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From the Tower of Babel and Roman Empire to Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany, men have often tyrannized nations they ruled, despite promises of liberty. Babel‚Äôs tower builders were only ‚Äėmaking themselves a name.‚Äô The Roman Caesars had slogans depicting the blessings of their reigns. Russia‚Äôs bondage came in the name of the ‚Äėpeople‚Äô and Hitler announced a great ‚ÄėThird Reich‚Äô for Germany. Each developed ways of exterminating those who opposed the program.
At some point in the growing tyranny ‚Äėcitizens‚Äô become expendable. While no tyrant announces this, it quietly and subtly becomes the case. Social change, new powers for rulers, or a political course becomes more important than lives of people. These United States passed that threshold in 1856 with the Pottawatomie Murders of John Brown. Financed by a cadre of Northern Abolitionists, the purpose of cold blooded murders in the Kansas Territory was to create agitation. The lives of innocent men were secondary to a greater good: ‚Äėchange‚Äô and insuring ascendency of the northern manufacturing sector.
Woodrow Wilson maneuvered the U.S. into World War I using the sinking of the Lusitania. The ship, a civilian cruise liner, was used by ‚Äėneutral‚Äô America to transport war munitions to Great Britain. Germany had warned and the U.S. expected the ship would be sunk, but civilian casualties would justify U.S. entrance into the War. The Imperial German Embassy placed advertisements in 50 east coast newspapers to warn U.S. citizens not to sail. Our State Department intervened, and frightened papers into not running the ads. Only the Des Moines Register ran the ad April 22, 1915.
The U.S. Government also had advanced knowledge of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor, but allowed the commanders to operate in the dark, creating the disaster which claimed the lives of over twenty nine hundred servicemen.
The official account of the Gulf of Tonkin incident that lead to the Vietnam War has also been discredited, there was no ‚Äėengagement‚Äô on August 4, 1964.
Soldiers and civilians alike are expendable to tyrants, who become adept at manipulating the public. As the Nazi leader Hermann Goering explained at Nuremberg:
‚ÄúIt is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.... All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.‚ÄĚ
Our Constitutional framers were familiar with this propensity of governments. Thomas Jefferson wrote after reviewing the proposed Constitution: ‚ÄúWhat country can preserve it‚Äôs liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let
them take arms.... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.‚ÄĚ
This is the intent of the Second Amendment: ‚ÄúA well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.‚ÄĚ Defending constitutional liberty may take armed citizens. Tyrants know this too, and as Sarah Brady said: ‚ÄúOur task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed."
How even armed citizens, can confront tyrants is another issue. Private individuals and small groups have no power to withstand tyranny. And anarchy is an option that leads as well to the collapse of liberty.
French Calvinists of the 16th century turned to Scripture to solve this problem. The powers that be are ordained of God. Civil rulers are ministers of God, required to rule in fear of him and according to his law. This is true not only of kings, but of all magistrates, high and low whatever their office. Each one, individually, is responsible to God. No one in any civil office may willingly violate the law of God. If king commands what is against God‚Äôs law, or the covenants he has made, it is the duty of lesser magistrates to interpose - to insert themselves between subject and king and demand a redress of grievance. This interposition, historically, has taken various forms: petitioning for rights, refusing to enforce or nullifying laws, then ultimately arms. In Colonial America the Boston Tea Party involved acts of interposition and ‚Äėtea commissioners‚Äô of Boston Port were called upon, but refused to resign. The War for Independence was fought under direction of organized lesser magistrates, a Congress of the Colonies now organized into confederacy. In these examples, the fuller meaning of the second amendment becomes clear. Armed citizenry, coming together in support of the lesser magistrate who has interposed with the tyrant, is what a militia is all about.
American Liberty is in the balance, and disarming the citizens is the end game. Bills in the U.S. Congress aim at collecting names of gun owners, limiting magazine sizes, impeding transfer of firearms, and a host of other infringements. In the Tennessee legislature forms of interposition include Mae Beavers‚Äô SB250 expanding the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act making illegal the enforcement of unconstitutional Federal restrictions. That bill failed in committee when the new Senator Stevens voted against it. A similar Bill HB248 is currently in the House Civil Justice Sub Committee. Every would-be free man must do three things: Arm himself thoroughly, work to replace men like Stevens who betray liberty, then lobby and stand with faithful leaders who will lawfully interpose on our behalf.
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