer also grossly ignores the evolution of a major change to warfare since WWII, and that's the guerrilla. The militia of the Revolutionary War produced Francis Marion. In the he Civil War it produced honorable men such as John Mosby and cold blooded killers like William Quantrill and "Bloody Bill" Anderson. Then there's Ho Chi Min. And a long string out of the Middle East. These "militias" gave regular forces a great deal of trouble. Why does the writer ignore this obvious evolution?

    Finally, the assertion that the Founding Fathers never intended that any force be permitted that could, potentially, inhibit government action (legal or illegal) ignores the entire philosophical underpinning of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Our Republic was born out of resistance to a lawful sovereign. That says a whole lot about what they thought.

    Of course if the writer is not interested in accuracy but only a political statement then ignoring things that offend their view is completely understandable. And renders the piece no more than partisan propaganda.

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    1. You didn't actually read what I wrote, did you?

      but only a political statement then ignoring things that offend their view is completely understandable, right back attcha.

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    2. Huh? Sarah.....is that you?

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    3. Nope, it's some nonny who wants to be mocked in front of 30,000 people.

      Delete
  88. Jim—
    I did enjoy your excoriation of the low grade morons who have a fuzzy, drunken delusion that their ignorant ideal of America is the only valid approach to government. However, you took a small misstep in referencing the Whiskey Rebellion. It was not as simple as portrayed in most of the history books. And I’m not nit picking here, this leads to a fundamental concern.
    Hamilton lobbied for the excise tax with vague arguments that it would help pay off the Federal debt and reduce the loss of national productivity resulting from alcohol consumption. The problem was that the tax was anti-progressive: small whiskey producers were disproportionately taxed in comparison with large producers. The consequence was that many farmers went bankrupt, since for most of them whiskey provided the only source of revenue that kept them in the black. Many of them ended up working in northern factories run by wealthy friends of Hamilton.
    And this is the problem. As much as I prefer to live in this country (and I’ve lived overseas, believe me, it’s much better here) the reality is that the construction of the United States was always intended to be based on economic feudalism. Wealthy oligarchs dominated early politics and they dominate today. This in no way excuses the extremism of whack jobs like Posse Comitatus, Sovereign Citizens, or Oath Keepers, but we need to keep in mind that a major trend in this country is toward economic feudalism, and the exponentially increasing wealth disparity provides strong evidence. Here is an excerpt from a biography of Hamilton discussing the whiskey rebellion.
    “Hamilton did not account it an evil that one of the effects of the excise was to squeeze the small distillers out of business and to concentrate the industry in a few larger units. In his opinion, the industry suffered from too much dispersion of labor and capital, stemming from the fact that it was carried on in households rather than in factories. The small operator who, aided by wife and children, operated his still on a part-time basis offended Hamilton’s organizational sense and made the collection of the excise more difficult. For these reasons, he would not have been sorry to see the small distillers driven to the wall – the place, indeed, where they were being pushed.” (John C. Miller, Alexander Hamilton: Portrait in Paradox)

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  89. Weirdly, I stopped being tolerant of them when they started messing with the fencing. They don't respect The Land, and this member of an old farming family cannot cotton to that.

    But thank you for dispelling this myth that has haunted my upbringing. You're terrific as always.

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  90. *whispers* Typo correction - "We love to believe bunch of..." to "We love to believe a bunch of..." :-)

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    1. Wow, I can't believe nobody caught that until now. You guys are slackin'

      Thanks! Fixed.

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  91. Stunning piece, Jim. Perhaps your best ever. That bar you keep raising is getting pretty damn high. :-)

    Thank you!

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  92. There's actually some science behind these people's inability to understand how wrong, or how ignorant they are:

    https://bretcontreras.com/ignorant-people-arent-aware-ignorance/

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  93. Thank you, Jim. It all needed saying, and could not have been better said. Superb essay!

    That Other Jean

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  94. Thanks Jim for all you do.
    These Ass Hat, Richard Cranium, Rexal Rangers down in Malheur survive due only in fact of the Autonomic Nervous System, otherwise known as;
    Eat, Sleep, Shit and Reproduce.
    Coastal Alaskan's refer to this as the Crab Brain. In this case, that is a serious insult to our Arthropoda friends other than the Synonym - Cancer magister (Dana, 1852).

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  95. It's nice to see someone speak about civilization. It's a concept that is unfortunately rarely discussed today. It's taken as a given, like air. Few realize how much work is required to create and maintain a civilization.

    Myself I've been using the terms 'democrat', 'aristocrat' and 'barbarian' as labels to quantify individual's politics. 'Democrat' and 'aristocrat' are from Jefferson and I'm sure you're familiar with Jefferson's definitions of those terms.

    I took the term 'barbarian' from the speculative fiction writer H. Beam Piper. He defined 'barbarian' as someone 'who doesn't understand civilization and wouldn't like it if they did.'

    I've regarded the 'sovereign citizens', libertarians and other such nutbars as barbarians for a long time now.

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  96. Jim, thank you for your sane words. I just wish more would listen.

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  97. What he doesn't take into account is if there is ever truly a need for a militia, how many military personnel would kill there own people. Don't forget they all take an oath. And if I had to guess any action by our government that would justify a militia would piss them off far more than the average citizens. They are the one's who put it all on the line to protect our freedom. I'm guessing many current military and veteran's would be on the militias side.

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    1. Oh, right. I didn't take that into account. And really, what would I know about the military, right?

      Well, anyway, glad to see you're paying attention.

      Delete
    2. And I'm sure that those deserters will be taking their Bradleys, their Abrams, their artillery and all the logistics required to keep them running when they go.

      Otherwise, in the words of Jim Jefferies, they're bringing guns to a drone fight.

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    3. "I'm guessing many current military and veteran's would be on the militias side."

      I wouldn't count on that. These same militia yahoos took pot shots at professional soldiers during a military training exercise in Texas (Google it)... or have we forgotten the militia-inspired Jade Helm conspiracy theories already?

      A reminder: http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/05/02/403865824/texas-governor-deploys-state-guard-to-stave-off-obama-takeover

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  98. Thank you for the well written and thoughtful essay. I shared it to my wall and sent the link via email to a few people who may benefit, or I'm throwing pearls to swine. Can't give up.

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    1. You're obviously a difference Unknown from the Unknown who posted previously. I don't think he's sharing this essay.

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  99. Thank you for finally weighing in Jim. Spot on. Although I agree with all you say about these gun-addled morons, there is another far reaching cause for concern. These occupiers and their fellow travelers are "useful idiots" openly acting out their anti-government, "sovereign citizen" fever dreams with the full support of those corporate and political players who desire to obtain ownership and free access of federal lands for unregulated extraction of resources. That is, to privatize, sell off and "wisely use" what is currently public property.

    When the Bundy band finally leaves the area (arrested or exhausted), the more "reasonable" western state politicians will continue to chip away at the US gov't ownership and regulation of these resources in order to serve their corporate masters. This occupation and declaration of a sovereign constitutional utopia is just the "in your face" public waving of a 2d amendment and states rights red flag. Lots of press and a moderate amount of hand wringing results, but the real damage is being done with repeated attempts at loosening and releasing federal control of public property for the sole benefit and profit of corporate masters.

    This annoying demonstration in OR is wrapped in the mantle of FREEDOM, oddball gun rights, some god's dominion over the Earth, and home schooled hatred of the "other" that causes most of us to scratch our heads and mostly ignore these blowhards. But, behind the scenes in western state capitals and DC the real battle is being fought to surrender our public natural and national resources to private and corporate exploitation. Funny how the antics of all these citizen "militias" always support that goal.

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  100. All else accepted as truth the end of the piece is the most poignant: we need citizens to stand up for our civilization.

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  101. Well said! It chaps my ass that these wusses call themselves patriots, and that the media promotes the title of "militia" instead of domestic terrorists, militants or insurrectionists. Even more, that law enforcement lets them get away with it, perpetuating their confidence that they can go it all over again and not be held accountable. These traitors will keep this up unless they are stopped and shown that they must obey the law.

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  102. This would be a great piece spoken, NPR. Have you approached them, or they you? Just an idea, your insight is a gift. Thank you.

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  103. Thank you for this excellent summary! I've bookmarked it, and plan to link to it wherever appropriate.

    Amazingly, there are a few nits left to pick, grammatically speaking. To wit:

    "...certainly, militia might get lucky..."

    Tricky one there, because "militia" seems inherently plural. Its use as a singular though, requires an article:

    "...certainly, a militia might get lucky..."


    "...for damned sure..."
    Should be:
    "...for damn sure..."


    "well-trained" should be hyphenated.

    "...they believe in their freedom not yours." wants a comma after "freedom."

    While "acknowledgement," and "benefited" are correct in British English, Americans spell them "acknowledgment" and "benefitted."

    That's all I could find.

    Thanks again!

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  104. Jim, you got to stop ranting about conservatives wanting to kill liberals, you’re scaring the children!

    In defense of the militia, they were never going to be as effective as the standing army I grant you that; their performance was certainly a mixed bag but as Cornwallis wrote after his defeat,
    “I will not say much in praise of the Militia of the Southern Colonies, but the list of British officers and Soldiers killed or wounded by them since last June, proves but too fatally that they are not wholly contemptible.”

    In defense of concerned citizens everywhere, you should look more objectively at those citizens that have legitimate fears about the direction of the country whether they are squatting in an Oregon park, squatting on Wall Street, or burning down their own neighborhoods. Some of them justify their actions on nationalism, socialism, or racism but they are all fruit of the same rotting tree.

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    1. I'll stop ranting about conservatives wanting to kill liberals when conservatives stop pointing their guns at the rest of us and threatening to kill liberals. You be sure to let me know when that happens, okay?

      Regarding the colonial militia, you didn't actually read what I wrote. Try again, try harder.

      Before you start telling me what to think and what to write, go read what I wrote. Read what I wrote about Occupy Wall Street and those who burn down their own neighborhoods. Go on, I'll wait.

      Finally, if you're letting your children read my blog, that's entirely on you.

      Delete
  105. "And that too is an American tradition, this ongoing lunatic tolerance for sedition in our own midst." This, exactly.

    Excellent all around, as always. One thing, though - I think the date of your opening quote is off. A cursory Google search says that Gouverneur Morris penned that letter to Moss Kent in January 1815, not in 1832. Morris died in 1816.

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    1. You're right. I have no idea where I got 1832. I was quoting directly from the national archives, which clearly dates the quote as 1815. Beat's me. Thanks for the catch // Jim

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  106. I wish I had your way with words, Jim. This post is brilliant. Thank you.

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  107. Thank you, kind sir, for this. When you're in it (I live halfway between Burns and the Refuge), as the community is being invaded by crazies, it can feel like the world has gone mad; meanwhile, those of us who work in county, state, and federal positions have been asked to keep a low profile, which makes us feel impotent against a looming threat. It feels too much like "the worst of times." But I have shared and shared and shared the link to this page; it makes me feel that I am at least spreading your warning.

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  108. I worry that the lack of repercussions is emboldening these swaggering fools. Malheur wouldn't have happened if the Bundy Ranch insurrectionists had been mowed down. And now Malheur has gone on close to a month and not only do they still have electricity and water, but they are free to come and go, driving into town for beer and fried pork rinds.

    It's only a matter of time before armed yahoos act out their libertarian fantasies by taking entire towns. The longer this goes on without a pivotal response by law enforcement the harder it will be to stop it without killing a lot of innocent people

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  109. Very well said sir.

    This reminds me of when the white supremacists from all over the nation decided to make the Pacific Northwest the seat of white power. They invaded and setup shop in my home state of Idaho. This article you have written deftly describes those hooligans as well. They were always in trouble and looking for confrontation. Very disturbing for the locals who had been there for generations.
    Not representative of the politics of the locals either... they brought hatred and lawless ways with them. I remember sitting at the Grocery watching dozens of police cars streaming out to the neo-nazi compound because another shooting had taken place.
    They had no gainful employment. The ragtag band of haters and misfits were heavily involved in drugs and other crimes to sustain themselves.

    Rule of the gun has no place in a nation where rule of law and the ballot box exist.

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  110. Jim,

    If "There are few things professional soldiers despise more than some fake wannabe warrior" than why do so many current and former military support / vote for these same fakes, phonies, and poseurs?

    Peace
    Chris in S. Jersey

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  111. To those of us who blog, Jim Wright is a god. But he's a god I'd love to have a drink with. As usual, you hit the finger on the nail with this one, Jim. Thanks!

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  112. Did you forget about the Battle of New Orleans in January 18115? I believe that it was militia from Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisiana under the command of Andrew Jackson, that successfully stood against and then defeated an experienced Army of British regulars.

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    1. Again, you didn't actually read what I wrote, did you?

      Delete
    2. Andrew Jackson's army of 4732 men at the Battle of New Orleans was anchored by 968 U.S. Army regulars, 58 U.S. Marines, 106 seaman of the US Naval battalion, and the remainder were militia. The militia almost lost the battle for Jackson when the militia on the left of Line Jackson broke and ran, but luckily the British guns ran out of ammunition and the cautious British commander pulled back to wait for reinforcements and more ammunition. In general Andrew Jackson had no end of trouble with militia during the course of both the Creek War and the New Orleans campaign. At one point both his cavalry and most of his militia had deserted, leaving him with only a few hundred soldiers until a detachment of regular Army arrived and could be used to buttress the sadly insubordinate and cowardly militia.

      In short, calling the Battle of New Orleans a victor for militia is, at best, a mixed message. The British made numerous mis-steps such as failing to bring ladders with them to climb Jackson's earthworks, and the regulars were the ones who gave sufficient backbone to the militia to keep them in those earthworks rather than running for the hills. If it had been militia alone at New Orleans, the results would have been similar to the Battle of Bladensburg that ended up with the White House being burned -- i.e., the militia throwing down their guns, stripping off their uniforms, and running for home the moment they saw all those pointy bayonets coming their way.

      Delete
  113. I thought I'd look at the source of the mandatory sentencing law which ultimately is what sent the Hammonds back to jail. I smelled it before I read it:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiterrorism_and_Effective_Death_Penalty_Act_of_1996

    Of course it's approaching cruel to send someone back to jail after they got a short sentence, but my pity for arsonists is not very great. I suppose it all boils down to a respect for rule of law. As the lesser of many evils, I'll take it!

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  114. I'm afraid that last link might be opaque. In the law I referenced, the mandatory sentences for the arson crimes were put in place. For someone saying it better than me, try this:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/oregon-mandatory-minimums/422433/

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  115. I believe that deep down in their heart of hearts, these people aren't 'Constitutionalists', rather they are 'Bill of Right-ists'. There is a distinct difference psychologically in their belief systems. 'Constitutionalists', historically, are the framers, believers in and supporters of the Constitution. 'Bill of Right-ists', historically, are those who are supporters of the Bill of Rights, which was always intended to 'protect' citizens FROM the government. Those in the GOP who state they are 'Constitutionalists' as well as displaying rabid support for the Second Amendment are lying to you. At a core level, it simply isn't possible to wish to 'protect yourself from the government' if you believe in 'We the People'.

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