LEADER PRINCIPLE OR THE PEOPLE PRINCIPLE?
Edwin Vieira, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.
Now turn specifically to “the Militia of the several States.” If an architect’s plan requires a certain structural element, it must be necessary. If necessary, it must be included in the building. And having been put in, it cannot be pulled out, or allowed to fall into disrepair, let alone to decay entirely. Apply this analogy to the Second Amendment. If, as the Amendment declares, “[a] well regulated Militia” is “necessary to the security of a free State,” then it is an essential element of that “security.” Therefore, “a free State” can be—indeed, should be—defined as one that has “[a] well regulated Militia.” The very existence of “a free State” depends upon its having “[a] well regulated Militia” at all times.
The Militia appear not only in the Second Amendment, but also in the original Constitution. Indeed, the Militia are the only subject as to which the original Constitution and an Amendment cover the same ground and reinforce one another (rather than the Amendment’s being a limitation on some purported power in the original Constitution).
In Article I, Section 8, Clause 15, the Constitution delegates to Congress the power “[t]o provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” Few lists of the essential elements of “homeland security” could be as succinct yet as sweeping. Moreover, this enumeration emphasizes the proper priority. For first and foremost it places the Militia’s authority and responsibility “to execute the Laws of the Union.” Under the Constitution, the test of power is always its conformity with law.
In Article I, Section 8, Clause 16, the Constitution delegates to Congress the power “[t]o 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.” Typical of the whole Constitution, this power builds upon the foundation of federalism, not centralism. Yes, Congress’s authority is designed to promote general uniformity of the Militia. Yet ultimate authority, command, and control effectively remain with the States, to which are reserved “the Appointment of the Officers”. No trace of the modern Leader Principle can be found in this.
In Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, the Constitution invests the President with the office of “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.” Here, too, the original Constitution rejects the Leader Principle. For, contrary to certain confused notions popular today, the powers of the Commander in Chief are limited.
In this particular, the Constitution radically departed from the Monarch Principle, the form the Leader Principle took in the late 1700s. Under pre-constitutional English law, the King—the “unitary executive” and “Decider” of his time—enjoyed exclusive control over war and peace, the army, the navy, and the militia. All of these powers the Constitution shifted from the Executive Branch of government to the Legislative Branch, by explicitly delegating them to Congress in Article I, Section 8, Clauses 11 through 16—and thereby absolutely withholding them from the President.
It is no accident that the Constitution rejects the Leader Principle. First, as the Declaration of Independence recites, a true “government” can exercise only “just powers.” “[J]ust powers” derive, not from “leaders,” but from “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” which are superior to and control the actions of all “leaders.” Second, even a true “government,” exercising only “just powers,” is merely an apparatus, a collection of agents of WE THE PEOPLE. Any “government” is simply a reflection of the people. If the people cannot lead themselves, the agents they select can do no better. So, to look to “government,” the mere apparatus, for leadership—that is, for political and especially moral purpose—is to look to a mirage.
True enough, it may also prove a mirage to look to the people, when too many of them become corrupt. If and when that happens, this country may have to follow the counsel of Saint Augustine:
But both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution presume that such irremediable corruption has not taken hold in America—and that, if it ever begins to do so, the constitutional system of checks and balances can and will correct the situation before it is too late. If that system is put into operation.
America’s most pressing present problem is that the Leader Principle has taken a strangulating hold on the political process. It has been the source of insecurity, decade after decade. If allowed to continue, it will be the cause of disaster, and probably the utter destruction of this country. To establish constitutional “homeland security”—“the security of a free State”—America needs a resounding rejection of the Leader Principle, and a rapid return to the People Principle: self-government by WE THE PEOPLE themselves, at all times.
This would be necessary even if someone such as Representative Ron Paul were elected President. For such an individual would be more than simply a constitutional President—he would be a constitutionalist President. As such, he would know the boundaries the Constitution sets to Presidential authority; and he would stay well inside those boundaries. Within the General Government, he would promote separation of powers, not concentration of powers. Between the General Government and the States, he would promote federalism, not centralism. And overall, he would promote popular self-government, not rule by the Leader Principle—by securing: (i) the Power of the Purse in WE THE PEOPLE’S hands, not in the hands of a fascist banking cartel; and (ii) the Power of the Sword in WE THE PEOPLE’S hands, not in the hands of “standing armies” or para-militarized professional police forces.
to apply these principles and to accomplish these ends, a constitutionalist
President would have to depend upon WE THE PEOPLE’S constant, active
vigilance and support. At least initially, under present political
conditions, Congress would oppose him. The Judiciary would oppose
him. And the General Government’s bureaucracy would most assuredly
oppose him. So, to advance his constitutionalist agenda, he would
have to turn for support to the States and to WE THE PEOPLE.
Thus, even—especially—with someone such as Ron Paul as President, the absolutely necessary mechanism to establish constitutional “homeland security,” by restoring self-government to this country, will be the revitalization of “the Militia of the several States.”
Militia are the essential statement of popular self-government—with
the Power of the Sword always in WE THE PEOPLE’S own hands. Thus they
are the refutation of the Leader Principle.
But today, “the Militia of the several States”—the only one of the seven pillars that the Constitution itself declares to be “necessary” for “security”—are not being used to carry their share of the load of constitutional checks and balances! Why has this happened? No doubt there are several reasons, including:
points up the need for public education. But even with education,
we must contend with
Whatever the reasons for this unacceptable situation, Americans must now ask: What can be done? What must be done? For what can Americans expect when one structural part—and, in the architects’ estimation, the most important part—of their constitutional edifice is allowed to fall, not just into disuse, but into disrepair, decay, and even disrespect (given the normal popular reaction to the term “militia”)? Self-evidently, the result must be a failure of the edifice as a whole. And not just a failure, but a catastrophic failure. So, revitalization of “the Militia of the several States” is not optional. It has to be done, immediately if not sooner.
Fortunately, now is a particularly propitious time for action because of mounting popular concerns about “homeland security”, and mounting popular fears that the Dark Powers in the Disgrace of Columbia intend to use “homeland security” as an excuse to set up a national para-military police state. Under these circumstances, the time is ripe for:
So, there is the answer: To “guard with jealous attention the public liberty” demands participation by the public in self-government at all times. “[T]he Militia of the several States” can provide the means to achieve that end. Revitalization of the Militia can be the process that restores the spirit, and then the substance, of self-government to this country.
Now there needs to be action. The very best tool is useless unless and until it is taken up and put to work. Earlier I quoted Saint Augustine, who warned that “if, as time goes on, the * * * people become so corrupt as to sell their votes, and entrust the government to scoundrels and criminals; then the right of appointing their public officials is rightly forfeit to such a people, and the choice devolves to a few good men.” Whether most—or should I say “too many”—Americans are so corrupt as irretrievably to surrender their government to scoundrels and criminals is a matter that only the future can reveal. I, however, remain confident that Americans can and will prove to a doubting world that they are still capable of self-government, by actually governing themselves. The best way left to them to evidence their rectitude and resolve is to revitalize “the Militia of the several States” according to strict constitutional standards. No shortcuts. No compromises. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Patriotic Americans cannot improve on the determination expressed by the greatest of Indian patriots, Tecumseh: “Our lives are in the hands of the Great Spirit,” he said. “We are determined to defend our lands; and if it is His will, we wish to leave our bones upon them.”
One hopes that some of the people in this room will be among those who will do what is necessary. For part one click below.
here for part -----> 1,
© 2007 Edwin Vieira, Jr.
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Edwin Vieira, Jr., holds four degrees from Harvard: A.B. (Harvard College), A.M. and Ph.D. (Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), and J.D. (Harvard Law School).
For more than thirty years he has practiced law, with emphasis on constitutional issues. In the Supreme Court of the United States he successfully argued or briefed the cases leading to the landmark decisions Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, and Communications Workers of America v. Beck, which established constitutional and statutory limitations on the uses to which labor unions, in both the private and the public sectors, may apply fees extracted from nonunion workers as a condition of their employment.
He has written numerous monographs and articles in scholarly journals, and lectured throughout the county. His most recent work on money and banking is the two-volume Pieces of Eight: The Monetary Powers and Disabilities of the United States Constitution (2002), the most comprehensive study in existence of American monetary law and history viewed from a constitutional perspective. www.piecesofeight.us
He is also the co-author (under a nom de plume) of the political novel CRA$HMAKER: A Federal Affaire (2000), a not-so-fictional story of an engineered crash of the Federal Reserve System, and the political upheaval it causes. www.crashmaker.com
He can be reached at:
The only apparent “success” was the establishment of the League of Nations. But this was a success only for the proponents of “world government.” As such, it was a direct attack on America’s national independence.