The Naked Emperor

08 June 2008

The Gospel According to the Founders

Over the last few days, I've been reading about Sen. Obama's positions on gun control.

When answering such serious questions, I find it handy to pull up a copy of the Constitution, and try to put myself in the Founder's place.

The main body of the Constitution is concerned with the organization and powers of the federal government. But the founders wouldn't pass it.

Why? Well it said what the Feds were able to do but it didn't say a word about what they were NOT allowed to do.

Remember that these people had just been through a tyrannical king and fought a very bloody and long war for their liberty.

They had witnessed first hand the excesses of government. And paid, in blood, to be free from those excesses, no mater what government it was.

And they were trying something VERY radical. A democratic Republic. Never been tried before.

These guys had a lot of horse sense.

Before you trust a potentially wild horse, it's a good idea to put hobbles on it.

So they came up with the bill of rights, and the Constitution was passed. Hopefully, a government that could NOT go to excess. But in case it did, they built in a safety valve.

As I said, these boys were not just smart but wise too.

So lets read these Amendments.

(This being Sunday, perhaps I should say "A Reading form the Constitution, Amendments 1 through 2".)

Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This nation was "Conceived in liberty" as Mr. Lincoln so eloquently put it. But not just physical liberty. Liberty of the spirit and of the mind as well.

You are allowed to worship as you want and think what you want, and express those ideas however you want. Paint a painting. Write a pamphlet or book. Carry placards. Or even, dare I say (Dare, Dare!) blog.

Notice this amendment doesn't say a word about "politically correct" speech, or "popular speech". Saying what the "in" crowd likes hardly needs protecting. But unpopular speech does.

It makes no exception for "hate speech". If I find your candidate too tall, and I express that, that idea is a freedom purchased for me (and you!) with the blood of patriots. It means freedom for all, Not just your views.

Perhaps the First Amendment could be better thought of as "Freedom of Ideas".

And immediately behind it follows the 2nd 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.

Notice it does not say the right of the state or portion of government to keep and bear arms.

It says the right of the people. You. Me.

This is the safety valve.

Remember that it was the people who rose up against tyranny, not the Feds. They didn't even exist back then.

At the time, the people here were armed with weapons equal to, and in some cases superior to that of the tyrannical power.

The 2nd Amendment means the ultimate veto over tyranny, not from a foreign prince or potentate, but from our own government should it turn tyrannical.

It says nothing about "may not", or "only if we feel like it". It says the right of the people to not just keep arms, but to bear arms, SHALL NOT be infringed.

It doesn't mention "Assault Weapons", or hunting, or sporting purposes, or crime.

It was intended to keep the population well armed, with military capable weapons, to defend our liberty, should our government get too big for it's britches.

Let's look back at the 1st Amendment.

What good is freedom of thought and expression, if at any time and place they choose, the government can decide that they object to your ideas and either chuck you in prison or kill you?

If you can not defend your right to free expression, then it is worthless.

I have chosen to accept the gift of free expression from my forefathers. And I also accept the responsibility of defending it, with my own life if necessary.

Please reread these Amendments.

On these two hang all the law and the liberties.

Here endeth the epistle.

The Naked Emperor


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