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The Standing Armies of Yesterday and the Police State Today

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Darren Wolfe       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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Darren Wolfe gave this presentation at the Citizens for Liberty meeting on August 20, 2013 near Norristown, Pennsylvania. Below are links to source material so readers can do their own research and come to their own conclusions.
Many of the quotes used in the presentation are parts of essays or speeches that are well worth reading start to finish. This first series of quotes is from John Trenchard's 1697 book "An Argument Shewing, that a Standing Army is inconsistent with a Free Government, and absolutely destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy" (http://www.reformation.org/john-trenchard.pdf):
And if we enquire how these unhappy nations have lost that precious jewel liberty...we shall find their miseries...proceed from this, that their necessities or indiscretion have permitted a standing army to be kept amongst them...
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...no nation ever preserved its liberty, that maintained an army otherwise constituted within the seat of their government...

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...the Israelites, Athenians, Corinthians, Archaians, Lacedemonians, Thebans, Samnites, and Romans; none of which nations whilst they kept their liberty were ever known to maintain any soldiers in constant pay within their cities...

 It's the misfortune of all countries, that they sometimes lie under an unhappy
necessity to defend themselves by arms against the ambition of their
governors, and to fight for what is their own; for if a prince will rule us with a
rod of iron, and invade our laws and liberties...we...must patiently submit to our bondage, or stand upon our own defense; which if we are enabled to do, we shall never be put upon it...
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This subject is so self-evident, that I am almost ashamed to prove it: for if  look through the world, we shall find in no country, liberty and an army stand
together; so that to know whether a people are free or slaves, it is necessary
only to ask, whether there is an army kept amongst them?

The next quote is from John Trenchard's 1698 book "A SHORT HISTORY OF Standing Armies IN ENGLAND" (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Short_History_of_Standing_Armies_in_England):
I will venture to say, that if this Army does not make us Slaves, we are the only People upon Earth in such Circumstances that ever escaped it" If this Army does not enslave us, it is barely because we have a virtuous Prince that will not attempt it; and it is a most miserable thing to have no other Security for our Liberty, than the Will of a Man, though the most just Man living: For that is not a free Government where there is a good Prince (for even the most arbitrary Governments have had sometimes a Relaxation of their Miseries) but where it is so constituted, that no one can be a Tyrant if he would. Cicero says, though a Master does not tyrannize, yet it is a lamentable consideration that it is in his Power to do so; and therefore such a Power is to be trusted to none, which if it does not find a Tyrant, commonly makes one; and if not him, to be sure a Successor.
The last quote from John Trenchard's works is from Cato's letters No. 95 Further Reasonings against Standing Armies (http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1239&chapter=64519&layout=html&Itemid=27):
It is certain, that all parts of Europe which are enslaved, have been enslaved by armies; and it is absolutely impossible, that any nation which keeps them amongst themselves can long preserve their liberties; nor can any nation perfectly lose their liberties who are without such guests: And yet, though all men see this, and at times confess it, yet all have joined in their turns, to bring this heavy evil upon themselves and their country.
There are two quotes in the presentation from Patrick Henry's speech "Shall Liberty or Empire be Sought?" (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Henry%27s_speech_in_the_Virginia_Ratifying_Convention):
It is on a supposition that your American governors shall be honest that all the good qualities of this government are founded; but its defective and imperfect construction puts it in their power to perpetrate the worst of mischiefs should they be bad men; and, sir, would not all the world blame our distracted folly in resting our rights upon the contingency of our rulers being good or bad? Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt.

Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? You read of a riot act in a country which is called one of the freest in the world, where a few neighbors cannot assemble without the risk of being shot by a hired soldiery, the engines of despotism. We may see such an act in America. A standing army we shall have, also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny; and how are you to punish them? Will you order them to be punished? Who shall obey these orders?

No discussion of the police state these days is complete without mentioning Radley Balko's just published book " Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces ". A great article by the author offering a glimpse at what is in the book can be read here.  

During the question and answer portion of the night I brought up Edward Bernays' 1928 book "Propaganda". I highly recommend reading at least CHAPTER VI PROPAGANDA AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP (http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/bernprop.html#SECTION6)


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Darren Wolfe is the former Eastern Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. He presently blogs as the International Libertarian http://www.theinternationallibertarian.blogspot.com/ His articles have also appeared in Ammoland.com, (more...)

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