B y E m i l F r a n z i
EVEN THOUGH I'VE always identified myself as a hard-line right-winger, I can't let left-liberals be the only folks taking on the self-appointed "militias."
Under what I believe to be the protections offered Americans under the Bill of Rights, specifically the First and Second Amendments, it's perfectly legal for a bunch of paranoid jack-offs in cammies to run around the countryside playing soldier and advocating whatever they want. It falls under the same heading as the ACLU helping Nazis march in Skokie. In a free society, this behavior is something we tolerate.
But tolerance does not, as with the ACLU and Nazis, mean acceptance.
Some definitions are required. The old, pre-William Buckley right in America stood for minimum government and individual freedom in most all matters. Its intellectual leaders were people like Albert J. Nock, Rose Wilder Lane, John T. Flynn and H.L. Mencken. It was bipartisan--Mencken was a life-long Democrat. He came from an era when the GOP was the big government party.
They shared a common dislike of FDR and the New Deal. One of Flynn's most telling books was As We Go Marching, subtitled America's Road to Fascism. Check out all the nice things FDR said about old Benito in the '30s (before he made book with Hitler) for verification of Flynn's thesis.
I stress this because we of the "Old Right" are tired of the erroneous classification of fascists and Nazis as right-wing groups. Nazi is an abbreviation for NSDAP--National Socialist German Workers Party. Sound like a conservative or libertarian bunch to you?
To the extent that some of the actions of some so-called militias can be compared to the Nazi movement--racist and thuggish--defines them as anti- not pro--American regardless of what symbols they use. And these attitudes set them far apart from the American conservative-libertarian tradition.
Simply disliking those in charge in Washington is neither unpatriotic nor "right-wing." President Bill Clinton and others are dead wrong when they say you cannot love your country and hate its government. How do they explain Conrad Adenaur, Charles DeGaulle and the guys who signed our Declaration of Independence?
While no one can totally analyze all the polyglot groups currently running under the heading "militias," some observations on the visible bunch up in Michigan apply to many others.
They're clowns. Pictures of their so-called "training camps" show us a bunch of lard-asses running around with weapons ranging from hunting rifles to old M-1 carbines to .22s. They don't look like they could handle a snowball fight with a Brownie Troop. That part about a "well-regulated militia" in the Second Amendment doesn't mean "the feds control it," but that everybody uses the same ammo, preferably in up-to-date military firearms.
And they're as hot to get on camera as any bush league politician, even when they tell you the people controlling the cameras are pinko scum. They even have a "Mission Statement." If there are any real ex-military involved with this sorry lot, they were probably mess hall cooks.
If their paranoia about federal control is accurate, then they've already been infiltrated by the FBI, BATF, etc. While we may give the FBI the benefit of the doubt about compliance with congressional directives concerning domestic surveillance, other federal police agencies--most notably the BATF--haven't given a rat's ass about or followed anybody's directives for years. Militias prancing around on camera are an open invitation that says, "Feds, come check us out." Which would seem to negate their very purpose. And if they can't grasp the potential threat from agent provocateurs, I suggest they ask a leftist--or maybe some of the local folks involved with the Sanctuary Movement. (Yes there are folks with a storm trooper mentality paid with our tax dollars.)
What these clowns do not have is any legitimacy as a militia, even though they've usurped both the title and the function. Contrary to liberal belief, the militia is not the National Guard. Those are simply state units under federal control. The militia, in the sense the framers understood it, is all of us.
We're supposed to stay armed in case it ever hits the fan. The point these self-appointed "militias" miss is that can only happen under the call of a local public official.
Governor Fife, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, one of the constables--somebody we got to vote for.
And then we get to elect our officers, not take orders from the self-appointed. These self-styled militias have no authority for squat. They represent only themselves, and they're nothing but an armed rabble.
Furthermore, should any of their paranoid ravings about blue-helmeted United Nations troops invading us ever come about, many of us have enough confidence in the local leaders we elected to not take that improbable usurpation sitting down. That's the purpose of the real militia--us.
But the fake "militias" aren't the only paranoid, anti-fed kooks in America. From Oliver Stone telling us the entire federal government conspired
to kill a president and then cover up the plot, to a popular TV series that has FBI agents investigating paranormal activities constantly thwarted by higher-ups who may be space aliens, to all those best-selling books and movies about rogue agencies and officials, we've got enough paranoia to fill the whole political spectrum. I will leave my liberal friends the opportunity to comment on what the movie JFK and the TV show X-Files have contributed to bad attitudes about the federal government. I'm here to beat up the folks who are supposed to be on my side.
Of course, they aren't on my side. At best they're an embarrassment, at worst a menace.
While they have a right to drill and preach, if any of these creeps are actually plotting to hurt folks in other than self-defense, then they ought to be busted, and quickly.
It's past time we on the real right made it clear that while we fully understand the constitutional safeguards that protect them, we are neither part of them, allied with them, nor do we owe them any respect.
| © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth