Esau was the first born of twins. A pretty good hunter, he was a favorite of his father, Isaac. His brother Jacob tended to dwell among the tents rather than hunting and working in the field. One day Esau returned from an unproductive hunt, hungry. His brother Jacob was cooking a vegetable stew. “Jacob, feed me some of your stew…I am faint,” he asked. Jacob, no push-over, said, “Sell me your birthright.” Esau figured “what good is my right as firstborn if I die?” and agreed. No attorney was nearby so Jacob demanded that Esau “swear it.” So Esau swore an oath and Jacob gave him bread, lentils and something to drink. Esau evidently had no use for his birthright. I know, you’re wondering how this little parable applies to guns. Well . . .

This story from the book of Genesis illustrates a problem we humans have when faced with choices between immediate, concrete needs and our abstract rights. As firstborn, Esau had the right to a double portion of all the property that his father had acquired and the honor and responsibility to maintain the family lineage. But being hungry, he traded the future benefit of what he had been born into for a single meal. Oops.

Americans have a set of rights, too. But the temptation Esau felt has bedeviled us for as long as we’ve been a nation. During the progressive era when the constitutionality of certain aspects of the New Deal were being debated, leaders would articulate Esau’s question, asking what good are constitutional rights if we cannot…fill in the blank for the temporal need of the moment.

I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.

The debate over the 2nd Amendment as it pertains to our political system usually revolves around who will safeguard the right to keep and bear arms. Does this pol support the 2nd Amendment? Does he or she vote the ‘right’ way? Is there someone better? These questions are asked by “single issue” RTKBA types for whom the politics of the 2nd amendment is the make or break issue.

Many gun owners don’t see it this way, though. While there may be too little discernible difference between the GOP and the Democrats, any objective analysis would tell you that, in general, the Democrat party is far more hostile to the 2nd amendment as an individual right than are the Republicans.

And please spare me examples like Dick Lugar. Save the whining about weak-kneed GOPers. I’ll stipulate that right now. But all that acknowledged, the reality is that the Democrats’ hostility to what most gun owners see as a ‘proper’ view of the 2nd Amendment is baked into the party cake. Dick Lugar is an outlier, Barbara Boxer is the mean.

Why then do so many anti-gun Democrats get support from otherwise pro-gun voters? I think it comes down to the weight one applies to constitutional rights versus temporal needs and wants. Someone who votes for a Democrat because they like what that Democrat says about corporate governance, health care reform or fill-in-the-blank is deciding that those issues matter more than their baseline hostility to gun rights that candidate’s party displays.

Fair enough, it is a free country. Vote your conscience and all that.

Nevertheless, I want to speak bluntly about what this means. The so-called progressives of today are working for a number of changes in the size, scope and role of government – particularly the federal government. Their party is, unquestionably, hostile to the 2nd Amendment as understood by anyone with at least a 6th grade education.

When I interviewed the Occupy Wall Street (St. Louis Branch) folks here in my beloved Gateway City, six out of seven were vocal supporters of the 2nd Amendment as an individual right, as a means of self-defense and as a last bastion of defense against tyranny.

And yet…

All were good liberals with all the fashionable goals of equality of outcome and a willingness to give Government enormous power and authority over economic activity.  They were in lockstep support of the party that receives nearly 100% of the political and financial support of the likes of the Brady Campaign. If the OWS-STL kids are successful in sweeping from power the mean old GOP, how soon before gun bans and gun control return with a vengeance? Once disarmed, where will they turn if they find the tyranny of their own choosing not to their liking?

Not to put too fine a point on it, such liberals give far greater weight to a pot of lentils today than the birthright of freedom the 2nd Amendment secures by their own admission.

Again, this is not an apologia for the Republican party. There are some smart and decent leaders in the party but they are obscured by a thick blanket of feckless wankers. In many cases, it’s a damned shame candidates from both parties can’t lose.

That said, for the GOP, candidates with a hostility to the 2nd Amendment is an unusual bug. With Democrats it’s a qualifying feature. Vote for who you want, but if you vote for the party that has worked tirelessly since the mid sixties to strip Americans of our RTKBA, leave your NRA card at home before you head to the polling station.

And, of course, enjoy your lentils.

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65 Responses to What’ll It Be: Second Amendment Rights or Soup Du Jour?

  1. We need a party that isn’t tied to a religion and supports fiscal responsibility, low overall tax rates, and personal freedoms.

    Now that is a political party that would take off.

    • We’re called libertarians. “Leave me the fvck alone!” is the entirety of our message. Both established parties are scared sh!tless of us.

      • Yep, we are Libertarians, and we want EVERYONE to get off our lawn!. out of our pocket, off our backs, and pitch in to fix stuff instead of wagging a finger on the sidelines.

    • Amen, I end up voting for democrats since to many of the republicans are complete nut cases… look at the BS they are trying to pass around women’s rights, etc…

      Just want a conservative politician that doesn’t have a social agenda.

      • “…look at the BS they are trying to pass around women’s rights, etc…”

        You know there are other parts of the Bill of Rights that have nothing to do with guns. One of those things is called the Free Exercise clause found in the First Amendment. The Contraception/Abortion mandate isn’t about rights. It’s about free stuff paid for by you the taxpayer. (asssuming of course you are part of the 53% that pays taxes to the Feds.)

        Funny thing about the Catholic Church and state run healthcare. They thought the healthcare law was just peachy until they got screwed. You see that’s how you lose your rights. You’re for everything the Democrats are except, abortion or gun control or whatever so you will vote for the Donkeys. Then you are surprised when you lose the right that you most value. Serves you right but not me.

        • “Funny thing about the Catholic Church…”

          I think you might mean the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. They have been in bed with big government for many decades and are upset that their loyalty is not being reciprocated.

          The whole of the Catholic Church encompasses much more than just the U.S. and by no means does it even remotely support state run healthcare.

        • Correct that back again Henry. You don’t know anything about the world-wide Catholic Church and their position on health care if you say they don’t support state run programs.

        • Oh, Mikey: you dare speak for the “world-wide (Roman) Catholic Church”? That’s about as relevant and specific as saying “Washington DC says…”

          Some practicing RC’ers support state-run healthcare, many do not. Count me among the latter.

    • Religious people – particularly Christians – are not your porblem – at least for now. Christians were at the center of the early Progressive movement, but social conservatives and fiscal conservatives are moving int he same direction right now.

      The overwhelming majority of voters are religious, so I don’t think any party that is strictly secular will have much real appeal. Like it or not, our Democrat friends make a religious appeal (when it is convenient).

    • “I end up voting for democrats since to many of the republicans are complete nut cases”

      Well, then you value non-nutcase (whatever the hell that means) over the 2nd Amendment. Free country, but you illustrate the point.

  2. This would be a great parable if both the major parties weren’t so enthusiastic about selling out every other civil liberty because they’re scared of guys in caves. I’m all for the Second Amendment, but even if I could purchase a SAW, it doesn’t do me any good if I’m targeted for drone assassination.

    The other lesson from the parable: Esau was an idiot. Go find some berries or something.

        • There are no “minor inconsistencies” in “that book”. The entire thing is a pure, unbridled inconsistency.

    • I think the ‘guys in caves’ drama is a cheap excuse to rationalize away our freedoms, rights, and other liberties. Long term, I suspect that a greater danger is the emergence of the Dragon Empire and the possibility of Chinese troops showing up in Alaska someday.

        • True. It’s a fear labeling tactic that leaders have used successfully for thousands of years to manipulate their sheeple followers.

          If the Islamic terrorist extremists had really attacked us because they hate us for our so-called freedoms they could have instead attacked Amsterdam and parts of Europe. They attacked us because they see America as meddling in their affairs and threatening their ancient cultures and way of life.

  3. I can see both sides of this argument but let me throw this at you…. Republican/Conservatives and Democrat/Liberals they are all politicians. They are all selling our way of life to the highest bidder. Show me one president in the last 30 years that has made a campaign promise that they could and did keep. If you ask me we need to get rid of the lot of them and start over. i.e. 30 years in congress…. If you can’t do it in two terms then GTFO.

  4. “it’s a damned shame candidates from both parties can’t lose.”

    They can and would if we all would just stop voting. Regardless of who you vote for, government always wins. Withdraw your consent and it removes their “authority.”

    • Henry, not participating in the process is not going to remove their authority. If you want to have influence over a politician, be indispensible to his(or her) election.

      Millions of gun owners are not even registered to vote.

      • Since their “authority” is derived from the consent of the governed (at least that’s what they say), then having people vote is how they gain credibility.

        If no one voted, government couldn’t claim a “mandate from the people” and everyone would recognize it what it truly is… usurped power through force of arms.

      • I think it is adorable how you think the government would cease to function without the “mandate of the people.”

        Your way may be easier, but my way actually works.

        • I don’t think government would cease to function without a “mandate from the people.” I’m sure it would continue unhindered, but at least the people would finally be able to recognize it as completely illegitimate. As long as people believe they have some sort of voice, they will never resist. That is what voting is… the illusion of being heard.

          By the way, I think it’s adorable that you think your way “actually works.” Never, in over 200 years, has voting been successful at stemming the tide of increased governmental power in this country.

        • Henry, I believe you’re correct. We’ll follow in the footsteps of Britain and France into a world ultimately depicted by Orwell’s “1984,” no matter which political party dominates. The only question remaining is how fast we choose to get there. And that difference is probably far smaller than we’d wish to believe… As has been said; “If voting really made a difference, they’d (politicians) outlaw it.”

      • You have to open up your pocketbook and vote with your $$$. I just gave to Todd Akin. Why? Because Claire McCaskill is a fat liberal who will take away my gun and raise my taxes. “nuff said.

      • By the way, I think it’s adorable that you think your way “actually works.” Never, in over 200 years, has voting been successful at stemming the tide of increased governmental power in this country.

        Voting is just one part of the process of taking responsibility for civic life. 20 years ago, a conceal carry permit could not be had in hardly any state – now only a few states fail to recognize that right.

        The “progressives” have won only because constitutional republicans (note the small “R”) have ceded the field of battle. Considering how the academy, the media and 60% of the political class are trying to go in the other direction, it is amazing how much success we have been enjoying.

        Imagine if more people quit carping, picked up a goddamn weapon and joined in.

      • Mike – what the %^&$ do I believe that is fanatical? What the &%$#@ about my beliefs about the 2nd amendment should NOT apply to the 1st amendment, or the 5th amendment?

        Thanks for the blog post idea.

        • Tim, Am I mistaken that you oppose background checks on all gun transfers? Am I wrong that you feel gun free zones are bad?

          Need I go on? Your views are fanatical in my opinion, in the opinion of most gun control folks and even in the opinion of some gun owners.

          Since there are 80 million all told, I’m taking a wild shot and saying that 1% of them feel like I do about gun control and about your wild ideas of right and wrong.

        • So 1% of your group feels the way you do and Tim is the one who’s fanatical?

          It’s too bad you can still type with your foot in your mouth.

  5. Tim, this was a terrific post, but it made me so hungry that now I can’t decide between the soup du jour and a big bowl of lentils.

    • Find a good Mediterranean restaurant that makes a good lentil soup: problem solved.

      Just make sure they take cash, check, or credit, and don’t require payment in birthright.

  6. I bet if the NRA didn’t pump the GOP full of cash they wouldn’t give two damns about the second amendment.

    • “I bet if the NRA didn’t pump the GOP full of cash they wouldn’t give two damns about the second amendment.”

      Then mission accomplished.

      Actually, there are plenty of GOP candidates and politicians who are pro-gun from a principle standpoint. I think the “progressive” wing of the party has always held sway over the national GOP and the more conservative/libertarian folk have been hallowing them out at the state level.

      Teddy Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover were just as progressive as FDR, just less successful.

    • Maybe and maybe not. Eventually it is the vote that gets those criminals in Congress re-elected so to some degree voting records do influence their job renewal.

  7. Good idea. How about The Truth About Zombie Apocalypse Time Gun Repair for everyday people? Once the collapse comes and we can’t buy gun parts from some store and can’t find a living undead gunsmith, what do we do?

  8. IMHO…This very important aspect of being a Patriot. I think you’re in very very good company with the mindset you’re speaking of.

    “He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither” …Benjamin Franklin

    Let Freedom Ring!!!

  9. Tim, That’s one of the wildest and most ridiculous posts I’ve ever read. The connection you made is just silly. Bible thumping preachers in the pulpit have to make crazy leaps like that to communicate their message to the congregation, but on the most popular gun blog around it’s a bit bizarre.

    At the foundation of your parable, there seems to be a mistaken importance placed on the 2A. It is my belief that if it were eliminated, let’s say by magic, very little would change for you law abiding gun owners. The theory that only that statement on the Bill of Rights is keeping the government from turning tyrannical and confiscating your guns is the worst form of paranoid and faulty logic.

    • You really believe that? really? REALLY? WOW, I just….. oh boy, wow….. ahhh……. really? wow……

    • Mike, is then your hostility to the 2nd amendment as I understand it rational and un-paranoid? Why do you fear so much gun ownership by free citizens. Blood is not running in the streets even as gun ownership increases. Why do you give a shit about WHY we want to protect the 2nd amendment, given that the social cost is so low?

      • Tim, blood is running in the streets, to use your expression, one which the gun control crowd doesn’t really use, by the way.

        Doesn’t it depend on how you define it? I say what we have now is too much. And much of it could be eliminated with no or only little inconvenience to you.

    • I will agree with MikeB in this very narrow respect:

      “The theory that only that statement on the Bill of Rights is keeping the government from turning tyrannical and confiscating your guns is the worst form of paranoid and faulty logic.”

      The Constitution does not really protect us any more. We should accept that and move on. I’m all for restoring the constitution, and it’s not something that the right or left or middle (especially the middle) can accomplish alone. In the mean time, it’s pretty much force of will. People on the right love to disparage those on the left who stick their necks out – “dirty stinking hippies,” whatever. They used nastier language during the civil rights movement. Now, it’s a civil rights movement for all of us. We’re two steps away from a corporatist police state. But look, over there, a dirty man with earrings and tattoos!! Pepper spray that scumbag!

      • My frustration is that there doesn’t seem to be a constituency for the Bill of Rights as a whole. A big chunk of the left is willing to let 2A rights slide because they’re afraid of guns, a big chunk of the right is willing to let 1A religious rights go as long as their side is in charge, almost everybody is willing to let 4A, 5A, and 14A rights go because they’re scared. At this point, the 2A might be end up being the strongest, but it might end up being a Pyrrhic victory. What good are gun rights if they’re the only rights we have? Even if I could own a full auto SCAR, what good would it do if the government can tear gas my house in the middle of the night and ship me off to some 3’x4′ cell, never to be heard from again?

        • Actually, according to our attorney general, the government can just kill you in your sleep. He says the constitution guarantees “due process” but not “judicial process”. He made this statement in answer to American forces killing American citizens with drone attacks overseas.

        • Exactly. I wasn’t even playing out the worst case scenario.

          What Holder was talking about was the al-Awlaki killing, which has broad public support but which really should have made everyone’s blood run cold. What al-Awlaki may or may not have been or done is beside the point. The point is that a US citizen was killed solely on the President’s say so, and the Attorney General considers the chat they had about it due process. No charges, no presenting evidence, no making a case, no allowing the accused to confront his accusers. Just the President deciding you need to die and someone using a drone to make it happen from 25,000 feet.

  10. “The so-called progressives of today are working for a number of changes in the size, scope and role of government – particularly the federal government. Their party is, unquestionably, hostile to the 2nd Amendment as understood by anyone with at least a 6th grade education.”

    Hey, the progressives are unquestionably hostile to the entire Constitution. They HATE the idea that there is a wriitten, fixed check on their power. That is why they constantly propagandize about the “obsolete” Constitution. It is WAY too specific on what the government can’t do, even if the current government ignores it.

    The real problem is that the American people have sold their entire Constitutional birthright for a promise of security. Ben Franklin (dead OFWG) called it:
    “Those who will give up essential liberty to secure a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    And for Mikeb and his buddies on this site, I have a wish from the old revolutionary, Samuel Adams:
    “If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our country men.”

    • Hey, the progressives are unquestionably hostile to the entire Constitution. They HATE the idea that there is a wriitten, fixed check on their power. That is why they constantly propagandize about the “obsolete” Constitution. It is WAY too specific on what the government can’t do, even if the current government ignores it.

      I call BS on this. There are plenty of progressives who are extremely upset about what’s going on with civil liberties. The ACLU has been calling out the Obama administration from the very beginning on indefinite detention, on the al-Awlaki killing, on all his countless civil liberties violations. They haven’t been great on the Second Amendment, and that’s a failing they really should remedy. But your broad generalization misses the mark by a wide margin.

      If you’re looking at the Obama administration and thinking those guys are progressives, then that’s your mistake right there. Pretty much everyone I know who considers themselves a progressive loathes the Obama administration as a bunch of Constitution betraying, backstabbing psychopaths. They just don’t see anywhere else to go because the other side is a bunch of Constitution betraying psychopaths who’d impose their medieval religion on us all.

  11. Lentils are also commonly used in Ethiopia in a stew-like dish called kik, or kik wot, one of the dishes people eat with Ethiopia’s national food, injera flat bread. Yellow lentils are used to make a nonspicy stew, which is one of the first solid foods Ethiopian women feed their babies.`;:,

    http://healthmedicinebook.comMy current blog page

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