The Second Amendment is an unalienable right; plus, even assuming for the sake of argument that Trump has racist thoughts, his principles are not racist.
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In today’s podcast, I’m still chewing over the shootings this past weekend. I leave it to others to tackle the shooters’ motives (other than just being evil people) and the media’s haste to emphasize the allegedly conservative El Paso shooter (even though he seems terribly affected by the Leftist’s climate Armageddon rhetoric) while ignoring entirely the passions driving the Leftists shooter in Dayton. Instead, I want to discuss the Second Amendment and why it matters in the context of our relationship to the government. Long-time readers will recognize this discussion, but it may be new to others.
The right to bear arms is one of our premier constitutional rights. Too many Americans take our Constitution for granted without considering its centrality, not to government, but to the individuals being governed. Unlike the various federal statutes that impose laws on the people of this land, the Constitution imposes its restrictions on the federal government itself. The predicate to these individual rights is the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Without this acknowledgement of our unalienable status and dignity, the explicitly listed Rights in the Bill of Rights are meaningless. These unalienable rights – Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness — are the abstract foundational concepts that justify a citizen’s more concrete “right” to have spheres of activity (or inactivity) upon which the government cannot impinge.
Which gets us to the Bill of Rights. What exactly is it? I mean, we all know what’s in it, but I don’t think most people stop and really think about how important it is to them, as individuals.
The Constitution is a contract between the People (acting through their state-elected representatives) and the government. The main body of the Constitution, however, has nothing to do with the People, and everything to do with defining a functioning government. Thus, while it seeks to make sure that the executive can’t overwhelm the legislature or that the courts can’t overwhelm the executive, there’s nothing in the Constitution about whether the government as a whole, or any of its individual parts, can overwhelm the citizens under its rule.
The Founders realized in the wake of the Constitution’s ratification that creating a government is not the same as protecting the People’s unalienable under that government. If the government can “giveth” something and then “taketh it away” again, that something is not a right, it is, instead, a mere privilege. [Read more…]