|The 2nd Amendment: A Primer|
Ignorance, willful or not, for a contextual understanding of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution and the governing principles of our constitutional republic, will be relieved by this examination. This essay is a response to the understandable hysteria of those who want to use the horrific and wanton slaughter of women and children by a mentally deranged man in Newtown, Connecticut, to end private ownership of all semi-automatic firearms. This examination will attempt to provide a constitutional grounding for all solutions that government, in its want to prevent further such acts of terror and murder, will propose in the coming days and weeks.
An unpopular position that I take with trepidation, yet I believe must be put in print so that we may have a properly grounded, civil discussion. First, I will address some arguments put forth by some Talkabout bloggers who believe: that the “world has changed, technology has changed, and what secures freedom has changed”; that the United States is a “liberal democracy”; and that the 2nd Amendment is “famously unclear, [a] failure, and a logical oddity ”. Second, I will address some issues that must be thoroughly explored - prior to my support for legislation aimed at prevention - which are also being given short shrift by the national media. Third, I will demonstrate that a vigorous and jealous defense of the 2nd Amendment is as crucial as to the liberty we enjoy as Americans; as is the vigorous and defense of free speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and the rights of property. Let’s get to it, shall we?
A description of democracy - of which we are not, yet are on the fast track to become – that I am particularly fond of which accentuates its failings:
“A government of the majority. Authority derived through mass meeting or any form of direct expression. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequence. Attitude towards property is socialistic. Results in mobocracy, negation of property rights, demagoguism, license, agitation, and discontent.”
A fine example of the ‘rule of man’ that we can put up against the ‘rule of law’, whereby the minority and majority have equal Rights under a government in a constitutional republic.
John Adams, 1763:
“Unbridled passions produce the same effects, whether in a king, nobility, or a mob. The experience of mankind has proved the prevalence of a disposition to use power wantonly. It is therefore as necessary to defend an individual against the majority [as in democracy], as against the king in a monarchy.”
For those who believe that antiquity of principles has no basis in “[today’s] changing world”, or that “technology” has improved the insidious nature of usurpation, or that human nature has been magically transformed by the 21st century; some more John Adams on the guarantee of pre-existing Rights:
“Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would.”
From there we can look to Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist #28, as one example, for the purpose of the 2nd Amendment and reinforcement of the individual right to bear arms:
“…if the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then not recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense….[the] people, without exaggeration, may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will at times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments, and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress. How wise will it be in them by cherishing the union to preserve to themselves an advantage which can never be too highly prized!”
Tomorrow, we will show that a reliance upon syntax and punctuation for the grounds of an argument that the 2nd Amendment is “famously unclear, [a] failure, and a logical oddity”; is one that fails to review period dictionary’s and thousands of pages of historical writings.
As we close for the evening, ponder this little diddy:
In a democracy, might makes right. In a republic, right makes might. In a democracy, the law restricts the people. In a republic, the law restricts the government.
JD the Federalist