IFAS | Militia Manual | Section 2.1

2.1 Who and what is the Free Militia?


"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vise and let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is not virtue." Barry Goldwater, 1964 Republican nominee for president

"I promise to defend and observe the Constitutional liberties embodied in the Bill of Rights for all American citizens by example, persuasion, and force of arms if necessary." From the oath of office for the Free Militia

2.1.1 Who, what, when, where, why, and how?

Who is the Free Militia?

The Free Militia is composed of private citizens who carry on normal civilian lives. While some members may have former police or military experience, they are presently civilians simply exercising their right to keep and bear arms and form militias.

What is the Free Militia?

The Free Militia is a locally organized body of armed American citizens committed to defending their Constitutional liberties. We call it "free" for two reasons. First, it is free or independent from the control of any local, state, or federal government. Second, our whole purpose is to defend our freedoms. So, the Free Militia acts freely to defend freedom.

We also call it a "militia" for two reasons. First, we are a military organization. Our purpose is, if necessary, to defend our liberties by force of arms. Second, we are a militia in the sense that we are composed of private citizens instead of professional soldiers. Hence, the Free Militia is a combat team of private citizens.

The name Free Militia was selected partly to describe what we are. But the terms were also carefully chosen to conform to the language of the Second Amendment to indicate our intentions are Constitutionally legal. "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."

The Free Militia is an independent, organized group of private citizens who are armed and ready to fight for their Constitutional rights and liberties.

When will the Free Militia fight?

The Free Militia's "agenda" is the Bill of Rights. Our purpose is solely to defend these rights for ourselves and our neighbors. We will mobilize and fight as a militia only when these rights are seriously and intentionally threatened or denied. As a result, there are several things we are not:

Where is the Free Militia?

The Free Militia's operations are confined in and around the local community where its members reside. Training may occur in the countryside, but the Free Militia's membership and organization is tied to the locality.

Why does the Free Militia exist?

The Free Militia exists because our Constitutional liberties are systematically under attack by state and federal authorities. While these threats to our rights have not yet justified armed conflict, it is apparent that we must act now to organize and train ourselves for the possible day when a genuine tyranny is established in the United States by a coup within our government or invasion from without.

How does the Free Militia hope to succeed?

For the time being, the Free Militia cannot possibly be capable of fielding a significant fighting force. We are too small and too isolated to stand up to a professional armed force. However, we can be an effective and significant fighting force in the future with the right foresight and preparation now.

For now, our purpose is not to raise a full-scale army but to put things in motion and prepare to readily do so if and when circumstances require it.

We can prepare now to develop the framework that can incorporate large numbers of law-abiding, liberty-loving citizens if and when a crisis in our government obviously calls for resistance by the people.

2.1.2 Your duties in the Free Militia

If and when you decide to commit yourself to the Free Militia, you will be required to take an oath. No certificates will be signed. No centralized list will be maintained with your name on it. However, you must take the oath in the presence of those men who will be in your immediate combat unit (called a cell). They are the ones that need to know you mean business since they are the ones who will be depending on you.

The oath you will have to take embodies your main duties to the Militia and is worded as follows:

"I, __________________, promise to defend and observe the Constitutional liberties embodied in the Bill of Rights for all American citizens by example, persuasion, and force of arms if necessary. To that end, I intend to arm myself, I voluntarily join the Free Militia, and I agree to obey its commanders to the extent that my conscience allows for the duration of my service in the Militia and I pledge never to willfully betray the Militia's principles, members, or tactics."

It is important that you know explicitly what this means so let me comment on each clause.

Hopefully you understand both what is expected of you and why it is important. I believe that everything we are asking you to pledge yourself to is biblically moral, Constitutionally proper, and tactically necessary. Hopefully you are also willing to take this oath and join the Free Militia. But take time to think about it and be sure of your commitment before you join. The decision is a heavy one and should not be taken lightly.

2.1.3 Alert and mobilization of the Free Militia

Precisely when will the Free Militia commit itself to fight? This question can be answered best by stating the conditions that will result in the Militia being alerted or mobilized. Under usual conditions, minutemen in the Free Militia lead normal, private lives interrupted only by occasional cell meetings for training and other preparations. However,

An alert is a level of readiness that is not convenient in everyday life. Mobilization is a level of readiness totally incompatible with daily life.

While the details of our procedures for alerts and mobilizations must remain confidential for now (you are not yet a member of the Militia), we can give you some examples of what would transpire under these conditions. For an alert, a prearranged system of notification is used to contact all minutemen. They continue to lead their lives by going to work, attending church, shopping, and keeping appointments. However, the frequency of contact among cell members is stepped up and certain preparations are taken individually. For instance, rifle magazines that are normally left empty are loaded and then packed in their pouches. Uniforms and gear are made readily accessible by hanging them in convenient order in your closet.

For a mobilization, developments are serious enough that normal life is interrupted. You do not simply keep gear and weapons handy, you actually wear them. You do not simply keep in contact with your cell, you gather together with them. Under mobilization you take all the steps possible to prepare yourself and brace yourself for actual combat with an emerging enemy.

Now the Free Militia may go on alert or mobilize under any number of unforeseen scenarios. However, alerts and mobilizations will be called for automatically under the four following conditions.

Please be assured that mobilization does not necessarily mean we will fight. It only means that we are ready to fight if we are forced to do so.

2.1.4 Can we win an armed conflict?

Suppose you join us. Suppose we mobilize. Can we win? The enemy police and military forces under the control of a growing autocratic government will have and wield great might. So how can we stand against such a powerful foe? To some extent, whether we win or not is immaterial. If we are right, our duty is to resist whether or not success is likely. But we can win! Initially, the potential enemy will be greater in numbers, have superior firepower, better training, more equipment, and closer coordination. But we have three things in our favor that they do not have: the people, our own advantages, and a cause.

The people

Notice I said initially they will be greater in numbers. This is because most Americans are dull to the things happening around them and don't have a clue to their Constitutional rights and liberties. But there will come a time when the Leviathan State will show its true colors and cross a line that even the average citizen will recognize as threatening. At that time, men willing to fight will come out of the woodwork.

And remember, there are between 100 and 200 million firearms in the hands of private citizens of this country. These are in the hands of people who, almost by definition, would side with the Constitution rather than the government in a struggle. (The possession of firearms tends to either result from or result in a person favoring gun rights as well as a healthy distrust of the federal government when it seeks to take them away.) Moreover, all of the armed forces and local law enforcement agencies are sworn to defend the Constitution and many soldiers and officers love their personal liberties. So it would not be long until we are the ones with superior numbers and perhaps even superior firepower.

The very acts by the government that will cause the Free Militia to rise up will also arouse the general public to resist and seek skilled leadership.

In the meantime, our inferior numbers do not have to spell defeat. It is said that just prior to World War I, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany visited Switzerland and reviewed some of its troops. Of course, Germany's army was much larger than little Switzerland's. So while the proud Kaiser was reviewing the troops, he stopped to talk to one of the enlisted men: "I am impressed. You are well disciplined and well trained. But what could you possibly do if Germany attacked you with forces twice yours in number?" The enlisted man boldly replied, "I suppose, sir, that we would have to shoot twice!" Switzerland was never attacked due to its neutrality, mountainous terrain, preparedness, and the confidence to resist exemplified by this one soldier. The fact is that superior numbers can be defeated!

Corresponding advantages

This leads us to the next issue. It is true that the potential enemy will have serious advantages. But they do not have all the advantages. For just about any strength that they have, the Free Militia will have a corresponding strength. These balancing factors should be sufficient to tide the Free Militia over until the tables are turned and we have the advantage of numbers. Some of these advantages which will counteract the advantages of the potential enemy are as follows.

We have a cause!

Many people think that "might makes right." In other words, it is presumed that whoever wins a war is justified in dictating the terms of peace. In fact, RIGHT MAKES MIGHT! Being in the right and knowing it energizes resistance and gives a strength of resolve largely absent among those who fight for the selfish motives of mere survival or personal gain.

The drafted soldier is motivated to survive until his tour of duty is up. The career soldier is motivated by promotions in rank and higher salaries. The patriotic volunteer is motivated to win for the sake of a higher cause.

All three types of motivation will cause a man to fight tooth and nail when he has to fight. But one motivated by survival only "has" to fight when he is convinced that fighting is less hazardous than disobeying his superiors. He will hold back to avoid risks. He will not go beyond the call of duty. The career of soldier only "has" to fight to the extent needed to gain recognition. His boldness will be tempered by the desire to live and enjoy the promotions and benefits he seeks. But while the patriot will not desire to risk or sacrifice his life in vain, he "has" to fight to win. He will be willing to go beyond the call of duty because he is energized by an idea, not by self-preservation or selfish ambition.

So the most critical thing on our side is principle. We are right, we are justified, we have a cause. Never underestimate the power of ideology.

Patrick Henry said: "...millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.... The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone: it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."

Major H. von Dach of the Swiss Army wrote: "The military expert who undervalues or even disregards guerrilla warfare makes a mistake since he does not take into consideration the strength of the heart" (Total Resistance, Paladin Press, 1965, p. 173).

The U.S. Army field manual on suppressing guerrillas states: "All troops committed to operations against irregular forces must be trained to appreciate the effectiveness of irregular forces.... Troops must be indoctrinated never to underrate guerrillas. To look down on guerrilla forces as inferior, poorly equipped opponents breeds carelessness which can result in severe losses" (FM 31-15, Irregular Forces, 1961, p. 46).

Are you vigilant, active, and brave? Do you have a strong heart? If you do, then join us! Take the oath of office and arm yourself. You will be enlisting with a small but determined group that is resolved to make a difference in protecting our precious liberties. Barry Goldwater was the 1964 Republican nominee for president. As he aptly said, "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vise and let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

2.1.5 Discussion questions

Do you have any questions about what the Free Militia is or what it stands for? What are they?

Do you have any questions about our strategy of not raising an army but building the structure or framework to organize, train, and lead one?

The Free Militia oath of office reads as follows: "I, ___________________, promise to defend and observe the Constitutional liberties embodied in the Bill of Rights for all American citizens by example, persuasion, and force of arms if necessary. To that end, I intend to arm myself, I voluntarily join the Free Militia, and I agree to obey its commanders -- to the extent that my conscience allows -- for the duration of my service in the Militia and I pledge never to willfully betray the Militia's principles, members, or tactics." Do you have any questions about what this oath means or what might be expected of you if you join the Free Militia? If so, what are they?

Do you have any reservations about making the commitments outlined in the oath of office? If so, what are they?

In your own words, describe the difference between an alert and a mobilization of the Free Militia.

Take a look at the four reasons given for alert and mobilization in this section. Why do you think it is important to take unusual measures to ready and prepare ourselves under these conditions?

What are your feelings about the "risks" of participating in the Free Militia either under peaceful circumstances or times of combat?

Do you believe that the Free Militia will be capable of holding its own during (or even being victorious in) potential armed conflict? Why or why not? What conditions would have to change to make victory possible or probable? How would or could your own participation in the Free Militia contribute to those favorable conditions and ultimate victory?

One of the rules of warfare is that "anything you do can get you shot, including nothing." If a genuine tyranny was imposed in the United States, you could remain a civilian, minding his own business, or become an armed combatant. Which way would you be more threatened? More of a threat?

Personal questions

Note: Answers to the following questions will help determine your fitness for service in the Militia in terms of loyalty and dependability. No space is given to write answers down because no records should or will be kept on your responses. They are strictly for discussion between you and your sponsor. Any notes he may take are only for discussion with his immediate superior and will be destroyed after said discussion.

How physically fit are you in terms of strength, stamina, and health?

Do you have any disabilities which might hinder your physical ability to serve in the Militia such as epilepsy, asthma, poor eyesight, etc.?

Have you ever been an alcoholic, a heavy drinker, a drug users, or a drug addict? If so, how long have you been free of substance abuse?

Have you ever attempted suicide, battled severe depression, or suffered any other mental illness? Describe the times and circumstances.

Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime other than traffic violations? Again, describe the times and the circumstances.

How nosey, talkative, and trustworthy is your wife? Can she keep a secret?

Can you name one or two references, besides your sponsor and known by your sponsor, who can vouch for your integrity, dependability, and stability?

What are your reasons for desiring to enlist in the Free Militia?

Main ideas of this section

The Free Militia is an independent, organized group of private citizens who are armed and ready to fight for their Constitutional rights and liberties.

For now, our purpose is not to raise a full-scale army but to put things in motion and prepare to readily do so if and when circumstances require it.

An alert is a level of readiness that is not convenient in everyday life. Mobilization is a level of readiness totally incompatible with daily life.

The very acts by the government that will cause the Free Militia to rise up will also arouse the general public to resist and seek skilled leadership.

The drafted soldier is motivated to survive until his tour of duty is up. The career soldier is motivated by promotions in rank and higher salaries. The patriotic volunteer is motivated to win for the sake of a higher cause.