Besides being wrong, the argument that the Constitution is “dead” is stultifying and defeatist. Stultifying, because it diverts the energies of the most active patriots into a wholly unproductive exercise—the only effective resistance to unconstitutional “government” being, not private action, but the unflagging defense of constitutional government by the people themselves. Defeatist, because, by eschewing constitutional means to oppose unconstitutional “government,” it concedes that some form of unconstitutional “government” will prevail, no matter who “wins” in the end.
In addition, the argument that the Constitution is “dead” encourages and further empowers America’s oppressors. On what legal basis can these villains be opposed, except that their conduct is unconstitutional? How will they be deterred from even worse wrongdoing in the future, if the Constitution provides no punishment today for the wicked deeds they have already committed? And without deterrence, what new horrors will they perpetrate tomorrow under color of some “emergency powers” they invent to rationalize their crimes?
Finally, by encouraging and empowering the Forces of Darkness in their misrule, the argument that the Constitution is “dead” accelerates the approach of a major economic and political crisis. This may be what some of the advocates of private “militias” imagine will be useful, on the theory that, when a massive crisis does strike, common Americans will finally wake up to what has happened and why. Maybe that will be the general reaction. But what good will it do for Americans to wake up, if at the same time they find themselves utterly unprepared to take effective action? All they will know is that they have lost, and that they can do nothing about it!
2. Proposals for private “militia” of this first type are less than helpful, not only because they are inherently ineffective, but also because, when their ineffectiveness becomes apparent, it may goad frustrated people into joining other types of private “militias” which are positively dangerous. This second form of misdirection also suffers from the inescapable defect that private “militias” of any variety can assert no color of legal authority for their specifically “militia”-related activities. However, unlike proposals which at least have the merit that the private “militias” they advocate are not inherently unlawful organizations, the second approach argues for private “militias” the very purpose of which is to prepare their members to engage in patently illegal activities.
These private “militias” are not to be strictly defensive organizations. Quite the contrary, they are intended to be offensive and aggressive. The scheme posits “militia” units the members of which agree—perhaps even bind themselves by oaths—to oppose by any effective means those people whom they condemn as “traitors.” Peacefully, if possible; but violently, if they deem it necessary. They will organize, arm, and train themselves as guerrilleros, more or less openly, in apparent compliance with local laws in the States that allow such private paramilitary activities for peaceful purposes. But, when a particular day for action arrives, some members of these “militia” units, on their own initiatives, will take violent action against perceived “traitors.” The rest of the units will do nothing, although they will be aware of the plan for some of them to act. Thus, on one day some of these “militiamen” may conduct an operation against one target, on another day others of them may strike another target, and so on.
These operations will be random, adventitious, decentralized, and uncoordinated—except that they will all radiate from the various “militia” units. The individuals carrying them out will be subject to no single, hierarchical chain of command or structure of leadership. Rather, they will answer only to themselves—except that they will imagine that their authority somehow derives from the “militia” units of which they are members; and in fact they will be at least tacitly supported by the others in those units. And inasmuch as this proposal presumes that “the government” cannot be actually overthrown by such minuscule “hit-and-run” operations (because the plan makes no provision for coalescing the “militia” units into suitably large and properly directed forces), these activities will continue to harass and punish “the government” and its supporters endlessly, in a “perpetual revolution.”
Obviously, under a scheme of this type, the private “militias” will function—and, more importantly, will be understood and intended by all their members to function—as locations and mechanisms to recruit, organize, indoctrinate, train, and deploy clandestine “cells” or (perhaps more descriptively) “wolf-packs” of self-authorized, self-activated, self-directed outlaws, who will form up, strike, then disperse and dissolve into their component individuals, perhaps never having the same composition in any two instances.
Even if such operations could ever prove legitimate in a guerrilla conflict in some gloomy future scenario drawn from Orwell’s 1984, they are completely out of place for reasserting constitutional self-government in this country here and now. Indeed, such proposals constitute a perfect formula for discrediting all “militias” as criminal conspiracies by designing some of them actually to operate as criminal conspiracies.
If an individual joins a group, for the purpose of training all the members of the group, and is aware that some members of the group, using their training, will engage in acts of illegal violence, and that to encourage, prepare for, and perpetrate such acts is the ultimate purpose of the group—then that individual as well as every other member of the group will be equally culpable for each and every one of the illegal acts committed by any member of the group. In such a group, therefore, every member will be held hostage: (i) to the acts of the most irresponsible, demented, or otherwise dangerous individual in the group; and (ii) to enticement, entrapment, and other schemes of agents provocateurs from rogue governmental agencies and malicious private organizations that ensnare any member of the group. For example, if but one member of such a private “militia” (on his own or through entrapment) converted a semi-automatic firearm into an unregistered machine gun or submachine gun; obtained grenades or similar munitions; or manufactured bombs, Molotov cocktails, or other explosives or incendiaries as the preliminary step to some act of violence directed (say) against a public official—then the whole group could be charged as a criminal conspiracy (such as some variety of criminal syndicalism), or even as a “terrorist” organization.
That being so, forming private “militias” of this sort would obviously be a most efficacious way to identify, inculpate, and eventually incarcerate patriots whose enthusiasm for freedom exceeded their prudence and respect for law. This is so obvious that no responsible American should ever consider participating in such an organization. For, not only would any individual who joined such a group transform himself into an outlaw, but also his participation would help to blacken the militia movement and discredit the militia idea, to alienate the rest of the citizenry, and to rationalize police-state suppression of every kind of private concerted activity involving firearms.
A scheme such as that explained above can be the product only of people who are either breathtakingly irresponsible and ignorant individuals—or transparent agents provocateurs. The latter possibility is not unlikely, because the whole business exhibits the familiar characteristics of rogue intelligence-agency “black operations”: namely,
*urging Americans to engage in active resistance against “traitors” in “the government”;
*organizing the most highly motivated patriots into discreet groups subject to infiltration, surveillance, and incitement;
*inveigling them into violent illegal activity; then
*imposing overwhelming force to strike them down as “outlaws”; and thereafter
*using their example to demonize and destroy every other manifestation of even lawful opposition to usurpation and tyranny.
Even if the people who advocate schemes for such werewolfish private “militias” are not agents provocateurs—even if somehow they are acting in good faith, albeit with atrocious judgment—any responsible American must categorically oppose what they propose. As far as I am concerned, no one who advances such an idea (or sympathizes with it, for that matter) is qualified, or should be allowed, under any circumstances, to join one of the Citizens’ Homeland Security Associations that I have advocated in my book Constitutional “Homeland Security,” Volume One, The Nation in Arms.
© 2007 Edwin Vieira, Jr. – All Rights Reserved
Edwin Vieira, Jr., holds four degrees from Harvard: A.B. (Harvard College), A.M. and Ph.D. (Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), and J.D. (Harvard Law School).
For more than thirty years he has practiced law, with emphasis on constitutional issues. In the Supreme Court of the United States he successfully argued or briefed the cases leading to the landmark decisions Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, and Communications Workers of America v. Beck, which established constitutional and statutory limitations on the uses to which labor unions, in both the private and the public sectors, may apply fees extracted from nonunion workers as a condition of their employment.
He has written numerous monographs and articles in scholarly journals, and lectured throughout the county. His most recent work on money and banking is the two-volume Pieces of Eight: The Monetary Powers and Disabilities of the United States Constitution (2002), the most comprehensive study in existence of American monetary law and history viewed from a constitutional perspective. www.piecesofeight.us
He is also the co-author (under a nom de plume) of the political novel CRA$HMAKER: A Federal Affaire (2000), a not-so-fictional story of an engineered crash of the Federal Reserve System, and the political upheaval it causes. www.crashmaker.com
His latest book is: “How To Dethrone the Imperial Judiciary” … and Constitutional “Homeland Security,” Volume One, The Nation in Arms…
He can be reached at:
13877 Napa Drive
Manassas, Virginia 20112.