1976, Illustration by Don Troiani, Courtesy of
National Park Service
“The Militia: In History and Today,” an article in The New American, offers compelling insights:
The army — defender or destroyer of freedom? Throughout history power-hungry rulers have used armies to conquer and oppress other lands, and to impose tyranny on their own people. But armies have also been used to defend country and freedom — particularly when the government is restrained from abusing the power of the sword, and when the military itself is composed of citizen-soldiers who love liberty and have a strong attachment to the homeland they are entrusted to defend.
Across the ocean and across the millennia, Aristotle would have agreed:
A king’s bodyguard is composed of citizens carrying arms; a tyrant’s of foreign mercenaries. … Members of the constitution must carry [arms] even among themselves, both for internal government and in the event of civil disobedience and to repel external aggression. … For those who possess and can wield arms are in a position to decide whether the constitution is to continue or not.