I’m a gun guy. I’m not just a supporter of the Second Amendment, but I’m a guy who loves guns and loves shooting. I’ve shot competitions and shot for fun. Just this past Saturday, I shot so much my trigger was almost to hot to touch. It’s the only reason I left the range. For some, this is a sign of some kind of mental disorder. In reality, it just means I understand a few things that the anti-gun crowd just doesn’t grasp.
To start with, I recognize that the police aren’t required to protect me and mine. Oh sure, they might want to and might do everything in their power to protect me, but they don’t have to and there’s nothing I can do if they don’t. This, my friends, isn’t a good position to be in. Like it or not, we live in a world where we can see the strong still preying on the weak. Not all the strong, mind you, but it still happens. Personally, there’s only one way I want to be part of the predator/prey relationship and that involves some Real Tree camo, an orange hunting vest, and a tree stand.
If the police aren’t required to protect me, then who is responsible? Well, I am. I have a post coming later today to talk more about that in non-criminal aspects, but when it comes to crime there is no one else to protect me and mine. I have to do it. Since the bad guys carry guns, guess what I need? You betcha! I need a gun as well.
There’s nothing that bothers me more than a Second Amendment discussion where hunting comes up. Why is that? Because those who use hunting as a defense of the Second Amendment usually miss that the Second Amendment was never about hunting. It was about the means to defend ourselves and our nation from attack. There is nothing more important than that.
There are those who still don’t accept that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, despite the decision in Heller vs. District of Columbia. They argue that it protects a state’s right to maintain a militia, and that form today is the National Guard. So let’s take a look at that faulty thinking and lay it bear.
First, let’s look at the text of the Second Amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The right of the people. Those who support the idea that it is a collective right seem to ignore one inescapable fact. At no other point in the Constitution, does the word “people” refer to anything but individual rights. So why should we accept that it does in this one instance?
Next, let’s take a look at the nature of militias and the National Guard. The militia was the defense force made up of individuals who came out to protect their homes and families in time of war. These were true citizen soldiers who answered to officers from their locality. They owned their own weapons and equipment and could respond to threat of invasion even when the governor or president were still in the dark about the threat.
By contrast, the National Guard is part of the United States Army. They answer to the governor in times of crisis, but can be deployed overseas at the whim of the federal government. Further, their equipment is owned by the federal government and is maintained in a locked armory, making their response to invasion no different than the regular Army’s.
There’s an old saying that you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Unfortunately, far to many libertarians are convinced otherwise. It’s not really surprising either since so many of them are contrarians by nature. They wouldn’t agree with someone else that the sky was blue without seeing it for themselves, and that’s not a bad thing by any means. However, when it comes to political dialog, that old saying applies more than ever.
In a comment to a post I wrote, someone said part of the problem with libertarians is that they’re a-holes. Being a libertarian myself, I usually don’t catch that side of it so much (though a few posts of mine have shown me some examples from time to time), but as I look around, I realize that it’s true. We can be arrogant bastards from time to time, but it’s born out of a certainty we’re right about so many issues. It’s also not indigenous to the libertarian population either.
However, that arrogance can lead to us being “a-holes”, and that really doesn’t help us share what we believe and it damn sure doesn’t convince a soul of what we’re about. An arrogant attitude doesn’t convince the old-school drug warriors to abandon their cause. It doesn’t convince the gun control advocate that there’s another way. It doesn’t convince a soul that we’re right about anything.
I know this comes as no surprise to many of you, but apparently, good old Tax Hike Mike Huckabee is so enthralled with the idea of freedom and constitutional principles that he seems to like the idea of forcing people at gunpoint to listen to often discredited “historian” David Barton. From a piece at Huffington Post:
But the most outrageous statement by far came from Mike Huckabee, who expressed his admiration for Barton by saying that he “almost wished” that “all Americans would be forced — forced at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message.”
Yes, yes, I know. Most of you automatically discount Huffington Post information on general principle. I also know he said he “almost wished” rather than “wished”. However, keep in mind that “almost wished” means he at least entertained the possibility of doing just that, even as a fantasy.
Forced at gunpoint? To listen to a guy who has attributed quotes to the Founding Fathers that supposedly support his position without evidence they even said them? Yeah, I don’t see any problem with that.
Of course, I’m forced to wonder what someone like Huckabee would do if they actually had absolute political power. So far, this is not a thought that gives me tingles inside by any means.
In case you haven’t heard, Tom Woods and Mark Levin are debating, though on their on webpages, the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya. Woods argues that the intervention is contrary to the intent of the Founding Fathers, while Levin - ever the neo-conservative - cites prior precedent and funding for general security purposes as some sort of tacit authority for the president to go to war whenever he feels like it.
Woods, who took apart Levin’s arguments one by one, challenged the talk radio host to find one Founding Father to that supported going to war without the approval of Congress, which is clearly laid out in Article I of the Constitution. He didn’t, but he did resort to ad hominem attacks against Woods and libertarians.
After Levin posted his most recent response, Wood shot back:
So Mark Levin has responded to my challenge today. Did he find a Federalist who agrees with him that a president can launch a non-defensive war without consulting congress? I was a real sport — I let him look through the ratifying conventions of every single state, and I also let him cite public lectures or newspaper articles. Really anything at all. Did he find someone, anyone?
As President Barack Obama has involved us in another overseas conflict, intervening where there is no real interest to the United States and has not sought congressional approval for this action - troubling since this exactly the scenario the Founding Fathers wanted to avoid, many of us are wondering what happened to the anti-war movement.
This point was raised on Monday over at Reason by reposting a video they released in January noting the silence of the anti-war movement as Obama, who was once viewed as the “anti-war candidate” for president, increased our presence in Afghanistan nearly a decade after that war began:
President Obama recently released his proposed budget, a $3.73 trillion monstrosity that is a monument to his own arrogance and complete inability or refusal to understand the concerns of the American people. After a historic tail-whipping of his party in November, Obama decided to engage in a little rhetorical compromise, and then turned around and doubled down on the disastrous policies that have kept this country in a long recession followed by a jobless recovery.
Simply put, even if we tax the “millionaires and billionaires” at 100% of earnings, it still won’t put much more than a dent in our $14+ trillion national debt. Within a decade we’ll be spending more than $800 billion (conservatively) for interest payments on the debt, and even more if interest rates rise, which they surely will. The fact is that our road to economic recovery lies down the path to drastically reduced spending.
The problem we have as a nation is that Democrats embrace fiscal irresponsibility; a policy of tax, borrow and spend (as if we can keep borrowing to pay for lavish welfare and entitlement programs and the bill will never come due) and Republicans claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility, but engage in a policy of borrow and spend. Yes, cutting tax rates stimulates the economy, but even with increased gross revenues, spending more than you raise still leads to deficits. Republicans are half right, refusing to raise taxes, but drop the ball by not making the case for spending cuts. Republicans, fearing Democrats will demagogue them as heartless to the plight of the poor, back off of spending cuts at the first sign of trouble.
Perhaps those on the right who talk about the Founders so much should consider this quote from the great pamphleteer for independence and liberty, Thomas Paine:
An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
Or, to put it more bluntly, the end does not justify the means.
H/T: Glenn Greenwald
Conflict in the Middle East has been part of mankind’s history for many millenia now, and it’s hard to imagine that peace will ever prevail in this tumultuous part of the world. The land occupied by the modern states of Israel and Palestine is arguably the most fought over piece of real estate on earth, with many groups claiming historical and religious precedence to its soil.
The current conflict between Israel’s government and Palestine’s Hamas has sparked the usual war of words between the spin-doctors of the warring countries, with political pundits across the globe chiming in with their take on the matter. Each group has a convincing argument, and most citizens of the world are decidedly on one side or the other.
While most American’s may wonder which side to take, advice from Founding Father Thomas Jefferson begs the question “Should we take any side at all?”
Fairly non-authorative liberal (who calls himself libertarian, but I won’t) Bill Maher interviews David Walker who frankly discusses the shape and direction of the nation from a pragmatist point of view. Its good to see David reaching out to a progressive audience that is not hostile to his message of the need for fiscal sanity.