June 29, 2008

Regulated Militia = Self Defense?

Amendment II, United States Constitution

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.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html#amendmentii

Nowhere do I see the constitution giving one the right to self defense in that amendment. I wish people would stop using that argument. The unalienable rights are intrinsic to humanity and not something the constitution has conferred as so stated in the preamble. How we got to view the 2nd amendment as an extension of an unalienable right is beyond me. This is why I don't think it is for an individual, but for a group. To form a militia, the group has to be of like minded folks, there is no such thing as a militia for one. My first thought would be community having the right, and I would think the community should have the right not to bear arms.

I think the writers of the constitution were literate and knew the difference between the plural and the singular. It did not say "the right of each person." I think they were cognizant of the impact an individual would have in the pursuit of freedom, as certain individuals had sparked the sentiment of rebellion.

Maybe this is not much of an argument, but would it take 22 bound volumes to make this argument?

7 comments:

Flick said...

I am in the militia in my state, and I would like to respond to your post.

"Nowhere do I see the constitution giving one the right to self defense in that amendment."

No argument. The Second Amendment (2A) does not mention personal defense as the purpose for the right to keep and bear arms. The purpose is stated in the opening clause, to maintain a free state. The purpose is to provide a final recourse against tyranny in our government should the First Amendment and other provisions and safeguards fail.

"I wish people would stop using that argument."

While self defense is not mentioned in the 2A, several of the Founders mentioned in their writings defense of self, family, and property as just cause for individuals to keep and bear arms.

"[U]nalienable rights are intrinsic to humanity and not something the constitution has conferred as so stated in the preamble."

Unalienable rights are viewed as rights that cannot [justly] be taken away from us. Some call them God-given rights, some call them natural rights, and others call them human rights. If attacked, whether by a wild animal, a burglar, or an agent of the government, it is natural for a human being to defend him/herself. The Constitution is not about the government granting rights to the people; it is about the states and the people deciding just what powers (not rights) they will grant to the federal government. The Bill of Rights just lists some of the more important areas in which the federal government is not permitted to legislate or otherwise meddle.

"How we got to view the 2nd amendment as an extension of an unalienable right is beyond me."

The word "unalienable" comes from our Declaration of Independence. While the DoI doesn't mention a right to keep and bear arms, the same people who wrote it were involved in crafting the 2A. Are we really to believe that every place in the Contistution that "people" is mentioned refers to an individual right except in the 2A? This requires a modicum of intellectual honesty.

"To form a militia, the group has to be of like minded folks, there is no such thing as a militia for one."

In the minds of the Founders, the militia = the people, so if there is only one person available to provide a militia-purposed defense, then that one person is the militia. And the group does not have to be like-minded. In my militia unit, we would welcome any and all as long as they agree on one point: to live and let live. I am opposed to homosexuality and homosexual marriage, but as long as a homosexual does not want to use the government to take my money via the IRS to pay for pro-homosexual propaganda in our public schools or otherwise impose his/her views on me or others in public institutions, I have no problem standing shoulder-to-shoulder with such a one. The same goes for skin color, religion, social status, or what 12-step group s/he is in.

"My first thought would be community having the right, and I would think the community should have the right not to bear arms."

A community does have the right not to bear arms, as do the individuals within that community. A problem arises, however, when a community imposes its views on others within the community (except by prior agreement).

"I think they were cognizant of the impact an individual would have in the pursuit of freedom, as certain individuals had sparked the sentiment of rebellion."

You do know that rebellion is what the Founders were fomenting, right?

That with rights come responsibilities is widely if not universally accepted. So what is the responsibility that comes with the right to keep and bear arms? It’s in the opening phrase of the Second Amendment. "Owning guns and complaining to your representatives being sufficient to the security of a free state,..." Right? Well that’s what most gun owners seem to think.

For any who wish to take seriously the responsibility that comes with the right to keep and bear arms, I invite you to explore today’s militia at http://www.awrm.org. We might surprise you, especially if you still believe what the mainstream media and groups like the SPLC say about us.

Peace.

Flick said...

Regarding your comment supporting a community's right not to bear arms, I forgot to post the following.

From Judges 18:7-28

So the five men left and came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, unsuspecting and secure. And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous. Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationship with anyone else. When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers asked them, "How did you find things?" They answered, "Come on, let's attack them! We have seen that the land is very good. Aren't you going to do something? Don't hesitate to go there and take it over. When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever." Then six hundred men from the clan of the Danites, armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol. ... Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a peaceful and unsuspecting people. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else.

As much as different groups seek to reshape this world into their ideas of utopia, I believe there are just some hard facts that we need to acknowledge and work with, such as that there will always be bad people in the world, and governments do not always work for the benefit of the governed,...and gravity, etc.

David_Z said...

"This is why I don't think it is for an individual, but for a group"

Do you think that's the case for each of the other rights attributed to "the people"? How about the 1st Amendment? 4th Amendment? How about the 9th?

You might want to look up the meaning of "Noscitur a sociis". But basically, "It is facially absurd, and utterly sloppy constitutional interpretation, to pretend that 'the people' means 'individuals' everywhere in the Constitution except the one place where you want it to mean 'a state government.'"

"Nowhere do I see the constitution giving one the right to self defense in that amendment."

The constitution doesn't confer rights. The constitution is a limiting document, it limits the powers of the government.

"My first thought would be community having the right, and I would think the community should have the right not to bear arms."

How does a "community" have a right? Only individuals have rights. How does a "community" exercise its right to free speech? It doesn't make sens to think of "rights" as something ascribed to a collection of indiviudals like a community or a government. Governments exercise power, men in their individual capacity have rights.

Hathor said...

david z,
Nowhere do I pretend to be a constitutional lawyer, nor have I studied Latin or have a PhD. I am an ordinary citizen.

"Nowhere do I see the constitution giving one the right to self defense in that amendment."

I was responding to people who do. Maybe not the ones in your crowd. Didn't you read my next statement.

Militia is defined by more than one person, so when referring to the composition would you not use the plural.

Then who would form a militia, cows? I said community whereas some have said the individual states. I made it smaller because a small group of people might come together to make a militia. So what do you call a group of people?

David_Z said...

The militia was defined in 1789, and is still defined by united states code as being comprised of every able bodied male (citizen, or desiring to become a citizen) between the ages of 18 and 45 years old.

A group of people is just that: a group of people. By virtue of being a "group," they acquire no extra rights than those which each of the individuals would otherwise wield in their individual capacities. If the people, as individuals, do not have the right to arm themselves for lawful purposes, then no group of people can be said to have that right, either.

If you don't pretend to be a constitutional lawyer, perhaps you should stop pretending to tell people what the constitution means.

Just a thought.

Hathor said...

david z,
How are your credentials any better than mine? I am not telling anybody,I am stating my opinion, which I think I have a right to do.

This is why I sometime fear, what happens when those who wrap themselves in the constitution and have the right point of view; I can see in the cause of liberty, the patriot causing the death of liberty.

David_Z said...

i only pretend to accept the constitution as legitimate a legitimate authority, when discussing its context with others who accept its authority. If I've misread you, and you believe that the constitution is of no authority in point of fact, then I apologize. Do as you will. If the constitution is, as I believe, of no authority, then it makes no difference what it says or what it purports to say. But so long as you accept it as a document binding upon parties to which it could not possibly have bound in point of fact or of law, you'll have to accept my criticisms of it as equally valid as your acceptance of same.