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The Oath Fakers

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By Gus Van Horn from Gus Van Horn,cross-posted by MetaBlog

Pat Buchanan writes a sympathetic column about a rather disturbing phenomenon emergent in what he calls "the age of Obama."

In the brief age of Obama, we have had "truthers," "birthers," tea party activists and town-hall dissenters.

Comes now, the "Oath Keepers." And who might they be?

Writes Alan Maimon in the
Las Vegas Review-Journal
, Oath Keepers, depending on where one stands, are "either strident defenders of liberty or dangerous peddlers of paranoia."

Formed in March, they are ex-military and police who repledge themselves to defend the Constitution, even if it means disobeying orders. If the U.S. government ordered law enforcement agencies to violate Second Amendment rights by disarming the people, Oath Keepers will not obey. [minor format edits]

Except for the truthers, the groups Buchanan lists here are all examples of rebellion , some more blind than others, to Barack Obama's nakedly collectivist, anti-American agenda of expansion of the role of the federal government into every area of our lives. (Buchanan is wrong to speak of an "Age of Obama:" The inappropriate use and explosive growth of government was going on thanks to both parties long before Obama showed up to cash in on it.)

I sympathize with the last three groups, but emphatically disagree with the way the birthers and the so-called oath keepers are trying to save America from dictatorship. Only the tea partiers are acting in a manner appropriate to the situation we face, although many of them are low on intellectual ammunition.

The birthers, who believe that there is a massive conspiracy to cover up the "fact" that Barack Obama is not actually an American citizen are clearly the blindest of the lot. At best, they're fishing around for a bombshell revelation that will serve as a real-life deus ex machina to deliver our country from this (particular) menace. In the meantime, they waste their effort deluding themselves to the effect that such a huge conspiracy is even possible, as well as time they could spend learning what they can do to slow or stop him (and other dangerous politicians) now.

But at least the birthers, universally dismissed as nuts and impotently spinning their own wheels, aren't really hurting the cause of liberty. The oath takers are another matter entirely. These people are preparing to take action, and their timing indicates that they do not really know what they are doing.

First, consider what they plan to do: They -- members of the executive branch of the government -- plan to disobey orders based on their own interpretation of the law and the Constitution. That is, they are planning to usurp the function of the judiciary branch on a case-by-case basis as they work, and to bypass the legislative branch as well as the electorate, rather than to persuade lawmakers and other voters of the proper course of action for their country. (Part of this work consists of learning for oneself the principles behind proper government.) And, oh yeah, they're setting a very, very dangerous precedent in doing so: They are weakening one of the few good things left in this country: rule of law.

It is not immoral for someone to disobey an order -- in a dictatorship or during an open rebellion against a tyrannical regime. But, as horrendous as Obama is, we do not live under a dictatorship. We still have freedom of speech, and many of our rights are protected enough that we can act to turn the tide of public opinion back towards the direction of increasing government protection of individual rights.

The so-called oath keepers clearly fail to understand this because they are acting as if this is not an option -- as if we are already in a dictatorship. In addition to their failure to appreciate the importance of rule of law, they -- unlike the Founding Fathers -- clearly fail to understand the value of rational persuasion and this is due to a failure to grasp the role of rational principles in guiding man's actions.

To see this, let's do a thought experiment. Sergeant Arnold, a born-again Christian who thinks gambling is sinful and an "oath-keeper," is a member of his state's national guard. Suppose further that his state has passed a law banning gambling, which had just been legalized in the United States. The bill was very controversial, and because the governor knows that a large number of casino owners are planning to defy this law, he has called up the National Guard to keep them closed. Conveniently for the governor, some religious fanatics have threatened to bomb any casinos that remain open, so the governor claims to be "protecting" them from terrorism.

The President federalizes the guard and orders them instead to stand watch over any casino that wishes to remain open. Hoping to provoke a test case, James McGillicuddy, a casino owner, weighs his risks and does just this. Someone calls a bomb threat in to him as soon as he gets wind of it. Unfortunately for him, his business is being guarded by Arnold's unit, which has been briefed about the threat and given instructions on how to head it off.

That night, Arnold, a sniper, relieves watch in a building behind the casino. Just as he was briefed might happen, a bearded man in camouflage carries something out of the woods behind the business. Because he thinks that states' rights (a part of the Constitution) override federal power (another part) in this circumstance, though, Sergeant Arnold has decided he will not guard the casino. He's entertaining himself with an iPhone instead.

So he never sees the man, never calls on anyone to stop him and see what he's doing, and never has him in his sights. Instead, he has decided that not guarding the casino is the best way to protect America from Barack Obama and "secular humanists" like McGillicuddy. Since he happened to be the only person who could have seen the bomber, the casino bursts into flames while he's surfing the Internet on his iPhone. McGillicuddy and twelve of his employees die in the blast. All he had wanted to do was make a living, and to have his day in court.

If that scenario seems contrived, replace the casino with an abortion clinic, and recall the use of the Arkansas National Guard during Little Rock's desegregation crisis. Consider further the fourth item on the list of orders the "oath keepers" will not obey. We are a lot closer to personal harm than we might care to imagine with self-appointed constitutional "experts" like this in charge of enforcing the law.

At least the tea partiers understand that America remains free enough that moral and political debate can preserve the freedom we have left and bring the government back around to its proper purpose of protecting individual rights. Many of them are wrong about particulars, but they at least appreciate the proper approach to political change in a nation founded on the principle -- apparently forgotten by the "oath-keepers" -- of consent of the governed, and in a nation of laws, and not men. The tea partiers offer their views for the consideration of others, and, from what I have heard, many are actively seeking the intellectual ammunition they need to better understand what went wrong with America and what they need to know to appeal to the best within their countrymen before the next election.

Someone who does not understand an oath can only mouth its words: He cannot be trusted to uphold such an "oath." These are not oath keepers, or even oath takers. They are oath fakers.

You cannot protect the Constitution in any meaningful way by subverting individual rights, consent of the governed, rule of law, or any other principle which must be generally accepted in order for it to be anything but words on paper. Mutiny on the part of the armed forces or law enforcement is not the way to protect the Constitution, but -- at best -- a concession that it is no longer in force.

To anyone who has mistakenly joined this movement, I ask that you reconsider: It might help to imagine someone patriotic that you completely disagree with on one issue as an "oath taker" -- and that person being in charge of protecting someone you care about, where that issue plays a role.

-- CAV

Updates

Today: Corrected some typos.

bZ92jCPPe3g

Cross-posted from Metablog

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I agree with most of your point here, but if they do ever outlaw guns in this country, I will feel no obligation to comply with this law. In fact, there are many laws that I routinely ignore because they inconvenience me too greatly and/or are relatively unenforceable.

--Dan Edge

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-weight: bold;">and</span> to bypass the legislative branch as well as the electorate, rather than to persuade lawmakers and other voters of the proper course of action for their country. (Part of this work consists of <span style="font-style: italic;">learning</span> for oneself the principles behind proper government.) And, oh yeah, they're setting a very, very dangerous precedent in doing so: They are weakening one of the few good things left in this country: rule of law.

It is not immoral for someone to disobey an order -- <span style="font-style: italic;">in a dictatorship or during an open rebellion against a tyrannical regime</span>. But, as horrendous as Obama is, we do not live under a dictatorship. We still have freedom of speech, and many of our rights are protected enough that we can act to turn the tide of public opinion back towards the direction of <span style="font-style: italic;">increasing</span> government protection of individual rights.

Have you actually viewed the Oath Keeper pledge? I think they make it clear that they will stop obeying orders in the event of a dictatorship. Look at the specific orders they refuse to obey. This group is not anti-Obama, is bi-partisan, and I've never heard of them talking about disobeying Obama's orders as such, unless they're clear calls for dictatorship like those 10 in their pledge. You are doing a great disservice against this organization by not honestly evaluating their stance.

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I think your thought experiment is interesting but too contrived and complicated to draw any conclusions from. But do try this one:

A hurricane has devasted an urban area and the government orders police and national guard troops to confiscate all private weapons, even legally owned ones, and to search private residences for such weapons.

Except that it's not a thought experiment, it happened after Katrina in New Orleans. Search youtube, there are plenty of videos documenting the violation of citizen's rights. This is just one of the recent incidents that has motivated the membership of the Oath Keepers.

Now that is a much simpler example and a real one. Do you defend the government's action? If so, how?

No amount of debate is going to stop this from happening again, in the near future at least. So what effective action is left to the citizens until the socialists and tyrannists are extracted from our government?

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I think your thought experiment is interesting but too contrived and complicated to draw any conclusions from. But do try this one:

A hurricane has devasted an urban area and the government orders police and national guard troops to confiscate all private weapons, even legally owned ones, and to search private residences for such weapons.

Except that it's not a thought experiment, it happened after Katrina in New Orleans. Search youtube, there are plenty of videos documenting the violation of citizen's rights. This is just one of the recent incidents that has motivated the membership of the Oath Keepers.

Now that is a much simpler example and a real one. Do you defend the government's action? If so, how?

No amount of debate is going to stop this from happening again, in the near future at least. So what effective action is left to the citizens until the socialists and tyrannists are extracted from our government?

How about you provide the evidence for that? Extraordinary claims, extraordinary evidence and all that.

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How about you provide the evidence for that? Extraordinary claims, extraordinary evidence and all that.

I don't want to go off topic, but I worked as a private security guard in New Orleans during the aftermath of the Katrina disaster, and I can confirm that police and National Guard did actually go door to door enter houses with weapons drawn and seize private weapons.

As far as evidence, as he said, search Youtube and there is some videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm5PC7z79-8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2gNwzav3hQ

A USMC spokesman even says Marines will disobey if ordered to violate the Constitution:

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Well, the second video you linked to seems to be hosted by an NWO conspiracy theorist.

The third video is hosted by a similar type of guy who links to claims about martial law in the U.S and a video of Alex Jones dressed up as the Joker. Consider the sources, my friend.

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How about you provide the evidence for that? Extraordinary claims, extraordinary evidence and all that.

I saw this on the news during the emergency. Too bad I didn't save a clip. However, there's tonnes of clips online where people are forced into government shelters and not allowed to leave, even to get sunlight, while there are dead bodies and feces all around them. It was all over the news. You can find them easily, including on the Oath Keeper's website, as I think I remember a clip on Fox News on the Oath Keeper's Youtube video where an approximately 80 year old woman is tackled and injured by the government agents to surrender her weapon. I believe she suffers injuries.

Edited by ex_banana-eater
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I saw this on the news during the emergency. Too bad I didn't save a clip. However, there's tonnes of clips online where people are forced into government shelters and not allowed to leave, even to get sunlight, while there are dead bodies and feces all around them. It was all over the news. You can find them easily, including on the Oath Keeper's website.

I would ask for this from a professional journalist, not internet crackpots. I've searched, I've found only rather unreliable sources.

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Well, the second video you linked to seems to be hosted by an NWO conspiracy theorist.

The third video is hosted by a similar type of guy who links to claims about martial law in the U.S and a video of Alex Jones dressed up as the Joker. Consider the sources, my friend.

Ad hominem. I am not concerned with what other videos the person hosted, or what the host's personal opinions are, just the facts of the discussion. You asked for evidence, there it is.

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Ah, well my friend, I have some bad news, it turns out that 9/11...Actually, it was an inside job. And really, there were no commercial jets that day. It was all military and the dead people actually were just paid off and are living elsewhere now, under secret indentities. Also, lizard men rule the world.

Don't believe me? I saw it on the yootoobz

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You did work for who? For yourself, the one who requested information that is widely known?

It's become very clear you are not interested in evaluating the facts at hand. You haven't even bothered viewing the Oath Keepers website and their video that is hosted on the website, which has been referred to here (and includes the Fox clips I mentioned). I think the first step for anyone, if they were going to start making judgments about a group of people, would be to actually read their material and see what they say. You, however, are not interested in making an evaluation based on facts in the slightest. If you were interested in coming to an objective conclusion about any of these groups you would research them.

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It isn't widely known at all.

And okay, I'm on Oath Keepers website right now. I'm trying not to vomit as I pass by videos about forced vaccines, oh and look there another Alex JOnes link. Okay, that's two pages. That is all they have of videos there and I didn't find your video. Go find it for me, please, since it is so obvious that it is there. Be sure not to get it mixed up with a 9/11 conspiracy link, though.

Really, though, thank you. Before I had a slight hesitance to these guys. I thought they were just being silly. Now I see the true level of whack jobs these supposed oath keepers are. To Hell with this movement, apparently headed by moon bats.

Edited by TheEgoist
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It isn't widely known at all.

Sorry, I mean by everybody in the thread but you.

And okay, I'm on Oath Keepers website right now. I'm trying not to vomit as I pass by videos about forced vaccines, oh and look there another Alex JOnes link. Okay, that's two pages. That is all they have of videos there and I didn't find your video. Go find it for me, please, since it is so obvious that it is there. Be sure not to get it mixed up with a 9/11 conspiracy link, though.

Quite pathetic little display there. The video is on the right hand side of their main page, visible to everyone, so I think this is just some kind of display of immaturity, am I correct? http://oathkeepers.org/oath/ Right hand side.

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Reason I didn't see it was because it didn't say anything about FOX News, but I concede it's there. And if that story is indeed true, it's certainly shameful. Would you propose the national guard not do those things then, though? By which I mean, the men and women ordered to go in and carry it out? You're going to get LOTS of questionable orders, I would assume, from your superiors, especially in a situation like Katrina.

Also, as I said in the previous post, this organization is dangerous anyway. It seems to be populated with conspiracy theorists, not legitimately concerned service people.

Edit: The oath they seem to associate with the New Orleans situation is "Not forcing Americans into detention centers.". That is a gross over-simplification.

Edited by TheEgoist
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Ah, well my friend, I have some bad news, it turns out that 9/11...Actually, it was an inside job. And really, there were no commercial jets that day. It was all military and the dead people actually were just paid off and are living elsewhere now, under secret indentities. Also, lizard men rule the world.

Don't believe me? I saw it on the yootoobz

Man, that was a total non sequitur answer. Why would you do that? Instead of arguing against any of those points, you just call into question the user that posted it, or the other videos that the user posted, or the fact that it was on youtube and suggest there's something questionable about the kind of people that would be concerned about that, so it must be wrong.

Now I don't care one bit about conspiracy theories, I don't listen to Alex Jones, and I don't even know what he talks about or what topics he brings up, I've never listened to him or any 9/11 conspiracy theories. Why would you start going off on me about those things? I don't know anything about that. I'm just talking about the fact that the National Guard and police did go door to door in New Orleans, enter houses without warrant or cause, kick down doors with weapons drawn, and do everything shy of arresting people to try to make people leave (and did use force to make people leave in some instances) and seized everyone's weapons they could get their hands on. So the content of PatrioticResistance's post was accurate. Don't come telling about Fox News and Alex Jones and birthers.

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Have you actually viewed the Oath Keeper pledge? I think they make it clear that they will stop obeying orders in the event of a dictatorship. Look at the specific orders they refuse to obey. This group is not anti-Obama, is bi-partisan, and I've never heard of them talking about disobeying Obama's orders as such, unless they're clear calls for dictatorship like those 10 in their pledge. You are doing a great disservice against this organization by not honestly evaluating their stance.

You missed the point of the article completely. Without the rule of Law, there is no freedom. Planning to protect freedom by disobeying laws is a contradiction. It is completely irrelevant which orders these people are planning on disobeying, what is relevant is what the source of those decisions is, namely, that the source is their personal opinion, not the entity they are working for: the American government (a democratic government, by the way)

Facts:

1. We do not live in a dictatorship.

2. In the American system, cops and soldiers don't get to decide what is constitutional, and what isn't. We have a system in place for that: and a democratic system of elected representatives, and a judicial branch of legal experts appointed as per the Constitution.

3. That system is the basis for the American government, as it was established by the Founding Fathers.

4. A group of members of the American government are organizing to circumvent this process, and are attempting to decide which laws are acceptable and which aren't, based on their personal interpretation of what they should do in each situation.

5. This group is not only not set to create a political system that is better than the current one, to replace the government they are pledging to disobey, in fact they don't seem to have a clue why such a system is necessary. They seem to think that as long as they have cops and soldiers deciding what action, in each situation, is consistent with the Constitution, they can have a civilized country.

If these people don't wish to be part of a system by the American People, and follow orders, then, at the end of their contracts (in the case of soldiers), they can leave. What they cannot do is continue to receive the pay and support of the country founded on the rule of Law, but refuse to adhere to its system of government and the chain of command of whatever institution they are a part of.

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You missed the point of the article completely. Without the rule of Law, there is no freedom. Planning to protect freedom by disobeying laws is a contradiction. It is completely irrelevant which orders these people are planning on disobeying, what is relevant is what the source of those decisions is, namely, that the source is their personal opinion, not the entity they are working for: the American government (a democratic government, by the way)

*Snip*

If these people don't wish to be part of a system by the American People, and follow orders, then, at the end of their contracts (in the case of soldiers), they can leave. What they cannot do is continue to receive the pay and support of the country founded on the rule of Law, but refuse to adhere to its system of government and the chain of command of whatever institution they are a part of.

If the government doesn't follow the law then isn't it rule by men anyways? A man can give an order and call it law, but it is sophistry to confuse that law with the unbreakable laws of nature.

Where is their call to individually evaluate every order they are given, and in the current political climate no less? If there was one person or group of people, who was/were well educated and knew which laws to disobey and when, and who also gave instruction to these people, would it be any better, or would you still think that these fake made up laws by one group of men were better than the fake made up laws of another group of men?

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If the government doesn't follow the law then isn't it rule by men anyways?

Even if the highest member of the government(the President) breaks the law, there is legal recourse against his decisions, and he can also be voted out of office. All in accordance with the Law. The one recourse that the Law does not allow, is cops and soldiers deciding whether their orders are the right ones or not. They don't get to decide, they get to follow the orders of their superiors, or, if they refuse, they get fired or suspended from active duty, while the Courts make a decision on whether the order is legal or not.

Refusing to follow orders and keeping the authority granted to you by the position you occupy as a member of the government (be it a general or the lowliest private or sheriff's deputy), is highly illegal, as it should be. Cops and soldiers are not freedom fighter, they are the agents of the US government.

If it is your claim that the people who took this oath are aware of that, and plan on resigning (or, in the case of a soldier, following procedures required of his position if he wishes to question or protest an order) when they feel their orders are on that list (with some of the items quite vague and very poorly defined, by the way), then you better prove that their website mentions that part. I think they are under the impression that simply not doing something they consider wrong, and then carrying on with their job, is moral and perfectly patriotic of them.

A man can give an order and call it law, but it is sophistry to confuse that law with the unbreakable laws of nature.

I am not talking about the laws of nature. If you're suggesting that I confused the laws governing countries with the laws of nature, that's absurd.

Where is their call to individually evaluate every order they are given, and in the current political climate no less?

I have no idea. Why?

If there was one person or group of people, who was/were well educated and knew which laws to disobey and when, and who also gave instruction to these people, would it be any better, or would you still think that these fake made up laws by one group of men were better than the fake made up laws of another group of men?

I have no idea what fake and made up laws you're talking about. The laws of the United States are not fake, or made up, they are as real as any laws.

If there was a group of people with better ideas for laws (as there are, actually), then they should start a campaign to spread their ideas, or form a political party and run for office, or find some other legal way of getting those laws passed by the United States Congress .

What they should not do is confuse that Congress with just another "group of men", and themselves equally qualified to pass laws and act on them, as members of law enforcement or the military. Congress, unlike all the other groups of men, educated or uneducated, is the one group legally entitled to pass (federal) laws. Any other laws, including that little list on that website, are pretend laws. While freedom of expression is granted to these people, if they wish to act (or refuse to act) based on laws suggested by any group of men except the ones who happen to be the legitimate members of Congress, they should resign from their posts first, so we don't confuse them with the legitimate agents of the US government.

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You missed the point of the article completely. Without the rule of Law, there is no freedom. Planning to protect freedom by disobeying laws is a contradiction. It is completely irrelevant which orders these people are planning on disobeying, what is relevant is what the source of those decisions is, namely, that the source is their personal opinion, not the entity they are working for: the American government (a democratic government, by the way)

Facts:

1. We do not live in a dictatorship.

2. In the American system, cops and soldiers don't get to decide what is constitutional, and what isn't. We have a system in place for that: and a democratic system of elected representatives, and a judicial branch of legal experts appointed as per the Constitution.

3. That system is the basis for the American government, as it was established by the Founding Fathers.

4. A group of members of the American government are organizing to circumvent this process, and are attempting to decide which laws are acceptable and which aren't, based on their personal interpretation of what they should do in each situation.

5. This group is not only not set to create a political system that is better than the current one, to replace the government they are pledging to disobey, in fact they don't seem to have a clue why such a system is necessary. They seem to think that as long as they have cops and soldiers deciding what action, in each situation, is consistent with the Constitution, they can have a civilized country.

If these people don't wish to be part of a system by the American People, and follow orders, then, at the end of their contracts (in the case of soldiers), they can leave. What they cannot do is continue to receive the pay and support of the country founded on the rule of Law, but refuse to adhere to its system of government and the chain of command of whatever institution they are a part of.

4B is incorrect. A group of members of the American governments are willing to stand down in the event of a dictatorship. They are charged to do this by the constitution.

5 is incorrect. This group does not plan to create a political system, whether better or worse. The only thing they signed on to do is to stand down during orders that clearly violate the constitution deeply to the degree of dictatorship.

Edited by ex_banana-eater
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4B is incorrect. A group of members of the American governments are willing to stand down in the event of a dictatorship. They are charged to do this by the constitution.

You linked to a list of orders they pledge to disobey, not to a pledge that they will stand down if the US becomes a dictatorship. 4B is correct, your claim that they are talking about a future dictatorship, which they intend to not serve, is what's false. That list is very clear, they list orders they will disobey, no matter what government issued them, elected or a dictatorship.

5 is incorrect. This group does not plan to create a political system, whether better or worse. The only thing they signed on to do is to stand down during orders that clearly violate the constitution deeply to the degree of dictatorship.

I never said they aim to create a political system, they have no idea why a political system is necessary. Instead, they claim the right to interpret the Constitution as they see fit, and if they deem something unconstitutional, they claim the right to not follow orders.

Nowhere does it say that the orders have to come from a dictatorship, it says they have to violate the Constitution, according to their interpretation. Most of those orders can come from a misguided, democratically elected public official.

The Constitution is violated all the time, and the website you linked to freely admits that fact, they even offer examples. They also have a very clear mission statement, that says they will disobey orders which violate the Constitution:

Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, veterans, Peace Officers, and Fire Fighters who will fulfill the Oath we swore, with the support of like minded citizens who take an Oath to stand with us, to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God. Our Oath is to the Constitution.

A violation of the Constitution is not a dictatorship. The last part of that oath, "our Oath is to the Constitution", clearly means that they are circumventing the actual political process that was set in place to be "by the People", and taking matters into their own hands when it comes to deciding what is, and what is not, constitutional.

They are charged to do this by the constitution.

Really? Where does the Constitution put cops and soldiers in charge of what constitutes a dictatorship? Please, quote the relevant passages in the document.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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