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Militia Thoughts

I mention that after yesterday's post I'd have some additional thoughts about the militia. Well, here goes.

Forced Service

Libertarians will tell you that "taxation is theft" and because "freedom shouldn't be defended by an army of slaves" the draft is illegal. (Yes, that was something from Simberg's Flying Circus. Why do you ask?) Well, consider what the Founders thought. Everybody was in the militia, and the militia could be called out at will. In short, Madison, et. al. were perfectly okay with making you fight and die. I suspect they would have considered it a duty.

Madison understood that rights come with responsibilities. If you are given something, by man or your Creator, you have a responsibility to take care of it. A slave has no rights. He also has no responsibilities. Thus, taxation isn't "theft," and a draft isn't "slavery," they are responsibilities.

What Happened to the Militia?

Simply put, American foreign policy killed the militia. After the disastrous mess of the War of 1812 (see my thoughts here and here) it became obvious that trying to fight aggressive or expeditionary wars with a militia wasn't going to happen. (Even the Swiss will grant you that.) Thus, during the rest of the 19th centuries and the first half of the 20th, the US decided to have a small professional military and expand it when needed. (Yes, the start of the Civil War saw militia vs. militia, but both sides quickly turned to professional armies.)

After WWII, for good and sufficient reasons, we decided to maintain a large standing military. We needed one, frankly, and so we bit the bullet and did it. But that was entirely contrary to our previous history. I'm not going to argue whether or not we still need that same expeditionary capacity, but I will point out that our current military needs are driven by our foreign policy goals. Change our goals and you can change our military.

What About Guns?

In comments, sinthrex asks, (I paraphrase) "if we're not doing the militia thing any more, do we need the current 2nd Amendment?" Since I own guns, personally I say "yes." I also say that a country that doesn't trust its citizens with guns strikes me as a little off. On the other hand, if the purpose of owning a gun is for militia service, and the government can require your attendance at militia training, why can't they require you to get gun training? Or make other requirements about "care and feeding" of your weapons? I make no argument about effectiveness or desirability of such requirements. I merely point out that they could be supported under the Constitution.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
Pretty good summary, in handing home the concept that (IMO) the right and responsibility portion of the 2nd Amendment have gotten uncoupled.

If you want the right, time to pony up.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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This is the personal blog of Chris Gerrib, and all opinions expressed here are solely his own. Commenters are welcome; however please be polite to me and my other readers. I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, inappropriate or otherwise objectionable at my sole discretion. The opinions expressed in a comment are not necessarily mine, and if I do not delete a comment that should not be construed as my agreement with the commenter.

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