Revitalization of the State Militias: Review of Edwin Vieira's 'The Sword and Sovereignty'
On April 19, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord on the outskirts of Boston ignited the conflict that led to the most momentous political event of man's history – the Declaration of Independence and the birth of America. In the early morning hours of that day, a command of British troops was dispatched from Boston to search out and confiscate stores of militia weapons and supplies at Concord. On the way they confronted a small and unimposing band of armed American militia at Lexington. The British Major John Pitcairn shouted out, "Ye villains, ye Rebels, disperse; damn you, disperse! Lay down your arms!"
The American militia were under the command of Captain John Parker; and their orders were to remain non-antagonistic to the British. They were outnumbered by almost ten to one. So why didn't they lay down their arms when ordered to do so? "Because," says constitutional scholar Edwin Vieira, "free men with a duty to keep and bear arms never willingly lay down their arms. And at Lexington, none of them did." The heroic militia Captain John Parker warned his men, "If they mean to have a war let it begin here." And begin it did.
Importance of the State Militias
With his newest book, The Sword and Sovereignty, Edwin Vieira, Jr., has given us a magisterial work that meticulously documents the history of the early American militias and why similar units must be revitalized today if we are to adequately confront our disintegration as a society and restore the republic that the Founders gave us. It is a book that will profoundly shock 98 percent of Americans. It is so overpowering in its legal logic and constitutional veracity that the intellectuality of Cicero and Plutarch comes to mind as one reads the prose. It is not a book that can be read lightly; it demands a tolerance for legal thought and abstract conceptualization. But for those "men of the mind" who understand the importance of ideas in the unfolding of history, the effort will be most rewarding. You will be shown an entirely new way of seeing things regarding guns, militia, the Second Amendment, homeland security, how they intertwine and how they have been grossly misrepresented by quisling, pseudo-experts of the establishment.
For the first 125 years of our history, the "Militia of the several States" was a highly honored institution that played a vital role in preserving the concept of federalism upon which our system of freedom depends. This ended with the Militia Act of 1903, which shifted the "Militia of the several States" into National Guard units under the auspices of the national military. State and local control was eliminated.
In addition, as Vieira tells us, over the past century decades "of disuse, misuse, and abuse have so thoroughly muddled the meaning of 'Militia' in contemporary American political discourse that the word is hardly ever encountered except as invective, usually well-freighted with vituperative adjectives such as 'extremist' and 'violent', broadcast by the enemies of constitutional government (and their dupes and other 'useful idiots') for the purpose of intimidating into silence the people they intend to oppress as soon as the vast majority of Americans has been thoroughly disarmed through one form of 'gun control' or another."
Anybody today with a modicum of brains can see that our nation is being transformed into a "first-class police state." Homeland Security and Washington's outrageous "Patriot Acts" are Alice in Wonderland institutions that have taken us a giant step down the path to Orwell's nightmare. Our military-industrial complex grows exponentially. The Federal Government has become a Godzilla of ugliness and menace. Our congressmen are Machiavellian schemers wallowing in sophistic mazes and treason to truth.
Vieira's answer to this pernicious evolution is startling. As with all big thinkers in history, he asks us (like Steve Jobs did to his comrades at Apple) to "Think Different!" He maintains that America cannot be saved unless she revitalizes her original concept of the "Militia of the several States." The Sword and Sovereignty explains – in 1,945 pages of text and 305 pages of appendixes, tables, and notes – why this must be done and how to constitutionally do it. Magisterial scholarship is putting it mildly.
History and Restoration of the Militias
The book explores the legal history of the pre-constitutional Militia statutes of colonial times to demonstrate that armed and well-regulated Militias formed on the state level are what the Founders intended for the provision of "homeland security." The monstrosity of today's centralized Homeland Security Department in Washington is not needed; a revival of the "Militia of the several States" and unequivocal acknowledgement of the people's right to bear arms will give us everything we require. This will decentralize "security" in the country and help greatly to check the ominous peril of the military-industrial complex.
Many Americans will perceive this as a quixotic attempt to turn back the clock and revive a hopeless anachronism that prevailed in the era of flintlock muskets and tri-cornered caps. Not so. Vieira demonstrates his points legally with the same overpowering logic that Ludwig von Mises puts forth economically in Human Action. Mises was relentless in rational destructions of the socialists' sinister fallacies. So too is Vieira in his dismantling of the arguments of today's collectivist control freaks.
After he traces the legal history of pre-constitutional Militia and gun statutes, he then lays out seventeen fundamental principles (in seventeen chapters) to define how the constitutional structure and service of a revitalized "Militia of the several States" would be validated. When one is done reading these seventeen chapters, he sees clearly that a revitalization of the state Militias is constitutionally legitimate and workable in the modern day. Whether or not they can be revived is, of course, an open question. There is huge opposition in all establishment schools, bureaucracies, and courts to such a radical restructuring of society's power relationships. But Vieira demonstrates in compelling fashion why and how it can be done if Americans still have the will.
One of the most profound parts of the book is its explanation in Chapter One of the present day fallacy of "judicial supremacy," showing how the Supreme Court is not the ultimate judge of "what the law is." Congress stands above the Court and may stipulate how the Judges are to interpret the laws. But most importantly, the People stand above Congress, for they are the creators of Congress via the Constitution. WE THE PEOPLE rule in America, not congressional despots and judicial oligarchs.
As the famous eighteenth century jurist, Sir William Blackstone, stated in Commentaries on the Laws of England, "whenever a question arises between the society at large and any magistrate vested with powers originally delegated by that society, it must be decided by the voice of the society itself: there is not upon earth any other tribunal to resort to."
Thus the salvation of America must come with reassertion of the citizens' fundamental right to decide the ultimate issues of their lives. Through political techniques such as nullification on the part of juries and state governments the overweening excesses of today's Federal Government and its bureaucratic thugs can be brought to heel.
It is important to understand that Vieira is NOT proposing "private" Militias, the likes of which we have seen in recent years from racial supremacy groups and neo-Nazi extremists. What Vieira is proposing is the revitalization of governmentally created and legitimized Militia units among the states that our Constitution calls irrevocably for. These will be legislated and regulated by the state governments. They will be official government bodies in all the towns and cities of the land, not rogue factions that operate from wilderness hideouts. The leftist establishment media will, no doubt, attempt to portray Vieira's plan as the promotion of wilderness wackos reveling in burning crosses and white sheets; but hopefully learned Americans will recognize such smear tactics as the inexcusable liberal vacuity that it is.
Benefits of Militia Restoration
There are so many benefits to such a revitalization. As Vieira writes, "Today, at every level of the federal system, America is woefully unprepared to deal effectively with hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters; with major industrial accidents, such as leakages from offshore oil-drilling rigs or meltdowns of nuclear power plants; with epidemics and pandemics; with crop failures and possibly attendant famines; with invasions through the Volkerwanderung of illegal immigration; with economic breakdowns, and in particular a collapse of this country's monetary and banking systems; and with the myriad threats posed by real terrorism. '[W]ell regulated Militia', however, not only could deal with the consequences of such events, but also could forefend many of them."
In addition, the Militia can be used to investigate the constitutionality of the laws that they execute, they can supervise honest elections, they can help to repel a foreign power invasion, they can help local police, they can be very instrumental in defeating the machinations of globalism, etc.
Another crucial point to grasp is that the revitalized Militia will not be in any way a part of the regular military, nor will they be under the thumb of Congress. This is the way the Constitution established them in the beginning, and this is the way they must be revived. They will be institutions of unity and defense at the state government level. Their revival will begin the vital process of restoring "federalism."
Owning Guns Not Enough
Vieira explains that the individual right to bear arms as a defense against tyranny will not suffice in and of itself. "For, confronted by usurpers and tyrants deploying 'standing armies' and para-militarized police forces, or by hordes of foreign invaders, armed individuals in isolation or in small groups would likely prove feckless."
Thus we need the establishment of collective, coordinated state Militias, which is why the Second Amendment says, "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."
Revitalized Militias will build a protective wall between ourselves and all tyrants. "Because 'the Militia of the several States' are State governmental institutions," says Vieira, "no contemporary form of 'gun control' can be applied to them or their members by either Congress or the States' legislatures. Rather, it is the duty of Congress and the States' legislatures to see that all members of the Militia are properly armed, not to any degree disarmed." Thus the gun controllers will be stopped dead in their tracks.
The pre-constitutional colonial and state statutes during the 150 years leading up to 1787, demonstrate irrefutably that Militias organized on the state and local levels were held by the patriots of the era to be vital for the defense of freedom and order in the republic. The modern day is no different; in fact, such institutions are even more vital. Upon this right of individual and local self-defense, there can be no compromise.
Most libertarians and conservatives are aware of the recent testimony in front of Congress by Suzanna Hupp regarding our right to bear arms. She was one of the victims of the tragic Luby's massacre in Killeen, Texas in 1991 and lost both her parents to the gun-toting madman. She testified to our Washington solons that if she had been allowed to carry the gun she owned in her purse, she would have been able to kill the madman and would have saved numerous lives including her parents.
Then she topped off her heroic testimony with these searing words as she stared Senator Charles Schumer and his imperious cronies right in the eyes: "I am sitting here getting more and more fed up with all of this talk about these pieces of machinery having no legitimate sporting purpose, no legitimate hunting purpose. People, that is not the point of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting....It is about our rights, all of our rights to be able to protect ourselves from all of you guys up there."
How to Bring About the Revitalization
The Militias of early America in both pre and post Constitution eras were basically compulsory institutions. The states mandated that all able-bodied men were subject to membership and duty. In other words the states had the right to impress citizens into the Militia. This, of course, will not be acceptable to the libertarian community of the modern day. So if the Militias are to be revived, they will have to be voluntarily joined as Independent Militia Companies formed by the state governments. And this is the procedure that Vieira advocates. Independent Militia Companies must spring up under the auspices of the state governments via volunteers.
Vieira goes into detail, however, explaining how the early American viewpoint was that membership in the Militias had to be compulsory, and that eventually they should be formed into such units as Americans are educated in this upcoming century toward their duties as well as their rights in maintaining a free republic. He makes a very passionate case for regaining the "all for one and one for all" spirit that animated early Americans' willingness to tolerate compulsory membership in their local Militias. Being a political libertarian, I would disagree on this point and rely permanently on voluntary units as the undergirding structure to revitalization. The Militias might not work as efficiently, and their memberships might not be spread as evenly among all citizens, but they will be a lot safer units of government under volunteer recruitment policies.
The Founders understood the power lusting nature of man and the necessity for citizens to be armed and organized at all times as protection from their rulers. Suzanna Hupp understands this. Edwin Vieira understands it. And now we as a people must come to realize it. Our right to bear arms has nothing to do with duck hunting. State Militias have nothing to do with wilderness wackos.
"The struggle that has been thrust upon Americans," writes Vieira, "is not one to preserve the uniquely American way of life, but to restore it." The plague of factions and collectivist usurpers has decimated the republic. "Today, the true America exists only as fleeting, dissipating shadows of her former self."
The Sword and Sovereignty's message will go a long way toward restoring that resplendent America we lost. It is a profoundly patriotic work of powerful impact that can direct our intelligentsia toward a rediscovery of our real roots. Any thinking man or woman today who fears for America's survival needs to tackle this book. It is available in CD format at Amazon.
Editor's note: The Daily Bell published an extensive interview with Edwin Vieira on Sunday, February 10th, available here, discussing key topics of his book, The Sword and Sovereignty.
Nelson Hultberg is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic (www.afr.org). His articles have appeared in such publications as the Dallas Morning News, The American Conservative, Insight, The Freeman, and Liberty, as well as on numerous Internet sites such as The Daily Bell, Financial Sense, and Safe Haven. He is also the author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values to be released in March of 2013. Email him at email@example.com.
Posted by James Jaeger on 02/16/13 09:39 PM
MOLON LABE, a James Jaeger Film, inspired by
"The Sword and Sovereignty" by Edwin Vieira, Jr.
Progress Report of 15 February 2013
Dear Concerned Citizen:
For those of you who haven't seen the new trailer -- complete with donor and producer credits as of 09 Feb 2013 -- it's up at http://youtu.be/YBshf2BL5Zc This trailer has a clip of Ron Paul, G. Edward Griffin, Stewart Rhodes and Pastor Chuck Baldwin's interviews.
We are going to interview Larry Pratt this Wednesday, 20 Feb, and then Pat Buchanan the first week of April. Yes, we are going to push the deadline up a little for Pat as, my feeling is, no documentary is complete without Pat's input. So it's a real honor to have him as one of the experts. The same goes for Larry Pratt, who has so expertly handled the likes of Piers Morgan and the insanity from the gun-control lobby.
As I stated earlier, Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA, has also been taking intense abuse from the gun-control lobby. Can you IMAGINE how this abuse would be stepped up were the NRA to acknowledge that gun ownership serves basically FIVE purposes, not just THREE?! The three everyone, including the NRA, talk about are: 1) target practice, 2) hunting, and 3) self-defense; but the other two -- deterrent against tyranny AND participation in the "Militia of the several States" -- are almost never mentioned. Why is this when the Founders mention the Militia in four (4) separate places in the U.S. Constitution? If they mention it but few others mention it, is this not be a serious red flag?
MOLON LABE - How the Second Amendment Guarantees America's Freedom, now in production, will address this red flag and discuss how an application of the Constitution can remedy most of the problems WE THE PEOPLE currently have with our government and nation's security.
This motion picture, which will feature many experts, is inspired by Edwin Vieira's new hit book, The Sword and Sovereignty, available at Amazon. If you haven't yet read the book, read the brilliant book report Nelson Hultberg recently wrote. The book report is posted at the Oath Keepers website.
MOLON LABE discusses many issues you have probably never heard from pundits in the mainstream media or even the NRA. Given the complete BLACKOUT on the Militia, the only organization that seems to be addressing it in context of the full Second Amendment is Oath Keepers. This is why, as the corporate media BLACKOUT FOR PROFIT continues, the membership of Oath Keepers continues to expand.
A new website has been created for MOLON LAB at Click to view link At this site you can read the script, listen to the narration, review the budget, see what experts are in the show and watch additional clips. The site will accommodate both normal users (who have the bandwidth to access Flash) AND people with slower connections or older computers. If in doubt, try the Flash site first. Give it at least 30 seconds to load, a wait-period you will only have the first time you access the site.
MOLON LABE will be our sixth film on the U.S. Constitution. FIAT EMPIRE, featuring Ron Paul, was the first and this went viral, won a Telly Award and hit #1 on the Internet three times. You can watch FIAT EMPIRE, and the other four films, as a free public service at Click to view link More than 15,000 people watch these movies every day, so word IS getting out.
But we need your help to complete MOLON LABE quickly. Time is of the essence. If the gun-control lobby gets a "law" passed to require universal background checks, it's only a short step to universal registration and universal confiscation. Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin and extreme statists in today's gun-control lobby know the drill well. So PLEASE disseminate this email. Put all or part of it up on your website and donate what you can by going to Click to view link Multiple donations can be accumulated to earn screencredits farther up the producer chain.
Thank you for all you have done and your attention to this important project,
Posted by Ol' Grey Ghost on 02/13/13 01:10 PM
"I don't mean to harp over Sundays feedback, but Dr. Vierra is right; the Constitution does not 'grant' you the right to bear arms. You already have it. The Constitution forbids gov to infringe on it."
Click to view link
Posted by dave jr on 02/12/13 07:52 PM
Thankyou Mr. Hultberg for this synopsis of Dr. Vierras work on this very important subject.
A couple of thing come to mind.
First, militias made up of citizens with firearms would be sitting ducks as regimented groups against the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). And today, even the winning strategy used in the Revolution, guerilla warfare, may no longer be effective. Small tactical hit and run groups against supply lines won't be able to keep up with airlifts. Communication and command posts may not even be located in the county. And the advantage of unfamiliar terrain won't nearly be a factor as it was against the British.
Second, "arms" are not defined in the Constitution to mean muskets or rifles. Can "arms" include artillery, anti-aircraft guns and missles? It seems in the context of State militias it would. But, modern warfare capability would be very expensive for States when the populus is already drained to support a MIC, which may not even make said weapons available to the States. Militias would make possible another civil war, We the People supporting both sides. Wouldn't it make as much sense to organize a stop in supporting the MIC?
There may be more effective ways of organizing, other than militias. Peacefull ways, but that is another topic.
Meanwhile, I'll stick to my belief in my natural right to defend myself. Not only does the US Government lack authority to confiscate the hardware I choose as a means of personal defense, the second amendment forbids it, as a precondition for centralized government authority to exist within these borders. I don't mean to harp over Sundays feedback, but Dr. Vierra is right; the Constitution does not 'grant' you the right to bear arms. You already have it. The Constitution forbids gov to infringe on it.
Posted by Justin on 02/12/13 07:41 PM
This is all well & good, but "the power lusting nature of man" requires only one facet for his aspirations to be as a god.
Money. Money extinguishes ALL debt, it is the most precious. Control money & nothing can stand in your path, you are as a god.
Why not highlight the fact that government control of money, so its "monstrosity", actually rests on a flimsy scam? Government credit is junk trading 'money good', alchemy, a credit bubble, a Ponzi scheme... .
You're all being scammed, & whether the government prints more money, or even shrinks the 'money supply', makes no difference. Junk is junk, worthless, regardless of its quantity.
"What we want hasn't changed for thousands of years... . we still want the purse that will always be filled with gold... . we want to be as gods."
Posted by notaguruandneverwas on 02/12/13 07:12 PM
What would prevent the Federal government from co-opting these militias the way they do local law enforcement now? Unless the fractional reserve banking and Federal income tax is removed, it would too easy for Federal groups to co-opt and/or force their procedures on local authorities with "incentives."
Is this addressed in Mr. Vieira's book?
Posted by kldimond on 02/12/13 06:19 PM
I've had trouble resolving libertarian values with the idea of compulsory service. I also have trouble with a completely state-controlled mechanism.
In the spirit of "distributed defense," extreme decentralization could be employed, with the state establishing training standards (probably adapted from a federal standards sheet) and specialty mix/training authorizations, etc. to make sure the right specialists are available should the state need to take action. Thus restricting the state to only those functions that really do require central planning would help contain tendencies of the state to turn the militia into an oversized gang.
The main thing that local militia needs to do is train and develop people and perhaps units that can be counted on to understand and apply military grade standards and procedures, so that if a call-up is necessitated, they're not going from zero to hero (or trying) in one leap. This of course includes specializations for people with key skills like radio or navigation--or whatever else.
I would suggest that the main training and muster functions would be best done at the County level, or perhaps as a function of multiple counties, in the case of small ones, or supervisorial districts in the case of seriously oversized counties like Los Angeles.
So, I thus can see an organization that would tend to defeat emergent centralizing tendencies.
As to the compulsory service issue, I don't know how to deal with that, except that the high level of decentralization might open opportunities for such things as private militia companies as indicated. Perhaps participation in any particular action could be made voluntary, except one must attend musters and training. One more point--I don't see jury service as much different from attending musters and other training in a militia. Actual activity in a paramilitary action might be different enough to justify a "conscientous objector" matter...
Just thinkin' on the fly...
Posted by Ol' Grey Ghost on 02/12/13 06:02 PM
Here in the Republic, many farmers and ranchers have become fed up with incompetency of local law enforcement to keep their property safe and have begun forming their own Security Co-operatives which are Neighborhood Watches on steroids. These intrepid souls patrol in teams of two or more, armed in the fashion they think best, and take turns watching over each and every one's property that are members of their organization.
As one can imagine, there has been some resistance from professional public law enforcement personnel. Gee, I wonder why...
Click to view link