May 23, 1995

Press Community Newspapers

Many people think that the Patriot and Militia members are crazy; that they’re a group of lawless anti-government lunatics just itching to go to war. Will the infamous Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) knock down their doors in the middle of the night and shoot anything that moves? This seems to be their standard procedure. Will we have another Waco here in Clermont County? Will Cincinnati be another Oklahoma City?

I’ve spoken to some Patriot and Militia members in Clermont County. They seem to be harmless. They have some interesting ideas. In fact, they believe in the teachings of some radicals from an earlier time. Unlike the Patriot and Militia members in Clermont County (to my knowledge), these radicals were wanted by the law for tax evasion, destruction of government property, insurrection, and other anti-government activities. The Patriot and Militia members give great credence to some of the writings of this earlier band of outlaws:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to another... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government... But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security...

Yes, these radicals were John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, et al. They signed The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. I can even think of one more radical, Jesus Christ, who was crucified for a number of alleged crimes against the state.

No, I don’t mean to suggest that the members of the Patriot and Militia groups should be held in the highest esteem. I am, however, suggesting that their rights should be respected. They deserve their freedom of speech, their right to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances. And like everyone else, when they break the law, they suffer the consequences. Additionally, “...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” (These rights are quoted from the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.)

The Oklahoma City bombing seems to be a direct result of the Waco massacre and the indirect result of the many other BATF atrocities. Many of the Patriot and Militia members believe that the government was behind the bombing in order to garner support for greater control over the people. Public opinion now seems to favor security over freedom. If the public makes the trade, they will have neither.

We currently have a democracy. Any government overthrow can and should be at the ballot box. If however, the Patriot and Militia groups are correct, the ballot box option won’t be around much longer. We will then have to join them to fight for the freedoms that we now enjoy and are slowly loosing. These people have many reasons for being paranoid. The following quotation gives me something to think about. It was written by Alexander Fraser Tytler (1748-1813) in his book: The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with a result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back into bondage.

Could we be nearing the beginning of the next American Revolution or Civil War? I hope not. I can only pray that the violence, of late, does not continue.


John E. Becker