The Oath Keepers, an American far-right [[anti-government]] militia, has been active since 2009. The organization, founded by Elmer [[Stewart Rhodes]], a lawyer and former paratrooper, has been involved in several significant events, including the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the [January 6, 2021 United States Capitol attack](https://doctorparadox.net/january-6-attack/).
The group's ideology is rooted in American [[nationalism]], Conservatism, and [Libertarianism](https://doctorparadox.net/libertarian-narcissism-right-wing-ideology/). Despite allegations of [[white supremacy]], the organization denies such affiliations. The Oath Keepers have been identified as a far-right [extremist](https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/extremism/) group by several organizations that monitor U.S. domestic terrorism and hate groups, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The [[FBI]] describes the Oath Keepers as a "paramilitary organization" and a "large but loosely organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights."
## Personal nullification doctrine
The Oath Keepers encourage their members to disobey orders they believe would violate the U.S. Constitution -- which is a bit like taking the concept of [[nullification]], which (dubiously) asserts that states can ignore federal laws they don't like, and applying it at the personal level. It is also a bit like believing the law simply does not apply to you -- or that you individually have the complete power to define law as you see fit.
Research indicates that two-thirds of the Oath Keepers are former military or law enforcement, and one-tenth are active duty military or law enforcement. The organization's membership is estimated to be around 5,000, although leaked data suggests a much higher figure of 38,000.
The Oath Keepers have been involved in several high-profile incidents. They were present during the 2014 and 2015 unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where members armed with semi-automatic rifles roamed streets and rooftops. By September 2021, twenty members had been indicted for federal crimes related to the [2021 Capitol attack](https://doctorparadox.net/dagger-at-the-throat-of-america/), with four pleading guilty.
The organization's founder, [[Stewart Rhodes]], was [sentenced to 18 years for seditious conspiracy](https://doctorparadox.net/stewart-rhodes-oath-keepers-18-years/) for his role in the January 6 United States Capitol attack. Another Oath Keepers leader, [Kelly Meggs](https://kumu.io/doctorparadox/koup-klux-klan#main-map/annotated-view/kelly-meggs), was sentenced to 12 years for the same crime. Three other members have pled guilty to [[seditious conspiracy]], and four other members have been convicted of it.
Despite the controversies and legal challenges, the Oath Keepers remain active. They continue to attract members from the military and law enforcement communities, and their influence in the far-right political sphere remains significant. As the United States grapples with the rise of [extremism](https://doctorparadox.net/psychology/extremism/), the activities and ideology of groups like the Oath Keepers will continue to be a subject of intense scrutiny and concern.