Here’s the issue before us, after Dallas: Is the United States a state?No greater matter exists for us as a free people. The United States must never be a "state" by this European notion. Should it come to an appeal to the God of Hosts, we must keep this right subject to the People. This is what enabled Magna Carta, the Declaration of Arbroath, the Declaration of Independence. There is no more fundamental matter, nothing more important save the salvation of our souls.
The question seems strange; this nation’s full official name suggests not only a state, but also a union of states. Among defining attributes of a state, the United States possesses a territory, a flag, laws — and courts and bureaucrats to enforce them.
What it doesn’t have, crucially, is a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence by a central authority.
In part, this is by design. The Constitution provides for the legitimate use of violence by a federal government, but also by the 50 semi-sovereign entities represented in Washington. Indeed, in the founding era, the federal government exercised only limited power to establish a standing military or law-enforcement apparatus; it relied heavily on state cooperation, and state resources, to provide what we know today as “national security.”
And then there’s the Second Amendment, which gives “the people” a right to “keep and bear arms,” thus legitimizing nongovernmental violence, not only by groups — from slave patrols to pioneers to sheriffs’ posses — but also by individuals, from hunters to homeowners.
No constitutional provision better expresses an essential difference between the state as Europeans understood it and the “republic” America’s founders conceived. Yet none has spawned more debate, confusion and conflict within America itself, right down to the present day.
And even there, if we are wrong, we have the comfort of praying for forgiveness in our error. But we aren't wrong: Luke 22:36.