The idea of a permanent, standing army is antithetical to a free society. If we really cared about defending ourselves and our country from aggression – and not offense, power projection around the globe, coups, death squads, etc. –  than all we need is private gun ownership, private security agencies, and maybe a couple of nuclear submarines solely for deterrent reasons.

Full-time, professional armies run by the state also are an easy excuse for presidents to make war at their own discretion. They are already there, waiting to be deployed. They also bring home the wicked sins of empire along with them; the soul of civil society is carved out, sacrificed to the gods of militarism, war, torture, and the mindset that allows these things to thrive and prosper.

If war is the health of the state, standing armies are the lungs that allow it to breathe and expand, breathe and expand, breathe and expand.

Even James Madison – no friend of liberty or limited government – thought that standing armies were “nurseries of vice,” “dangerous,” and “the grand engine of despotism.” Samuel Adams, a true patriot, wrote in 1776 that a standing army was “always dangerous to the Liberties of the People…The power of a standing army should be watched with a jealous Eye.” Virtually all of the colonial revolutionaries and anti-federalists that honestly believed in liberty loathed the thought of a permanent, institutionalized military class being codified on American soil.

History has proved them right. Since their warnings, the US government has done little but invade, conquer, expand, dominate, subjugate, expropriate and intervene in the rest of the world. How else can one do this without a centralized state, a tax farm, and a standing army?

So I say: Abolish the standing army! Bring all of the troops home to their families and friends, discharge them, close down the military bases, and dismantle the warfare state. Let a free people decide how to defend ourselves, in the same way that we all voluntarily choose how we feed and clothe ourselves: through the price system of the market.

I was inspired to comment on this after reading this incredibly powerful piece by David Housholder concerning the recent Ford Hood shooting:

I am a patriotic American who loves and respects our troops.

Thus I believe it is time to disband our standing military.

Why?

Because it’s not working. The news from Fort Hood about the shooting confirms my hunch that our military is in a hopeless morale situation.

And for good reason.

We have achieved what George Orwell warned about in his chilling dystopic novel 1984.

Constant and permanent warfare.

And all of these wars, since our last constitutional, declared war in 1941-1945, have been unwinnable.

Our brave men and women would gladly lay down their lives for a great cause. But not for this quagmire of pointless aggression.

22 American Veterans kill themselves EVERY DAY.

Let that thought lean against your mind for the rest of today.

And the Fort Hood shooting is the second one there in recent memory and the third such shooting on a US base in recent months.

No “morale booster” is going to help. No pep rally. No deploying counselors to every soldier.

They are in a no-win situation which is very, very real. Their desperate reaction is totally fitting to the state they find themselves in.

Cries for help.

The system is broken.

The Founding Fathers never intended for us to have a standing army. We don’t need one. We are a geographically blessed nation with oceans on both sides and two neighbor nations which could never pose an existential threat.

They didn’t want us to become the Redcoats 2.o. But that is exactly what we have become. The Brits of the day also had terrible morale–Hessians had to be hired to fill the gaps made by deserters, suicides, and the like.

What we need are state militias and a coast guard. That’s it.

As Abraham Lincoln said, because of our geography, “No foreign general will ever, for all time, be able to force his way to a drink from the Ohio River.” This was true then and true now.

George Mason, who formed the intellectual backbone of much of the Bill of Rights, penned this in the Virginia Declaration of the Rights of Man (1776):

Section 13. That a well-regulated militia, 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.

As you can see, this was the template of our Second Amendment, which was not about self-defense for citizens, but rather about the kind of military we should have.

The current morale situation, given our ridiculous foreign policy (which even tries to tell the Russians what do do in their own back yard as if we were the boss of the world), is only going to get worse.

We can fix it now.

Send our troops back to their home towns and neighborhoods. Let them start their lives.

And bring our flag home to fly proudly over our own soil.