So, I’ve gotten some hyperventilating emails about the fact that Arizona is looking to establish a State Guard independent of the National Guard. “Facism, racism, separatism, end of the Republic, yadda.” Oh, gosh. This is monumentally stupid, what Glen Beck would talk about if he shared my political beliefs. There is absolutely nothing odd or sinister in the Arizona bill.
Back in the day, I (like anyone who was ever in the NYARNG) routinely ran into people from the New York Guard. What’s the New York Guard? It’s a state defense force, authorized by a 1955 act of Congress. State defense force members do not receive federal military training (National Guard members undergo the same training as members of the regular armed services) and therefore cannot be federalized. Back then, their uniforms were almost indistinguishable from regular NYARNG (IIRC); today it seems they wear standard Army ACUs with a funny black cap and brightly-colored state flag.
Establishing a state defense force seems like a silly idea: if New York didn’t have its Guard (which has trouble meeting its 1,700-person authorized strength, what with the low pay and benefits) it isn’t clear why you’d want to invent it. But the Arizona bill isn’t a threat to the Republic, and it pains me when American liberals start to travel down paranoid rabbit holes the way too many of their conservative brethern have recently. In short, calm down, there really is nothing to see here.