The Tree of Liberty
|SECOND OPINION |
Last week, Constitutional conservatives defeated the most recent congressional round of "gun-control" legislation. This week, in rebuttal, a full-page advertisement hit newsstands around the country.
Under the heading, "Open Letter to the National Rifle Association," Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), an organization that purports to advocate gun-control measures ostensibly for reason of public safety, states, "We hate what guns are doing to our communities, our schools, our families and, most especially, our children."
"What guns are doing"? We checked, and there are no guns on death row, in prison, on parole, or among the FBI's Ten Most Wanted. There are plenty of sociopaths who have used a variety of weapons to kill their victims. But that is not a "gun problem," and no amount of "gun control" will palliate such violence.
HCI's ad was not endorsed by the nation's leading Constitutional scholars, but by a gaggle of media glitterati — mass opinion shapers to the lobotomized — with names like Baldwin, Belzer, Bergen, Brinkley, Cher, Cronkite, Degeneres, Donahue, Geraldo, Gere, Levin, Madonna, Nicholson, O'Donnell, Pfeiffer, Sarandon, Springsteen, Streep, Streisand, Thurman and the Zappa clan.
HCI claimed, "Everyday we lose 13 children to gun violence in this country. ... This debate is not about guns. It's about children." Really? The fact is, 85% of the "children" we lose to "gun violence" are aged 15 to 19, and drawn from the ranks of the socially disenfranchised and gang-bangers of nightly news horror.
Of course, invoking the cause of children is the most tried and true charade in the left's political almanac. To wit, note Mr. Clinton's summary of his gun-grab setback: "[Republicans] say we don't care what's necessary to protect our children." Or his most oft-stated justification for using the big guns in Yugoslavia: "Our children need and deserve a peaceful, stable, free Europe."
Columnist Charley Reese notes, "The neo-totalitarians...follow a fixed pattern. They create a straw man, demonize the straw man, then frame the argument as a contest between good and the evil demon." Children v. guns, in this case.
HCI claimed that not only is gun-control "about children," but "everyone's right to; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'." While the gun debate is not primarily about "children," HCI did inadvertently hit on the truth: It is about the relationship between the possession of arms and "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
The Second Amendment says that an armed public is "necessary to the security of a free State," and, as UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh explains, this is the justification clause to its operative clause, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Dr. Volokh's assertion is sustained in the words of the most notable Founders in their arguments for our Constitution's ratification in their home states.
"The said Constitution [shall] be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms," insisted Samuel Adams in Massachusetts.
In Pennsylvania, Noah Webster proclaimed: "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power."
In New York, Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 29: "[I]f circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens."
James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, wrote in Federalist No. 26: "The advantage of being armed...the Americans possess over the people of all other nations.... Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several Kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
In Virginia, Patrick Henry argued: "The great object is that every man be armed.... Everyone who is able may have a gun. ... Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel." George Mason said of the need to bear arms, "To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
These Founders are not talking about defending individual liberty from foreign invasion — but from tyranny within.
Justice Joseph Story (appointed by James Madison) in his "Commentaries on the Constitution" considered the right to keep and bear arms "the palladium of the liberties of the republic," which enables the citizenry to deter tyranny.
Of constitutions and parties, Thomas Jefferson concluded, "Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1) Those who fear and distrust the people.... 2) Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe...depository of the public interest."
In the context of today's political parties, it is arguably the Sociocrats who distrust the people. Their solution to the "gun problem" straw man is the incremental implementation of legislation, which will increasingly restrict the ownership of arms until which time they are positioned to replace 20,000 federal, state and local gun laws with one law — no guns, except perhaps those narrowly defined for sporting purposes. Of course, their unspoken motive is to disarm the people, rendering them of necessity at the mercy of the standing army and increasingly, the police state.
But the Second Amendment was not written to protect the rights of citizens to hunt and target shoot. It expressly prohibits government from infringing on our rights to possess the means to defend against tyranny — enemies foreign and domestic.
Thomas Jefferson said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants," an admonition made possible by the right to bear arms of parity with those of the standing army. If such words seem antiquated, consider these: "One man with a gun can control 100 without one. ... Make mass searches and hold executions for found arms." — V.I. Lenin. "If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves." — Joseph Stalin. "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." — Mao Tse-Tung.
But today, modern Sociocrats and their media glitterati have made political fodder of our Bill of Rights, subverting its promise of freedom and liberty. And their constituents, fat and lazy on the largess of Bill Clinton's "New Covenant," line up like lemmings. As Charley Reese concludes, "Americans who value freedom had better be more concerned about the gun-control crowd than the criminals. Criminals may want your money; the neo-totalitarians want your freedom. ... The Founding Fathers boasted that all Americans were armed. Of course, they governed free men, not a herd of sheep."
them know you
found them on TYSK
25 June 1999;
21 July 2007