Militias, Voting By Proxy, Autonomous Zones, Federalism, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: Exactly what constitutes a militia? Do proxy voting plans violate Constitutional principles, or even the rules of the House? Are we sacrificing principles for party? Does the President have a right to protect against zones like CHOP? Tune in to hear the answer to these questions and so much more!
Air Date: 07/16/2020
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think they’re not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
You found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live, where we’re talking about all the hot topics of the day, from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. Today is Thursday, so that’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday for us at WallBuilders. That means it’s your chance to ask the questions about those foundational principles as applied to the issues of the day.
That means we’re going to look at things from a biblical, historical, constitutional perspective. But those things we’re looking at are the hot topics of the day, the things you’re concerned about, the things you’re seeing in the news. Send in those questions to us at [email protected]. That’s [email protected]
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My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. And I have the privilege of serving alongside David Barton. He is America’s premier historian and he’s our founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton, also national speaker and pastor, president of WallBuilders and all around great guy. I love being with these guys on the radio program and getting a chance to dive into these foundational principles.
Send In Your Questions
And today, we’re getting your questions, so send those in. I mentioned the email, let me give it to you one more time, [email protected]. We get to as many of them as we can. We appreciate your curiosity about these things. And I appreciate the opportunity to learn from David and Tim as we dive into them.
So, let’s get to the first one from today, it comes from Brad. And his question is, “Can you talk a little bit about the phrase “militia” as found in the Second Amendment? What was meant by this and is it still relevant today?” Alright, guys, so we talked last week about the book on the Second Amendment.
We’ve got that available at WallBuilders Live and that’ll dive into that question as well and a lot of other great quotes from the Founding Fathers as well. But in terms of a kind of a primer just here on our Foundation of Freedom Thursday, what did militia mean back then and how is it relevant today?
I think, easy way to describe and understand what’s intended by the Second Amendment is, let’s just look at the Bill of Rights in general for a minute, because they all contain God given rights that government is supposed to protect. So, in the First Amendment, you have five God given, an inalienable rights, the right of religion and petition and speech and assembly and press. And the Second Amendment, you have two God given rights and they both deal with self-defense. I can defend myself as an individual and I can defend myself along with a group.
So, the militia is really a group of individuals defending themselves and it’s not to be confused with the military. The military is given coverage within the Constitution. It’s not needed in the Bill of Rights, because it’s already covered in the Constitution. So, the Bill of Rights deals with the right to defend myself, either individually or collectively.
If I want to get a bunch of folks together and we all defend, that becomes essentially a militia. Militia back in the founding era was really in a local community, that individuals would get together to be able to defend that community. So, it’s not like the National Guard and it’s not, now can be. I mean, in Texas, we have a State Guard in addition to the National Guard. A few States have that. Okay, that’s citizens defending themself corporately. But it really deals with the right to defend yourself individually or individuals in a group.
Required by Law to Have a Gun?
Yeah. And specifically, a militia was made up of people who had guns, who came together with the guns they had to protect specific areas. And so, the even some of the notion today as people say we don’t need militias because we have police. But understand that the time, you can go back and read the early laws from the different colonies, there were specific places that if you lived, you were required by law to have a gun, because everybody in this region was part of the militia. And so, it wasn’t…
Wait, not laws keeping you from having a gun, laws telling you, you better have a gun?
Oh, that’s right. And they would even give you a loan if you didn’t have the money to buy the gun and then you had a year or two years to pay the loan off. Now, all this is in the little booklet we mentioned on Foundations of Freedom last week, the second booklet on the WallBuilders website. You can go and find it and it will highlight these laws with footnotes back to the original laws themselves.
You can go read the whole law in context. But the point is, the militia was people who already had guns who were coming together as a group to defend a said area property, home or whatever the case might be. So, it also was worth noting, you cannot have a militia without individually armed people, which is what the original context was referring to.
And then you’d have state laws that said the militia is every armed individual over the age of 18. That’s simple. It’s everybody. You know, in some ways, it’s what we saw here a couple weeks ago when the protesters were advancing on a line of police and a number of veterans stepped out in front of the police, veterans who went out there and protected the police and these veterans just showed up. They were citizens, they just showed up. That was kind of like the militia coming to protect what needed to be protected that point in time.
The Second Amendment
So again, the Second Amendment is about the right to defend yourself, either individually or collectively. I can do it myself. I have the right to keep and bear arms or I have the right to do it as a group of citizens or a militia, people 18 and older, whoever is got guns, whatever it is. There’s different definitions. But just understand it as the right to defend yourself corporately or in a group.
Alright, quick break, guys, we’ve got more questions coming up. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live. This is what we call Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Abraham Lincoln said. “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts; not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
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Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our States and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed, that they are entitled to freedom of person; freedom of religion; freedom of property and freedom of press.”
Vote by Proxy
We’re back on WallBuilders Live, Foundations of Freedom Thursday today. Thanks for staying with us. We’re taking your questions. And if you have a question, you can send it into [email protected]. That’s [email protected]. Guys, we’ve had actually quite a few questions on this same subject and then there’s a lot of articles being written out there and it’s basically about this idea of a proxy voting plan.
And really, whether or not that violates the Constitution itself on how the House of Representatives can conduct its business. And apparently, I guess, it’s the Democrats are pushing for it to make it easier to dominate the vote, I’m assuming and not have their members even have to come to town. They just hey, I’ve got so and so’s proxy, I’ll vote for him. And it allows them to push legislation through without debate much easier.
It is a crazy, crazy notion. The rules of the House say that you have to have a quorum present to conduct business. And this goes back to the constitutional principle that as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both said, the Constitution requires that a majority shall prevail. So, you don’t pass laws with minority being present. If it’s 65 to 35 in percentage, the 35% doesn’t win over the 65%. That’s not the way it happens. The majority wins.
So, to conduct business on the floor of the House of Representatives, a majority of representatives just have to be there. And then of those who vote, the majority of those who are there, that’s what wins. Well, Democrats have come up with this thing that well, we don’t all want to be there so we’re going to allow one Democrat to have a proxy vote for 10 other Democrat members. And so, if that one person shows up on the floor, that is essentially like having 11 Democrats on the floor. No. No. No. No. No. No. I mean, you’re supposed to have at that point, out of 435, you got to have 218.
So, essentially, you’re talking about having only 20 Democrats on the floor when you might have 180 Republicans and the 20 Democrats could out-vote 180 Republicans because they’re all carrying proxies. Now, that’s crazy to imagine that’s possible. Of course, so many occasions where the Democrats have such a weird view of voting and who should vote and who should be included in voting and how you should vote and you know, they’re opposed to all sorts of voter security stuff.
But this is just a radical notion to consider that you would have essentially 20 Democrats be able to vote for the entire Democrat caucus on the floor against the entire Republican caucus who would physically be there. It’s a crazy notion. It is not constitutional in my viewpoint, certainly by the spirit of the Constitution, it’s not there. The Founding Fathers didn’t say you can’t have a proxy vote because that just didn’t cross their mind that would occur.
Yeah, the notion that it goes against original intent is certainly evident. Now, this was not what the Founding Fathers intended. They wanted people to actually be there in person. With that being said, each body does get to coordinate the rules for their own legislative body. This is where though so often, you do see political games being played, where we’re going to do things that are advantageous to our group, but if you try to do the same thing when you’re in power, we’re going to protest because you’re bad, evil, terrible people.
You see a lot of political games being played like this, where I mean you can just imagine the outrage that would be there by Nancy Pelosi if all of a sudden Republicans are in charge and they say, hey, we’re going to have 15 people show up to conduct all the business and that’s going to be our quorum, that’s going to be our body.
And it doesn’t matter how many people you send, our 15 are always going to out-vote them because we have the majority. I mean, there would be outrage on the other side, the news media, I mean, right, the CNN, MSNBC, you go down this alphabet soup of liberal news outlets, they would not for a moment put up with this. And yet this is exactly what they’re doing.
And this is where you see so much of the little game. And Dad, I mean kind of, as you alluded to, not that this is necessarily unconstitutional, but it certainly violates original intent. And you can’t say it’s not constitutional, because this is not something specific the Constitution prohibits and it does allow for each body to determine kind of their own rules in some regards, but absolutely, there’s no way the Founding Fathers would have done this.
Yeah. And the other thing too, is if I were a constituent in somebody’s district and I found out that my congressman that I elected was not going to Washington, but was basically mailing in their vote all the time, having someone else do it and then we’re not going there, that would really disturb me. I elected that person to be my representative for me at the Federal Government and to simply give their vote to someone else and let them carry it. That’s a real problem really.
Now, you’re also saying that as someone who is principled and looks at the structure and the organization and thinks it should work the way it was intended to based on the Constitution, we also live in a culture today that says, as long as my side is winning, I don’t really care how we win. And so, I don’t know that there will be as many people protesting this as we would look and go, this is not what the intent was, it shouldn’t happen this way.
Because you have a lot of people who say, look, I don’t care where my representative is as long as the things I care about get done. And this is actually similar to what George Washington warned against in his farewell address that make sure you don’t love party and you compromise on principle because your party is winning and as long as my party win, that’s all I care about.
We don’t want to get in that place. Washington pointed out, if we get to that place, it’s going to be really, really dangerous and really bad for America. And I fear we are very close to that right now, because there’s a lot of people that that do care more about their side winning than what is actually good, beneficial or even constitutional.
And, you know, going with that same kind of constitutional thought of original intent what was really planned, when I look at what’s been happening to Seattle and granted, what is happening there with what used to be the… Well, I guess, they finally ended up in the name, Chop. We’re seeing the governor and the mayor there start to say, okay, we’re going to bring this out, this is going to stop in Seattle. But we’re seeing it start to pop up in other towns as well, these autonomous zones.
A Republican Form of Government
From a constitutional standpoint, the Constitution says that you are required to provide a republican form of government, that is you get to elect and choose your leaders. If I were living in that community where Chop is running, I would have a lawsuit going so fast that I did not get to choose these leaders.
This is not a republican form of government. These leaders were imposed on me by the mayor, I had no voice in this. I mean, that is such a constitutional violation on its own, that we have communities being run by folks who were not elected by them, not chosen by them, had no voice in their selection, that in itself is a constitutional violation.
So, as creative as people may think this is and give these guys a chance to express them, no, there’s still a constitution to follow. And I think that’s another thing that has gotten by the media. I have not heard any commentary on that, that this is a constitutional, if you will violation because you’re no longer protecting a republican and not Republican, Democrat, but a republican form of government which the Constitution requires and that is that you get to choose your own leaders.
So, there’s a lot of really radical notions kind of go on right now and hopefully, people will come back to the Constitution. Their common sense certainly is going against these autonomous zones. But constitutionally, there’s great reason for the common sense to be against it.
So, I have a strategy question for you guys. What are your thoughts on how the president should deal with that? Because there’s some on our side, if you will, if I can use that term, saying, hey, go in and stop it now so that then nobody else does it, because the more people see it, the more others are going to think they can get away with it and others that are saying, you know, let it play out. Kind of like he said in his speech, you know, let everybody see how bad communities and cities turn out whenever the leftist are in charge. And I kind of see both sides. So, what do you all think, which strategy do you think is best?
Well, I think that the federalism concept is he’s not to be the police power in these areas. Now, if they call for his help, that’s one thing, but he’s not the police power to walk in and tell the States what to do. The next step would be the Constitution. Article IV Section 4 says that the government of the United States shall secure to every State a Republican form of government.
So, all that the federal government is to do is to make sure every State has those elections. So, the State had their elections, they’ve got their governors, they’ve got their mayors. It’s a state Constitution that secures republican government to all the citizens in the State. So, this autonomous zone is really a violation of the State Constitution, although, the principle of the Federal Constitution is you’re supposed to have elected leader.
So, I even though I would like to see him step in and stop this stuff, I think constitutionally, he’s on the right ground and say, no, this is a federalism issue. If you call for help, I’ll help. And I don’t think he can step in just because they don’t have elections at a local level when they do have them at the State level.
And Rick, along the lines of your original question too, I think, I fall in the line of sometimes I want to see people just reap the consequences of their behavior and their actions. And so, I would love to see in some of these places there to be a lot of suffering so that hopefully they’ll learn the lesson. The problem is in many of these cities, they’ve been democratically-controlled…
And by the way, a lot of suffering by self-inflicted stuff, is not that we’re wanting to see suffering on them. This is self-inflicted stupidity.
Yeah. I want people to deal with the consequences, of their own actions and go, wow, this was terrible, this was done, this doesn’t work. I don’t want to do this anymore. The problem is you look at some of these major cities that have been Democrat-controlled for decades and it’s been abysmal for decades.
When people talk about systemic racism or injustice and institutional racism and these things, the vast majority of what happens in these Democrat-controlled areas, when you look at violent crime and even some of the worst police brutality, these are Democrat run areas and organizations and institutions. And with all that being said, most people have not learned that lesson along the way.
I do think there’s some people that are waking up to it, but I think it’s scary to imagine that we would just turn institutions over to allow them to be destroyed, so people would learn a lesson and say, well, now that you’ve learned the lesson, let’s rebuild the whole thing. Because at some point, when you give in to more chaos, to more Marxism, to more anarchy, you’re not going to be able to rebuild without having some level of Civil War, which is what we want to stay away from. So, I definitely see both sides. But I don’t know that people are as quick learners that we want them to be and if the house gets burned down, it’s going to be a lot harder to rebuild the house.
Yeah. Good point. Good point. Let’s take a quick break, guys. We’ve got another question we’re going to try to knock out today before we run out of time. So, stay with us, folks, Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realized that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
Constitutional Defense Training
Hey friends, Rick Green here. I know there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in America right now, but we know God is sovereign. We also know that “duty is ours, results are God’s”. And that means we do our duty. You know, Proverbs 22:3 says “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions, the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
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Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
We’re back on WallBuilders Live, Foundations of Freedom Thursday and it’s our final segment of the day. And the last question is going to be the privilege of Justin. Justin’s question is on constitutional authority. He said, “If a governor were to impose tyrannical laws upon a State like no drive-in church services”, and that’s not just an if, that’s like when lately, right, almost all of them, “would it be within the power of the executive branch to remove the governor from office?”
And I assume guys he means executive branch at the federal level, so, the President, essentially. “Would that fall under Article IV Section 4? And has there ever been a time in history where that article was in force?” And so, David, this is a little bit of a follow up on what you were saying before about a guarantee of a republic.
Yeah, the federal government is to guarantee to each State every republican form of government. Now, they don’t guarantee that competent leaders will be chosen into that republican form. But all the Constitution requires is that every State have elections for all the various levels and that the people get to choose their representatives. So, once that is done, Article IV is satisfied from the federal level.
So, the federal executive, in this case, President Trump or previously President Obama would have no grounds for going in and saying, hey, you elected an incompetent governor and I’m going to take him out for you. Can’t do that. This is where federalism is there. There’s clearly enumerated powers in the Constitution, say here’s what the Feds do, here’s what the States do. All the Feds do at this level is make sure that you have elections in a State. Nothing can stop those elections.
Now, if the people choose someone that turns out to be incompetent and turns out to be, if you will, autocratic or violates what the people believe to be the constitutional boundaries or even if the people don’t believe that they violate genuine constitutional boundaries, that’s where the State Constitution steps in. And at this point, the State Constitution would step in and there are means for removing that executive and that occurs through impeachment.
But impeachment is a high hurdle to go over. It’s not like that. We have, for example, you’re having judges now rule consistently against governors on shutting down church services. Well, just because the courts are upholding that and saying governors, you can’t do that, that doesn’t mean a majority and the people of the State are willing to throw that governor out of office for having shut down church services.
It could be the church service is not very important in their thinking, which in the case of some State like Oregon or some State like Washington, States like that that’s not really high on their thinking list, those are considered the most unchurched States in the United States.
So, they’re probably not going to get bent out of shape over where the churches can or can’t meet. So, it takes a really high measure or high standard for the State to say, this is so egregious that even though we elected this guy, he has gone so far beyond what he promised, what he said he was going to do. He’s done things he never should have done. We’re going to take him out of office.
That’s a high bar to meet. Because that also means you have to get the legislature in the House, in the Senate of the State to bring charges against the governor, to vote on that. Same thing we saw with the House and Senate with the impeachment of Trump, they have to vote on that. And that’s just a really high bar to meet. So, just…
The Voting Body
And they’d have to do that at the State level. Their state legislator would have to have to do that.
Yeah, good point. I alluded to Trump, but that’s not the body that would be voting. No, it’s the State legislature. And the State legislature is going to generally reflect the will of the people in that State. So, there’s not a means for the federal government to remove a State governor, that’s just not going to happen. They just ensure that elections do happen in the State and pass that, it’s up to the people of the State to make that decision.
Alright, guys. So, hypothetically, let’s say that a governor is guilty of colluding with foreign powers, or he’s guilty of treason. I mean, at that point…?
Yeah, at that point, you might be actually able to invoke the Insurrection and Repel Invasion Clause or even domestic violence, if they’re actually fighting, which at some point, he can do that with these kind of Chaz, Chop areas as well if the insurrection is if he really wanted to go in there, even if the governor didn’t call for help. So, just that one point of clarification, the guarantee clause for being a republican form of government is one thing.
But then that next line is to protect them from invasion, to protect against an Article 1, Section 8, you know, paragraph 15 is the insurrection clause, suppressing insurrection and repel invasion. So, you put those together and the President could, if you had that governor, actually like you’re saying, how do you put it, part of a collusion with…?
What is a Catastrophic Event?
Yeah, well, I was throwing out some hypotheticals, right? But it’s one of the things I think is interesting that there is a little bit of squishing wiggle room in places, because certain things the Founding Fathers certainly did not perceive to be an issue in their day and they understood that there would be amendments to the Constitution that there would be a new policies put in place.
And even with this, I think one of the challenges now is that things have become so subjective. It’s almost like when governors are declaring states of emergency for hornets that are going to come in, right? Or for global warming and climate change.
At some point, you have to go, wait a second, here is what determines a catastrophic event, whatever the case is, there needs to be some clarity on some of the definitions, because there is a little bit of wiggle room in places, where certainly when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they were not intending there to be a lot of wiggle room without bringing clarity from the legislative body passing laws to say here’s what we’re going to do.
It was meant to be done in a legal form. And today, we’ve gotten away from a lot of that legal form and which is why we have a lot of activist Judges. And in this case, sometimes activist governors, which I think is what led to this question in the first place.
Yeah. And even that clarification, Tim, will take care of some of these COVID crackdowns, right? If we had clarification on the State level with some of those statutes and these governors wouldn’t be able to get so far out of bounds.
Well, friends, if you want to know more about the Constitution, about that biblical and historical perspective, visit our websites today, wallbuilders.com. A wealth of information there, lots of great books, videos and different things you can get to educate yourself and your family and then also wallbuilderslive.com to get archives of the program.
ConstitutionCoach.comMilitias, Voting By Proxy, Autonomous Zones, Federalism
And then if you’d like to host our Constitution class in your home or at your church, check out constitutioncoach.com. That’s the place you can sign up to become a Constitution coach. You don’t have to know anything to do that. You can start from scratch. You can even go through the class for your first time with other people.
So, you can be the host that’s putting the class together, bring people in and walk through that Constitution Alive with David Barton and myself. We’re going to take you into the WallBuilders library, bring all those documents to life. We’re going to take out the Independence Hall. You’re going to study right there in the room where the Founding Fathers actually did the Constitution and the Declaration. It’s a great way to bring these foundational principles back to life and get people educated on this so we can save our constitutional republic.
Thanks for listening to WallBuilders live.
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country and the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending against all hazards and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”
Thank you for those clarifications!!