By: Roderick T. Beaman

Where does all of this leave the future of freedom? Any look to the future requires a look at the past and that is not reassuring. As frightening as Ruby Ridge and Waco were, every American should realize that our federal, state and local governments had been preparing them for decades!

Since not long after their inception, the federal government has been helping local police departments with the training of S.W.A.T. teams. Training by the federal government has been followed by the provision of materiel. Various security acts over the years have insinuated federal presence into all levels of law enforcement. NORTHCOMM is a military organization dedicated to the task of assisting local authorities in protecting the territorial and ‘national interests’ of the United States (guess who decides the national interests of the United States). Ruby Ridge and Waco were the tuneups they awaited and they went according to plan. Everyone did their jobs meaning they killed as ordered.

It was Lenin who said that when it comes time to hang the last capitalist, there will be another one there to sell you the rope. Along with Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and Castro, he demonstrated it. The Gulag, Auschwitz and Killing Fields would never have been possible without the cooperation of thousands, possibly millions of functionaries who were only ‘doing their jobs.’

They have their analogs in our American government with its various, vast bureaucracies, from top to bottom. They process the paperwork in the inner bowels of our bureaucratic archipelago for the policies which could never otherwise be possible.

Government officials, whether bureaucrats, law enforcement officers or military personnel, from department heads down through all levels of the civil service, federal, state and local and from generals and admirals to privates and seamen, their loyalties are to the government, not to The Constitution, despite their vows and certainly not to the people. The nature of government bureaucracies crushes individuality both among its own and everyone else.

The other important point to remember about government in general, is that it is just a non-productive sector of the economy and anything of lasting value that it produces is not market testable. Most roads, bridges and dams, such as Barack Obama cited with his ‘you didn’t build it’ statement, would never have come into existence in a free market and without the force of government. They were economically unnecessary and were built on expropriated land that had been in other productive use in the private sector. So you have something with definite market value and use replaced with something of very little market use, an all round loss.

Herewith are my takes of some of the more obvious government agencies and their roles in the struggle for freedom.


The military is the governmental agency most prone to stifling individuality and autonomy. George Patton nearly got himself cashiered out of the army early on for his advocacy of tanks for future warfare. He learned very quickly that military brass always fights the last war and the brass wanted to stick with mounted cavalry.

Billy Mitchell became an early advocate of air power after WWI and criticized military leaders for inattention to its potential. When the Navy dirigible, The Shenandoah, crashed in a storm and killed 14 of the crew, Mitchell accused Army and Navy leaders of incompetence. For that, he was court-martialed for insubordination and was suspended from active duty for five years.

The recent resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal is just the latest in skirmishes between the presidency and the military. Presidents, especially Democratic ones, have often reveled in their authority over the military, applauded from the sidelines by progressives. James Carter fired John Singlaub who publicly criticized him for withdrawing troops from South Korea.

The poster case of the twentieth century was Pres. Harry S. Truman’s firing Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War. MacArthur had been critical of Truman’s goal of limiting the war to the Korean peninsula but when he sent a letter to Republican Minority Leader, Joseph W. Martin, Jr. of Massachusetts detailing his objections, Truman went livid and relieved MacArthur of his command.

Though the conflict is often framed as commander-in-chief vs. subordinate, there were several other levels that are rarely discussed. MacArthur is known for having been a Mama’s Boy but Truman was also and liked his bootlickers as much as Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said MacArthur did. The spectre of Truman as a petulant spoiled brat whose ego was bruised by another one is never explored.

But the most important message was that the president and not Congress was entitled to information from the military. This is crucial because Congress, not the President, is supposed to formulate foreign policy and military information is crucial to that constitutional function. Truman said that Congress will get the military information the president determines it should. Period. This crucial aspect is never discussed.

Truman also had ordered the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki over the objections of MacArthur, Eisenhower and his own chief-of-staff, Adm. William D. Leahy. He would later vary his justifications for the decision, as his mood saw fit.

Truman despised just about everyone, most especially the military with one great exception, George C. Marshall. In his memoirs, Plain Speaking, as told to Merle Miller, he blasted anyone who’d ever opposed him and many of those who had been his allies. He was far from the loveable curmudgeon Miller tried to depict. A vindictive sort, Truman once publicly excoriated a Washington columnist who’d criticized his daughter Margaret’s singing.

Truman’s ego went on display when he committed American troops to Korea without even consulting Congress while it was in session! He completely ignored Congress, essentially telling it that as president, he was the sole arbiter of this single most important aspect of foreign policy. His encounter with MacArthur was just another example of the esteem in which he held himself.

Years later, after Viet-Nam had turned into a quagmire, Congress tried to reassert its authority over foreign policy and the military with The War Powers Act of 1973. It has been ignored by Presidents Ronald Reagan, William J. Clinton and Barack Obama, each of whom could and should have been impeached which would have served notice of congressional commitment but weren’t. The orders were illegal and probably unconstitutional.

And there is the matter of following blatantly illegal and even unconstitutional orders. To refuse puts a military career at risk but also hazards a charge of insubordination and, if done as a group, a charge of mutiny! In extreme cases, the death penalty applies. The military just about requires blind obedience to orders.

And consider the Army’s ersthwhile recruiting slogan, "An Army of One" that lasted but 5 years. The very idea of ordinary rank & file officers and enlisted personnel making their own decisions is inimical with military needs. What does it all add up to?

The president has expropriated all power to run the military. Don’t look for much support from the military if a crunch comes. There may be exceptions but the overwhelming majority will fall into line. If the cry of, ‘Disperse, ye rebels disperse’ is heard again in this land, the military won’t hesitate to ‘just follow orders.’ Remember Kent State.

This is the third installment in this series. The next should be the last. I plan to discuss certain other bureaucracies and what we can expect from them as the crunch worsens and worsen it will

Several readers pointed out that Randy Weaver was not killed at Ruby Ridge but that his 14 year old son, Samuel, was. They are correct and I apologize for the error.

Samuel was shot in the back by a government sniper as he returend to his father in their cabin. Randy was also shot in the back but the bullet struck near his shoulder and passed through his body without fatal damage, much to the chagrin of the sniper who was trying to kill him.

The five government agents received awards for valor, courage, sound judgment and a high degree of professional competence, according to William N. Grigg. For such achievements, the government confers awards.

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Dr. Roderick T. Beaman is an osteopathic family physician practicing in Jacksonville, Florida. Born in New York City, he attended New York University as an undergraduate. A recipient of a 2003 Ron Paul Liberty in Media Award, he has had dreams (delusions?) of becoming a writer. He has written a novel that he has given up hope of ever getting published and so has made it available for the asking through  He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

He can be reached at:

in the September 16, 2012 issue of  Ether Zone.
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