We think of militias in terms of what they prevent - government intrusion and foreign invasion. While militias can indeed defend against those, that’s a negative description. Think of it like this: a Catholic is a non-Protestant Christian, but being non-Protestant doesn’t tell you much about Catholicism!
So really, what does a militia do? More to the point, what does active membership in a militia do for us, individually? Everybody has their own answers; what follows are mine.
What convinced me to join was the expressions you see in people's eyes.
When you look into a man’s eyes, you sometimes see confusion and apprehension – he is confused by the present and fearful of the future. Other times, you see a sick kind of giddiness, as if he is being pushed off of a cliff, and no amount of his scheming can prevent it. On still other occasions, you cannot look into his eyes at all, for he is always looking at other people – he is trying to determine what to think since he is too lazy to think for himself.
No fire, no passion; no brightness, no eagerness.
Those are not the looks of men; those are the looks of chattel.
I grew tired of seeing that in people's eyes, and what it implies: that they are not men; that they are indeed chattel.
That’s why I joined a militia: the fire and passion in a militiaman’s eyes has not been extinguished; the brightness and eagerness remain. I want to be around such men, for they are the only ones worth knowing.
Now, why I stay in a militia is more about how our society got to this point.
Let’s face it: our popular “culture” and our “education” system do as much damage to our way of life as does the intrusive government. This is especially true of the education system.
We are taught just enough knowledge so that we can barely hold-down jobs we hate, instead of being able to use knowledge as the powerful and elegant tool that it is - and we are left with nothing but superstition, rumor, and opinion. We are taught that we exist for the state, not the other way around. We are taught that we should turn control of our lives and property over to "qualified experts," without questioning why those so-called "experts" are qualified and how they'll be held accountable if they aren't. We are taught that handouts are the way to success, not productivity.
We are taught that confusion, fear, and the lack of control are normal and acceptable – and if we doubt that, just ask what everybody else thinks.
Pop culture distracts the chattel, the government herds them, but it is the education system that produces such helpless people.
That is why I stay in: the militia is a rejection of this learned helplessness. Active members of a militia expand their comfort zone, and learn to take care of themselves in that expanded zone. Then they repeat, repeat, and repeat again. Militia members are anything but helpless.
There’s more, though. To quote Nietzsche somewhat out of context: "Free from what? As if that mattered...! But your eyes should tell me brightly: free for what?"
Free for what, indeed!
If we don’t make our own future, it will be made for us. The militia is living proof that we can make our own future. It is human ability made manifest.
Those are my reasons for joining and staying in. Everybody will have their own. Some assembly required, and your mileage may vary. However you approach it, though, the end result is the same: not only freedom, but worthiness of being free.