The present political monopoly enjoyed by the general government of the United States was unlawfully formed not through constitutional charter but by way of public apathy. Despite being the ‘supreme law of the land’, the US Constitution does not grant a monopoly on the use of force over the entire United States geographic territory to the general government. In fact, the federal system makes the general government dependent upon the constituent member states, and especially the people as the ‘militia of the several states’, in order to execute the laws of the union.
Yet, somehow, this fact escapes most analytical inquiries, and the political caste behaves as though their de facto monopoly on state power is legitimate while quislings and unthinking masses follow along like the herd being led by a Judas Goat, straight to the slaughter.
Regardless of one’s political affiliation, party membership, policy positions, or legal leanings, the very nature of ‘the state’, as an institution, evades scrutiny in most analyses and criticisms. The current configuration of the state itself is taken as an unchanging given. Questions about the purpose of the state, why it was created, and how well it performs those functions are rarely asked in most inquiries.
This point of dissonance not only invites corruption to the political order and administration of justice but also keeps the citizens of the state trapped in a cognitive fog where the possibility of a ‘more perfect union’ goes unconsidered.
Since most people never put the state under the microscope, opportunities abound for political actors to escape the confines of constitutional restraint. By this, I mean the political caste gets to shape state action that is discordant from the contract for which it was enacted. Yet even thinking this way involves seeing the state as a purposeful organization established to fulfill specific functions. Even though states are human constructs, they tend to be seen as having lives of their own.
Still, the state is not a given, nor is it a constant. It is the product of a contract between consenting parties and is subject to the conditions set forth by the terms of reference. This is what was meant in the Declaration of Independence by the right and duty to alter or abolish governments that are destructive to the ends for which they were created.
However, the ability for people to alter or abolish a destructive or wasteful state is curtailed when the political caste enjoys an effective monopoly of the use of force. The two conditions for this monopoly are widespread acceptance of state legitimacy and the physical means of force, meaning arms, equipment, and loyal personnel that are willing to carry out policy.
Mass acceptance of monopoly wielding government is the greatest psychological hurdle that must first be overcome if liberty is to be preserved, property protected, gun control ended, and the security of a free state enjoyed. Citizens must recognize that the federal charter granted no such monopoly and, indeed the general government is dependent upon the member states, especially the people therein, in order to carry out policy, i.e., to ‘execute the laws’ of the union.
Every assertion of a monopoly state must be discredited. Every allegation of gun owners fighting ‘the government’ must be rejected. We The People are ‘the government’ with equal rights under the law. No politician or bureaucrat has the authority to exert their will over any other citizen, or their property (because we are all equal, comrade) and, in order to carry out a policy, it must first derive from a delegated authority and make sense to We The People who will execute it at the local level. This is self-government.
Any edicts, executive orders, regulatory codes not directly pursuant to a delegated authority must be looked upon with the same vitriolic scorn that the colonists viewed the property violating ‘general writs’ that instigated the revolution.
Political power may be inevitable in human societies, as is the need for an organized use of force to uphold law and suppress anti-social behaviors. Yet, politics must also be economized. Justice and security services must be optimized for human flourishing. Every dysfunction attributed to monopoly (poor quality, outlandish pricing, and mediocre service) is also present in the government sector. Here, too, the monopoly must be broken up.
Seeing a better way requires taking the blinders off. The state, as an institution, must also be subjected to critical analysis and, through such scrutiny, solutions will be found between the seams, within the gaps of assumption, at the margins, of political activity. For entirely too long have political actors enjoyed a privileged status in acting as ‘the government’ without the constraints of sober, clear, and precise criticism.
Fortunately, the federal charter already offers the way to break the monopoly…because it never legally existed. In fact, the general government of the United States is constitutionally dependent upon the ‘militia of the several states’ to execute the laws of the union. Remember, the militia as understood at the time of ratification was accepted as, concisely stated by George Mason, the whole body of the people except for the few public officials.
Congress needs to ‘call forth’ the militia from their respective states in order to carry out the legislation signed into law by the president, who in turn is responsible to Congress for ‘taking care’ that those laws be faithfully executed. The president ‘takes care’ by commanding the portion of the militia that are called forth to serve the union.
Notice the various check points for ensuring compliance with constitutional order in matters of ‘federal’ law enforcement: Congress must pass legislation and then also ‘call forth the militia’ in order to execute it. The militia must respond and carry out the assigned duty, in service to the union. Yet, before doing so, the respective state, that appoints the officers and oversees the training of these units, must also assent to the call. This gap, between the call and the mobilization, gives both the states and the operational units the opportunity to ensure that the congressional order aligns with a constitutionally delegated function.
In order to ensure constitutional order, the member states must verify that congress is ‘calling forth’ their militia to execute a valid law or respond to an actual invasion or insurrection. The general government only holds jurisdiction over three crimes: piracy, counterfeiting, or treason. There is not much ‘federal law enforcement’ to be done on behalf of the union.
While insurrections are serious matters of concern, the famous historical cases in US history, such as Shays’ Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion, and Fries’ Rebellion, were all instigated by political malfeasance. In each case, the local militia recognized the legitimacy of resistance and sided with the aggrieved over the corrupt politicians and refused to enforce unlawful edicts.
In other words, the locals, those most familiar with circumstances and conditions, did the right thing and upheld the principles of justice by nullifying infringing legislation. If a robust militia system were existing currently, and the ‘monopoly on the use of force’ denied to any particular level, branch, or entity throughout the federal system, the proclivity toward corruption would be greatly curtailed.
Further, militia members (We The People minus public officials) have lives, livelihoods, and interests to attend to other than politics. They are less inclined to waste time and resources on artificially contrived boondoggles or biased actions that serve special interests, unlike the permanent, tax-funded, bureaucracies that are impelled to ‘do something’, no matter how absurd, futile, or unjust.
Guided by rational self-interest, militia members are quicker to quit when the orders are unlawful or demand unjustified sacrifices of life, liberty, or property. Further, the local militia, are best positioned to evaluate circumstances to ensure security and justice activities are carried out in a manner that serves the genuine interests of the community. They are best able to communicate concerns to local or state public officials who can, in turn, fulfill the duty to “interpose” when orders from the general government are unsuitable to regional conditions.
In this way, the organized, armed, and disciplined people are at the leading edge of justice and security affairs in their community and, in contrast to tax-funded political-bureaucracies, are inclined to follow the samurai dictum laid out in Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, Earth Chapter: Do nothing which is of no use, as well as Sun Tzu’s Art of War admonition to: Never move but for advantage.
These martial principles, then, return us to examining the purpose of politics and the purpose government. Politics, according to Aristotle, is the formalization of rules so that people can enjoy a ‘good life’ and coexist peaceably among each other. Government is the administration of law, justice, and security so as to provide a space of non-interference for people to pursue their highest conception of good, so long as it does not interfere with the equal rights of others.