When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually. . . . I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor. . . .
Source: 1788, During Virginia’s ratification convention for the U.S. Constitution
If we slide into one of those rare moments of military honesty, we realize that the technical demands of modern warfare are so complex a considerable percentage of our material is bound to malfunction even before it is deployed against a foe. We no longer waste manpower by carrying the flag into battle. Instead we need battalions of electronic engineers to keep the terrible machinery grinding.
What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Whenever governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.