Another Clover (my term for people who reflexively defend anything and everything government does – because it’s government that’s doing it) recently sent me the following in response to something I’d written on the subject of the Second Amendment:
“What was the 2nd Amendment about? Oh well the right to acquire antique guns and hang them up on a wall so you can admire them. “
Beyond its illiterate construction, the evasions and package-dealing contained in the Clover’s statement are interesting – in the same way that cancer is interesting to a pathologist. Here’s my lab report:
Dear Clover –
The Second Amendment articulated the natural right of free people to possess arms for self-defense. A right – not a privilege conferred by government; a right that the state is morally bound to respect.
Anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant or deliberately trying to suppress the clear intent of the authors of the Constitution. To try to claim that the 2A was written to restrict or regulate the private possession of firearms is evil nonsense. I realize that ignorant people will stamp their feet and point to the phrase, “well-regulated” and then to the word, “militia” to try to argue the opposite. But this merely touts their ignorance – of what those terms meant in the 18th century – as evidenced by the context of those times, when virtually every private citizen did in fact possess arms, without restriction or regulation of any sort. Hence, if the authors of the 2A had intended to restrict or regulate the private possession of firearms then you have to come up with an explanation for why there was no “gun control” of any sort from 1789 (the date of the Constitution’s ratification) onward, until more than 100 years had passed… .
This fact cannot be gotten around.
There is also the fact of what the authors of the founding documents wrote and said on the subject.
For example, Thomas Jefferson:
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” (Thomas Jefferson Papers, p. 33.)
And George Washington:
“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
And Alexander Hamilton:
“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” (Federalist Papers, pp. 184-188)
And Patrick Henry:
“Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defence? Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defence be the *real* object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?” (June 9, 1788)
And George Mason:
“To disarm the people… was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” (June 14, 1788)
And Samuel Adams:
“That the said Constitution shall never be 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…” (Phila. Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789.)
Just a sampling. The roster of quotes is impressive – and uniform in their defense of free people – private citizens – to possess arms. Period. Free of control or regulation of any sort. It is not possible to find even one quote from a founding father advocating that the private possession of arms be restricted. Not one! Of course, this omission – this devastating silence – is never brought up by Clovers. It is a truth they simply cannot confront.
Modern advocates of “gun control” (that is, proponents of disarming innocent, non-criminal civilians) can argue many things – that “times have changed,” that free people should be denied their rights because of some “greater good,” as they define it – but it is facile and fatuous for them to argue that the 2A was written for any other reason than to define and protect the right of private citizens to possess arms without qualification or restriction.
And so ended my response to my Cloveronian correspondent. I neglected to add the following quotes from historical figures who may share his beliefs about restricting or denying the right of free people to possess arms:
“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.”
-Adolf Hitler, April 11, 1942
“The people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, short swords, bows, spears, firearms, or other types of arms. The possession of unnecessary implements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues and tends to foment uprisings.”
– Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Shogun, August 1588
And finally, I wish I had closed my letter with the following:
“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”
– Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story
But I suspect none of the foregoing will register, much less make an impression. A Clover “just knows” that guns are bad and feels they must be “controlled” – and will never comprehend – or perhaps, care to admit – that what he in fact advocates is controlling people.
And there we come to the fork in the road; the difference between people who understand liberty and value it – and those who either do not understand it or, much worse, don’t value it.
And therefore work to destroy it.
PS: My apologies for posting another not-car column – but responding to Clovers, disabusing them of their nonsense – or rather pointing out to others how nonsensical Clovers are – has become as important to me as writing about cars and bikes. Because if we lose our liberties for failure to defend them, writing about cars – or driving them – won’t be something I or any of you out there reading this will have to worry much about.
Throw it in the Woods?