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Eric Margolis on Switzerland: Most Armed; Most Free

“Most armed; most free.” So the renowned Italian thinker and strategist Niccolo Machiavelli described the Swiss five centuries ago.

That was a time when the 30 ft pikes and deadly halbards (pole axes) of Switzerland’s fierce mercenary armies were the terror of Europe. The “furia Helvetica” ruled the battlefields until 1515 at Marignano when French guns, firing at point-blank range, tore apart the massed Swiss pike phalanxes.

Today, the memory of Swiss military glory is preserved at the Vatican by its colorful Swiss Guard.

Switzerland has long stayed behind its borders and observed armed neutrality, avoiding both world wars. But on voting days in the Alps, burly farmers come down from the mountains carrying their rifles, axes, and swords – reminders that Swiss independence was won and remains thanks to her people’s force of arms.

Switzerland is the world’s oldest democracy, dating from 1291. As a former resident, I believe this beautiful nation is the world’s most perfect and sensible democracy. Citizens vote directly in all major questions. The 26 Swiss cantons manage their own financial, judicial, and administrative affairs, leaving only defense, railroads, post and foreign affairs to a tiny government in Bern.

Last week, Swiss were asked to vote on a key question that keeps recurring every decade: pacifist and leftists put to referendum the proposal of eliminating national military service and disarming the Swiss Confederation.

Most Swiss are keenly aware that as one of the world’s richest nations they are always surrounded by hungry neighbors. They just watched the US hold up their banks. They voted no to the foolish referendum.

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It is a Confederacy

CH - Confederation Helvetica.

They are represented by a Federal Council of 7 and the President of the council serves for one year. As a first among equals, the Federal Council member serving as President of the Confederation is not considered the Swiss head of State. Rather, the entire Federal Council is considered a collective Head of State.

Almost everything goes to referendum in Switzerland with the power being at the Canton level and closer to the people.

What a great model for the USA - a Confederation of 50 states with a weak Federal Gov't. How great that would be.

"One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas" Victor Hugo

It is a beautiful country.

I traveled there in 89. Clean and the nicest people I met in the 5 countries I visited. This post reminded me of something I saw. I witnessed a couple citizen soldiers going off to there weekend defense duty. One had the equivalent of an M60 slung over his shoulder getting on a bus. No one paid mind as they all take there weapons home with them.

Love Switzerland And William Tell

Awesome place!


They just watched the US hold up their banks. Why did they allow such?