"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
This, the Second Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America is probably the most recognized of the Bill of Rights. What, however, constitutes a well regulated militia is less understood.
If we look back at the concepts understood by the Founding Fathers we might better understand this concept. The Founders recognized two aspects of life, and applied them to the governments that they existed in and later into the government they were to create. They recognized that life, itself, required a recognition of the distinction between the moral (mind) and physical (body) aspects. The moral aspect determined morality, circumstances and developed opinions and decisions. The body, on the other hand, reacted to the direction of the mind once the decision was made. This concept was applied to the republican forms of government that developed even under British rule. Each of the colonies had a degree of autonomy dependent upon the specifics of the colonies charter. Ultimately, each was subject to the decisions of the Parliament in London which, from time to time, exceeded what the colonists perceived to be the limits of it"s authority. The Stamp Act of 1765 was an example of that authority. In this act the taxes were mandated with virtually no input by the colonies. Although subsequently repealed, with some exceptions, the Act was truly "taxation without representation."
Each of the communities had established both a mind (Committee of Safety) and a body (militia) comprised of mostly the same people. Older members might join only the Committee while younger ones might join only the militia. Generally, however, the majority of the membership of each was made up of the same people. Why, then, was there a need to have the two functions?
Firstly, the militia was a military unit. Discipline, chains of command, order and regimentation were necessary to the performance of the militia. Without the strict adherence to the military approach, the lack of discipline might prove fatal in the event the militia were called to duty.
On the other hand, the Committee debated issues of the day. Those who might be privates and officers could sit in the forum of the Committee, which would be contrary to the discipline of the militia, and debate the political issues of the day. Ultimately, the Committee would have to call the militia to service after determination of necessity was made. Once the order was given to the militia to activate, the militia responded with the discipline and demeanor necessary for it to function effectively. Regulated by the direction of the moral entity (the Committee) the militia could properly be defined as well regulated.
Today we have lost the lesson of the separation of the two aspects (morality and action) because of the conditioning and educational indoctrination of the contemporary government. Perhaps this lesson from the past will help us to reestablish the well regulated militia which is necessary to the security of a free state.
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