The Human Rights Coalition
  (Australia) is committed to
  preventing the abuse, neglect,
  exploitation and endangerment
  of our fellow human beings.

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Swiss Army soldiers


Countless democracies have been destroyed as a result of coups or insurrections.


The minority Nazi Party came to power democratically and legally by forging a coalition government with conservatives in 1933, after which they quickly seized control of the state, ended democracy, and proceeded to rearm Germany with a view to invading many neighbouring nations and eliminating "untermenschen" like Jews.


Boris Yeltsin surrounded Russia's Parliament with tanks in 1993 and ordered them to open fire when legislators refused to grant him special powers, which harked back to the 1917 coup by Bolsheviks against the Provisional post-imperial government that was organizing Russia's first democratic elections. Legislators quickly capitulated to Yeltsin's demands, with his successor Vladimir Putin cementing his dictatorial control of Russia.


Thousands of pro-democracy protestors in China were slaughtered by the People's Liberation Army in Tiananmen Square in 1989, on orders from the ruling Communist Party of China which wanted to continue to rule without democratic accountability. A party that rules on the "might is right" principle and persecutes minorities (many used as involuntary organ banks).


Populists like Hitler and Trump can all too readily come to power democratically by exploiting grievances and nationalism, which reveals the need for democratic safeguards.

Missed Opportunity

Had the German people been committed to defending democracy and minorities, and possessed the practical means of protecting themselves, they would likely have organized mass protests and a national strike to bring down the Nazi regime, but most lacked this commitment and the practical means of defence against the Nazi security forces. An uprising the German army may well have refused to put down or supported.

Monopoly of Violence

Defending and supporting democracy can be extremely dangerous, especially when those who oppose its introduction or seek to destroy it have a monopoly of violence, as was the case in Germany, Russia and China where few ordinary citizens possessed practical defensive weapons.

Swiss Example

The gold standard in protecting democracy is the Swiss citizen army, which is comprised mostly of reservist conscripts rather than self selected professionals dependant on the government for their income. People who self select (volunteer) for military service all too often harbour authoritarian tendencies. Such service is a social duty like paying income tax and voting.


If this is not possible then able adults of good character (members of the unorganized militia) should obtain a service rifle (and service pistol if possible) and join a civil defence group or gun club like those affiliated with the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).


1. The monopolization of deadly force by agents of the state dependant on the state for their income endangers democracy.

2. Citizens deprived of the practical means of defending democracy are readily massacred by police, soldiers, or private militias like the Nazi SA and SS.


1. Democracies should model their armies on the Swiss Army, or at the very least ensure able adults of good character possess a service rifle as members of a civil defence group or gun club.

2. Promote a love of democracy, minorities, and a willingness to defend both.

Primary Sources

Death by "Gun Control": The Human Cost of Victim Disarmament (2001), A. Zelman & R.W. Stevens. Mazel Freedom Press.

Democracy in Chains (2017), Nancy MacLean. Scribe Publications.

Fascism: A Warning (2018), Madeleine Albright. HarperCollins.

Government By All The People (1912), Delos F. Wilcox, PH.D. The Macmillan Company.

Power Kills (1997), R. J. Rummel. Transaction Publications.

Tuvia Bielski

Tuvia Bielski helped save 1,200 Jews from the Nazis by leading a Jewish militia (Bielski Partisans) he and three of his brothers created.

The essence of his moral achievement is that he undertook both resistance and rescue but favoured the latter.

     © Human Rights Coalition (Australia)