353 Jonestown Rd #174
Winston-Salem, NC 27104
6900 San Pedro #147-230
San Antonio, TX 78216
email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Soldier of Fortune
Attn: Robert K. Brown, James L. Pate
This is to commend the excellent article by James L. Pate, "Witch Hunt
for The Resister", in the February, 1996, issue of Soldier of
Fortune. As usual, Pate is bringing us important information we could not
get any other way.
I take exception to one point, however: his use of the adjective "right-wing"
to refer to militias. Use of that pejorative is buying into the Establishment
disinformation campaign against the Militia, which consists of the entire
population of an area, not just those who are active at some level. Nor are the
terms "right-wing" or "left-wing" applicable to
constitutional issues, which is what the militias are activating to deal with,
but only to policy issues.
As the person who arguably launched the national militia movement over the
Internet, and who is personally acquainted with militia activists across the
country, I can testify that on policy issues militia activists are solidly
centrist. They are the same kind of people who became active in the Perot
movement, and who split their votes about evenly between Republican and Democrat
when they are not voting Libertarian.
Historically, "right-wing" referred to those who identified with
the government and the aristocracy, and "left-wing" to those who
identified with farmers and industrial workers. In defending the oppressed
against official oppression, the militia movement has more in common with the "left"
than with the "right", although it does not buy into "economic
reform" or "redistribution", only "legal reform",
specifically, constitutional compliance.
Concerning the discussion of "democracy" vs. "constitutional
republicanism", the following breakdown is useful in making sense of the
- Constitutional (?)
As can be seen from this breakdown, what patriots are objecting to when they
reject "democracy" is a lumping together of non-constitutional
varieties of democratic government, which is government that is accountable to
the people -- that is, based on the theory that officials are agents of the
people and not their masters. The key concept is that of a constitution (written
or non-written) which is the supreme law and which supersedes statutes and other
official acts which are made later, or, in other words, a supreme law that
cannot be amended by later statutes. Central to the idea of constitutional
republicanism are the principles that:
- Officials are agents of the people, and may exercise only those powers
explicitly delegated to them by the people through the constitution.
Certain rights are inalienable (not subject to deprivation, even
with consent, or by any amendment). In other words, the people themselves do not
have such power to be delegated to officials.
- Rights may not be disabled (restricted in their exercise) except by due
process of law, wherein it is proved by competing argument that unrestricted
exercise would impair or has impaired the exercise of the rights of others.
Rights and the constitution are threatened by excessive and/or unbalanced
concentrations of power, so government must be organized to prevent such
concentrations and to give every faction an interest in preserving the
constitution in order to protect its own institutional and policy interests. For
this purpose, several considerations are important:
- There is no way to effectively enforce a constitution (prior supreme law)
if the democracy is direct. It must be representative to dissipate the popular
passions that might otherwise abandon the constitution and rule solely through
legislative (statutory), executive (administrative), and judicial (common) law.
- Since a unitary form of organization would also tend to subvert the
constitution, to prevent this it is also necessary to divide the functions of
government into competing branches, legislative houses, and levels (national,
state and local), which can check and balance each other.
- Militias arise from the above and from one additional premise: Citizens
have the duty to defend the constitution, which includes what we usually call
the "community" or the "state", but is a multigenerational
social contract which binds us to protect the interests of posterity as well as
Pursuant to that, we have the duty to organize, train, and equip ourselves
to defend the constitution effectively, either under the leadership of
officials, or independently. Defense includes military defense against a foreign
invasion or domestic insurrection, law enforcement, and emergency services. We
may find it convenient to hire some of our citizens to perform these functions
on a full-time, professional basis, and to confer rank on such persons to
supervise private citizens in the performance of those duties, but in doing so
we delegate no powers to them that citizens do not retain and which they are
obliged to exercise if the situation requires it.
That means that all citizens are soldiers, policemen, and firemen, subject
to call-up unless they have official duties that take precedence over their
militia duties. Jury duty is, for example, a specialized form of militia duty,
in which a limited call-up is issued for a law enforcement function.
Incidentally, we have links to SOF and to The Resister on
our Web site.
Jon Roland, President