The wonderful thing about molecules is that no two of them can exist in the same space at the same time. It’s very binary. Black/white. On/off. Here/Not Here. Would that society operated on such clear-cut, easily-definable rules. You’d have to be living under a rock for the last 20 years or so to have overlooked the battle within the USA over the individual’s right to own guns. But that is but a part of a larger battle, a battle for the hearts and soul of the Nation. And unfortunately, I think not enough people realize that this battle is in fact far more black and white than they believe.

We live in a nation that was founded on some unique principles. Our Founding Fathers created a Constitution that is unique in the world. From their perspective, We the People created a government that works for us, not us for them. They wanted a government that was as small as possible. They recognized, all too well, the dangers of bureaucracy run amok. The eschewed a pure Democracy (one man – one vote) for a Representative form of government that would insulate us from the dangers of the tyranny of the majority. And they believed, fervently, that any power not specifically granted to the Federal government was to be retained by the States and We the People.

That was then. This is now. Since the 1920s, “Progressives” have been trying to gut the Constitution, to shift the balance of power away from the States and towards the Federal government, and to reinvent America as a place where the government controls everything, and our rights are no longer inalienable, but are ‘granted’ by the government.

Nowhere is this philosophical, revisionist history more apparent than in the battle over the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. I’ve read it. And I’ve read – extensively – the words of the founders regarding this right. But to hear those on the Left tell it, I’m either “misinformed” or locked in the past, with quaint, outmoded thoughts on how our Constitution works.

Progressives believe in a “living” Constitution. That’s language that frames the debate in a very warm and fuzzy kind of way. What that means, however, is that they believe they should be able to rewrite and reinterpret the Constitution, bending and stretching into whatever form they want to justify their goals. Case in point: Stephen Breyer’s recent comments on original intent vis á vis the Second Amendment.

Justice Breyer would have us believe that James Madison was merely throwing the opposition a bone, when it came time for the writing and passage of the 2nd Amendment. Breyer opines that Madison must have been thinking “I’ve got to get the Constitution ratified” and the only way to do that would be to craft a gun-rights amendment as a sop to those who objected to the Constitution. Only problem with that bit of revisionist history: it’s not true.

First of all, nothing Madison wrote jibes with Breyer’s view. Even better, Breyer has his timeline wrong. Turns out, the Constitution had already been ratified by the requisite number of states before the Second Amendment was passed. When it comes to the Progressives, they never let things like “facts” and “history” get in the way of their ideology.

Fortunately, Breyer is in the minority on this one. Hopefully, that situation will remain unchanged for the duration of the term of the current occupant of the White House. Gun owners, along with organizations like the NRA, have opened their eyes to the constant attempts to erode our rights to self-defense and gun ownership, and have let their displeasure be known at the polls.

Unfortunately, there are far too many of us that are still unaware at the greater danger represented by the battle between the Constitutionalists and the Progressives over the form and function of the Federal government.

Here’s the thing. As Ayn Rand said, “A is A. A is not B.” That seems absurdly simple, but it is far from simple when you look at how philosophy and government co-exist. You can’t be a vegan and still eat meat. You can’t be celibate and have sex. And you can’t be a Statist and believe in the supremacy of the individual over the State.

Hang on…is he saying that Socialism/Statism/Progressivism is at odds with our Constitution and the American way of life?

You bet your sweet ass I am. There is, in fact, not a dime’s worth of difference between Socialism, Progressivism and Statism. They are all simply different facets of the same object. And that object is to place the State over We the People.

Philosophically, Progressives believe in a State that exists for our own good. They believe the State must have the power to help us, even if we don’t want, or feel we don’t need that help. In their minds, the State is a beneficent parent, a “nanny state” that we fund, and cede our rights to, so that it can take care of us.

Constitutionalists? Call us “Tea Partiers,” “Libertarians,” “Conservatives,” or whatever you like. We believe, fundamentally, that the individual is more important than the State. We believe in self-reliance, self-determination, and pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We believe the government that governs best, governs least. And we believe that Statism is the biggest threat this Nation has faced since it’s inception over 200 years ago.

Think this doesn’t matter to you? Think again. The 2nd Amendment is just the tip of the iceberg.

Remember a couple of years ago, when OSHA published some proposed regulations on the down-low, regulations that would have controlled how ammunition is shipped and sold? Had they gone into effect, those regulations would have made it impossible to mail order ammo, and you could have kissed the ammo counter at Walmart buh-bye. What about the hoops you have to jump through in order to qualify for a CHL? Ever run up agains the EPA when you simply wanted to develop a piece of land you bought? Well, welcome to the Brave New World of Statism.

In The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand postulated that when something didn’t make sense it was time to “check your premises.” Indeed. I challenge each and every one of you to do just that.

Take NOTHING for granted. Believe nothing without confirmation and close examination. Everyone lies. Everyone has motives. The stakes are simply too high to allow someone else to do your thinking for you. I don’t care if you get your news from CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, FoxNews, or the New York Times. Don’t take anything ANY of them report at face value. As Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” Only I’d say, soft-pedal the ‘trust’ part and kick up the ‘verify’ part by several orders of magnitude.

While you’re at it, you might want to carefully re-examine your own frame of reference. See if it passes the ‘sniff’ test. See if it can stand up to scrutiny. See if your believe system is consistent, and makes sense when you are confronted with facts. Above all else, WAKE UP. There is a battle going on around you, for the hearts and minds of the country, a battle that will determine the future of not just America, but the world. Which side are you on?

47 Responses to Guns n’ Statism.

  1. Then you’ll agree, it’s time to dismantle the military-industrial-congressional-complex, and scale the military back to the minimum required to defend our country from invasion? I mean, nothing says Big Government like 11 Carrier Strike Groups.

    Once again, you paint anybody to the left of you as basically idots. I am a Liberal, in the old sense of the word, as were many, though not all, of the founders. Some of them would have preferred to have a king. I’m with you on 2A, but I don’t think Ayn Rand is going to help me when my house is on fire. I’ll call my Socialist Fire Department, thanks, which I’m happy to pay for with my property taxes. And I’m happy to send my kids to a public school with well-paid teachers.

    All you Tea Party types seem totally okay with the nearly complete corporate takeover of our political process. You fear Statism, but what about Corporatism? Mussolini thought it was a good thing. You bash public employee unions while Wall Street speculators use the treasury like an ATM machine, and wealth is more concentrated at the top than at any time since the Guilded Age.

    I think a certain tension between left and right is a healthy thing in our society. The left has done a lot of positive things (civil rights, worker’s rights, women’s suffrage, Social Security…). Well, maybe you don’t care much for Social Security. The left has screwed up sometimes (Prohibition was a lefty undertaking, sort of).

    My support for single payer health care does not mean I want to live in a nanny state. The supremacy of individual rights does not mean that there are not some things that we can better accomplish collectively. Are some government regulations onerous and stupid? Of course. But your individual freedom is not a license to piss in the collective well.

    This all-or-nothing hard right worldview that permeates the gun rights movement is really not doing you any favors.

    • Unfortunately, the issue of Statism versus Constitutionalism IS an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s like the decision to have a child or not – you can’t be a little bit pregnant. And if you read your history, socializing medicine (a.k.a.: a single-payer system) is almost always the first step to subjugating the people to the State. It’s easy to understand why – control people’s health and you control them.

      The Founders view of the role government should play in our lives included things like the fire and police departments. Those, along with the military and infrastructure, are things that government actually does better than private industry. Not so with health care, insurance, education, commerce, and a million and one other things that our government sticks it’s collective nose into. I’m for the rights of the individual, but I acknowledge there IS a role for government to play. It’s just that it’s NOT to be a Nanny State. Ever.

      • I think we just draw the line in a different place. I certainly don’t want the government making my shoes, or regulating what I do in my bedroom. I disagree that single payer health care automatically leads to tyranny, but I do see the danger. I would rather see it happen at the state level. But our corporate health care system is its own kind of tyranny. Even if you have insurance, if you get seriously sick, you’ll lose everything you own, and then the government ends up paying anyway. Or you just die. Nobody makes a gun to defend you from cancer.

        I don’t want to debate the ins and outs of health care, I’m just making the point that the government (which is theoretically “us”) intervenes in our lives and the economy all the time. While you might be rightly pissed off when you can’t cut down a tree to build a house on your property, there’s something to be said for the collective right to clean air and rivers that aren’t on fire. Living in Shreveport, you might appreciate that.

        So again, I say it’s not a binary proposition. There will always be tension. I think the more people from both ends of the political spectrum pay attention and hold their government accountable, the better.

        • I disagree that single payer health care automatically leads to tyranny,

          It is tyranny, thus it automatically leads to tyranny.

        • All goats eat grass, so everything that eats grass is a goat. Your argument is just as sound. Which is not at all.

          Tyranny is absolute control you have no ability to mitigate. Guess who votes to elect representatives? Guess who keeps those reps elected? If you think that no one is for a unified federal health care system, you’re wearing blinders.

          There *is* the tyranny of the majority and the minority, and the founders did try to balance the two against each other, but you’re stuck with one or the other to some degree at the end of the day.

          I can tell you, from personal experience, that the health care system in the US is broken beyond belief. If you ever suffer from anything more serious than the common cold, especially anything that is chronic in nature, you’re screwed six ways to Sunday.

          Insurance is a wonderful idea where risk is shared in a pool for a universal fee that everyone pays, but only if the system follows rules and those participating in the system don’t seek to game it.

          Insurance companies look at those rules and laugh like you or I would at a naive child. Corporations (past a certain size generally speaking) have no ethics, and if they could get away with making money by setting people on fire, they would do it in a heartbeat.

          Some things make sense to delegate to a federal government – defense, transportation, and health care. Read up on the ‘good old days’ when firefighting was handled by the private sector.

          Idealism is only good as long as you have a roof over your head and your health. Take your heads out of the clouds and look at the state of your fellow citizens and the realities they face before you make your elegant arguments that work for no one.

        • All goats eat grass, so everything that eats grass is a goat. Your argument is just as sound. Which is not at all.

          Bad analogy, to the point of being a strawman.

          Tyranny is absolute control you have no ability to mitigate.

          Ya, if the .gov seizes a major industry, major chunk of the economy, and control over some of the most important part of our lives, then yeah that’s tyranny or absolute control we have no ability to mitigate.

          I can tell you, from personal experience, that the health care system in the US is broken beyond belief.

          After nearly seventy years of federal intervention how could it be any better?

          Insurance is a wonderful idea

          It only makes sense for rare but expensive occurrences. It doesn’t make sense to pay for routine expenses. That’s why car insurance doesn’t pay for your gas.

          Insurance companies look at those rules and laugh like you or I would at a naive child.

          They aren’t laughing at me. I won’t get insurance, so they don’t get a dime from me, and they don’t even get a chance to screw me. I’m laughing at them.

          Some things make sense to delegate to a federal government – defense, transportation, and health care.

          That delegation of responsibility has led to war, the failure of the railroads and the airlines and the auto companies (three out of three major transportation industries destroyed under government regulation!!!), and the current health care nightmare.

          Read up on the ‘good old days’ when firefighting was handled by the private sector.

          I have. Sounds wonderful to me.

          Idealism is only good as long as you have a roof over your head and your health.

          I haven’t sold out on my principles yet and I don’t think I would merely because of more deprivation of more luxuries.

          Take your heads out of the clouds and look at the state of your fellow citizens and the realities they face before you make your elegant arguments that work for no one.

          I have spent quite a bit of time and effort doing so. Ever since I was five or so the state has been insisting on “helping me” by taking away the important things that belong to me. It doesn’t help me and I don’t like it. Please stop it.

    • You fear Statism, but what about Corporatism?

      Corporatism is a subset of statism. All corporatists are statists, but not all statists are corporatists.

      My support for single payer health care does not mean I want to live in a nanny state.

      Yes it does. It also means you aren’t an old time liberal.

      The supremacy of individual rights does not mean that there are not some things that we can better accomplish collectively.

      There are indeed some things best done collectively. Robbery and murder are two of them.

      But your individual freedom is not a license to piss in the collective well.

      There is no collective well. The only way the government gets a collective well is by stealing water from a great many people, which is no basis for a civilization.

      • Well, maybe we agree about Corporatism.

        Not buying single payer=tyranny, sorry. And you can opt out, if you want to, and can afford to.

        There is a collective well, though, quite literally. Ultimately, we breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat from the same soil, regardless of what the government does or does not do, or if it even exists. No matter how individualistic you may be, you’re still stuck with everybody else, and their actions will have consequences for you. So best to get along.

        • Not buying single payer=tyranny, sorry. And you can opt out, if you want to, and can afford to.

          You are in denial. I will opt out of any and all government health care plans…even if it’s not allowed.

          Ultimately, we breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat from the same soil,

          No, we don’t. We are probably hundreds or thousands of miles apart. Different air, water, and land.

          No matter how individualistic you may be, you’re still stuck with everybody else, and their actions will have consequences for you. So best to get along.

          There’s no reason to force me to be stuck with everyone else or to force me to suffer the consequences of their actions.

    • NCG,

      I’ll go Brad one better and state categorically that I believe “progressivism” is evil. Yes, you heard me right. Evil. Capital “E”. Brad gives them the very generous benefit of the doubt when it come to their motives. I do NOT!

      I don’t believe progressives want to “help others that can’t help themselves”. I believe that they want very much want to “rule over others” and that they view the Constitution has an impediment to this goal. It is my firm belief that progressives feel strongly that they are intellectually superior to all others and that as such, they should be allowed to decide what’s best for all of us. The do now and always have seen themselves as the privileged elite of our society, our ruling class, our kings and queens. I believe they have been seduced by evil.

      I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes by now since you probably don’t believe in the concept of good and evil, of wrong and right, of God and man. Most liberals and progressives don’t. They can’t believe that anything could be greater than themselves and their intellect. The view religion as superstition, morality as quaint and ethics as “situational”.

      Since they can’t imagine a “being” greater than themselves, progressives have a hard time understanding Thomas Jefferson’s words “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”. They find this idea of being “created” and “endowed” by God so totally foreign that they can’t imagine why these “unalienable rights” are so important to us “Tea Party” types. Most progressives have been so blinded by their ego and sense of personal superiority that they can’t quite seem to comprehend that we “conservatives” actually do believe that no government has the right to take away the rights the Lord has granted us.

      All I can say is that I and many others like me, really do believe in these words and the words written in our Constitution. We aren’t ignorant, stupid or misinformed but we do indeed “cling to our guns and God”. We really do believe that God granted us the rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as recorded by our founders. We also believe that the wording of the 2nd Amendment; “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” needs no interpretation and those that seek to “reinterpret” its meaning are really trying to deprive us of our God given right to Liberty. This is why we see the progressive movement in gun control (Brady Campaign), extreme environmentalism (Global Warming & EPA CO2 regulations) and nationalized healthcare (Obama-Care) to be such a threat to our liberty.

      Now perhaps I’ve got you all wrong and if I do, I certainly apologize. But when it comes to the fight between good and evil an “all or nothing” attitude is exactly what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” in Romans 12:21. This was good advice 2000 years ago and it’s still good advice today.

      • Jeffrey,

        You speak of this “they,” the Progressives, as if they’re organized, which, believe me, they are not. They can barely agree to have a meeting to plan a meeting. Personally, I don’t care for the term “Progressive,” it seems wimpy to me. I’d prefer to be labeled as a Leftist or a Liberal.

        And elite? Your team is winning, in terms of money and power. Obama governs somewhere to the right of Nixon, certainly well to the right of Eisenhower. For the last several decades, Conservatism has been ascendant.

        As for all men being created equal, a lot of lefties have put themselves in harm’s way for a lot of years for equal rights for all people. And I’m not talking intellectual elitists. I’m talking miners, farmers, sharecroppers, the entire African-American civil rights movement, and on and on.

        I don’t share your religious views, but I respect them. And I agree with you on the second amendment, which I seem to have to repeat endlessly in this forum.

        I continue to be saddened by the way in which “Progressives,” or whatever you want to call us, are bashed and demonized here. We’re all a bunch of horrible evil liars who want to eat your children, as soon as we disarm you. We’re the Enemy.

        I know probably a dozen pr0-gun lefties off the top of my head. You could have some real allies in your fight for the second amendment, if you could get past your own prejudice.

        We’ll still have to agree to disagree about a lot of things.

        • We’re all a bunch of horrible evil liars who want to eat your children, as soon as we disarm you.

          Ayuh. The really terrible part is that you are nice.

          And I do believe you want to eat our children, indirectly so. Taxes are paid in money, which is made by our time and effort, or in other words, our lives. You wish to consume the money/time/lives of others – that makes you an economic cannibal.

        • You assume that I don’t work, make money, and pay taxes? Truly, wealth is generated by turning raw materials into useful products. Wealth is not created by rich guys. Jobs are not created by rich guys. Jobs are created by demand for products and services.

          I don’t wish to “consume” the labor of others. I’d like us to agree to put some portion of that wealth in the common bucket. If that money is spent on something that is immediately destroyed (Tomahawk Missle, $569,00, 110 of them fired at Libya today), it’s gone. Maybe for good or for bad, but it’s not coming back.

          I’d like to see us all chip in and help each other. To you, that’s creeping Communism. To me, it’s common sense.

      • I’ll go Brad one better and state categorically that I believe “progressivism” is evil.

        You are correct. I call the state the devil, and for good cause.

  2. Yeah, I don’t give a rat’s behind about the Constitution. If it’s wrong for an individual to do it, then it’s wrong for the state. Don’t call it taxation, call it theft. A man is his own nation until he actually violates another person’s property rights. Period.

    • Does a person without property have rights, then?

      If your neighbor dumps his poo in the creek that you drink from, is he violating your property rights? If he is, what can you do about it? I guess you could ask nicely, or maybe you could shoot him – unless he has a private security force. Basically, the EPA is enforcing property rights.

      • Which Greek philosopher espoused “moderation in all things”? Nothing the government does starts out as evil. The EPA, the Commerce Dept., Dept. of Education – they all began with a noble purpose. But give a bureaucrat power and he thirsts for more. When the EPA can stop me from dumping toxic waste on my property, that’s a good thing. When they prevent established farmers from getting water because it MIGHT harm some obscure species of fish, that’s insane. As a great example of the ineffectiveness of a group like the EPA, have you looked at the stats on endangered species? No less an anti-government guy that Penn Jillette revealed on his Bullshit! program that not ONE species on the endangered species list has been saved by it’s inclusion on that list. Yet that misbegotten law has allowed the Feds to run roughshod over people’s fundamental property rights.

        And by the way, stateisevil, it’s the Constitution that protects your right to express your opinion. It’s the Constitution that protects your right to own a gun to defend your property. And it’s the Constitution that the Progressives want to weaken, so they can determine which rights you actually get to keep. I wouldn’t be quite so dismissive of the Constitution if you enjoy your freedom.

        • I do not want to weaken the constitution. Quite the opposite. We may disagree, but I have no nefarious elitist agenda to deprive you or anyone else of freedom.

        • It’s the Constitution that protects your right to own a gun to defend your property.

          It does so poorly.

          The Constitution is good and useful so far as it protects liberty. As a whole though it is ineffective. The Anti-Federalist papers explain in part why the Constitution never should have been ratified.

        • Brad, everything you said in your article and in this comment thread are spot-on! But what resounds the most with me is your reply to stateisevil about the Constitution. It has always boggled my mind when people in this country “dis” our Constitution, our flag and our democratic process, praising socialism and similar forms of tyranny. Are they really not smart enough to grasp the fact that our system grants them the right to do this, while those other systems would throw them in jail (if they’re lucky enough to make it there alive) for criticizing them in such a manner??

      • If your neighbor dumps his poo in the creek that you drink from, is he violating your property rights? If he is, what can you do about it?

        Yes. Lawsuit.

        Basically, the EPA is enforcing property rights.

        The EPA was created after the state spent many decades not protecting property rights, and after the EPA was created, it spent many decades violating property rights.

  3. Man, I love quoting Ayn Rand–she is one amazing writer. I mean, she said of the murderer William Hickman, “He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman.” She so admired this man who dismembered a 12 year old girl after he killed her that she admirably called him “the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul.” Heck, she even based the main character of an unfinished novel on him.
    Yup, I love quoting her because she is a veritable Jefferson in her love of democracy . . . except when she said of it, “[d}emocracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom.”

    • I mean, she said of the murderer William Hickman,

      Ayn Rand was human and had many faults. She is a great example of why you should use meth and other stimulants in moderation.

    • There is much to admire about Rand the philosopher. There is much less to admire about Rand the person. I personally find adultery to be abhorrent. She had an affair, even after proclaiming her husband as her “ideal man.” Rand was an atheist and found Christianity to be a fraud. I am a Christian. I am therefore not an Objectivist, although I find much to like in (most of) her philosophy.

      Rand is right about Democracy. Pure Democracy fails every time, because it unleashes the tyranny of the majority. Our government is NOT a Democracy. It is a Republic, or a Democratic-Republic if you like. Our Constitution is brilliantly designed to prevent the inherent faults of a Democracy from infecting our system of government. Sadly, Progressives have waged an all-out war on those parts of our Constitution that keep that tyranny at bay.

  4. “Nothing the government does starts out as evil.”

    Brad, you had me until you pulled that rock. A LOT of things that the government does start out as evil and get worse from there.

  5. Perhaps this clarifies Ms. Rands objectivism movement which lends itself to the discovery of a finite reality. “It is what it is” sort of a thing. Countering that thought process with the “subjectivity” utilized by the Progressive movement and we have some more clarity. Subjectivism = Progressivism, if you will, which attempts to create reality by social steamrolling, and other various means.

    Well written, thank you.

  6. Just a little on worshiping at the alter of the constitution–Which, I agree, is, arguably, the greatest political frameworks ever written. I disagree with asking the question WWJD (what would Jefferson do). For as much as I love the man, he could not answer the question “what we need to do, today?” He simply could not look at the world today in a way that it would makes sense for us to ask him to solve our problems.
    While he created the university of Virginia, he would not know what to make of my classes today: in one class, I had five African American students, one Asian, twelve white female students, and five white male students, and none of the male students come from wealthy families. In his day, not one of these students would have been worthy of a college education. For example, while Jefferson struggled with the issue of slavery, he never struggled with the question of the equality of women. It simply was not an idea that would have existed in his time.
    It is lunacy to act like we know what Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Paine, Washington, or any other founding father would say about the second amendment, or any other amendment, given today’s realities. To say that we know what the founding fathers would say about the second amendment in the age of automatic pistols and semi-automatic rifles is disingenuous. (As would be the question of “petitioning” the government considering the power of lobbies.)
    These were not perfect men with perfect ideas. They did not get the Constitution from Mount Horeb writ in stone from the all-mighty, and they knew this. That is why they created a way to alter the constitution, so the changing values and beliefs could be represented in this great document.

    • Little known theory: the founding fathers may have “discovered” their ideas for the Constitution from the structure of NE-area native American tribal government.

    • “To say that we know what the founding fathers would say about the second amendment in the age of automatic pistols and semi-automatic rifles is disingenuous.”

      Time to throw out computers and the internet, and start licensing all bloggers and journalists! Let’s throw in some ridiculous hate speech laws as well!

      (a very similar argument was used by the antis as well for the AWB and against concealed carry…)

    • Karl, the concept of a “living Constitution” is strictly a Progressive aberration. Truth is truth. There are moral absolutes. These things don’t change. Principles are principles. For instance, I find it absolutely abhorrent that those “Christians” (in name only) from that cult church in Kansas is allowed to stage their sick, twisted protests at military funerals. I’ve known Marine families that were traumatized by these ass clowns spewing their filth at their son’s funerals. Yet, I see the point that the Supremes saw – freedom of speech is freedom of speech…you can’t stop someone from saying something reprehensible just because you don’t like what they are saying.

      Sadly, Progressives don’t get that. They see the Constitution as a fluid document that can by morphed any time they want, any way they like, for any purpose that suits them. It’s not. The Constitution is elegant in it’s simplicity, for it addresses principles and leaves the specifics for specific laws.

      It comes down to this: Progressives see the government as an entity that supersedes the rights of the individuals. Constitutionalists see the government as something that serves the people. Ultimately, we must all choose which side we are on. You can’t have it both ways.

    • Here’s one for you: A Federal appellate judge ruled that the entire ObamaCare law is void, because the lynchpin of the law – funding it by forcing everyone to sign up for insurance – is unconstitutional. The judge ruled that since the entire system depends on this mandatory participation, the entire law must be voided. He specifically mentioned that he would not issue an injunction preventing the law from being enacted, because he’d ruled it unconstitutional. Now you’d think, given the prescription in the Constitution regarding the Separation of Powers, that the Obama Administration would either file an appeal, or cease their implementation of the law. Nope. The ObamaNation is apparently above the law, and pesky little inconvenient truths like the Judiciary having the authority to invalidate a law.

      The government can force us to have car insurance in order to drive, because driving is a choice. The only choice you have under the ObamaCare plan is to either purchase their insurance or die. That’s hardly a choice.

  7. Brad Kozak says: “First of all, nothing Madison wrote jibes with Breyer’s view. Even better, Breyer has his timeline wrong. Turns out, the Constitution had already been ratified by the requisite number of states before the Second Amendment was passed. When it comes to the Progressives, they never let things like “facts” and “history” get in the way of their ideology.”

    You are totally misrepresenting Breyer’s position, obviously because you don’t really understand it and don’t know the history. The Bill of Rights was indeed crafted to ensure the ratification and success of the Constitution. Madison himself was originally opposed to an enumerated bill of rights (“parchment barrier”) but by the fall of 1788 was persuaded of its necessity to preempt a second Constitutional convention. Obviously you are unfamiliar with the Massachusetts compromise, etc.

    While you are of course free to disagree with Breyer’s opinions, it would also serve to remember that he is a Supreme Court Justice who has spent his career studying the Constitution. It’s his life. So what would a one-on-one oral exam on constitutional law between Stephen Breyer and Brad Kozak look like? He’d mop the floor of Dulles Airport with you from one end to the other, obviously. Let’s not lose our minds here.

  8. Magoo, I have read the interview with Breyer. And given some of the people who have served on the Supreme Court (not to mention some that have been nominated and failed to win appointment), neither serving nor being nominated can automatically be used as any litmus test of either Constitutional scholarship nor intelligence. The Supremes are human, and like all humans they are subject to the frailties of humanity – hubris, vanity, myopia, and ignorance. If you read the Breyer interview in it’s entirety (and I have) a picture emerges of someone that has a very specific mindset about the 2nd Amendment, and he is making the classic error found in the Scientific Method, i.e.: someone who falls in love with a theory, and then cherry-picks his facts to bolster it, ignoring the ones that fail to reinforce his bias.

    I am well aware of the history of the Constitution. What you fail to realize is that Madison’s objection to the Bill of Rights was that he didn’t see the need – he believed these rights were self-evident, and therefore there was no reason to spell them out. Thankfully, others did not agree with Madison’s somewhat rose-colored glasses viewpoint and insisted on their inclusion. The fact remains, however, that the Constitution had already been ratified by the time the 2nd Amendment was added. The problem with history is it’s like reading a book backwards. We know how everything ended, and therefore it all appears to be a foregone conclusion. What’s odd to me, however, if that since we have so many things on paper about the founders’ “original intent,” I simply don’t see how people like Breyer can misinterpret the founders’ motivations. The only way I can see an obviously learned and intelligent man like Breyer missing the entire point of the 2nd Amendment is if he is blinded by ideology. You don’t have to be a Constitutional scholar to see that he is.

    And in the future, Magoo, you might ask me what my background and areas of expertise might be, before assuming that I not of whence I speak, as least before your automatic gainsaying of the points I make.

  9. Brad Kozak says: “I am well aware of the history of the Constitution. What you fail to realize is that Madison’s objection to the Bill of Rights was that he didn’t see the need – he believed these rights were self-evident, and therefore there was no reason to spell them out. Thankfully, others did not agree with Madison’s somewhat rose-colored glasses viewpoint and insisted on their inclusion. The fact remains, however, that the Constitution had already been ratified by the time the 2nd Amendment was added.”

    That was not Madison’s view of the Bill of Rights, either before or after he introduced it. And while it’s a fact that the Constitution was ratified before the Bill of Rights, in no way does this fact refute Breyer’s point. Actually, it’s neither here nor there. Please read up on the background of the two documents and their ratification, including the Mass. compromise.

    • Why is it, when a Conservative challenges a Liberal, we don’t assume or insist that the Liberal is ignorant of the subject matter (just wrong), but a Liberal assumes and insists that the Conservative is an ignorant, poorly-educated moron, who (if only they’d crack open something more sophisticated than a comic book or People magazine) might actually rise to their elevated level of consciousness?

      Magoo, I’ll say it again – I’ve done a LOT of reading on the Constitution, including the Massachusetts Compromise. (See…I can even spell “Massachusetts”!) I have read books who’s authors see things differently from you. No problem. I read a lot, and I try to read books that offer a variety of perspectives. You, however, in addition to insisting that I’m not well-read or well-educated on the subject, seem to think there is but one side to this issue. I’d like to recommend a book to you. I suspect you’ll find it beneath you, but I’ll suggest it all the same. Read The Five Thousand Year Leap. I think you’ll find it to be interesting and thought-provoking. No…strike that. I think you’ll find it to be aggravating and maddening. But at least you’ll have read one book that takes you outside your comfort zone.

      I believe that two reasonably well-educated, articulate individuals should be able to discuss something on which they disagree without resorting to disparaging the other. I also believe we should be able to agree to disagree, examine the other’s point of view for common ground, and generally have a reasonable discussion. At worst, this should make for a lively conversation and free exchange of ideas. At worst, it results in a discussion full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (That was another literary allusion, in case you missed it.)

      Unfortunately, you seem to be locked into your worldview, and remain steadfast in your refusal to even admit there is another viewpoint outside your own.

      Oh, and while we’re wallowing in ad hominem attacks, how many brain cells does it take to put up a custom avatar – I mean, especially when you’re handed one, gift-wrapped? Or is this some “I can’t be bothered, as I don’t want anyone to think I care enough to do one,” as in why so many Liberals I know used to drive 20-year-old Beetles and Volvos in a kind of nod to shabby chic? Sheesh…get with the program, Magoo.

      • Brad, I, for one, certainly don’t think you’re a moron. And I think you’re only half wrong. I’m sure with my superior elitist intellectual prowess I’ll fix that. Kidding!

        And just for you, I’ll try to make myself an avatar, soon as I get more than a couple of spare moments.

        And my 25 year old truck is not a sign of shabby chic. It’s because I’m a general contractor in a terrible economic climate, and I’m broke. And even when I’m not broke, I’m frugal. Hope it gets better soon, at which point I’ll have not much time to post on this excellent blog.

  10. Brad, in the MA compromise (negotiated by anti-federalists Hancock and S. Adams) the state agreed to ratify in return for a Bill of Rights. NH, VA, and NY fell in behind MA while NC negotiated firmer language. Without these states the Constitution could not be ratified, so the Federalists agreed to introduce the amendments in the first congress. So the Constitution’s ratification before that of the Bill of Rights has nothing to do with Breyer’s argument. It’s irrelevant.

    You also misrepresented Breyer’s remarks in the Fox News interview: “Justice Breyer would have us believe that James Madison was merely throwing the opposition a bone, when it came time for the writing and passage of the 2nd Amendment.” That’s not what Breyer said at all. Watch the interview on YouTube. Breyer speaks to a far more specific fear the states had in regard to their militias: that the new federal govt would nationalize them.

    I have no idea what you mean in regard to ad hominems or impugning your intelligence. I’ve only noted where you are wrong and then backed it up with facts. It looks to me like maybe you can dish it out but you can’t take it. My posting manners are considerably better than yours and they will continue to stay that way.

    • Magoo:

      Again, you’ve completely missed my point. Willfully? Out of ignorance? Simply tone-deaf? I wouldn’t presume to speculate. Your point about the Massachusetts Compromise is factually correct. It is also completely irrelevant to my original point. Madison resisted a Bill of Rights because he believed it to be unnecessary, superflous, and a bit of the school of the bleedin’ obvious. Keep in mind, these guys had just thrown off the shackles of British indentured servitude, where they had to put up with this same kind of crap from King George. Madison evidently believed that nobody on this side of the pond would be stupid enough to make the same mistakes. Remember, too, that these men were all students of governments, from the ancient Hebrews and Hammarubi, to the Magna Carta and the constitutions of Virginia and Massachusetts. While they could only hope to come up with a document that would last over 200 years, their goals were just a bit more realistic – to create something that would avoid the mistakes of the Articles of Confederation. In point of fact, the Constitutional Convention was authorized only to fix/fine-tune the Articles – they had no authority to craft a new document from scratch.

      I’ve watched Breyer’s interview on YouTube. In fact, I caught the original airing on FoxNews. And it doesn’t go down any easier the second time through. I doubt I’d be able to stomach a third viewing. Breyer does not believe in the individual’s right to own handguns. His arguments are intellectually dishonest. They are also factually incorrect, in that he attempts to use pettifoggery to cloud what is a very simple issue. How complicated is “shall not be infringed”?

      If you have no idea what I’m referring to about your debate style, then you sire are either intellectually dishonest yourself, or you are blind to your own supercilious manner. What you call “facts” are opinion, or at best, a point of view. And your insistance on twisting history to suit your own position makes my point – that Progressives see the Constitution as a ‘liquid’ document that can be twisted, at their convenience, to suit their purposes. You may criticize me all you like, but I will continue to point out the danger in the Progressive ideology, and your deep and abiding love of dodging the issues. If that makes me “ill-mannered” then I will wear that term like a badge of honor.

      • Rowrrr! Ffffft!

        Seriously, you misunderstand the “Progressive” ideology, to the extent that there is one. And mostly there is not one, but many. We are a bunch of cats, impossible to herd. That’s why your team is winning.

        The Constitution is open to all kinds of interpretation, from the Right or the Left. It’s a narrow and vague document, which I love dearly. You just happen to think that your particular interpretation is carved in stone, and anybody else’s is bullshit. I’ll grant you’ve read far more on the subject than I have, and I respect that. And I prefer a Liberal (old school) interpretation of the Second Amendment (well, all the amendments). More freedom is better. Even if it’s freedom to do or say things that you (or I) don’t like.

        But I’m sick and tired of being bashed. I’ll debate the issues head-on. Your sweeping generalizations about Progressives (and I do hate that term) are ill-informed at best. You need to get out more. There is a huge diversity of opinion in this country, and that’s a beautiful thing.

        I look forward to a continued, civil debate. Avatar to come.

  11. Brad, your piece stated that “progressives” such as Justice Breyer twist facts, law, and history to suit their ideology.

    I showed that YOU got your facts, law, and history wrong. You do exactly what you accuse “progressives” of doing.

    So, um, what was your point again?

    The thesis statement of your piece, such as it is: “There is, in fact, not a dime’s worth of difference between Socialism, Progressivism and Statism. They are all simply different facets of the same object.”

    Brad, that’s not “in fact.” That’s a crock. That reasoning is absolutely identical to conservatism = fascism. Or libertarianism = anarchism.

    And there is the problem with black and white reasoning. You quote Ayn Rand saying, “A is A. A is not B.” Well, great. Isn’t. It. Obvious. Then she proceeds to treat A as B and B as X^3. This is where we find the car wreck that was her personal life and the train wreck that was her objectivist philosophy. She was every bit as full of baloney as the next human, more or less. Her innovation was in inventing a novel, quasi-heroic way to get everything wrong while claiming it was right. Objectivism indeed.

    And here is where we find your black and white reasoning. You say black is black and white is white, but when we examine the information upon which you base your personal certainties, your facts are not facts and your truth is not truth. It’s just some stuff you sorta threw together around your personal political beliefs. Sure: Often wrong but never in doubt.

  12. Brad says: “I’d like to recommend a book to you. I suspect you’ll find it beneath you, but I’ll suggest it all the same. Read The Five Thousand Year Leap. I think you’ll find it to be interesting and thought-provoking. No…strike that. I think you’ll find it to be aggravating and maddening. But at least you’ll have read one book that takes you outside your comfort zone.”

    I’m familiar with it. The author, Cleon Skousen, was a quack and a fruitcake. That’s not my opinion; those were the words of Wm. F. Buckley. Skousen was — this is not an exaggeration — to the right of the John Birch Society. He accused Ike of being a communist. Sure, I’ve read _The Five Thousand Year Leap_. But only for laughs. He’s hilariously out of his mind and his historical observations are utter fabrications. But for a really good time, try his earlier work, _The Naked Communist_. There are no characters in Dr. Strangelove as nutty as Cleon Skousen.

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