The Maniacs at MIAC

Reading "The Modern Militia Movement," the document from the Missouri Information Analysis Center that conflates constitutionalists with Neo-Nazis, I was reminded of a scene in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. When poor Henry David’s civil disobedience finally lands him behind bars, Ralph Waldo Emerson ruefully asks, "Henry!… What are you doing in jail?" To which Thoreau famously responds, "Waldo! What are you doing out of jail?"

Likewise, if your beliefs aren’t libeled in MIAC’s risible report … well, Waldo, why not? Those of the Founding Fathers certainly are.

We pay the salaries of MIAC’s bozos so they can spy on us — all to protect the homeland, of course. And these Nervous Nellies repay us by alleging that Americans who condemn gargantuan government like to hide in the tall grass, the better to ambush a cop. No wonder MIAC rescinded the report as Missouri’s politicians scrambled to distance themselves: its research, reasoning and wretched writing are so farcical they’d shame Inspector Clouseau, let alone the űber-sleuths MIAC’s bureaucrats fancy themselves.

MIAC is only one of the 58 "fusion centers" scattered across the country. Sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, these domestic espionage rings let "states and larger cities… share information and intelligence within their jurisdictions as well as with the federal government." Chillingly, while MIAC’s mischief preoccupies us, the other 57 quietly continue spying on their fellow citizens.

Many of the principles MIAC’s report denounced are the ideals to which the Founders pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. Which makes Thomas Jefferson, the "Indians" at Boston’s Tea Party, Francis Marion, Nathan Hale, the farmers and shopkeepers who starved at Valley Forge, Sam Adams and George Washington as suspect in MIAC’s eyes as Americans today who’d rather die on their feet than live on their knees.

Undergirding the report is MIAC’s redefinition of "militia." Like other fans of Big Daddy Government, MIAC pretends that "militia" refers to the State-subsidized and -supervised National Guard; Americans who arm themselves without official control are wackos bent on blowing up buildings.

Yet "militia" means all of us and our weapons at large, ready to defend ourselves from government, as opposed to that government’s paid, professional army. Virginia’s Richard Henry Lee understood that “militia are…in fact the people themselves." As the delegate who urged the Continental Congress to declare independence from the British Empire, Lee knew a thing or two about "preserving liberty." "Essential" to it, he said, was "that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike…how to use them." No doubt MIAC would assign a couple agents to monitor this angry white male 24/7.

The Founders’ conviction that only militia can keep government in its very limited place — cramped quarters without any room whatsoever for officers to spy on us — explains MIAC’s fear of guns and ammo. Over and over, it portrays armed Americans as violent freaks who have sustained a "blow" to their "sense of empowerment." Rubbish. Rather, they’re people who equate militia with freedom and governmental troops with dictatorship, as did Elbridge Gerry. This representative from Massachusetts explained during the Constitutional debates that militia "prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. … Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.”

MIAC also chides modern patriots for despising slavery, even after politicians rename it "universal service program" or "national civilian defense." Yep — and we’re with Patrick Henry when we spurn such shackles: "Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. … Give me liberty or give me death!" Were Henry declaiming now, MIAC would likely "detain" him.

MIAC’s hackles rise as well when we object to "the US Army NORTHCOM assigning homeland security functions to an active duty Infantry Brigade." So did Bostonians when Redcoats patrolled their city in the 1760s and ’70s. Soldiers stalking among civilians is always a recipe for tyranny — as MIAC surely knows.

Calling the New World Order what it is, dictatorship, brands you a paranoid nut in MIAC’s estimation. But modern patriots say with George Washington, "’Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world." Wanna bet MIAC would ship a troublemaker like George off to Gitmo?

Perhaps fearing its gravy train may end, MIAC is especially wired over "Tax Resistors" [sic for "Protestors"; Merriam-Webster agrees that "resistors" are shocking, but only electrically]. And yet the Founders were tax "resistors" to a man. They fought a Revolution over rates a mere fraction of today’s. Nor would they ever have tolerated wasting that money on "fusion centers" and surveillance of taxpayers.

Why do we?