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by Gunnery Sergeant John McClain, USMC, Retired, ©2013, blogging at Gulf1

(Aug. 4, 2013) — Growing up, westerns were the staple television in prime time, and there was no question why at the time.  But today, given the dozens of accusations of “Americans acting Cowboy,” or “America is acting Cowboy” has been tossed around at both our military and our Nation by European Nations, mostly.  Perhaps it’s time to revisit what this phrase means.

To most boys, it’s pretty simple.  We grew up on the programs and made our heroes out of the action we observed; the people in town are always nice, to the point where bad people decide to take advantage. By middle commercial the town is being run by the wicked “cattle or land baron,” with innocent civilians being overrun, killed, “victims,” while the main effort is against the rancher.  He’s no victim because we’ve always equated the “cowboys” as “proxy army on duty” when the chips are down, but no more than wild, drunken boys, during the run-up to the confrontation.

Only when the mayor and his henchmen are humiliated or run out of town, when the working town folk get together only to be faced down by armed villains, only then are “wild boys who went west” the cowboys; suddenly more than “wild boys, wasting life,” completely ignored is the fact they were putting meat on the table of everyone’s home.

All of a sudden, those “boys” are the last possible salvation for the town, and suddenly “they aren’t just wild,” but truly “saints from the range.”  If they can only be called upon, the wicked men can be confronted, battles fought, a “range war” won, and the “cool, calm, rancher, organizer, and mainstay of reason” gets to confront “the Town People,” chewing them out for failing to defend their own, and confronting the town’s politicians in front of the town-folks, telling him why he is utterly useless.

Only when all the liberal policies have been tried out in town, tried to be imposed on those who live “on the range,” outside the education of “town folk,” and the town is on the brink of collapse, only then do the “town folks” recognize that it has been the cowboy who has arrived in town by the couple dozen and spent fifty gold dollars, collectively, on plug tobacco, sugar, coffee, jerky, salt, powder, lead, and being the main recurring income, as they arrive each month to spend their earnings.

Only when the town has gone broke by banning “cowboys and other riff-raff” does anyone realize that these are the only people producing enough to have extra to buy amenities.  Only when “rough men” have been made, in essence, outlaws, only then, do town folk realize it is and always has been these rough men who have been “standing ready to do violence on their behalf” and that, as Sir Edmund Burke formalized, they are the sole reason “people sleep peacefully in their beds at night.”

Our Nation has done all such things as those, and the “representative towns” have to do it to bring on the evil which lies in wait for an opportunity and is afforded such by the absence of action on the part of good people.  A few of the Americans who have studied history, studied war and humanity, have focused on the State of Our Nation, and have harped endlessly on the fact we have strayed far from our founding principles and no more resemble “the republic” today than England resembled the Roman republic as we fought for our Independence.

The single most important factor of establishing our republic was the concept of starting with a government absolutely constrained by the rule of law, and this being not only the status, but the principle.  Every other factor which went into establishing an egalitarian government was a matter of putting together some new, some old, but ideas focused on “the People” as The Nation, and the government, by its nature, being never anything more than a servant.

“The Cowboy Way” is truly only a modern fictional embodiment of the application of our founding principles, “Citizen Sovereignty,” and thus responsibility, Citizens creating towns, cities, and culture, and keeping “rough men” at hand, knowing “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night, only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”  Those who most easily laugh about “the cowboy way” are invariably those who first cry for “those rough men.”


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