Federalist Paper 28 discusses when the federal government can or should raise a permanent army. The concern was if representatives at the federal government level could betray the people in favor of some despotic rule? The founding fathers thought that a few people could betray the people in support of a despotic rule, but with many more representatives, the likelihood would diminish. Therefore, a standing Army did not seem like a threat.
If there was an army raised and used by the government against the people, then the people’s only defense would be self defense. A single state would not likely be able to stand against a federally funded and controlled army. But if there were representatives of the people from all the states, then it is less likely that a national army would be used against the people, or so went the argument. But the other question was when would it be financially possible to raise a peace-time army?
That begs the question from the founding fathers, “When would there be a time that the federal government could raise and maintain an army capable of erecting a despotism over the people of an immense empire?” Hamilton assumes never, but he was not able to see 200 years into the future. Today we have that permanent million-man army. If desired our military of a million could easily defeat and disarm the three hundred million people because of the vast advantage in fire power Hamilton could not have foreseen. Our safety now is dependent on the restraint and integrity of our military. The people would have a difficult time defending themselves against it, but that’s why so many millions hold weapons with the Second Amendment in mind.
“Would that army fire on its own people?” The questions have been asked of contemporary service men and women. Would it be a local or regional problem? I remember discussions of federalizing state guards to be deployed to other states in order to control any uprisings. For example, federalize the Pennsylvania National Guard and send them to quell an uprising in Chicago, because they would be more willing to take necessary action against the Chicagoans than would the Illinois National Guard. Would it, could it, happen? Probably not in the next decade, but it depends on how desperate the controlling administration might be. It depends on how lawful the controlling administration might be. Hurricane Katrina and other disasters have tested the question and the heated discussions between commanders and civilian leaders have already taken place.
The key is to be alert, but put your trust in the only leader who is truthful, faithful and always right – the Lord Jesus Christ. As Jeremiah boldly proclaimed, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD.’” (Jer. 17:5 NKJ)