It's not about guns...
It's about citizenship
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If not in the election season, nominees will eventually come before the derelict Senate Judiciary Committee. Can we decide then to respect the Constitution, that there is a difference between constitutional government and anarchy, that the oath of public office taken by holders of public office, including members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, means something?
Below are slightly revised introductory paragraphs, not reviewed, of a manuscript, not yet completed, proposed to the New York Times. It is proposed that the finished article contain reproductions of source documents as sidebars. Anyone who wants to argue can argue with the source documents.
Don't anyone have high hopes that the New York Times after years of political and intellectual dereliction will suddently become a serious voice of public enlightenment. It would be too frightening for the New York Times to publish into a sea of ignorance which is in large part of its own own making.
If the New York Times can't be a serious voice for public enlightenment, it might explain what business it thinks it is in.
Assaulting Jim Zumbo
The NRA on Extremists
NRA scams its members
The Lionel Show
AirAm Radio's ignorant, crude,
ugly, air waves barbarian
Dear John Ashcroft
The armed populace doctrine
at the DOJ
The Washington Post
Failing its Mission
NPR's Diane Rehm
Civilized without Substance.
A longstanding dereliction.
Violence Policy Center
The public health agenda
falls in line with the NRA.
Militia Act of 1792
To enroll conscript, register
That is, a coerced civic obligation.
Return of Militia
Inventory of private weapons
in the early Republic reported
to the President of the US
John Kenneth Rowland
John K. Mahon
Going around the NRA leadership
Senate Judiciary Com.
Jan. 30, 2013 hearings
Congress fails again.
The Quotes, the Quotes
Fabricating the armed populace doctrine
Tenn. Law Rev., 1995
What does the NRA want?
October 21, 2016
Nothing contained in this file is original. The source documents and source arguments have been available to anyone who looked for more than two hundred years. Robert Parry of Consortium News and Steven Krulik come late to this subject but make similar points.
Krulik's "fake quotes" and Parry's history have been on the Potowmack Institute website since the 1990s. Parry and Krulick have no audience. The Potowmack Institute has no audience. Objective fact has no audience. The gun controllers and the Obama Administration cannot get much past promoting trigger locks. Our shallow lazy news organs, starting with the NYTimes (see below) are an appalling spectacle. The bloody consequences are in the daily news. There is a public to educate.
Go back to the beginning. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper No. ONE:
" ...the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgement, their interests can never by separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people [that is, demagoguery] than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. Hisory will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing as demagogues and ending as tyrants."
More recently (1944) Friedrich Hayek described how totalitarian regimes pervert language.
Perverting language is the standard technique of demagogues.
The Founding Generation created a state with a viable concept of a governing authority. The lower orders of society were conscripted into militia duty.
The greatest problems we have are the cowardice of our politicians, who are nonetheless under oath of public office, the political and intellectual dereliction of our shallow lazy news organs, and the condescension of just about everyone else. Not the politicians, not the news organs, thanks to the NYTimes among others, and not anyone else needs to worry that we have an enlightened citizenry capable of self-government that demands that its interest in order libery as opposed to anarchy be served.
We have the gun controllers who cannot get much past promoting trigger locks and the Obama Administration whose gun safety agenda is simply an expanded version of the trigger lock agenda. The gun rights militants, led by the NRA, will defeat them at every juncture. One definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Nothing ever changes.
We have been through three debates of the 2016 presidential contest. Can we get serious about consitutional government?
Donald Trump wants to secure the borders. He speaks at the National Rifle Association's annual convention. Secure borders implies the existence of a nation state, a national government, a viable concept of a governing authority and a viable concept of constitutional government. The NRA's core doctrine denies all of those.
Trump proclaims that he will not recognized the outcome of the election unless he is elected. Will he call out the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas" to enforce a different outcome? The Nazi Party in 1933 at least seized power with the
appearance of constitutional legitimacy.
What the NRA wants is what it argued in its amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Perpich (released 1990): The right to maintain the militia as the
"armed populace at large",
a collection of sovereign individuals who made a treaty not a government.
Donald Trump said in the second debate that he would nominate justices to the Supreme Court who would "respect the Constitution." What is that supposed to mean? To respect the constitution means to respect constitutional government. To respect constitutional government means to respect the opinions of the courts. Anyone who does not accept and support the opinions of the courts has to launch a campaign for a constitutional amendment.
In Parker, after many pages in which Judge Silberman tried to disparage the original civic purpose of gun ownership and invent out of the "penumbra" and "emanations" of the Constitution a libertarian privacy right to gun ownership, he then completely contradicted himself by concluding that we can have
"registration . . . for militia service if called up" that is, we can have conscription. That is the original civic purpose. Milita duty in the early republic was conscript duty. There are no libertarian privacy rights in a conscript military organization. The NRA works hardest to
prevent accountability to a governing authority.
Accountability to a governing authority includes registration to fulfill a military obligation, a coerced civic obligation. If the purpose is military organization, there have to be standards. Standards for gun ownership are the basis of policy.
We don't get standards. We don't get standards that derive from constitutional doctrine. We do not secure constitutional rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights by defeating legislation. Rights are secured by the opinions of the courts and enforced by court orders that is, by guys with guns. Anything else is paraconstitutionalism which leads to paramilitarism of which we have plenty.
When departees from Clyven Bundy's ranch go to Las Vegas, ambush and assassinate police officers (the most visible presence of a governing authority and who we can assume are well-armed and well-trained in the use of arms), and go to Oregon to defy lawful government, they encounter law enforcement. What is missing a vehement declaration that resonates in the public mind that it is lawful government, with all it imperfections, that is the foundation of civil society (See Hamilton above). Without that vehement declaration the "armed citizen guerrillas" become emboldened. Will we next see them in legislative chambers and courtrooms demanding their way? History does not repeat itself but there are recurrent themes and there is a
Where is Donald Trump on all of this? Has anyone asked?
Can we get the issue of whether or not we have constitutional government clarified? Just ask the right question, as Larry King says, and demand the right answer. Ask Donald Trump. Ask Hillary Clinton.
Addressing gun violence and gun rights is not Republican or Democrat. It is not liberal or conservative, left-wing or right-wing. It certainly is not the false polarization of a progun/antigun culture war. Addressing gun violence involves the most vital and fundamental issues of political life. There are some things we need to get right first.
- Start here. The Constitution is a frame of government with "just powers" that derive from the "consent of the governed". Much is implied. It is not a treaty among sovereign individuals
who give no more than word of honor and promise of good faith. The Founding Generation understood the difference. Alexander Hamilton write in Federalist Paper No. 33:
A LAW, by the very meaning of the term, includes supremacy. It is a rule which those to whom it is prescribed are bound to observe. This results from every political association. If individuals enter into a state of society, the laws of that society must be the supreme regulator of their conduct. If a number of political societies enter into a larger political society, the laws which the latter may enact, pursuant to the power intrusted to it by its constitution, must necessarily be
supreme over those societies and the individuals of whom they are composed. It would be otherwise a treaty, dependent on the good faith of the parties, and not a government, which is only another word for POLITICAL POWER AND SUPREMACY. [Caps in original.]
In the process of defining the proposed constitution as the supreme law of the land in its authority over that states, Hamilton defined the state governments as supreme over individuals. It is very important that no one at the time objected to Hamilton's words. The Founders did not create
government at the mercy of insurrectionists.
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