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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Massad Ayoob

THOUGHT-PROVOKING READ

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

I thought I’d share this interesting read, courtesy of regular correspondent Ted –

Comments welcome, as always.

14 Responses to “THOUGHT-PROVOKING READ”

  1. Two-gun Steve Says:

    “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.” Therefore, no insecure “weapon-free zones” should be legal! Make sure that your schools, churches, offices, etc., are secure as possible, or don’t ban.
    Curious that the Second Militia Act of 1792 gives a basic ammo load for muskets as only 24 bullets with a cartridge box (maybe paper cartridges already?), and just 20 balls for a rifle. The spirit of the bayonet was probably yet in ascendance. Back in the 1750’s, in 19 Standing Orders, the Ranger Robert Rogers called for 60 rounds of powder and ball, plus a scoured hatchet. What militia are you part of, and what is your basic load?

  2. Roger Willco Says:

    This article is excellent. Historical and grammatical (even Latin) facts in a brief argument. Too bad it won’t work on the Left. You see, guns and other evil weapons, just aren’t going to be allowed to the peons who will inhabit the forthcoming Socialist Utopia, Worker’s Paradise, Marxland. Of course, those who protect the leaders will have weapons, but that is just to ensure the peace, and ensure the leaders get to keep their jobs. Weapons won’t be used much in a utopia. The little people cannot be trusted with arms. They might hurt themselves. Only police and military men who have been trained, can be trusted with deadly weapons.

    The Founders put the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights, because they wanted the people to be able to defend themselves against tyrants. I have often wondered why they didn’t put a “right to self-defense” in the Bill of Rights. My guess is that, they thought the right to self-defense was obvious in Nature. Even animals have a right to self-defense. The Founders could not foresee that two hundred years hence Americans would be so dumbed-down that some of them would allow themselves to be unarmed in the presence of criminal activity. The city of San Francisco once voted to outlaw handguns in city limits. The state would not allow that, but here was an example of American citizens voting to disarm themselves!!!

    My guess is that, in the 1700s, even Europeans recognized a right to self-defense. So, again, in that setting, the Founders must have seen no need to put a “right to self-defence (British spelling)” into the Bill of Rights. It would be unnecessary, superfluous.

  3. Steve from MA Says:

    Both in that article ie. …”affirms an existing one as surely as natural law recognizes every man’s right to self-defense” and above with the use of the word ” rights”…well, I’m not a lawyer but the only rights you actually have are those set forth by the legal system of the specific environment in which you live. I am being caused to rethink much of how I view the world by a profound book that would no doubt infuriate numerous folks here and elsewhere (though it has been reprinted in 26 languages), Sapiens, A Brief History of Mankind by Harari. It is neither Left nor Right but a description of how our evolution from tribal societies has continued to influence how we think and act. Harari would say that the only natural laws are the ones that are the same in every culture ie. gravity and similar scientific phenomena. In the Middle Ages, only knights were legally allowed to carry swords, that’s why Robin Hood and Friar Tuck fought each other with staffs in the novel. The Lord of the manor a few centuries ago had the right to be the first to consummate the marriage of his subject’s wife. We may have a biological drive towards self preservation but I’m afraid it’s not a right, that’s why we need to have it written into the Constitution the way it is. Culture determines rights with its laws.

  4. Wood Says:

    The Founders didn’t need to be able to envision an M16; they merely needed to recognize that the whole of the people needed to match, or better the arms held by a government.

  5. Bob S Says:

    If you’d like to learn more along these lines, I strongly recommend Halbrook’s “That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right” (https://amazon.com/dp/0826352987), tracing the lineage of this philosophy from antiquity to the present day. The first edition (1994) was among a short list of publications that were instrumental in birthing the modern restoration in academia and jurisprudence. When you hear someone claiming that Scalia (writing for the Heller majority) invented a novel interpretation, this book contains plenty of ammo to show that fallacy.

    For more detail on a particular period, his “Securing Civil Rights: Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms” (https://amazon.com/dp/1598130382) is similarly excellent. Congress held the individual right sacrosanct, saw it as the only hope for freedmen, and was even willing to outlaw the (formerly) rebellious states’ militias in order to protect the individual right.

  6. Vermonter Says:

    Roger Wilco: You are correct. In the English Bill of Rights the three primary rights were: Personal security, personal liberty, and private property. The auxiliary rights that supported the primary rights included: “having arms for their defence suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law.” So the Founders saw no need to specifically mention self defense, as it was already established. (Just as there is no amendment that protects by name your right to own your house or land. It was never in question, Noted: the catchall Ninth Amendment could be said to cover a good many things.) In the Second Amendment they did two specific things. First, the main clause is a flat, declarative statement: “the Right of the People to keep and bear arms , shall not be infringed.” Second, in the militia phrase, their intent was to broaden the right from the narrower self defense only English right, to include the right of the people to use arms as a group. What was the event that started the American Revolution? The British marching to Concord to seize the gunpowder and arms that the colonists had stored there. (“We’re from the government, we will protect you, you don’t need your guns. We’ll take them.”) That was recent history to them, they wanted to prevent a recurrence.

  7. TN_MAN Says:

    @ Roger Willco:

    I agree with your point about self-defense. It was taken for granted by the Founding Fathers. They never foresaw a day whereby the Leftwing ideology would be so “advanced” that they would deny a right to self-defense but here we are. Of course, the Left is forced into such a position by their ideology.

    All humans have a need to believe in something greater than themselves. This belief is determined by how they answer the central question of all politics: What is the nature of mankind? Is mankind inherently good or inherently evil or a mixed bag?

    The extreme right believes that mankind is inherently evil. Therefore, no trust can be placed in mankind or in any of his works. Therefore, the extreme right is forced to cast about for somewhere else to put their faith. Typically, they place their faith in God (or Allah) and develop fanatical religious beliefs. The Islamic extremist of the Middle East are prime examples of extreme rightwing thought. Right-wing extremists are vulnerable to manipulation by a clever leader who proclaims himself as especially gifted and who says that he speaks for God (or Allah).

    A moderate adopts the “mixed bag” concept. He believes that mankind wants (generally) to do good but has a flawed nature that cannot be trusted too far. He does not lose all faith in mankind (like the rightwing extremist) but still does not place faith in individuals. A moderate places his faith not in individuals but, rather, in the People at Large. The Founding Fathers (generally) fell into this camp. They set up a system of divided Government that would be difficult for a single leader to manipulate. They set up a democracy whereby the people get to vote and pass judgment on their leaders and (if not well served) elect new leaders.

    A Leftist adopts the view that mankind is inherently good. This leads them down a peculiar path of thought. Since they view mankind as good, this ideology forces them to place the blame for all the World’s evils on external social and environmental factors (such a poverty, ignorance, racism, drug addiction, weapon proliferation, etc.). It also forces them to view the general run of mankind as innocent but incompetent. To view them as being unable to deal, individually, with these external forces. In many ways, they view humanity as innocent little children and they view themselves as the only “adults in the room”.

    As an aside, this is one reason why leftist ideology appeals strongly to females. The concept of being the adult and caring for the “little children” clearly would have a strong, biological appeal to the female psyche. Now before anyone goes “PC” on me and accuses me of being a “sexist pig”, let me acknowledge that there are plenty of leftist men and plenty of moderate or conservative women in the World. However, the statistics do show that females make up a majority of the leftists around the world. There are probably multiple reasons for this fact but all I am saying is that the appeal of the leftist ideology to the female psyche is strong due to this analogy with the biological relationship.

    Since leftist tend to view humanity rather as “innocent but incompetent little children”, they do not really (in their hearts) believe in democracy. From their point of view, democracy is like putting the children in charge of the school. However, they do not abandon all faith in mankind, like the right-wingers, and fall back to a belief in God alone. The Godhead of the left is the CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.

    The left believes that a strong central government (under the firm control of the “adult Left”, of course) is the only hope mankind has of defeating the manifold external social forces that are loose upon the World. Therefore, the leftwing ideology “weds” the left to the government in a far stronger fashion than those on the right and in the middle. The ultimate goal of the left is to seize total control of the government so that they can totally implement their left-wing agenda and (from their point of view) thereby save mankind from the uncontrolled social forces that threaten to overwhelm him. The divided nature of the American Government makes it particularly difficult for the left to seize. To do it completely, they need to attain complete control of all three branches. They have never been able to quite accomplish this. (God help us if they every do seize all three branches – it will take a revolution to get them back out again!)

    Indeed, the left is (in a very real sense) addicted to government. This explains why the left is so “crazy” at the moment. You must understand that, for the last 8 years, Obama was their drug dealer. He gave them at least partial control. The left had high hopes for the 2016 Election. They hoped to set up Hillary as their new dealer. With the best of luck, Hillary would have “coattails” and would flip the Senate. With control of both the Executive Branch and the Senate (and with several seats in the Supreme Court possibly at play), they would have a good chance of gaining substantial control of the Judicial Branch too. They would be well on their way to gaining the complete control for which they lust!

    Then their enemy, Trump, struck! They lost it all! They control nothing in Government now! They lost control of the Executive Branch, they do not control the Legislative Branch and, with Trump in the Whitehouse, their hopes of gaining control of the Judicial Branch are blasted. Yes, at one fell stroke, their enemy, Trump, got their drug dealer arrested and broke into their home and stole all the drugs that they had! The left has been shut off from the Government DRUG SUPPLY that they need and they are suffering terrible WITHDRAWEL Symptoms. Can’t you see why they are so crazy!

    The only thing that the left still controls is large parts of the mainstream media and academia. Naturally, due to their withdrawal suffering, they are whipping these areas (that they still control) into a frenzy.

    In conclusion, we had better do what we can to strengthen the 2nd Amendment and the Supreme Court while we can because the Left will fight to regain Governmental control “by hook or by crook” as soon as they can. When they do get back into power, they will redouble their efforts the implement the left-wing agenda to make up for the “lost ground” that Trump has cost them.

  8. MichaelJT Says:

    Good article thoughtfully, factually and grammatically correct.
    Unfortunately it is all just preaching to the choir.

    The left doesn’t give a damn about reason, logic and facts when a good, emotion driven, knee jerk reaction will suffice.

    This is why any discussion with a liberal ALWAYS quickly devolves into their rage, hate and name calling tantrum.

    For proof of that watch the FOX interview with the producer of the latest Michael Brown “documentary” film where he flies into a spittle spewing rage.

  9. Roger Willco Says:

    Thank you, Vermonter, and everyone else. It is too bad the Left has dogmatic closed minds. Such great arguments here, such great learning to be had for free, after you are set up with Internet access. The knee-jerk fear of guns really is irrational.

  10. Tom Marr Says:

    The Second Amendment really is so easy to understand. What if the Second Amendment said:

    A well-educated electorate being necessary to the preservation of a free state, the right of the people to read and write books shall not be infringed.

    This is the exact same sentence structure as the Second Amendment.

    Do you think anyone would argue that this means literacy and book ownership should be limited to registered voters?

    Absolutely not!

  11. Two-gun Steve Says:

    TN_MAN, some points regarding your article above. With women being the closest to their young children, that women should “make the rules” makes some sense. Unfortunately, a seemingly inherent function that females in general may have, both individually and among society, to promote competition among males, may somewhat undermine femininity as any kind of automatic peace machine, a paradoxical reality to which a significant quantity of females may be eternally oblivious. Women generally seem to have a different understanding of male aggression than the understanding of it that men have, and at least sometimes simply cannot help to cause trouble, when men would otherwise be at peace. Too obvious?

  12. Roger Willco Says:

    TN_MAN,

    Good analysis. One example of which you wrote would be President Woodrow Wilson. I think he was President from 1912 till 1920. He believed the Constitution was unfit for modern times, it was out-of-date. Before becoming President of the USA, he was the President of Princeton University. If I am not mistaken, he is the only President to earn a Doctor’s degree (PhD). He certainly believed that experts should make the decisions for the masses.

    Tom Marr,

    I love your simple answer.

  13. RichNH Says:

    James Madison’s original submission to Congress of the 12 amendments was heavily edited (politicians love to tinker with words). One can gain a clearer understanding of the intent of the fourth amendment (which became the second amendment when the first 2 weren’t ratified) by reading what Madison submitted, before Congress got hold of it in committee:

    “that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, a well-armed and well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no conscientious objector shall be compelled to render military service in person.”.

    Remember, in those days (and it’s still technically true), every able bodied man between 16 and 45 (by which time most men were either dead or not able-bodied) was in the militia.

    http://www.constitution.org/2ll/2ndschol/89vand.pdf
    There are a number of other examinations which show that the amendment was meant as an individual right. Quickly, here’s one:

    Madison initially envisioned his list of amendments as being interwoven into the text of the Constitution, not listed at the end of it, which is why the first 2 submitted amendments were essentially minor ones. One dealt with the number of people each representative in congress was supposed to represent and the other basically said that Congress couldn’t vote itself a pay raise without an election taking place after the vote and before the pay raise was put in place (that one was eventually ratified).

    If the Second Amendment was supposed to address government militias or establish any control of government over the RKBA then it would have been the first amendment because the part of the Constitution that deals with that subject (Article II, Section 2) occurs before the part that deals with “rights” (what little was made mention of them) in Article IV, Section 2.

    But the “First Amendment” deals with free speech, religion, etc. Clearly individual rights. Madison saw them being listed at the end of Article IV, Section 2. The Second Amendment, coming AFTER the rights of free speech, religion, etc, and BEFORE what are other obvious individual rights or prohibitions against government action, clearly shows that to the people who passed these amendments, the right to keep and bear arms is clearly an individual right, not collective, and that the amendment is a prohibition AGAINST the government(s) infringing on this right.

    It’s understanding the little things, that can’t be fit onto a bumper sticker, that most people fall short of, even the majority of gun owners (who feel it in their bones but cannot point to the smoking gun (sorry, I couldn’t resist)) to make their argument.

    http://www.constitution.org/cons/wellregu.htm
    The meaning of the phrase “well-regulated” in the 2nd amendment
    From: Brian T. Halonen
    The following examples of common use are taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, and bracket in time the writing of the 2nd amendment:
    1709: “If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations.”
    1714: “The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world.”
    1812: “The equation of time … is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well-regulated clock and a true sun dial.”
    1848: “A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Mayor.”
    1862: “It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.”
    1894: “The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well-regulated American embryo city.”
    The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only NOT the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.

  14. TN_MAN Says:

    @ Tom Marr,

    I also really liked your comparison between the 2nd Amendment and literacy.

    The Left absolutely LOVES to use RAW EMOTION to peddle their ideas. They do this by deliberately building a negative connotation which they then use to further their attacks. This is really clear with the 2nd Amendment and Firearms.

    The Left deliberately tries to make people AFRAID of firearms. To give firearms a very negative connotation in people’s minds. Once they build that connotation, they can propose the most ridiculous types of anti-gun legislation and use emotion to get people to “suspend their disbelief” to allow the bill to pass or (for judges) to allow the law to stand.

    Just as an audience “suspends their disbelief” while watching fantasy shows such as the Lord of the Rings (with elves, orcs, dwarfs, etc.), they use negative emotion to get people to “suspend their commonsense” regarding firearm legislation.

    One way to defeat this tactic, so beloved by the Left, is the approach you took. Take their ideas and apply the exact approach to another area (which the Left has not prepared with their negativity) and the ridiculous nature of their arguments shines forth. In your case, you took the Leftwing argument, that the 2nd Amendment applies only to the militia, and showed how stupid it is when applied to something else such as literacy. People who are brainwashed by the Left’s negativity regarding firearms may swallow the militia-limited argument “hook, line and sinker”. However, they can’t swallow it when it is applied to something else.

    This is a good approach to use on people who have been brainwashed a bit by the Left but who are still open to reason. There are other ways this can be applied. For example, take the arguments for gun control and apply them to something else (video camera controls and regulations, for example, in an effort to stamp out child pornography) and the stupidity of the gun control approach will rapidly become apparent.

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