Antigovernment ‘Patriots’: ‘Are You Willing to Kill for Liberty?’

The Forces of Freedom are ready for war.

Last week, about 100 self-described “Patriots” and “strict Constitutionalists” gathered in a hotel ballroom in Valley Forge, Pa., for the American Policy Center’s Freedom Action National Conference. United by rage at a federal government they believe is undermining state sovereignty in collusion with the “New World Order,” they are determined to take back the country for the people.

The conference, organized by APC founder and president Tom DeWeese, featured a parade of Patriot movement heroes. Each outlined a theory on the roots of the alleged sovereignty crisis, offered a solution, and encouraged the audience to take action before time ran out.

Most proposed nominally peaceful options such as jury nullification, local government coordination, or outreach through alternative media. But none dismissed the possibility – even the probability – of violence.

Juxtaposed surreally with the gospel tones of a loud and unrelated black church revival meeting happening in a ballroom on the floor below, DeWeese’s Patriots beat the drum for a “Second Amendment solution” to the Tenth Amendment crisis. (The Second Amendment guarantees the right “to keep and bear arms.” The Tenth Amendment says those powers not explicitly given to the federal government are reserved to the states or the people.)

One-time Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarick insinuated that a new revolution is in the offing. “Is the government evil? Yes. Are they willing to do anything to subdue us? Yes. But as I said, we just bought 85 million guns,” Badnarick said, a reference to the number of gun owners in America. “The question is, what are we willing to do for liberty?” he continued. “Dying for your country is not really the question. Are you willing to kill for liberty?”

Pennsylvania State Rep. Sam Rohrer, who earlier this year lost his primary bid to become the Republican candidate for governor, echoed his call. “There is a time to pray and a time to fight,” said Rohrer, paraphrasing Revolutionary War hero Pastor Peter Muhlenberg. “And I think the time has come to fight.”

Speakers were uniform in believing that the United States is headed for a catastrophe for which strengthened state sovereignty, won by words or by force, is the only antidote.

“The oligarchy our founding fathers feared, federalist and anti-federalist [alike], has taken over,” said Tom Cryer, famous in Patriot circles for beating charges of tax evasion. “We’ve got to put this beast back in the box that it came in.

“We are in a defining moment,” he continued. “We are either going to be the generation that saved America from its government and its government from itself, or we’re going to be the generation that betrayed its ancestors and its posterity all at one time.

“Unite. Fight. Win.”