"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except
for a few public officials."
|"The militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people
themselves, ... all men capable of bearing arms;..."
— "Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic", 1788 (either Richard Henry Lee or Melancton Smith).
|"Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then,
that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American ... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People."
— Tench Coxe, 1788.
|"How we burned in the prison camps later thinking: What would
things have been like if every police operative, when he went out at night to
make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive? If during
periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling
with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the
staircase, but had understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in
the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers,
pokers, or whatever was at hand? The organs would very quickly have suffered a
shortage of officers and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed
machine would have ground to a halt."
— Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize winner and author of The Gulag Archipelago, who spent 11 years in Soviet concentration camps.
|If we are ready to violate the Constitution, will the people
submit to our unauthorized acts? Sir, they ought not to submit; they would
deserve the chains that our measures are forging for them, if they did not
— Edward Livingston
|Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
— Mao Zedong, Nov. 6, 1938, Selected Works, Vol. 2
The word "militia" is a Latin abstract noun, meaning "military service", not an "armed group" (with the connotation of plurality), and that is the way the Latin-literate Founders used it. The collective term, meaning "army" or "soldiery" was "volgus militum". Since for the Romans "military service" included law enforcement and disaster response, it might be more meaningfully translated today as "defense service", associated with a "defense duty", which attaches to individuals as much as to groups of them, organized or otherwise.
When we are alone, we are all militia units of one. When together with others in a situation requiring a defensive response, we have the duty to act together in concert to meet the challenge. Those two component duties, of individuals to defend the community, and to act together in concert with others present, when combined with a third component duty to prepare to do one's duty and not just wait until the danger is clear and present, comprises the militia duty.
|Real courage is found, not in the willingness to risk death, but in the willingness to stand, alone if necessary, against the ignorant and disapproving herd. — Jon Roland, 1976|
To understand the above motto is to understand the foundation of society and legitimate government and law.
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|Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. — John F. Kennedy|
|It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government. — Thomas Paine|
|Μολὼν λαβέ (Molon labe), Come and get them! — Reply of the Spartan General-King Leonidas to Xerxes, the Persian Emperor, who came with hundreds of thousands of troops to conquer Greece, and demanded that Leonidas and his 300 men lay down their arms. Thermopylae, 480 BC.|
|Today, there lies a plaque dedicated to these heroes, composed by the poet Simonides of Ceos (c. 556-468 BC), at the site that reads:
Ὦ ξεῖν', ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε
κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.
(Original is in all caps, no diacritical marks.)
Ō ksein', angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti tēide
keimetha tois keinōn rhēmasi peithomenoi.
"Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
that here, obedient to their laws, we lie."
|“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded sense of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse... A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.” — John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), “The Contest In America,” Fraser's Magazine, February 1862|
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Maintained: Jon Roland of the Constitution Society
Original date: 1996/01/06 —
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