Why We Can’t Ignore The “Militia” Clause Of The Second Amendment

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 4 weeks ago

Mises Institute has an analysis up on why we can’t ignore the militia clause of the second amendment.  It’s interesting reading, and I recommend you turn your attention to it for a few minutes.  But I want to issue some warnings nonetheless.

As I’ve pointed out many times before, the context and theoretical framework for understanding the American revolution was and always will be continental Calvinism and covenant theology.  God manages His created order in terms of covenant.

We are all in covenants in every aspect of our lives, all of the time, from marriage, to church, to state and then economics.  If you choose to be unfaithful to your wife and violate the marriage vows, there are consequences and curses for that.   These consequences happen in time and space and also in eternity.

In time and space, your wife will divorce you.  If she doesn’t, the consequences befall her, in time and space.  She has decided to live with an unfaithful man, refusing to avail herself of the remedy God has given her.  In eternity, the unfaithful man will answer for what he did, and so will the woman if she refuses to avail herself of the remedy.

In economics, if you steal you will go to prison.  If a country refuses to avail itself of the remedy for theft, believing that it can rehabilitate criminals to make them better when God has said that is His responsibility, not yours, the country will suffer, as there are consequences in time and space.  Ultimately, the men who made the decisions on national policy will answer to a sovereign God for their recalcitrance.

So too with tyranny.  Tyrants will answer to their people for their tyranny, and if they don’t, the people will suffer in time and space for their recalcitrance, and both will answer to God in eternity.  God will not be mocked.

Turning to the foundations for the revolution, recall that I explained the Christian roots of covenant and its role in the theoretical framework for the war.

In terms of population alone, a high percentage of the pre-revolutionary colonies were of Puritan-Calvinist background.  There were about three million persons in the thirteen original colonies in 1776, and perhaps as many as two-thirds of these came from some kind of Calvinist or Puritan connection.

[ … ]

… by 1776, nine of the thirteen original colonies had an “established church” (generally congregational in New England, Anglican in New York, Virginia and South Carolina, “Protestant” in North Carolina, with religious freedom in Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Georgia) … While this did not necessarily mean that a majority of the inhabitants of these colonies were necessarily committed Christian believers, it does indicate the lingering influence of the Calvinist concept of a Christian-based civil polity as an example to a world in need of reform.

[ … ]

Their experience in Presbyterian polity – with its doctrine of the headship of Christ over the church, the two-powers doctrine giving the church and state equal standing (so that the church’s power is not seen as flowing from the state), and the consequent right of the people to civil resistance in accordance with higher divine law – was a major ingredient in the development of the American approach to church-state relations and the underlying questions of law, authority, order and rights.

[ … ]

It was largely from the congregation polity of these New England puritans that there came the American concept and practice of government by covenant – that is to say: constitutional structure, limited by divine law and based on the consent of the people, with a lasting right in the people to resist tyranny.

I say all of this to set the stage for a reiteration of my observation on the second amendment and the militia.

… all the founders needed in order to object to federal control over such God-given rights is to find a single example of such an infringement that would be found unacceptable.  The militia served as this example.  That doesn’t mean that it is, would have been, or must have been, the only example or reason for the amendment.  The amendment clearly states what the FedGov shall not do, not what it can or may do or the sole reasons for its existence.

So a man has a right to the ownership of weapons if he is a paraplegic and unable to serve in the militia.  A people have the right to overthrow their government whether there is such a thing as a militia or not.  I can tell the militia (whatever that is in this context or any future context) to go pound sand and that I refuse to join, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with either [a] my God-given rights to keep and bear arms for self defense or the amelioration of tyranny, or [b] the fact that that right is recognized in the constitution, which is a covenant under which we have agreed to live.

My rights (and duties) flow from the Almighty, the very fountain of liberty.  The constitution is a mere covenant.

This understanding in the antecedent to the constitution and the second amendment, not vice versa.  Never forget that.  The militia doesn’t justify the second amendment – among other things, the second amendment justifies the militia, both organized and unorganized.

And neither has anything whatsoever to do with the justification of the right of resistance to tyranny.  That flows from the Almighty.


Comments

  1. On August 23, 2018 at 1:43 am, Pat Hines said:

    The so-called militia clause has no legal meaning of any kind. “A well read electorate, being necessary for a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed”. The right is not reserved for the electorate.

    “The Unabridged Second Amendment” by J. Neil Schulman.
    https://firearmsandliberty.com/unabridged.2nd.html

  2. On August 23, 2018 at 9:10 am, The Big Club said:

    Keep an eye on Connecticut and realize that the gun/mag ban is failing spectacularly.
    It seems that the agreed upon count of high cap mags is some place in the neighborhood of 2.4 million with only 38,000 turned in before the Jan 1 deadline making it now a felony to be in possession of a high cap mag and a non registered “assault weapon”.
    50,000 semiautomatic rifles were also registered, further proof that Connecticut’s gun owners are revolting through civil disobedience.
    New York Police Department began confiscating guns which were previously registered but are now banned under New York’s newest gun control law proving once again that registration leads to confiscation.
    And now it comes down to how much money and where to find enough suicidal agents to start the “round up” all the while one must remember that the continuity of government, be it state, fed or local is priority number 1 of said governments.
    After Sandy Hook the Marxists thought the people were ready to roll over and accept tyranny..
    Didn’t happen..
    Your move governor..
    My word of advice, poke the sleeping giant at your own risk and there will be no sympathy for you or your agents if/when the people decide the line in the sand has been crossed.

  3. On August 23, 2018 at 12:49 pm, JJ said:

    The color of the uniforms worn by the agents of tyrannical government doesn’t matter- whether red coats or blue/black/camo tactical wear.

    Unfortunately for them, they’ll believe their early successes at raids and confiscating formerly legal weapons will continue as the inevitable news of the events gets disseminated far and wide.

  4. On August 23, 2018 at 2:31 pm, Gryphon said:

    I’m beginning to think that the whole issue of Militia/Individual Right to Bear Arms is another political ‘divide and conquer’ effort by the bolsheviks to Discredit the Constitution (that they Despise anyway). The Captain is Correct in pointing out that Our God-Given Rights to Defend Ourselves are both Individual and Collective, and at the Time the 2A was written, the “Militia” was the Preferred Method of Community Defense. It is Predicated on (indeed it Requires) that the Individual be Armed in order to Defend Himself and His Community.

    And as Big Club points out, the gathering Refusal to Register/Surrender Arms to the State is pointing towards an Impending Conflict that will be quite Unbelievable once it Starts… the .gov thugs can (initially, at least) Confiscate Arms from One Individual at a Time, but it’s only a matter of Time before someone Shoots Back, or a “Lone Wolf” starts Targeting .gov Leaders.

    Everyone should have some sort of Plan to Act once the “Troubles” get started, a it will be Individual Actions that will be the only initial way to Respond to the Tyrants.

  5. On August 26, 2018 at 9:43 am, Ron W said:

    The militia clause is a subordinate explanatory one, in the sentence of the 2nd Amendment. As the Bill of Rights was added in 1791, it references “militia” in the enumerated delegated powers of Article I, Section 8.16:

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing SUCH PART OF THEM AS MAY BE EMPLOYED in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; [caps mine for emphasis]

    Notice that the Federal Government is RESTRICTED to governing only “such Part of them”, the militia, or armed citizens which it EMPLOYS. Therefore the main or independence clause says, “the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” In that sentence, “the People” must refer to “militia” in the beginning clause. That reiterates that the Federal Government has NO power over them EXCEPT “such part” that it EMPLOYS. Therefore, ALL Federal laws pertaining to “the People”, the armed citizenry, are unconstitutional and illegal!

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You are currently reading "Why We Can’t Ignore The “Militia” Clause Of The Second Amendment", entry #19885 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Second Amendment and was published August 22nd, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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