“Militia Nullification”

How would the “doomsday provision” the second amendment is meant to be, work in this country? We’ve had some good discussion in some previous threads, but I think on both sides it’s being a bit oversimplified.

Things aren’t as black and white as either side makes them out to be. An en-mass uncoordinated resistance to a rouge government, absent any overall structure, isn’t likely to happen, or be successful, which is why our founding fathers spent so much time bickering about the militia.

Any resistance to a perceived tyranny on the part of a state government is going to result in people leaving that state, or in the federal government marching in to enforce the constitution.

Any resistance to federal tyranny is going to result in states seceding from the union, and invalidating federal authority within their borders. Once that’s done, the states can work on raising an army to resist the inevitable assertion by the feds that they do have authority.

When you find yourself in that situation, as a state, or groups of states, it helps if you have an armed body of people that are proficient in small arms. It helps even more if you’ve drilled your militia so that they have some basic military training as well.

It’s not a guarantee that you win; you might lose. The last time this happened, the seceding states lost. That time, the seceding states were wrong. They might not always be. The second amendment exists to make such things easier. It doesn’t guarantee that the government will always lose, or that the people will always win. It just raises the cost of enforcing a political hegemony. Sometimes that’s enough. It very nearly worked for The South, the last time this happened.

That’s not to say the second amendment can’t work on a more local level. It’s worthwhile to remember the Battle of Athens, which occurred in 1946, when a group of returning World War II veterans decided they had had quite enough of their corrupt and oppressive county government, and decided to do something about it.

Also worth noting are the Deacons for Defense. Not to mention the dozens of civil rights workers who regularly carried firearms while working in The South. Both these groups were battling what amounted to a domestic terrorist operation. Would The South have been better off if only the Klan had guns? Considering the Klan and the government were sometimes inseparable in the Jim Crow era, and considering Southern gun laws were seldom enforced against whites, this would seem to make a pretty strong case for the 14th amendment’s vision of our rights, including the second amendment, being applied to everyone, equally.

20 Responses to ““Militia Nullification””

  1. gattsuru says:

    I always figured it was less about armed uprising and more about the part where every single member of the federal, state, and local government had to be aware of a rather simple fact : a lot of well-trained group of individuals capable of thinking for themselves, who follow the enacting and records of every law, and with the ability to put a chunk of lead through a watermelon from a thousand feet make you think twice about doing something stupid.

    That’s not to say they didn’t think about armed uprising, or that such a thing would be impossible, but it wouldn’t be the most effective.

    It’d be easier in the 1800s, where a minimal army and police force would make it difficult for individual state governments to keep themselves in place after putting up a sufficiently bad law. It’d be very easy for a town to agree to not enforce the law until there was an effective separate government of the local area. After that, . It was illegal and treasonous, but only if you lost, and if you played fair enough you’d end up with a surrender agreement that let you off with no new wounds. Private militias wouldn’t be as pleasant, but if the law was ugly enough to justify it, they wouldn’t be getting in your way.

    Today, it’s possible against a local group or maybe even state government, but not nearly as easy. Athen’s is an example of what sorta situation would be necessary, and I don’t think it’d even be feasible in a major city. While your people could hide there, they’d be nearly unable to do significant harm without a blowback against them.

  2. GeorgeH says:

    The Feds were wetting their pants after the Oklahoma City bombing. If it had been followed by similar attacks over the next few weeks the government would have been shut down, because most employees would have been afraid to go to work. Anything so odious it caused a substantial percentage of ordinary citizens, not militia loonies who wouldn’t put license plates on their cars, to perform random acts of terrorism could not be stopped.

  3. Clint says:

    Sebastian: “It’s not a guarantee that you win; you might lose. The last time this happened, the seceding states lost. That time, the seceding states were wrong.”

    This is a rather debatable point and requires a definition on where you feel they were “wrong.” On the moral issue of slavery, most modern Americans would agree.

    However, on the issue of State’s Rights and Economic Exploitation the Confederacy was very much within reason and followed the philosophy of the Founders much closer than the overwhelming Federal beauracracy we have today.

    It is hard to imagine an issue that would rally the people to arms against the government in the modern era. The Confedreacy had geographical and political unity enabling the leaders to form a solid coalition. While there are many causes that we feel strongly, if not passionately about, should communication be lost, the individual cells of rebellion would be easier targets to neutralize. Perhaps we should all invest in HAM radios and hand-cranked generators, just in case.

  4. Sebastian says:

    Hehehe… I threw that out there because knew someone was going to get rubbed the wrong way by it. Remember, I’m a Yankee boy :)

    Either way, I was thinking about slavery in that context. I can sympathize with the “meddlin’ yankee” sentiment that was, and still is, present in the South, because a lot of the meddling is rude, condescending, and improper. But when the meddling is to end slavery, or end racial discrimination, I have to side with the meddlers. States don’t have rights, they have powers. Only people have rights. I think protecting those rights is one of the proper roles of the federal government.

    As for issues that divide us as much as slavery did… no, I don’t think one exists today, but gun control does come awful close. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get a few states to secede if that issue was pushed hard enough.

  5. gattsuru says:

    However, on the issue of State’s Rights and Economic Exploitation the Confederacy was very much within reason and followed the philosophy of the Founders much closer

    I’d debate that pretty heavily. Washington himself had no problem invoking martial law and putting down the Whiskey Rebellion. He was nice to the losers — the median punishment tended on the area of ten shillings, if I remember correctly — but the general gist of the feeling seems to have been that anyone can press the reset button, but they have to be right enough and strong enough to be assured safety from the Constitutionally stated charge of Treason.

    As for the Union winning the side of morality, well, I seem to recall three union states that allowed slavery during the start of the war.

  6. Sebastian says:

    Maryland, Delaware and which other state?

  7. Clint says:

    Gattsuru: I’d debate that pretty heavily.

    And, indeed, such heavy debate led to Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.

  8. gattsuru says:

    Maryland, Delaware and which other state?
    I’m going from memory, nothing more. I think it was at least Maryland, Delaware, and after it was taken by the Union, Kentucky. I may well be wrong, though; it’s been a decade since my last history class.

  9. anon says:

    “How would the “doomsday provision” …work in this country? ”

    While it is entertaining and informative to ponder such things; especially in light of the possibility of the 2nd Amendment coming up for review before a SCOTUS that has, so far, not proven to be a friend of individual rights over government authority…I would caution that such speculation is premature – and likely to find you served with a no-knock warrant… (relax, I’m just kidding, right?)

    In the unlikely event that the SCOTUS nullifies the 2nd, there is one last legal option. Shall we have a post on writing Amendment XXVIII; with which the states would almost certainly amend the US Constitution?

    It’s harder than you might think…well, it’s harder than I thought anyways…

    Here is my attempt:

    “Amendment XXVIII: In that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of life, liberty, home, property, and country shall not be infringed.”

    Even my own work has readily apparent problems:

    Certainly, the ‘Armed Canadian’ would not be happy with my wording. But if I changed ‘each citizen’ to ‘the individual’, the anti’s would claim that I was talking about a specific individual (and they would capitalize ‘Individual’ every time they mis-quoted my work in an attempt to change the meaning), and then they would note that that Individual is dead, so the Amendment no longer applies… And if I said ‘each individual’ I will not have ruled out every blood crazed jihadi here on a student visa… what to do? what to do?

    Even now if the SCOTUS decides in our favour, I’d give even money that the Brady Bunch are going to take the view out that ‘bear’ arms means carry, but doesn’t necessarily mean we’re allowed to load them or pull the trigger…thereby allowing for ‘reasonable restrictions’…like “triggers and ammo must be kept in government controlled arsenals”.

    Even worse, if taken at face value, this wording might be construed to protect the killing of abortion doctors…I leave that matter up to the SCOTUS – mostly as a devious payback for (hypothetically) nullifying the 2nd to begin with.

    Don’t want to rule out blades or bludgeons…

    Leave my mags limit free…

    Heck, if we bring the lefty veg heads into the picture, since I didn’t specify ‘human’ life, they might see Amendment XXVIII as a license to start killing omnivores wholesale! Then again, plants are alive too, so on the bright side, by their own logic they’d be legally required to commit suicide after clearing out the local surf & turf joint.

    This legal sh!t is hard…so where are we?

    “Amendment XXVIII: In that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, the right of each US citizen and each legal US resident of sound mind and of adult age or having parental or legal guardian consent to keep, bear, and employ fully operational (and, if of a type employing ammunition; loaded with as many rounds as the bearer sees fit) arms in defense of human life, liberty, home, property, and this country shall not be infringed.”

    Discuss. It gets messy if you want to rule out all of the asinine interpretations that the GFW’s try to read in to every word…

    Mostly, I’m thinking that just taking the current version at face value, and buying the anti’s one way bus tickets to Toronto after revoking their citizenship is the way to go…

  10. Sebastian says:

    I don’t think the SCOTUS nullifying the second amendment is automatic revolution time. There are still ways that can be fixed through the political process. What you mentioned is one of them.

  11. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    Oh, those “rouge” governments make me blush.

    The bulk of Confederacy seceded before Lincoln even took office. They threw the political equivalent of a hissy fit.

  12. Clint says:

    Okay, it’s late and I have been thinking about this thread for a while. I generally do not look for debate on the blogs as (a) I have not the time, and (b) I am not paying for the bandwidth (Sebastian, if you had a tip jar, I would contribute). However, I felt inclined to add to my earlier comments. Besides, this post will drop off the edge of tomorrow and this may never even be read. Therefore, if I get the last word, I win, right?

    First off: Sebastian: States don’t have rights, they have powers.

    I have heard this on a few gun blogs and a cursory reading of the Bill of Rights would confirm this assertion. However, it is a term I grew up hearing in my history classes. At this point I should interject that I am a multi-generational Virginian. I grew up in the shadow of Monticello, an hour from Appomatox, and attended a private military school. I add this biographical data as it undoubtedly formatted my perceptions of the events a mere century before my birth.

    Despite my planned digression, “states’ rights” is a term that is short hand for state powers and in discussions pertaining to the War of Secession is quite apres pos. It was indeed the “states” asserting their “rights” against a Federal government in which they did not have the population for fair representation that formed the Confederacy. Wikipedia, despite its tainted image as a fair source, has an article that reflects this:'_rights

    Clint: However, on the issue of State’s Rights and Economic Exploitation the Confederacy was very much within reason and followed the philosophy of the Founders much closer
    Gattsuru: I’d debate that pretty heavily. Washington himself had no problem invoking martial law and putting down the Whiskey Rebellion.

    Ah, the Whiskey Rebellion. Them boys weren’t neccessarily in the wrong either, but that is a digression that can be followed another day. It was another case of taxation without fair representation. Washington was acting as a General under the Federalist Commander in Chief, John Adams, when he squelched the hillbillies of that day.

    However, more to your point, even though the Federalists of the day sought a firmer and more resolute central and federal government, their ilk was not in the majority at the time of the drafting of the Constitution. Once again, I would refer you to the controversial but handy Wikipedia site:

    Again, I will bow out of any further debate on the issue. I am merely seeking to add light, not heat. I have seen talk on other blogs like Alphecca that speak of seccession. I grew up being taught that, in true Constitutional theory, the wrong side won the War. I have been a little surprised to see these discussions. I thought that had all been settled in 1865.

  13. Clint says:

    The Wikipedia link failed on “States’ rights. Here it is in full.'_rights

  14. Michael says:

    Yes, Yankee boy, us soother’s lost the War of Occupation by you northern folks. (Joke)

    This how I understand it. There are two types of militia, 1) organized or National Guard and 2) Unorganized, which is anybody who isn’t in the National Guard.

    The thing is how folks who are in unorganized militia are perceived or actually are. The media portrays them as white supremacy or neo Nazis running around the woods playing army. They also label people like McVeigh, Rudolph, and Koresh as militia. Which is not true and therefore most of the sheeple out there buy into it. Thus when one says they are in a militia it scares people, for they think your some kind of a nut. Which is not always true, it just means you are a civic minded citizen who isn’t going to take crap from the Feds. Or, is prepared for any crises and to re-establish the Constitution.

  15. Sebastian says:

    In our schools, the teach us that southerners are brutish caveman like creatures who enjoy killing black people as a hobby.

    Just kidding, but that might actually be the case in Massachusetts :)

  16. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    I thought that the historical militias were all city/township based.

    Clint, I take this view: “The Union was not right, but the Confederacy was definitely wrong.”

  17. triticale says:

    One thing to note about civil rights defense organizations such as the Deacons – the NRA had a program of establishing them as shooting clubs so that they could qualify for surplus arms from Civilian Marksmanship.

  18. dwlawson says:

    Yes, I did oversimplify when I brought up the concept of “militia nullification” with Jade, but 1) I didn’t have time to go deeper (long days at the Gun Rights Policy Conference this weekedn) and 2) I (rightly it turns out) didn’t figure he could understand anything more complex.

  19. Sebastian says:

    I think Jade understands just fine. He likes to get to us gunloons.

  20. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    That is the glory of JadeSpeak: ignore everything, use ad hominems, use non sequiturs, troll Usenet, and much more.

    Soon, he will release JadeSpeak 2.0. He’ll upgrade all “Red Dawn” references to “Universal Soldier: The Return”.