Today’s episode is a fairly short one. I want to touch on the idea of a modern Minuteman. It’s something that a lot of people romanticize, but we never really define. In this discussion, I want to talk a bit about what it means to me and what I think we need to do.
This isn’t a discussion about the contents of a go bag or the kind of rifle to bring to the fight. No, it’s about the philosophy of being an engaged citizen ready to put aside individual goals for the sake of maintaining liberty.
Let’s start with a long-ish quote from, of all people, John F. Kennedy.
The fact that someone from the political left would make such a statement as that last paragraph in general will surprise a lot of folks. But realize that even though JFK was a Democrat and the New Frontier program he mentioned was a platform of liberal programs, he still cared a lot about his country.
In other contexts, we might look at these programs and shout, “Communism!” But the simple truth was that JFK had no love for communists, either. In any case, I’m not here to discuss politics, Overton Windows, or how things have changed in 50 years.
What I am interested in is pointing out is the recognition that maintaining freedom took commitment and engagement from the citizenry. Kennedy was stating that the founding principles of America could not succeed unless everyday people were ready to actively defend them.
This is the problem we find ourselves in today.
A lot of folks often confuse the Militia and the Minuteman. Even JFK made that mistake in the quote. In truth they were related, but very different.
Militia service in the 1700s was compulsory. Every able-bodied male was expected to participate in the common defense of their community and state, if needed. Of that militia, a select group were asked to become Minutemen based on their inherent qualities of their youth, strength, stamina, and motivation.
Perhaps more importantly, these men had to volunteer for the role.
I suppose you could liken them to a colonial-era QRF or special operations force. The history of the Minuteman goes back at least 100 years before the American Revolution, though. It wasn’t a new concept by any means.
What I’m interested in is those additional qualities: strength, stamina, motivation.
The Everyday Marksman is all about promoting a well-rounded citizenry through the study and practice of tactical skills. Buying the equipment is the easy part, it’s putting in the work that everyone struggles to do.
Even more important is finding others in the community to do the same. As a culture, we’ve become complacent. We give up taking care of problems ourselves in favor of looking to some government authority, typically law enforcement, to settle the dispute for us. This is counter-productive, as the average citizen feels less and less responsibility for taking care of their country.
The Community Problem
I ran a poll within our community, The Marksman’s Quarter, about how many neighbors would members trust to have their back in hard times. The answer was a paltry 6%.
That’s dismal. And the even more serious problem is that we inherently feel isolated in wanting to be ready to protect our homes and community from bad actors. People, as a whole, are shockingly easy to influence with “the crowd.” Most people will go along with what the crowd is doing even if they intellectually know it’s a bad idea. That’s how we end up with such widespread riots and poor behavior on social media.
The same thing works in reverse. If enough people model positive behavior, then “people” feel pressure to fall in line and mirror it.
It’s not going to be easy. In fact, overcoming the media bias and cultural negativity may be insurmountable. But it’s a worthy fight. Keeping our heads buried in the sand hoping that someone else will do it is exactly how our country got where it is right now.
I don’t have any fancy pictures for this one. I don’t have a list of things to teach you. All I can leave you with is a plea to commit yourself to the highest ideals of our nation. Find others who are likeminded and work with them to set a better example.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “A republic, if you can keep it.”