Skip to comments.Edwin Vieira on His New Book, 'The Sword and Sovereignty,' and Where the US Went Wrong
Posted on 02/10/2013 11:32:35 AM PST by B4Ranch
Daily Bell: Thanks for sitting down with us again. Let's jump right in with a discussion of your new book, The Sword and Sovereignty. Give us a synopsis, please. Where can people buy it?
Edwin Vieira: The Sword and Sovereignty is available at Amazon.com. It is a study of the actual constitutional "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" in the Second Amendment in its inextricable relation to "the Militia of the several States," as opposed to the historically inaccurate and legally indefensible so-called "individual right to keep and bear arms" on which almost all contemporary advocates of the Second Amendment fixate. I describe "the individual right to keep and bear arms" as legally indefensible because fundamentally it is a right in name only, inasmuch as it lacks an effective remedy if an highly organized and armed tyranny sets out to suppress it, whereas the true "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" exercised in the context of "well regulated Militia" is the Constitution's own preferred remedy against usurpation and tyranny in their every aspect. Even though the Second Amendment is very much the subject of contemporary political debate, I seem to be one of the very few commentators saying as much − which, in these days of rampant legal and political confusion, misinformation and disinformation, is probably very convincing evidence that I am correct.
In any event, The Sword and Sovereignty breaks down into four parts: First, an analysis of the correct manner of interpreting the Constitution. Second, an application of the rules of constitutional interpretation to the question of "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" in relation to "the Militia of the several States," elucidating the basic principles of the Militia through a thoroughgoing analysis of the pre-constitutional Militia statutes of the Colonies and independent States. Third, an application of the principles of the Militia, and especially of the duty (as well as the right) of all eligible Americans to be armed, to present-day problems of what is called "homeland security." And fourth, a warning that, should these principles not be applied in the very near future − immediately, if not sooner, as I like to put it − America will slip under the control of a national para-militarized police-state apparatus (which anyone with even the least insight should recognize is taking place at an ever-accelerating pace even as he reads these words). The book is heavily freighted with footnotes and endnotes identifying primary sources, so no one has to take my poor word alone for its premises and conclusions. (snip)
But now, with all of the brouhaha over new, draconian "gun-control" legislation in the States as well as in Congress, the very slow sale of, and dearth of commentary about, the CD is more than surprising. It is shocking, even appalling. Especially so when more and more commentators, bloggers, and others on the Internet are recognizing, and correctly so, that the ultimate purpose of the Second Amendment is not to protect hunters or target shooters, or even to enable individuals to protect themselves against common criminals but instead to enable common Americans to resist the political crimes of usurpation and tyranny. Which, I believe, the historical record proves beyond peradventure cannot be accomplished through the exercise of an "individual right to keep and bear arms," but rather demands collective action through "the Militia of the several States."
Daily Bell: What was the most interesting thing you discovered while researching the book?
Edwin Vieira: The extent and depth of the evidence for the construction of the Second Amendment and the Militia Clauses of the original Constitution, which The Sword and Sovereignty lays out. Over the years, I have studied many aspects of pre-constitutional legal history; but as to no other matter is the historical record as complete, consistent and compelling as it is with respect to the Militia. The evidence supports the conclusions in the book beyond a reasonable doubt, which is far more than can be said about such matters taken as "legal gospel" today as the reach of the Supreme Court's power of "judicial review" or of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause.
Daily Bell: What are some of the fundamental conclusions?
Edwin Vieira: There are far too many to compile here. The five most consequential for the average man's understanding of the present-day issue of "gun control" are that: (i) The maintenance of freedom depends inextricably upon the American people's collective participation in "well regulated Militia," not upon individual action; (ii) "A well regulated Militia" is composed of nearly all of the eligible adult residents in a State, who are required by law to serve; (iii) Every member of such a Militia (other than conscientious objectors) must be armed with one or more firearms, ammunition and accoutrements suitable for Militia service, all of which must always be maintained in his personal possession; (iv) Because two of the most important responsibilities of the Militia are to repel invasions by foreign countries and to put down domestic usurpation and tyranny by rogue public officials, every armed member of the Militia must be equipped with a firearm suitable for those specific purposes − which means a firearm equivalent to, if not better than, the firearms contemporary regular armed forces bear: that is, not just a semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifle in 5.56 x 45 (.223) or 7.62 x 39 caliber, but a fully automatic or burst-fire rifle, preferable in a caliber more effective than the latter calibers, such as 6.5 x 38 Grendel (which can be made to work reliably on an AR-15 or M-16 platform); and (v) because "the Militia of the several States" are State governmental institutions, no contemporary form of "gun control" can be applied to them or their members by either Congress or the States' legislatures. Rather, it is the duty of Congress and the States' legislatures to see that all members of the Militia are properly armed, not to any degree disarmed. That is, as to the Militia and their members (which includes essentially all adult Americans), all forms of contemporary "gun control," including those of the Feinstein and Cuomo patterns (to name two of the more infamous poster-children for "gun control"), are absolutely unconstitutional.
Daily Bell: From your perspective, a free people is an armed people?
Edwin Vieira: It has nothing whatsoever to do with my personal "perspective," or my "opinion," or my "view." The Constitution tells us, in no uncertain terms, that a "well regulated Militia" is "necessary to the security of a free State." This is a declaration of law and historical fact − as well as an admonition − set out in the supreme law of the land, and therefore from a strictly legal perspective to be accepted and acted upon. It is also a first principle or axiom of American political philosophy. Had I a different "perspective," "opinion," or "view," I should to that extent be an opponent of the Constitution. And if I were in a position to attempt to impose that different, anti-constitutional "perspective," "opinion," or "view" on the American people by enacting legislation and enforcing it against them through the threats and assaults of jack-booted, uniformed, para-militarized thugs, then I should be, as well, a traitor (in the strict sense in which the Constitution defines "Treason" in Article III, Section 3, Clause 1).
Daily Bell: How can people with guns hold off the tanks (or "non-lethal" weapons) of a repressive government?
Edwin Vieira: This is a complex question because it incorporates so many implicit, unexamined and likely false assumptions. It probably is true that, even though many in overall number, individuals acting only in isolation, without coordination or even a common plan, cannot hold off rogue armed forces or even police agencies that are armed only with small arms, let alone tanks and other heavy weaponry. But the desired goal is not necessarily to win an all-out, once-and-for-all nationwide firefight but instead to deter usurpation and tyranny at their onset and grind their perpetrators down even if they are initially successful.
If Militia exist which could effectively resist aspiring usurpers and tyrants to any degree for any length of time, the usurpers and tyrants will be compelled to think twice about attempting to repress the people. Indeed, under such circumstances, the regular armed forces and police may themselves fracture: some supporting the rogue regime, others supporting the people. And, in the long run, the armed forces and police that remain on the side of the usurpers and tyrants may prove unable to suppress the people, their supposedly superior weaponry notwithstanding.
Look at Afghanistan. In more than ten years, the armed forces of the United States and their puppet "coalition partners" have been unable to defeat a rag-tag people's army of cave-dwellers and primitive tribesmen armed with weaponry less effective than was used in World War I (no tanks, no planes, no heavy artillery, no poison gas and so on), in a land-locked country which receives no significant outside assistance.
Now, there are some 300 million people in the United States. Assume that 150 million are adults and that of these some 50 million, spread throughout a landmass than spans North America, would actively sympathize with and even personally participate in a resistance-movement. And remember that of these 50 million, most are already fairly well armed. The difficulty of suppressing this level of opposition, particularly when the resistance-fighters could directly attack the logistical support of the usurpers' and tyrants' puppet forces, would make Afghanistan look like a cakewalk.
Daily Bell: Do people need to form their own militias?
Edwin Vieira: If you mean do individuals need to form private militia, on their own, then the constitutional answer is an unequivocal NO. The constitutional Militia, "the Militia of the several States" incorporated in the original Constitution and the "well regulated Militia" to which the Second Amendment refers, are State governmental institutions or establishments. This is what imbues them with legal − indeed, constitutional − authority, which no private militia can possibly claim. Think about it: If the people on the south side of Main Street in Smalltown USA form their own private militia, and the people on the north side of Main Street form theirs, which one of them, perforce of its mere existence, can claim even a semblance of legal authority over the other, or over anyone else for that matter? Or are both of them − and any other armed groups that happen to coalesce in that area − of equal legal authority, so that no generally applicable system of law can be applied in that territory? In which case, one might conclude, there can be no legal authority there at all, just a multiplicity of Freikorps settling their inevitable differences by main force. Not a very pretty picture.
Daily Bell: What's your take on the current gun control controversy?
Edwin Vieira: The present controversy − at least as it is being mis-argued in the media, both mainstream and alternative − can basically be characterized as two huge gas-bags colliding head-on, but with no real harm possibly done by or to either because neither articulates the issue actually at stake.
If the problem is viewed from the constitutionally true perspective of the Militia, then "gun control" of the familiar contemporary variety must be seen as legally impossible and politically perverse. Any form of "gun control" is illegitimate, on its face, if its intent or effect is to any degree to disarm the Militia because the Second Amendment declares that "[a] well regulated Militia" is "necessary to the security of a free State," any attack upon which is precluded (and therefore unreasonable) as a matter of law. And the original Constitution incorporates the Militia as integral components of its federal structure, with which neither the General Government nor the States may dispense. That is the end of the matter. Any other supposed merits or demerits of a particular "gun-control" proposal are simply irrelevant. If it undermines the Militia − as all contemporary "gun-control" schemes do, and are objectively intended to do − then such a scheme is out of bounds, absolutely and irretrievably. Period.
On the other hand, if the problem is viewed from the constitutionally false perspective of "the individual right to keep and bear arms," then "gun control" becomes a matter of what can be deemed "reasonable" in relation to something other than the maintenance of the Militia and "the security of a free State." Something, perhaps, with highly emotional appeal, such as guaranteeing the supposed "safety" of children from irresponsible, criminal, or insane individuals who somehow get their hands on guns. If "gun control" is aimed only at curtailing some vague "individual right" entirely separate from the Militia and the maintenance of "a free State" (which is inextricably tied to the Militia, not to any "individual right"), then why is it not perfectly "reasonable" to prohibit the possession of some sorts − indeed, many or even most sorts − of firearms, by some or even many sorts of putatively "dangerous" people, as long as individuals not within the prohibited classes are left with a few firearms with which arguably they can defend themselves as individuals against adventitious attacks by common criminals?
Why, the Feinsteins and Cuomos of this benighted country may ask with some semblance of cogency, does anyone "need" a supposedly dangerous semi-automatic rifle if he is not a member of an official institution with the responsibility to repel invasions (such as the Army) − which, according to the dogma of "the individual right to keep and bear arms," most individuals are not? Conversely, if one is a member of such an institution − as most adult Americans are (or should be) with respect to the Militia − then the question the Feinsteins and the Cuomos pose lacks not simply cogency but even logic and legitimacy. It becomes a question which might be asked appropriately in North Korea but never here in America.
Daily Bell: What's the most critical problem facing America right now? Previously you claimed it was authoritarianism and a growing police state.
Edwin Vieira: Claimed?! I have "claimed" nothing. As a political and legal scientist, I have observed and reported on my observations, which is an entirely different matter. Moreover, anyone who cannot and does not make the selfsame observations needs to have his political eyes examined.
America's national para-military police state is not simply "growing"; it has grown to fantastic proportions. Why else do you imagine that I am devoting the last years of my life to promoting the revitalization of the Militia? Nostalgia for the by-gone Colonial era? When the Executive Department of the General Government declares, as it has today, that nameless, faceless bureaucrats can order the assassinations of Americans, anywhere in the world, on the basis of the mere suspicion that the targets are somehow allied with "terrorists" or other "enemies," and no other department of the General Government or the States at any level of the federal system challenges that declaration, then America has degenerated into a politically putrescent state beyond mere "authoritarianism." This condition constitutes a species of legal nihilism with which, heretofore, only monsters such as Caligula and Hitler were associated. For if one's life can be stripped from him under such circumstances, what other rights does he retain? None, as all rights inevitably depend upon the right to life itself. And if such an individual − indeed, every American − retains no rights, because the theory of "official assassinations" embraces essentially anyone and everyone who might be denounced from within the bowels of the bureaucracy as an "enemy combatant," then what limits exist to rogue public officials' powers? None. This is totalitarianism with a vengeance. (snip
What I can’t stand about libtard logic is the 2nd Amendment is clear, in your face, plain language that the constitution protects people’s right to self-defense (a God-given pre-existing right), and the words are actually there, as well as the Federalist papers and the writings of others explaining exactly what they believed about the 2nd Amendment,
and yet libtards question it and ask does it really mean what it says - because they don’t want it to mean individuals having the right to protect themselves,
but then at the same time they invent the right to abortion under the “right to privacy” which is not worded that way, nor is explicitly stated anywhere in the constitution or amendments,
and continue to scream that the right to abortion is in there.
Going on written evidence, they oppose a right explicitly written in the constitution, but affirm a “right” that has zero wording but a court 200 years later invents.
A clear example of hypocritical libtard logic.
It proves libtard logic is just whatevever they want, they rationalize to justify, and whatever they don’t like, they rationalize to reject - and in either case, whatever opposing evidence to their viewpoint, they ignore.
SCOTUS actually heard this argument but the proponents cannot explain the commentaries behind the 2nd Amendment proposers which had nothing to do with state militias but individual right to own firearms. Liberals still have not figure out why the SCOTUS ruled it as an individual right like voting.
Hint: hinges around “THE PEOPLE”.
Can’t have a militia without THE PEOPLE.
Free people can defend themselves. And have the means to defend themselves.
2nd Amendment Bump...
His "Pieces of Eight" and other books are excellent sources for information on that subject.
The Preamble to the Bill of Rights needs to be included in these discussions.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.