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A domestic army

Browsing Instapundit this morning, I found this link to this video…


Commenter Alisa contributed a link that includes a pointer to the Homeland Security Grant Application (PDF) by the Concord police department.

Section 1 B begins:

Application to purchase BearcatSection 1B

It would be interesting to hear the specifics of what kind of “active and present daily challenges” the Free Staters constitute.

38 comments to A domestic army

  • Paul Marks

    Meanwhile New Hampshire (once the Granite State – rock ribbed conservative) has a Democrat Governor and is accepting the Medicaid extension of Obamacare.

    There are lots of good people in New Hampshire – but they LOSE almost every election time now.

    The “building of the domestic army and the shrinking of the military” is being done by Barack Obama who the people of New Hampshire voted for TWICE.

    The education system (even some of the supposedly private schools and universities) and the establishment media (everything bar the Manchester Union Leader) carry a lot more weight than a good speech.

    Without an anti leftist cultural foundation it is hard to oppose the power of the left (that is what Frank “Fusion” Meyer understood), and New Hampshire (like the rest of the North East) lacks that anti leftist cultural foundation.

    The Frankfurt School Marxists (the P.C. or “critical theory” types) understand this well – undermine the cultural foundations (as with attacks in Britain, whether media from “That Was The Week That Was” in the early 1960s onwards – or education system) and the rest is easy.

    As the New Hampshire resident Mark Steyn points out……

    Want to find somewhere in the United States that will resist the left?

    Then find a place where the (evangelical) churches are full, there are many children (born from married parents) and the people speak in a different accent to the media and academic elite, and like different music, food (and so on).

    Does this apply to New Hampshire?

    No it does not – no wonder even an Right-To-Work law (to limit union power) appears impossible to pass there.

    Still things may yet change.

    Obamacare is yet to fully hit.

    If it (the harm it will do) can not break through the conditioning (brain washing) of the education system and the msm – then nothing can.

  • Alas I think this is very symptomatic a greater malaise.

  • Laird

    No, Perry, I think it is something else, and much worse. This is part of the growing militarization of local police forces, which not only creates a “domestic army” (something which is expressly prohibited under the Constitution) having nationally standardized weapons, equipment and training, but also causes a separation of the police from the citizenry and fosters an “us versus them” mentality. We see this in the proliferation of SWAT teams in tiny towns across the country, and their use in situations where there is no legitimate need. This is not part of a “greater malaise”, it is a calculated action on the part of a federal government which is growing increasingly frightened of the citizenry. As well they should be.

  • More info here – it makes clear that they specifically target libertarians and free-staters.

  • Midwesterner

    What jumped out at me when I first saw the video was when the retired colonel said (the transcript is in Alisa’s link):

    The way we do things in the military is called “task organization.” You take a command and then you attach units to it in order to accomplish the mission. What’s happening is, Homeland Security is pre-staging gear, equipment. What they’re trying to do is use standardized vehicles, standardized equipment.

    The Orwellian sounding Department of Homeland Security is creating standardized military units that can be attached to the DHS central command that report to the President.

    At this point, I’m wondering if the National authorities either don’t trust the National Guards to obey or they consider them inadequate to enforce nationally imposed martial law. The entire dynamic is both confusing and very unsettling.

  • As the NH state government clearly regards the Free Staters as a threat and wants to acquire armoured vehicles to use against them in the future…just a hypothetical threat of course… I urge Free Stater’s to fire up their search engine of choice and look up Improvised Explosive Device and study them… just hypothetically, of course.

  • Mr Ed

    The Soviet Union had a plethora of police organisations, latterly the KGB, with nine military districts on the frontiers of the USSR and Frontier Troops, the separate MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) with its own light army units (they controlled the ammunition on major army bases, the camps) and the Militia who were akin to a regular police. The KGB had their own units in the Armed Forces of the USSR (five branches, they had the World to liberate), and the idea was that there was a balance to the Army (and Armed Forces) and also division of the police power to prevent any one branch being too powerful.

    However, in my view, the domestic police powers in the US are so great with so many laws that can be used against people that it seems to be simply a matter of chance or clout that keeps people out of prison. Waco was more than 20 years ago, and that was a shocking incident that raises little more than a murmur or derision to all bar a few.

    Douglas Adams put the problem into Ford Prefect’s mouth in talking about the Krikkit wars. “They care, we don’t, they win”.

  • Richard Thomas

    Perry, it might not be advisable to do that at work. Or possibly even at all. Will we see a return to hand-copied documents being passed around? Or maybe thumb-drives.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed (indeed everyone) – Americans do not, yet, have to die fighting to restore their liberties.

    They could vote for Rand Paul in 2016 – in the Primary contests and the general election and back libertarian minded candidates for the House and Senate also.

    “Voting can not restore liberty” – such a sentiment makes defeat certain indeed.

    If people will not even vote for liberty (for a roll back of government power) then they do not deserve liberty.

    They are not being asked to die in a mess of their own blood, vomit and excrement – they are just being asked to vote for people who want to reverse the Barack Obama-Chris Christie (for it is bipartisan) “Security State”.

    Such candidates are available – if the people will not support them, they (the people) deserve all they are going to get.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “Voting can not restore liberty” – such a sentiment makes defeat certain indeed.

    If people will not even vote for liberty (for a roll back of government power) then they do not deserve liberty.

    But, but, but–Paul–what about Rational Ignorance?

    Is this not a swell new* theory formulated and promulgated by the best and brightest among many of those “economists” and “philosophers”whom even “libertarians” consider worth their attention?

    . . .

    *Well–maybe I’ll take back the claim of “new.” I used to hear this idea bandied about by the Overwhelmed Voter over 50 years ago, on essentially the same grounds.

  • Paul Marks

    Good point Julie.

    One vote is not going to sway an election – and each person has only one vote out of tens of millions.

    So the person who looks after his home and garden and knows nothing about politics is far more rational than someone who spends their time in the study of policy (which they have no influence upon) and lets their domestic life fall apart.

    Rational – and lethal. As it dooms the Res-Publica.

    This is where the intellectuals were supposed to come in – people who had the time to study policy (indeed study was their job) and to explain matters to the public.

    However, “the treason of the intellectuals” (in both the education system and the press) destroyed this.

    The intellectuals tried to go beyond human reason – and fell below it.

  • Paul Marks

    Even the most basic points of logic (such as “either the commodity is the money – or it is not”) are rejected by the modern intellectuals – including so called “free market” ones.

  • Julie near Chicago

    You only have to hear the passion with which some of the people on the radio call-in shows speak–Mark Levin, say, or Glenn Beck (at least on his old TV shows)–to be reassured that our actions matter and that others are pulling with us. Without being a huge fan of any of the radio hosts, some (at least) are surely right that we MUST rescue ourselves, and that means that we MUST be informed and we MUST act, even if it’s only to the extent of chatting with the next person in line at the grocery store, and we MUST somehow find the motivation and the energy to drag ourselves to the polling place. (Or if we sit it out, that too must be a well-informed and thoroughly thought-out positive, deliberate decision.)

    For g-d’s sake! At worst, it’s one of these situations where if you act it may not do any good, but if you don’t then for sure you’re dead.

    (Don’t buy that alleged “argument from statistics,” by the way–“the chance that your vote is going to make a difference is vanishingly small, so why bother; why even spend the time to be informed”–it’s completely specious, an appalling misapplication of statistics.)

    If everybody sits back and does nothing because “what can one person do” “what difference will one vote make” — i.e., WHY BOTHER!!!!! — then civilization itself is dead indeed.

    So why do allegedly “libertarian” philosophers and economists push this garbage? Rank fatalism and defeatism?

    Leftism has ALWAYS worked to destroy our morale. And that has always been a central strategy of opponents in wartime. It’s obscene to hear it from the mouths of people supposedly on our side. On the side of Civilization, in mortal combat against the Ant Farm.

    Yes, Paul. You are right about the job of the intellectuals, and it’s also the job of the intellectuals not to promulgate but rather to loudly and publicly REFUTE this sewer gas of an argument.

    And about the guy and his garden: Well, if the Res-Publica is doomed, most of its citizens will be somewhere be despairing and dead. It’s to his personal advantage to pay attention and do whatever he can think of, lest his domestic life as he knows it cease to exist altogether.

    “Rational Ignorance,” indeed!

  • Julie:

    “what difference will one vote make” — i.e., WHY BOTHER!!!!! — then civilization itself is dead indeed.

    So why do allegedly “libertarian” philosophers and economists push this garbage? Rank fatalism and defeatism?

    Like who?

  • Paul Marks

    Like just about all the Rothbardians Alisa.

    And they may actually be CORRECT (as I finally had some sleep I am, horror or horrors, be prepared to admit that someone else may be correct and I may be wrong).

    However, I have not yet totally given up on democracy.

    And to those people who reply “well you would say that – you are an elected politician”.

    I do not fill in expense forms (as I do not believe I have any legitimate council expenses) and my councillor pay would not pay the laundry bill of those who might like the attack me.

    My actual income is earned in a very different way – not from politics at all.

    And if anyone would like to try to do my job I am welcome for you to try.

    I doubt a critic would last a week.

  • Paul, to me there’s a material difference between saying ‘why bother’, and saying ‘don’t vote – it only encourages the bastards’. I know plenty of good and wise people who argue the latter. I may not necessarily agree with them, but I absolutely see their point. Conversely, I don’t know anyone whom I consider to be good and wise who argues the former. So I’m curious about actual (notable) examples.

  • Paul Marks

    Alisa – there is indeed a difference in motivation, but not in result.

    If anti big government people do not vote – then pro big government people win (period).

    Also it is factually wrong that voting is pointless.

    For example, many American States are enacting real reforms (for example tax reductions and Right to Work laws counter balances the powers given to unions by Federal regulations).

    If people did not vote for the State Governors and State Legislatures that are doing these things – then they would not get done.

    Take the useless people that the Republicans have run in recent Presidential elections – this is because enough roll-back-the-state people did not turn up for Caucus and Primary events.

    Few people (of any sort) turn up for Caucus events – and not a vast number vote in Primary elections.

    If people would make a real effort – they could make a difference.

  • Paul, on the face of it at least, Julie spoke of “libertarians” – which to me implies her doubting their motivations. So again, I simply asked who those particular individuals may be – I’d like to know that for practical purposes.

    As to your points: the act of voting itself – no matter for which candidate – can bear negative consequences in certain political situations. That is true despite the fact that voting is indeed not pointless – moreover, it is a corollary to that fact. Are we in such a situation? That is a personal judgement call, and one that has to be considered carefully. Personally, I voted for neither Obama nor Romney, but I did vote in other elections. My mileage may vary:-)

  • Midwesterner

    It never ceases to amaze me that certain libertarians who are intractable defenders of the right of self defense, and who will energetically turn any attacker’s own weapon against him, suddenly become unilateral pacifists when they are attacked with a ballot box.

  • Again Mid, like who?

  • Midwesterner

    Billy Beck is the archetype example. At least he was last I recall.

  • OK, but that is the point I was making: as I understand Billy’s position, it is that we are in fact in a situation where voting does more damage than good. IOW, just because you forgo using the exact same weapon that is used against you, does not make you a pacifist, and does not preclude using other weapons you may find more effective and less damaging to you. Again, I am not necessarily saying that this position applies to the current situation, only that I see the logic behind it.

    Conversely, Julie’s comment implied “libertarians” who are saying that voting is meaningless. This may or may not be Billy’s position – I obviously cannot speak for him – but that is not the position I support. Although it may also be true in certain situations – the former SU comes to mind, for one.

  • Mr Ed

    I know of a local councillor in Hinckley, Leicestershire, England who lost his seat by 1 vote, he was Labour, actually a nice chap but one to obey orders. He was the sort of person whom one might expect to lose by one vote though. It made us all laugh at work, and he turned to a colleague asking him why he hadn’t voted, to be told that he would then have lost by 2 votes. The local Returning Officer could have drawn lots had there been a tie, so sometimes it does make a difference. It crushed this man’s political ambitions.

  • Midwesterner

    As a matter of principle, I never vote for a candidate running unopposed. They are not elections, they are investitures. I either abstain if I am not opposed to the only candidate or I nominate or write in (depending on the situation) a different choice if I am opposed to them.

  • Laird

    I agree with Midwesterner’s last post, and do the same thing myself. In my district there are far too many candidates running unopposed (and not just to inconsequential “soil and water commissioner” type positions, either). In those cases voting makes literally no sense.

  • Steven R

    Paul Marks wrote:

    As the New Hampshire resident Mark Steyn points out……

    Want to find somewhere in the United States that will resist the left?

    Then find a place where the (evangelical) churches are full,

    Nope, all you’re doing then is replacing the Fellow Travelers who want to run your life via the state with the Holy Rollers who want to do the same thing, only in different areas. They might resist some of the left’s policies, but they’ll still use government to put a boot on anyone’s neck who doesn’t think and act the way they do and will feel all kinds of righteousness while doing so. When confronted by people upset about government will spout some nonsense about rending unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and that tax protesters are wrong. You can see this every Sunday if you try to buy hard spirits and run into the Blue Laws or a dry county. Two men want to get married, it isn’t the leftists trying to use the state to prohibit it. Laws to protect Baby Jesus mangers on public property at Christmas and the Ten Commandments in courthouses aren’t fought for by the Reds. We haven’t even gotten to the Bible Banger Brigade’s hatred of evolution being taught in schools and how they go about trying to get rid of the science that disagrees with their particular interpretation of a Bronze Age creation myth.

    I have no desire to replace one do-gooder who thinks I’m too stupid to run my own life with another do-gooder who thinks I’m too stupid to run my own life.

    Government out of my gunsafe, out of my bedroom, and out of my wallet if you please.

  • Paul Marks

    Steven – Mark Steyn was just making a factual observation (and I repeated it).

    Thomas Jefferson made the same observation – and he did not believe in the theology of what you call the “Holy Rollers”.

    If the Churches (especially the hard core evangelical Churches) are empty – then you kiss liberty farewell.

    It is not a theological statement – it is a statement of practical politics.

    Isolated individuals (especially those do not believe that “God is with us”) are easy for the state to crush.

    Without the “Black Robed Regiment” (the preachers) the American Revolution would have been a joke – easily defeated (as every British commander knew).

    You oppose a MONOPOLY Church – and I AGREE with you (let there be competition among many denominations).

    You oppose the confusion of SINS and CRIMES – and I AGREE with you (and you would be surprised how many theologians also AGREE with you).

    But if you think you can defeat unlimited government without religion – well then you are deep in Counterfactual land.

    Why do you think that such things as the French and the Russian Revolution led to a BIGGER government.

    In a land without powerful NON monopoly churches – there is, in the end, only the STATE.

    Still, perhaps, Randian Objectivists will be able to form powerful atheist “Churches” of their own (able to stand up against the government).

    But they have not managed this as yet.

  • Steven, just because some people want to impose their faith on others, does not mean all people who have faith do – this is basic logic. And, one does not have to like the Bible Bangers to understand that the faith in the omnipotent and omnipresent God is preferable to the faith in omnipotent and omnipresent government.

  • Steven

    Paul, I’m not suggesting religion in and of itself is a bad thing or somehow not necessary for small government ideals or whatever. I’m saying that Evangelicals are just as happy to use government to shape society to their standards as the Communist. I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt and have seen that very attitude in countless Letters to the Editor and what is discussed at both the city council levels and state capitol. Evangelicals (not simply church goers but the fervent religion runs every aspect of their lives type) are no better than the leftist. Just because they have different motivations doesn’t mean they won’t let the ends justify the means.

    Alisa, it’s not a question of some people who want to impose their faith on others as much as it is those people getting enough political power to force the changes they want. It’s not an improvement to go from those who want a socialist utopia to God’s Kingdom on Earth if the end result is the same: government control over everything.

    I’m not an atheist and I’m never going to tell someone they can’t hold whatever faith they have, but as long as they aren’t making law based on their holy book, be it the Book of Job or the Das Kapital, I don’t really care one way or another. But let’s not kid ourselves and think that living under a bureaucrat’s thumb is somehow worse than living under some firebrand preacher’s thumb just because they have different motivations. They both want increased government, but only in their own areas of interest.

  • Paul Marks

    A friend of mine lost his Kettering Council seat by one vote.

    And a late friend of mine lost her Northamptonshire County seat (and chance of the leadership of the County) by two votes.

    That was in 1989 – I am bitterly ashamed that I did not do more to help Mary Bland.

  • Paul Marks

    Some evangelicals Steven – some (not all).

    And fewer than you might think.

    Actually the one case where conservative Protestants and conservative Catholics really are keen on using the power of the state is ABORTION.

    The media (and Hollywood) give the impression that mainstream Christians are in favour of legal bans on contraception and in favour of government censorship.

    Actually most conservative Christians are NOT in favour of such things. The difference between sins and crimes is understood – the first one waves one’s finger at (“you bad man….”) the second (and the second only) one locks people in prison for.

    But the big exception is ABORTION.

    That is seen by Christians as not only a sin – but a CRIME as well.

  • But let’s not kid ourselves and think that living under a bureaucrat’s thumb is somehow worse than living under some firebrand preacher’s thumb just because they have different motivations.

    I am quite far from kidding myself. Still, the point is – the crucial point, really – is that the latter has absolutely no power without the presence of the former. I don’t think that you and I are in much disagreement over the fundamentals of this issue. I do think that you may be missing an important point: while a person who believes in God may (mistakenly) seek help from government to uphold the tenets of his faith and even force them on others, the Leftist actually holds Government as his God. I see this as a fundamental difference (and I do wonder if the two capital Gs are a mere coincidence:-|).

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alisa, in response to my comment of August 27, 2013 at 3:59 am, where I complained about “alleged libertarians” who either buy or promulgate the theory of Rational Ignorance, you asked, “Like who?”

    As one example, Michael Huemer, who is a professor of philosophy at the U. of Colorado, buys into this specious “theory.” I believe that Dr. Huemer is generally considered a libertarian. For instance, he gave a talk at this year’s Porcfest*, entitled “Defending Libertarianism: The Common-Sense Approach.” The video’s description includes this:

    Michael Huemer is tenured professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and a rising star in the liberty movement. He has authored three books that are well-regarded among leading libertarian intellectuals: Skepticism and the Veil of Perception (2001), Ethical Intuitionism (2005), and The Problem of Political Authority (2013). At Colorado, Prof. Huemer teaches courses in ethics, social philosophy, logic, epistemology, philosophy of science, and metaphysics. He received his BA from UC Berkeley in 1992 and PhD in philosophy from Rutgers University in 1998.

    (I haven’t watched it as yet; I imagine it’s interesting, although I’ll bet it will make me want to throw things at the screen. You can see it by going to the Most Popular Video Site and putting “Michael Huemer” or “Defending Libertarianism.” Also, there seems to be a video of a second speech of his at the same Porcfest.)

    *The Porcupine Freedom Festival, commonly known as PorcFest, is the Free State Project’s flagship annual summer gathering in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
    –From http://freestateproject.org/events/porcfest

    At http://www.samizdata.net/2013/03/huemers-the-problem-of-political-authority/ , Brian posted a link to Dr. Huemer’s TEDx talk, uploaded 2/18/12. (I have transcribed all but the first few minutes of this talk, by the way, so if anybody wants a hard copy, drop me a note: juliekrauss, domain yahoo-period-com, and I’ll be glad to send it to you.)

    In that talk, Dr. Huemer outlines the theory of Rational Ignorance, as applied to becoming politically informed. He doesn’t say in so many words that he accepts the theory, but he doesn’t challenge it at all and certainly doesn’t say, “Of course, this theory is nonsense as applied to the issue of becoming politically informed,” which would take him all of five seconds at most–if he has the first vague inkling that it IS poppycock.

    Now, admittedly it’s a long time ago, and people’s ideas do change to some extent as their experience increases, but there’s a discussion from 1996 in which Mr. Huemer, David Friedman, and others discuss the theory of Rational Ignorance and “The Voter’s Paradox,” which per the discussion is a conundrum attributed to Condorcet.

    In this discussion, Huemer flatly stated that voting is irrational:

    Voting is a waste of time, and everybody knows it. Don’t waste your
    time. Your vote will have no effect on the outcome of the election.
    When was the last time an election turned on one vote?

    Michael Huemer
    Rutgers Univ. (Philosophy Dept.)


    —To Be Continued …

  • Julie near Chicago

    Hm, I see that the first part of my answer to Alisa’s question is smited! Oh, they don’t say that, of course. They say, “Awaiting moderation.” *g*

    So, short answer: One such relatively notable libertarian is Michael Huemer, who in the past has expressed exactly that opinion. Perhaps he no longer believes it–I hope not–but if so, he should have said so, and clearly, in that TED talk.

    Now, Alisa, why I did put “libertarians” in quotes? Frankly, it’s because I’m put off by by people who spread toxic ideas; and when I see doing this people who claim to be both libertarians and philosophers or economists, it leads me to wonder whether their other opinions or conclusions are valid. Or, indeed, whether they really understand libertarianism at all.

    It’s not so much that I “doubt their motivations” (in your phrase); it’s that I’m lead to wonder about the degree of their ability, and their motivation, to see the falseness of false arguments.

    Consider a doctor who, though with the best will in the world, is not really very good at doctoring, being either a poor diagnostician or a poor designer of treatment. I’m afraid that intellectuals who spout junk like this Rational Ignorance theory of political disengagement, or its logical next step, the Voter’s Paradox (this last being the conclusion that there’s no rational point to voting since “the chance is small that your vote will make a difference–Huemer’s conclusion, at least as of 13 years ago), are to me in the same category as that doctor.

    I don’t want the one near my clinic, nor the other near my school.

    –To Be Continued …

  • Julie near Chicago

    Now, what about those who don’t vote?

    First, my remarks were only aimed at those who use the Rational Ignorance theory and the Voter’s Paradox as theories supporting ignorance (ignorance in itself being rational only rarely, though prioritizing one’s time spent in education, thought, and action IS rational, since it is necessary and unavoidable–time being in limited supply) or excusing one from bothering to be politically aware, informed, engaged, or to vote.

    As I said:

    [I]f we sit it out, that too must be a well-informed and thoroughly thought-out positive, deliberate decision.

    So I am not casting aspersions on people who have decided not to vote as a result of the best and deepest thought they can put into it. I don’t know what Billy’s grounds are, nor those of George H. Smith, who says he’s never in his life voted and is philosophically opposed to it.

    But I will say that I think that no matter what you substitute for democracy, whether “direct” or “representative,” sooner or later you will have to deal with the Government Beast risen like the Phoenix from the ashes. The problem isn’t democracy per se–it’s a failure of understanding of and commitment to the terms of the constitution, whether it be written or not (but it should be easier to keep to, if written, surely? Then what about the British experience?). Assuming said constitution has the limitation of governmental power as its first aim, the protection of the citizenry from other malefactors as its second, and a statement as to the form and powers of the government as its third.

    Now. Would I vote for somebody who’s the only one on the ballot? Yes, if he took a position I support and consider important, and the more so if it’s unpopular, or unpopular in his party. Because it’s one way of sending a message.

    Will I vote for the Lesser of Two Evils? Technically, I will mark the ballot in his favor, but in for example the case of the last two Presidential elections, I thought it very important to decrease the number of effective votes for Obama. If I had thought there was effectively no chance of his losing, I’d have voted third-party; again, as a way of sending a message (albeit in a tiny, insignificant, whispering voice).

    . . .

    One other thing–in the last link I gave above, there were indeed more instances mentioned where one vote made the difference.

    . . .

    One other other thing — Alisa, that’s a good point about the SU.

  • Thanks, Julie – I agree with everything you said, and I’ll note Huemer’s name for future reference.

  • Julie near Chicago