Saturday, January 12, 2013

What do you do if the government takes away a Constitutional right?

Conspiracy theories and wild speculation aside, there are certain rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution.  I'll leave the more general subject of the Ninth Amendment, the one which basically states that just because some rights are listed we haven't automatically lost our other rights, for another time.  However, I think it is fairly obvious that the federal government has been slowly encroaching on the rights of the people for many decades.  They have interpreted the Commerce Clause to allow them to do virtually anything, the political left and some libertarians screamed about the violations inherent in the Patriot Act (although they didn't seem to worry that it was passed overwhelmingly by both Houses and generally were unable to find a specific instance of anyone actually losing a right), they have expanded the Eminent Domain laws beyond any reasonable interpretation with the Kelo case, and they have slowly pushed until most seventeenth century Americans would probably be horrified at what aspects of our lives we have allowed a "limited" federal government to control.

The Obama administration has accelerated that push, abrogating powers of the other branches of government to itself by bypassing Congress on immigration policy, making appointments without the advice and consent of the Senate, discussed methods to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally, and most recently suggested that whole classes of firearms could be banned by executive order if Congress fails to follow the bidding of the President.

It is the last which I wish to address here because the Second Amendment is, in my opinion, the lynchpin of the Bill of Rights.  Regardless of what many either believe or profess for political reasons, the purpose of the Second Amendment was to allow the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government.  That was made abundantly clear in the writings of those who drafted the Constitution.  It is hardly arguable.  The Second Amendment was not about deer hunting, it was not about target shooting or sport, and it was not about self defense.  To quote from the Declaration of Independence:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,
If the Second Amendment were to be gutted, if our right to keep and bear arms (a clear individual right, regardless of what is bandied about in the press and on the left) is taken from us, what means to we retain to deter the government from abrogating any other right?  The only means that the people have to maintain their control over the government is the threat of eventual force. 

Which brings us to the question of what we should do and when we should do it.  I am not suggesting that the government should be overthrown.  Interestingly enough, in the years since the founders wrote the Declaration, and in direct defiance of its principles, it has been made illegal to advocate overthrowing the government so I won't go there.  The question remains, however, what should be done about a government should it abrogate an enumerated right?  Do we meekly submit or do we resist?  If it is not the government but a single branch of the government that is operating by executive fiat, do we meekly submit or do we resist?  At what point do we have to physically resist rather than complaining to our blog readers and our friends?

One man has written that the time has come, that the line, for him, has been drawn in the sand.  He makes a compelling case that if we allow the government to take our means of self defense against them that there will be no going back.  I had intended to just post a link but I felt that it was important to set the background for what he discusses.  It is not lightly that anyone should advocate armed resistance against a tyrannical government but I think he makes a clear and convincing argument that is worth some thought.

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