Posse Comitatus is from Latin, meaning “power of the community.” As you might expect, the modern organization by that name rejects the authority of the federal government and any form of taxes. Its roots go back to the origins of our country and it blossomed briefly during the Great Depression. After fading into oblivion for decades, the group was given new life in 1970 by William Porter Gale who combined his anti-government beliefs with Christian Identity and racism. This modern version believes that blacks are subhuman and that Jews are children of Satan.
Posse Comitatus operated largely beneath the radar until Posse Comitatus follower, Gordon Kahl, murdered two federal marshals in North Dakota in 1983. Following that, the movement once again faded from public view. But those who share the group’s anti-government beliefs spawned numerous offshoots following the financial crisis of 2008.
Those include the Sovereign Citizens movement, various “Patriot” groups, and the Tea Party.
That fact was made abundantly clear by Tea Party support for Cliven Bundy’s confrontation with the Bureau of Land Management. Not only did the Tea Party’s greatest apologists – from Sean Hannity to Rush Limbaugh – use the incident to attack the federal government. Numerous Tea Party-backed militias (including military veterans) and politicians raced to Bundy’s side for photo ops and media statements. They turned Bundy into a poster child for their ideology.
Like Posse Comitatus, the Tea Party isn’t out to merely change our government. It’s out to destroy it!
For example, both the Tea Party and Posse Comitatus believe that all of the lands within a state’s borders should be under state control. They do not recognize federal authority over national parks, national forests and other government lands. They despise the Federal Reserve, and they believe we should return to the gold standard. They believe that the federal government has no authority to impose income taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes or any other kind of taxes. In fact, they don’t recognize the federal government at all.
They believe in the nullification of all federal laws. They believe county sheriffs are the only legitimate law. They collect large stores of weapons and ammunition. They refuse to comply with any court orders. And they threaten to exercise their Second Amendment rights to prevent the government from enforcing those orders.
All the while they wave the American flag and call themselves “patriots.”
The good news is that most Americans are finally beginning to recognize the Tea Party for what it really is…a hate group. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that the Tea Party’s favorability rating has dropped to an all-time low of just 22 percent. That may explain why Tea Party candidates were soundly thrashed in this past week’s Republican primaries. Of course, it has become increasingly difficult to tell a Republican from a Tea Party candidate. Nevertheless, it appears the influence of these nitwits is finally waning.