Free Society

I came out–Fighting

(c) 2012  Earl L Haehl Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

Let me put this in perspective.  I write as loboviejo because I like the concept of being an old wolf–there is a great deal of wisdom in a council of wolves.  I consider the three little pigs to be feral swine.

There is a great debate going on in this country right now.  We are being led by an establishment that wants to continue the travel into a totalitarian world government with the kleptocracy of the UN Secretariat at the center.   And there are some working specifically for the dictatorship of the proletariat to run this country.  They attack capitalism which has not really existed in this country since the Coolidge administration.

So the Washington Post is covering the DISCLOSE Act debate.  The gist of it is that the Republicans are blocking the transparency needed to make politics accountable.  What they are attempting to block is a bill that would create an “enemies list” for any president.  No amount of spending or advocacy is going to neutralize the inherent advantage of incumbency–the only way for a challenger to get that much coverage would be to get pulling off the heist of the Century and Ben Bernanke already did that.

So the comments are basically the glories of transparency versus the evil Republicans who probably get billions in undisclosed….   Let’s be real.  Harry Reid wants power.  Harry Reid wants to know who is giving money to opponents of his program.  Same with Barack Obama.   Same with any number of incumbents.

So here is my comment.

Here is the deal. There organizations on both sides of the political spectrum who engage in harassment of those they disagree with. Some have been known to enter upon private property to intimidate the family of an executive of a company they disagree with. President John Adams sent thugs to “punish” opponents of his war and even those who dared insult his management style. Richard Nixon had a list of enemies whom he attempted to bring down the powers of the Government on. Abraham Lincoln had opponents jailed.

Anonymity is a tradition in American politics from Silence Dogood and Poor Richard to “an Englishman” to Publius, Cato and Brutus. I see no reason for the FEC to collect an enemies list for whoever gets elected. I will make this easy for the Progressives. My name is Earl Haehl, my blog is, I am a Republican and I oppose any assault on the Bill of Rights.

Ultimately the fight is one that will go to the side with the most popular support–the Supreme Court has the tradition of Hugo Black opposing any infringement on the first amendment alongside the tradition of William O Douglas who had a much looser definition of necessity.

Free Society

Direct Democracy

(c) Earl L. Haehl  Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

“Blue laws” are a product, not of the tyrannical monarchy or the state church, but of the Puritan opposition and the dissenters in England as well as the direct democracy of New England Town Meetings. And the town meeting came from the dissenters and the Mayflower Compact.

The dissenters we think of as so noble in their quest were the Separatists of Scrooby who were generally left alone in England—Anglicans of the time did not care if the scruffy dissenters did not show up and drag mud into the Church—but were taxed anyway. They did object to the ostentation of the Establishment in dress and manners which might lead their children astray. We see similar traits in the German Anabaptist groups in this country who worry about their youth “marrying English.” They were equally or possibly more upset in Holland because of the idle games the Dutch (Nederlander) children played. So in 1620 they headed to the new world to find “religious freedom.” That last statement was a T/F question—the answer is F. They came to Plymouth to establish their own religion as the authority. The colony was divided into “saints and strangers.” No one referred to the as Pilgrims before the 19th Century—though I can imagine John Wayne as Miles Standish talking to Jimmy Stewart as John Alden. The strangers comprised about two thirds of the Plymouth “plantation” but were subject to the rules of the saints. (And some of their descendents get upset over the concept of Sharia.)

About ten years later the Puritans came to Boston and founded the Massachusetts Bay colony. My ancestors came with that group—hard, disciplined Puritans made their stern imprint on New England. They were technically Anglicans but eventually split into Congregationalists, Unitarians and some decided to return to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London.

The Separatists sort of merged into the more dominant population. And the proponents of “religious freedom” banished Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams to Rhode Island to die—they did not have electroshock or mental hospitals. The good folk (John Alden for example) also executed Baptists and Quakers.

The unique governmental structure coming out of this is the Town Meeting. In many towns, the Meeting House was also the Congregational Church early on before disestablishment. The Blue Laws came from local ordinances in New England’s small towns—some were transferred to the new states by New Englanders who traveled west and took their attitudes and customs along. (The same problem exists today when some of the California refugees want to bring along the social legislation and the initiative that caused their tax problems where they came from.) My son has told me there is no greater tyranny than the New England Town Meeting.

Here is how it works. Majority vote at the meeting determines ordinances, budgets etc. The town meeting participatory democracy. And it has lasted as long as it has because it is part of the culture. The Congregational churches operated the same way. Prior to the American Revolution at least two Congregational ministers, Solomon Palmer and Samuel Seabury, lost their congregations and decided to take Anglican orders. Some found other jobs. Today a United Church of Christ minister has other options, but the congregation still has power to choose.

Citizenship, Education, Free Society, Preparedness

“Well-regulated Militia” in search of Definition

This piece appeared in my now-defunct newsletter POST1791 with my copyright(C) Earl L. Haehl 2011.  This may be printed in its entirety provided full attribution is given.  Book rights remain reserved.

The term, “well-regulated militia” is one of the most misunderstood in the Constitution of the United States. The opponents of firearms ownership tie the bearing of arms to participation in a “state militia” which is regulated by acts of the legislature and finds itself defined as the National Guard. In some of my earlier writings I have discovered that I at one point subscribed to that interpretation having been influenced by my eighth grade US history teacher. Why Madison used this phrase instead of quoting the Virginia Declaration of Rights language is one of those mysteries probably best explained by his tendency to compromise.

As a cadet I was subjected to a manual known as FM 22-5 Drill and Ceremonies and spent several hours a week engaged in close order drill, with and without weapons. The repetition trained my muscles to respond to the point that when my son showed up with a surplus Garand I immediately did inspection arms, closed the weapon, returned to order arms and did the seventeen count silent manual. I just sort of got caught up in the spirit of the thing and what I had not done in 30+ years came back like riding a bike. Now, if I could just see targets like I did back then.  We were taught that this would teach us to obey orders and watching the drill team was impressive as they moved in precision to sharp commands. I was not on the drill team for the same reason that I tended to avoid school dances which is that I was much more comfortable with a slide rule than with my feet but I continued to drill as I was assigned.

The training taught us to face right, left, oblique right, oblique left, and rear. We also learned to march in formation in those same directions. We marched in quick time and double time and learned that you march out of step on bridges so as not to create the vibrations that cause the bridge to give way. We did not learn the slow ceremonial march which burial details use in ceremonies. Our step was thirty inches which made an equilateral triangle with my 30 inch inseam. And we marched crisply, each cadet moving in concert with the rest. The was called regular pace. FM 22-5 has a lineage that goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War Drill Manual which brings us to the meaning of it all.

The way it happened is this. The Kings soldiers were regular, disciplined, full time soldiers—the thin red line of literature. They would march compactly into the field, break into two lines, the front kneeling, the rear standing. With the Enfield Brown Bess musket, they were able in an efficient amount of time to begin laying alternate volleys of fire to the point they could fire up to six volleys a minute. This made the regulars a killing machine.

The hapless colonials, on the other hand tended to walk onto the field, line up and sort of fire at will. This was not a killing machine but a bunch of slow moving targets. Little wonder that during the early years of the Revolution the Colonial victories were few and they amounted to guerrilla raids in lesser populated areas, and the occasional picking off of a few red-coated troops on the march. Contrary to what the militia advocates say when knocking back a Bud, the Pennsylvania long rifle did not exist in sufficient numbers to make a difference except on the frontier. They were slow to load and had to be fitted by hand—the British had stifled industry in the colonies.

Enter the Prussian! In 1777 the Compte St Germain introduced Dr Franklin to an out of work Prussian aristocrat named Frederich Wilhelm von Steuben who styled himself as a Lieutenant General and a baron. Von Steuben was neither a baron nor a general officer and had a checkered past, but Franklin engaged in a policy of don’t-ask-don’t-tell and sent the Prussian to General Washington with a letter of introduction.  Washington made  Steuben a major general and put him in charge of turning colonials into soldiers. If any European army was a match for the redcoats it was the Prussian.  In fact, the British and Prussians were reluctant to engage each other preferring war with the French or Austrians. To do this  Steuben wrote the Revolutionary War Drill Manual and began training sergeants—an accomplishment that has imprinted FM 22-5 and the drill sergeant on my non-military brain.

Thus began a slow building, unit by unit, of a colonial army. While some on the frontier had some experience fighting the hit and run attacks of Indians and reciprocating those attacks, the folks on the coast where the fighting was heaviest were not as proficient. Also, contrary to the views of some of my friends who watch a lot of movies, experience in low intensity conflict does not translate to fighting against a real army.

In the Carolinas, Francis Marion provided a hit and run diversion for Tarlton and Cornwallis. This gave General Greene time to move his army into position. The song goes, “Corwallis led a country dance, the like was never seen, sir/ Much retrograde and much advance, and all with General Greene, sir.” The day came when, as the King’s Regulars approached, Col Dan Morgan instructed the untrained militia to fire two rounds and retreat on command. The King’s troops marched into the clearing, the militia fired two volleys and retreated. The redcoats, sensing an opportunity to pursue and slaughter, broke ranks to do so. They pursued as far as the next clearing where Morgan’s “regulars” were waiting with their own Brown Bess and Charleville muskets, in a formation capable of firing up to six volleys a minute. The rout turned out to be the other direction. It was happening all over the colonies. This particular rout lasted a good distance as Lord Cornwallis kept retreating from Green to a position where he found himself confronted by General Washington’s regular army at a place called Yorktown. It had taken five and a half years since von Steuben’s arrival but the colonials were going head to head with some of the finest soldiers and mercenaries in the world.

This is not to denigrate other factors such as the length and inadequacy of supply lines or the effects of the nascient navy on disrupting the seaways. But it was not until there was a well-regulated army that the victories began coming.

So when the anti-federalists clamored for a Bill of Rights they were armed with language drafted by George Mason. Section 13 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights reads as follows:

SEC. 13. That a well-regulated militia, or composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Madison was also aware of Alexander Hamilton’s objection to a general, undisciplined militia on the grounds that they would be ineffective. For this reason the final language used the term well-regulated militia. The idea was that citizens would gather on the green and drill on a regular basis after which they would repair to the pub for fellowship. This unorganized militia was to be the basis of defense. While this may sound somewhat naïve and archaic, it was a response to having a standing army in the midst of the population to enforce the will of an oppressive government, remembering that these amendments came from the anti-federalist faction.

The Militia Act of 1792, Passed May 8, 1792, providing federal standards for the organization of the Militia was an attempt to standardize the requirements of citizens with the ideal being a musket in every dwelling. The first section of this act reads:

I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act. And it shall at all time hereafter be the duty of every such Captain or Commanding Officer of a company, to enroll every such citizen as aforesaid, and also those who shall, from time to time, arrive at the age of 18 years, or being at the age of 18 years, and under the age of 45 years (except as before excepted) shall come to reside within his bounds; and shall without delay notify such citizen of the said enrollment, by the proper non-commissioned Officer of the company, by whom such notice may be proved. That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. That the commissioned Officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger, and espontoon; and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets from arming the militia as is herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound; and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.

This is a fairly comprehensive detail of what Congress wanted. As a practical matter it was never enforced and militiamen, when they did show up for call, brought what they had. Quakers and Anabaptists were exempted and the Act was finally replaced by the National Guard Act of 1900 which created the structure we operate under today.

During the undeclared naval war with France, Hamilton served as John Adams’ general-in-chief and formed a small national army. But Hamilton was unfortunately not around in 1814 when “his” regular army was routed from the national capital and the redcoats made the assessment that the defenders of Baltimore were merely militia. As the song goes. “O thus be it ever where free men shall stand, between their loved homes and the War’s desolation….” The militia prevailed because they drilled like Prussians and they deployed firepower like Prussians.

So, should everyone arm themselves and train under FM 22-5? I know there was a version when my son was in basic training in 1989. But the answer is probably not close order drill—how do you do a manual of arms with some of these weapons. Even when I did the cadet thing in the early sixties we marched because it looked good to the community and gave the appearance of leadership while we studied how to win World War II. The current high school cadet programs do close order drill and “leadership” training with the occasional recruitment pitch. Nor was it the marksmanship training that is critical. It was the occasional field maneuvers that went with instruction in small unit tactics.

The technology of warfare has changed since 1783. The idea is the same but the regular movements now involve armor, cover, concealment and firepower. There is even a new rifle that does not need to be aimed directly in development. And there is use of remotely controlled drones. I remember an interview done with General of the Army Omar Bradley in the late sixties, early seventies time period. He was asked whether the Air Force and missile programs had made the Army obsolete. What he said was that unless Infantry has actually occupied ground you have not achieved the mission.

A note here: firepower is a term used in small unit tactics regarding the concentration of fire from multiple sources, not the number of rounds in a particular magazine. The volleys of the redcoats were firepower. The rifled muskets at Anteitam were capable of causing more casualties in four hours then all the modern full auto weapons in Afghanistan since 2002.

Therefore, a well-regulated militia is an armed and well-trained society. While there are those who say modern armies, etc, have made the militia obsolete, I would point out that the decision by the Japanese not to invade the mainland United States was based on the perception of a fully armed population and the experiences they had in the Aleutians with the native population who were armed with .30-30 hunting rifles.

A note here on my qualifications to write this article. In addition to study of the history of conflict and degree in English, I do have a law degree and took coursework in Constitutional Law from Lawrence Velvel and Paul Wilson. I also learned to read from the same sources as late eighteenth century politicians, namely the 1611 Authorized Version of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.


A quick trip from Locke and Smith to Keynes and Krugman

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

This is part of a manifesto I was writing before I realized I’m too old to lead a social movement.

A free society depends, not upon its political class, but on a general understanding of its principles by the majority.  These principles do not reflect entitlements or “goodies” but rather opportunity and duty.

Along with the so called Tea Party, I believe we need to cut the power in Washington and the power to Washington.  We are engaged in a domestic battle which so far involves attempted government takeovers of health care, banking, education and industry.  There is also an attempted takeover of our Constitution which has been going on since 1901 with the repeal of the Militia Act of 1792.  Since 1968 there has been an increased attempt to federalize and militarize law enforcement.  But this goes back to the Benjamin Harrison/Grover Cleveland era and anti-trust legislation.
Progressives love the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and Alexander Hamilton. What they ignore is the agenda of Hamilton and Madison in the commerce clause itself. What Alexander Hamilton and James Madison wanted in the Commerce Clause was elimination of barriers to trade among the States–to be specific the states having power to restrict, whether by tariff or prohibition or unreasonable regulation, the lawful movement of goods from one location to another.  The example was that New York could not grant a preferred status to goods from New Jersey as opposed to Connecticut or Delaware by means of tariff and excise.  It had nothing to do with Federal Regulation of hours of work, wages or other terms and conditions of employment.  It had nothing to do with the regulation of sales of firearms or ammunition to individuals, with a federal scheme of licensing and regulating dealers, with regulation of medical equipment, with federal regulation of pharmaceuticals and the food supply.
If we go back to the areas for takeover, we can examine each.  We must realize that much of the industrial and banking infrastructure predates the progressive movement which some trace to Thomas Woodrow Wilson’s essay on the transcendent constitution.  It even predates Lincoln and the Transcontinental Railroad, as well as the Land Management Act.
Hamilton believed in the free flow of commerce to the extent that he supported the Democratic Republican/Clintonian candidate, Morgan Lewis, over the Democratic Republican/Federalist candidate, Aaron Burr.  Burr was of the Federalist faction like Hamilton, but had allied himself with the secessionist faction within the faction.  Hamilton realized that the dream of free commerce would be destroyed by a breakup of the Union and therefore he supported the successor of his old political enemy George Clinton.  There was bad blood between Hamilton and Burr regarding their banking rivalries–Burr’s family had incorporated the Manhattan company to provide water to Manhattan, but had also gotten authorization to issue notes.  They were on opposite sides of the National Bank debate.
Hamilton also believed in the excise power of the government.  He was influential in getting Congress to pass the gallonage tax on production of whiskey in 1791.  This was a cause of the 1794 Whiskey Insurrection.  In his papers he claims credit for inciting the rebellion because he felt it would demonstrate the inadequacy of reliance on militias rather than a national army.  The performance of Governor Lee and the combined militia force supplied by Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut disproved this on a small scale.  The excise power has been the subject of much mischief over the years as well as the commerce clause.
While this seems a digression, the study of history cannot be complete without the dots to connect unless you have a coloring book where the colors show up when you brush water on the sheet.  Much of the history taught in schools follows this latter pattern with the dyes drawn into the paper by leftist interpreters. The national bank proposal of Hamilton, for example, was only the first of many resulting in the Federal Reserve in 1913.  Hamilton, while a financial player, would probably not recognize the Creature from Jekyll Island.  Nor for that matter would Nicholas Biddle, David Crockett, William Henry Harrison or other 19th Century Whigs.
So let us start with the regulation of banking, Wall Street, mortgages, credit cards, etc. Back in the seventies and eighties (the 1980s–I’m not that old) there was a crisis in agricultural property foreclosures.  The banks were generally willing to work with the farmers but FmHA wanted to clean the books.  As usual Congress acted with the Emergency Farm Mortgage Act to help farmers delinquent on mortgages through the Farm Credit Service.
The fact is that a lot of farmers lost their land anyway.  An exception is that German anabaptist farmers (Mennonites, Amish, Brethren, Hutterites) did not have delinquencies or foreclosures because they avoided major debt.  They were able to purchase some foreclosed land which temporarily caused some resentment among the “English.”  This is an example of the banks following social mandates in lending and then having negative consequences for which they are blamed.  The primary culprits in the recent “mortgage meltdown” are the quasi-governmental twins (Freddie and Fannie) and the “affordable housing movement” which had the effect of putting people into properties they could not afford.
A friend of mine, the late John R Kuefel, observed that the whole federal loan program of student, home and business loans has the result of placing large numbers of individuals in a state of villeinage.  Villeins were indebted individuals whose freedom was limited by those holding the debts.  They were outside of society and considered to be of a criminal class, hence the term “villain.”  As an experiment try getting an exit visa or visa waiver to leave the United States if you are delinquent on a student loan.  For an example of the impact of villeinage on a society, read up on the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.
Back in the eighties the Kansas Legislature passed a law requiring that the state pension fund make investments to increase local business development in Kansas.  Mainly they were looking a urban based development that was having trouble getting funding in the private market.  A number were also associates of the governor and legislators sponsoring the program.  The executive secretary of the pension fund recommended strongly against the legislation because it would compromise the fiduciary integrity of the system.  When, as usual, this turned out badly, the executive secretary took the fall.  A law professor with an impeccable reputation as a judge and cabinet officer (for the governor who supported and signed the bill) was appointed to investigate.  Charges were brought against some businessmen for defrauding the fund.  No culpability was assigned to either the governor or legislators who promoted the bill that opened the system up to the scam.
Pension funds took a hit in 2009 when the Obama Administration interjected itself into the bankruptcy proceedings of General Motors and Chrysler with proposals that benefited the United Auto Workers union to the detriment of stockholders.  The new beneficiaries are the “stakeholders” preferred by the regulating power.  Among the preferred stockholders who got left out were pension funds that are heavy investors.  There is a movement to nationalize all private and state pension funds.
Stock brokers began to be regulated after the “crash” of 1929 when the Federal Reserve, without a signal from the economy jacked up interest rates.  There was a panic on Wall Street and some of the reverberations came from the turning bones of Alexander Hamilton in the church yard at Broad and Wall.  The “crash” however did not start the Great Depression other than being about 17 months prior to the recession of 1931, the proximate cause of which was Smoot-Hawley tariff act.   As the recession was beginning to abate, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office with a plan that involved Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins and National Recovery Administrator Hugh S. Jackson.  Their approach to the ills of the country was a massive set of federal agencies and regulations based on The Corporate State by Benito Mussolini.  The Commerce Clause ceased to be about the free flow of goods and services, and more about federal power to intervene in the employer-employee relationship.    This view of the Commerce Clause is best epitomized by William O. Douglas and William J. Brennan.  Brennan expanded his view of the Commerce Clause to include state and local governmental activities as “commerce.”
The twentieth century was all about War.  In 1898, the United States Congress, at the behest of William Randolph Hearst and Assistant (read Acting) Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, declared war on Spain.  Roosevelt involved himself in the Cuba campaign which also doubled as the beginning of his campaign for Governor of New York.  McKinley was not in favor of a war but Congress declared it and at least he had Roosevelt out of his cabinet.  Roosevelt was planning to run for reelection for governor but the powers that be decided he could do less damage as vice president.  Unfortunately for the establishment, McKinley was assassinated and TR became a reality to be dealt with.  He continued the occupation of the Philippines, created the general staff, and sent the Great White Fleet around the world.  He was prepared to use the Marines to protect Panama’s “independence” to build a canal across the isthmus.  Out of the malaria that plagued the workers came the Public Health Service.  “I took the Canal Zone and let Congress debate about me.”
While there was a four year lag in the “progressive” movement under William Howard Taft. Then in 1913 Thomas Woodrow Wilson came into office largely as a result of the “Bull Moose” campaign of TR that took electoral votes and made Taft the second incumbent in history to come in third.  Wilson soon had the Federal Reserve act, the ratification of the income tax, the ratification of direct election of Senators, and troops in Mexico.
The sixteenth amendment says, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” This basically gives the government the means to expand without raising tariffs and to engage in military adventurism,  The Wilson administration was responsible for the occupation of Mexico, our involvement in World War I, and the 1920 invasion of the Soviet Union to interfere with the Bolshevik revolution.  Also on the plate were the Sedition Act of 1917 and the Intelligence Bureau (modeled after the Soviet Cheka) to break up socialist and anarchist gatherings.
The post war economic downturn was due to loss of about 40 percent of the industrial work force between the “Great War” and the Camp Funston flu.  The first outbreak of the 1918 flu was at Camp Funston, Kansas.  What the government did about this downturn was, in a word, nothing.  The recession ran its course and by 1925, America was back at full production.  Admiral Yamamoto who took his master’s degree at Harvard warned Japan that America would ultimately triumph because of industrial might.
But after eight years of limited government in the twenties, the United States turned to Herbert Hoover, a Rooseveltian progressive.  Since that time the power struggle has basically been between styles of progressivism.  Kennedy and Reagan were Rooseveltian progressives (TR) with some conservative and occasional libertarian tendencies.  But it has been a steady movement of more alphabet soup agencies and restrrictions for the good of the people.   Remember castor oil?  It was part of every grandmother’s medicine chest and it was derived from the toxic castor bean,
So that is how we get from John Locke and Adam Smith to the disciples of John Maynard Keynes, J.K. Galbraith and Paul Krugman.