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Over the last hundred or so years we have been step-by-step robbed of two of the most important elements essential to retaining our heritage, the American Character which produced it and the liberty that they both are grounded in.
One of these is a sense of true history. The other is the ability to reason objectively. Both are failures in education and in applying these elements to our daily lives. Nothing illustrates this more than almost constant national “discussion” on gun control and the Second Amendment.
Both sides seem to ignore the very real and “politically incorrect” fact that an unarmed society can never be a free society.
Do we, as human beings born under the hand of a God who passes along natural rights have the right to self-defense? Of course, we do! But although vital and necessary, it is not even the first concern of the Second Amendment.
Do gun control laws place all citizens in more danger from all crime, especially murder. Of course, they do! And it is an easy and strong case to make. Empirically, the numbers are easily found, almost endless and completely one-sided.
True, the left will ignore and lie about those numbers. But they are real and show the vast numbers of lives and property that are so much safer because of the availability of proper weapons to citizens. These numbers are true not just on a state by state or city by city basis here in the United States but also in those utopian paradises so often cited by the left as having more “reasonable” gun laws.
As an example, Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm has done great work in lacing together the full story of gun control in England and its cost in her book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience. Dr. John Lott has done extensive work on gun control results here in the US and his personal website, as well as that of the Crime Prevention Research Center, can give an exact answer to anything that the left can scream about “common sense gun laws.”
But even that precise and true argument evades the first and most American of reasons for the Second Amendment.
It is plainly there in the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration was not a hasty written “we are outta here” Dear John letter to Great Britain. It was a thoughtful, precise and objective statement to the rest of the world as well as the colonies. It was first drafted by Jefferson, true. But then it went through a discussion and revision by the committee of five including names such as Adams, Sherman, and Franklin. It then went to the full body of those men who would pledge their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor” for discussion. It was a combination of the hard lessons of history which to them plainly illustrated the roots of tyranny in all its forms and century-old ponderings of The Enlightenment.
The document did not just establish the concept of natural, unalienable rights (as in God-given) but made them the real purpose of any legitimate government.
Within the first sentence of the second paragraph is the first and most profound reason for the Second Amendment, “That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
To these men, it is not just the right of a free people to be armed, but it was a duty. As with all rights and duties, each individual has to take that mantle up on their own. Some will decline it. That is their choice in a free society.
But the Declaration makes clear that the people themselves are responsible for not just their own defense but also the defense of those principles of government which make it (government) legitimate. When their government fails in those principles, it is not just their right but their duty to change or abolish it.
Yes, there really is a right to revolution. At another time, it might be useful to discuss the difference between rebellion and revolution. Rebellion is an insurrection against legitimate authority while Revolution is a legitimate exercise of the people’s right to change their government and its leadership, to retain the free society they are by nature entitled to.
An armed citizenry, knowledgeable of its rights, is the bane of tyranny. Governments are power. They cannot be opposed by a timid or “toothless” people. That armed citizenry is one of the few ways in which the people can say not just “no” but “hell, no.”
It is the very presence of that armed citizenry which serves as a protector of all the other rights. Without it all rights are in danger of being overpowered.
All of the other devices installed by the Framers (rule of law, limited government, divided government, federalism, etc.) can be easily corrupted by the power that naturally comes with governing others. It is the citizens themselves who have to stand as both the first and the last defenders of liberty if a free society is to last. I content it is the duty of every individual who values liberty over promised safety to be armed. Nothing invites tyranny more than an unwillingness (and inability) to fight back.
The Framers gave us several means to fight back ranging from the simple ballot box to the actual ability to amend the Constitution without the hand of the Congress (as found in Article Five). To remain in control of our own lives, futures, and liberty we have to use them all. But the first and most basic is the ability to stand as an armed citizenry with the ability not just to defend our persons but our natural rights and liberty. To reject that ability and that right is to reject liberty itself.Published in