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“To the editor: The Times observes the following: “The 1st Amendment to the Constitution establishes the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. The 2nd Amendment creates a right to own firearms.” Those statements are misleading . . . The Constitution and Bill of Rights do not establish or create any rights. They secure the unalienable rights with which we are naturally endowed as human beings. Governments are instituted among men to secure our rights, not to create them.” – Jonathan Ball, Sacramento [via]


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    • Yes, indeed. Unfortunately, many in this country have been indoctrinated through the government-run school systems to believe the lie espoused by the LA Times, viewing the almighty federal government as the fount of all things associated with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – a predictable result when government replaces God and family.

  1. I’m quite surprised the Times published this. Somebody on staff is going to get a stern talking to.

  2. See, it makes total sense, since the 2nd amendment creates the right to KABA, all that is needed is to eliminate the 2nd amendment, and there will no longer be a right to KABA. At least in the delusional, demented and perverted mind of a tyrant wanna be.

    • Well, in fact, repealing the 2A is sufficient (and necessary) to accomplish the objective; i.e., to deny The People lawful keeping and bearing of arms. The Progressives aren’t the least bit interested in the notion of “natural” rights nor that of rights “endowed” by our creator. They are exclusively interested in political rights; and, the 2A serves only to guarantee a political right.

      We ought to make the best of this distinction; we neglect to do so.

      It is perfectly clear to all of us – including the most absolutists – that Congress retains the Power to declare ex-patriots (i.e., those who have renounced their American citizenship) to be Prohibited-Persons. By self-definition, these have withdrawn from the class “the People”. These humans have no 2A rights. (Not that this is a numerically nor practical point; it is merely a matter of principle that we ought to use to clarify our thinking.) Now, kindly look to the South; e.g., to the Auto-Defensas in Mexico. Congress retains the Power to regulate export of arms to Mexican peasants who wish to defend their families. Likewise, Venezuela, women in Darfur. Christians and Yzidis in the Middle-East. Having never been American “People” they have no 2A Rights. Are the foregoing humans endowed by their Creator with the RK&BA? Yes; is it Constitutional for Congress to deny them the Right to shop in the Arsenal of Democracy? Unfortunately, Yes. Do we, the American PotG, care? No. Should we? Are we (wo)men of principle? Is there a point to be made here?

      The point to be made here is that We the American People are immunized from the tyranny prevailing in so many other countries (Mexico, Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, etc.) Instead of debating American-gun-control, we ought to be debating American policy concerning our foreign brothers’ & sisters’ rights to life and to govern themselves. Can we PotG see value in such a debate topic?

      Most obvious is the appeal to Constitutional-ism. Progressives want to deny the political guarantee of the Right to K&BA. Very well, be up-front about it. Do as your predecessors did – honorably and forthrightly – in proposing a Constitutional amendment. Until you have accomplished that goal, admit that you must live with the 2A that we have as a polity.

      Observe that you have no chance of getting 38 State legislatures to ratify a repeal or dilution of the 2A. There are already more than that number that honor a Right-to-Carry.

      Accordingly, until you achieve the impossible, political debate OUGHT to be invested in understanding the 2A as it exists. Just exactly what IS “the Right” “of the People” to “keep and bear arms”? Just exactly what would constitute an “infringe[ment]” upon that right?

      E.g., could NY City or DC forbid a law-abiding adult woman from carrying (open or concealed) a derringer on the streets of their jurisdiction? Would such a prohibition constitute an “infringement”? If Elenor Rosevelt could (and did) do so lawfully, then why can’t Melania do so today? If Melania could do so today – somehow – then how about Tom, Dick or Mary?

      What happened – between Elenor’s era and Melania’s – that changed the meaning of the 2A? When did it occur? How did it occur? Was this change Constitutional?

      We really ought to use this opportunity to conduct a public discussion of the meaning of the 2A to solicit public attention to the political – as well as human rights – aspects of gun-Rights/-Control.

      When we talk about real human beings: Elenor; Melania; Tom, Dick, Mary; Tomas, Ricardo Maria, we make a point that a voter can grasp. The voter can think about a specific fact situation: a woman walking on the streets of an American city – or the streets of a foreign city. It’s really much harder to respond to such a specific fact situation with a dismissive remark such as “I don’t care!”

      Conversely, when we simply say “The Right of the People to K&BA is ABSOLUTE!” the disinterested voter’s eyes glaze-over and his thoughts return to the facts of his own life. (And, he’d rather not think much of his vulnerability right now.)

      • MarkPA,

        By self-definition, [people who have renounced their American citizenship] have withdrawn from the class “the People”.

        I disagree. Neither the Declaration of Independence nor the U.S. Constitution (which includes the Bill of Rights) ever mention “U.S. citizens”. That concept is a construct of the 14th Amendment — and a horrifically, poorly defined construct at that.

        If you don’t believe me, research the legal definition of “The People” — especially in U.S. Supreme Court cases.

        Personally, I would argue that “U.S. Citizens” are a subset of “The People”. Many/most attorneys and governments, however, seem to view “U.S. Citizens” more like subjects of the United States who give up various prerogatives in exchange for hollow “guarantees” of certain “rights”.

        The reality of the matter is that our nation is a mess because very few people understand and/or agree on the definitions of “The People” versus “U.S. Citizens” and the relationships between “The People”, “U.S. Citizens”, and state and federal governments.

        • I don’t see in your post where we disagree. Clearly, “The People” includes US citizens. The argument is quite strong that it includes Green-Card holders. A persuasive argument could also be made for some others; I won’t delve further.

          My point – to which you refer – is merely that those humans who once were US citizens and who renounced their US citizenship clearly fall outside the class referred to as “The People”. (To make this sub-class relevant, we might wonder about an ex-patriot who wishes – occasionally – to hunt with his son in the US. As a Prohibited-Person, he could not do so.) I suspect that Congress had in mind to exclude certain sub-classes, likely native-Americans, Loyalists, perhaps some imaginable subversive force.

          The fact is that whatever Right it IS that our Creator may have endowed in all humans, the term “The People” must have been intended to exclude some sub-class.

        • Uncommon-Sense is correct.

          If you claim to be a Citizen, you have access to the benefits and privileges granted to you by the 14th amendment, and all amendments following. Remember, the Congress after 1865 had no power to “free” the slaves, only make everyone equal. Thus, and new title was created, “Citizen.”

          “The People” (capitalization) have access to the first ten amendments. Every punctuation mark has meaning in the Constitution, more so entire words and phrases. The first ten amendments DO NOT mention “Citizens.”

          It is the law of exclusion: one cannot be both, but one or the other.

      • MarkPa,

        The point to be made here is that We the American People are immunized from the tyranny prevailing in so many other countries …

        I vociferously disagree. Tyranny abounds in the U.S. at the local, state, and federal levels. I recently experienced it first hand in my state. There are countless other examples. And if you still think otherwise, please explain the frequent sayings:
        — “You might beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride.”
        — “The process is the punishment.”

        And after you explain those sayings, tell me how it can be a crime to posses ammunition CASINGS (just the casings, not an actual cartridge with viable primer, powder, and bullet) in Washington D.C. And tell me what will happen in Hawaii, California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York (especially New York City), or Washington D.C. if police catch you carrying a firearm, whether handgun or long gun, whether concealed or openly, without their specific license, permit, or whatever.

        • I acknowledge your point. By my use of the word “immunized” I had not intended to convey 100% immunity. I think (perhaps I’m mistaken) that some inoculations are less-than 100% effective. Thus, “immunized” does not constitute a guarantee – secured by our Creator as surety – that we will never fall vulnerable to the “disease”. Perhaps there is a better word I might have chosen that would more explicitly admit of a possibility of failure.

          In any case, it is our duty – as citizens – to raise our objections vociferously to any government act that – arguably – “infringes”. Tragically, our generation – and two generations before us – have not been as vigilant as we should have been. We have begun to turn things around in the last 30 years or so.

          It is up to us – in the arena of politics – to call our legislators to account. The Founding Fathers admonished us to vigilance. The Rights secured by the Bill of Rights were characterized as mere “Parchment barriers” to tyranny. We were urged to use them as a focal point; that we should appeal to the words in the Bill of Rights to remind our neighbors of the principles upon which our nation and government was established.

          We error when we imagine that somehow the ink on parchment will somehow work its magic on legislators and judges without further effort on our part. The 2A made it clear to us that our Founding generation intended US – their posterity – to serve as the “security of a free state”. They expected us to act – vigorously – in the political arena. And – ultimately if necessary – by “politics by other means”.

      • Well, in fact, repealing the 2A is sufficient (and necessary) to accomplish the objective; i.e., to deny The People lawful keeping and bearing of arms. The Progressives aren’t the least bit interested in the notion of “natural” rights nor that of rights “endowed” by our creator. They are exclusively interested in political rights; and, the 2A serves only to guarantee a political right.

        Most people, left or right, are not terribly interested in natural rights. That’s why the ninth amendment was abandoned almost as soon as the ink was dry. It’s the most radical piece of written law in human history and nobody in political power had or has any idea how to deal with it, because to apply it as written would upend the entire idea of controlling state power over the individual.

  3. There are no such thing as natural rights. Nature doesn’t trouble with rights. Either you’re strong enough to take what you want or you’re food.

    Man and his society created the concepts of rights. Without the consent of society and the rule of law it’s back to eat or be eaten.

    • Just because natural or unalienable rights are a sociological construct doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

      They exist in the context of a civilized society like many other things we have that aren’t found in nature.

      You might as well say that your car doesn’t exist because someone can steal it.

    • That is a very Darwinian outlook which conflicts with the Judeo-Christian view. The implications of the Darwinian view is that if we are all animals and it’s simply up to the survival of the fittest, then there is no morality other than power. This lead to the communist and fascist dictatorships. The untermenchen had no right to live. They had no right to property. They had no right to due process. Certainly not if they stood in the way of the superior race. The Judeo-Christian outlook dictates that we are not animals but created by a single god with a higher purpose than the animals. This leads to morality and the concept of rights. If there is no God, then there are no rights, if there is a God, every human is granted the rights recognized in the Bill of Rights by virtue of their birth. Rights are granted by God, not men. Even if there is no God the belief in rights and morality is still better for society as a whole.

      • Thank you Governor — now I don’t have to type what you typed!

        This is the really ugly side of Darwinism that no one ever seems to recognize. If you espouse the idea that there is no Creator, then there are no transcendent values and absolutely no reason whatsoever that I should not murder, rape, pillage, and plunder with extreme viciousness and ruthlessness.

        Important note: my previous statement is absolutely NOT hyperbole. The consequences of rejecting our Creator and the transcendent, intrinsic value of human beings is quite literally Hell on Earth.

        • If you espouse the idea that there is no Creator, then there are no transcendent values and absolutely no reason whatsoever that I should not murder, rape, pillage, and plunder with extreme viciousness and ruthlessness.

          You don’t have to believe in God to believe that those things are wrong and that you shouldn’t do them.

        • I believe that the Judeo-Christian god has about the same likelihood of existing as I believe that martians are running the illuminati from an underground pyramid on the moon to usher in the new world order.

          I have no interest in murdering, raping or stealing. I think that people that make statements like that are projecting just like anti-gunners believe that a gun has magical properties that make the owner do horrible things and no one can be trusted with them.

        • “You don’t have to believe in God to believe that those things are wrong and that you shouldn’t do them.”

          You are just question begging. If there is no “God” then there is no transcendent morality. If there is no transcendence – “God” – for lack of a better word, then right and wrong is merely what you or a community says it is. If you try to make it more than that you just created a rudimentary god and if you codify your version of what is right/wrong then you have a religion.

          There are utilitarian reasons for not allowing rape, homicide, etc. but those are not based on transcendent values. Utilitarian arguments really just boil down to those in power saying what “works” according to them.

          “endowed by their Creator”

          You must have an endower to have an endowee.

        • CueBaller and Snatchums,

          “You don’t have to believe in God to believe that those things are wrong and that you shouldn’t do them.”

          “I have no interest in murdering, raping or stealing.”

          And without God in the equation, both of you could change your minds 10 minutes from now without any reservations whatsoever (other than whether or not society would exact any penalty on you).

          Furthermore, without God in the equation, we devolve to “might makes right” which is the foundation of the countless genocides and atrocities throughout world history. Remember, Nazi sympathizers were making the world a better place. Japanese Imperial sympathizers were simply taking their rightful place as the superior people they are. Russian communist sympathizers were just getting rid of the dead weight that stood in the way of their central government utopia. And Muslims are purging the world of obscene, evil infidels. (Note that Muslims claim that the “success” of their ruthless attacks on people is evidence that Alah is “blessing” them for carrying out Alah’s will.)

        • Stefan Molyneux has taken a shot at articulating an objective framework for morality absent God. It’s worth a read. Universally Preferable Behavior:

          I’m a Christian myself, but it’s nice to be able to discuss morality with atheists on their own terms, sometimes. It also seems unremarkable to me that in a world created by God, we should find the objective basis for morality as discoverable as we do the scientific rules upon which His world is based.

      • “The implications of the Darwinian view is that if we are all animals and it’s simply up to the survival of the fittest, then there is no morality other than power.”

        The relevant implication of the Darwinian view is that mankind, as part of our evolutionary development from the lower species, developed a higher, more intricate intellectual capacity and, along with that, a conception of morality – of right and wrong – that lower species lack.

        It is that morality that calls us to recognize the higher value and worth of human life, and leads to the concept of rights, which are really just acknowledgments that each individual’s worth justifies the exercise of power in his own protection.

        If you believe in God, then this higher intellectual capacity is the God-given basis for acknowledging rights that preexisted the Constitution.

    • jwm reminds us of two monumentally important aspects of mankind, society, and rights:
      (1) Countless people give no credence to our Creator, transcendent values, and the intrinsic value of human life.
      (2) Countless people will not hesitate to try and steal our lives, liberty, and property by force.

      For these two reasons, we must always be willing AND capable of defending our lives, liberty, and property.

      • The necessary and sufficient point to be made here is NOT that there IS a God; nor, that (S)He endowed us with a Right to Life. As Americans, we can subscribe to the idea that our fellow Americans have an equal Right to believe; or NOT believe as we do.

        The necessary and sufficient point to be made here IS that most of us – we the PotG – DO BELIEVE that there is a God (or a Creator of some sort) who DID endow us with a Right to Life. Those of the PotG who so believe are prepared to stand-up to “infringements” upon what we regard as sacred Rights. Moreover, we are sufficiently numerous and prepared to sustain our principled position.

        So, to those who would so infringe on our rights: ‘Do you feel lucky?’

    • Your view is that of a totalitarian. People like you have been responsible for the bulk of human misery in history.

  4. We all know what the LA Times staff think about the God of Abraham and the Constitution.

    If they worship anything it’s Gaia and Karl Marx.

    They despise our traditions and history and see their task in life is to tear these things down.

    They do it with words.

    • Any binding contract is signed voluntarily by all those concerned. No contract is valid if anyone was coerced, or defrauded in the process.

      I never signed the constitution. I never signed that “contract.” And I suspect that you didn’t either, though you are free to do so. You just can’t sign it or commit to it for me.

      • I may be confused. So, you’re saying, essentially, that your reality is whatever you want it to be?

        • Yes, you are confused. Say someone in your neighborhood takes delivery of a new car, signs your name and supplies the dealer with your information and that dealer then comes to you for payment… You going to pay it because someone else signed making promises in YOUR name? I don’t think so.

          REALITY includes the fact that nobody can execute a contract for someone else, without their permission. I am quite happy with the reality of the sunrise, the rain, and a lot of other things in this life. That does not obligate me to pay for anything that I did not freely agree to purchase. It doesn’t obligate me to accept the million and one other infringements of my self ownership by that “constitution” and all of the grifters, thieves and murderers who have been using it for their own purposes for 200+ years.

          Why in the world would you think that was any “reality” I should accept. Why do you accept it?

        • Exactly. I didn’t ever “elect” anyone to speak for me, sign my name or dictate anything else to me. Now, that doesn’t absolve me of being completely responsible for my actions and choices, or from living with the consequences of those.

          But tell me… when these “representatives” make such determinations For you – especially against your will… and things go wrong or deadly – do ANY of those politicians assume that responsibility and pay the consequences personally?

          Hell no.

        • Exactly. I never “elected” anyone. I don’t want or need any “representative” to control my life. I’m willing to accept personal responsibility for my actions and choices. Warts and all.

          Now ask yourself if any of these “representatives” – those signing your name for all the goodies… when things go wrong and people are harmed… do these people accept personal responsibility for their actions? Do they personally pay the full consequences for their malfeasance, or even just errors? Hell no.

          • “Exactly. I never “elected” anyone. I don’t want or need any “representative” to control my life.”

            I have always found anarchy to be the highest expression of individual liberty, and personal freedom. The only rights you have are those you can defend/enforce personally. Peace through greater firepower.

  5. Like the PTB are going to care or listen. I share the sentiments but he’s is preaching to the choir. the attacks on freedom and self determination will be eternal from the anal retentive, paranoid “left”. They cannot tolerate a world society they cannot control. Combined with a compulsion to “Make things safe and fair for the little guy” make them the ultimate and potential deadly PITA

  6. I’m surprised this was allowed in the paper. By Libertarian logic there should be no such opinions printed in the paper, if they don’t want them.

    Just like other newspapers who chose to not publish any pro black civil rights letters. Watching the Libertarian Party convention on Fox business with John stossle last year it was stated, businesses have a right to racially discriminate in their hiring.

    No business has to support civil rights. Correct???? The Libertarian utopia is coming.

    • The libertarian principle is that no one has the right to instigate violence upon another. That is not to say that one may not defend oneself to an attack or imminent attack. Going to your statement that libertarians are against civil rights is the problem with sound bite politics, no one wants the state to decide what we think and with whom we or may not associate. That’s what the pro (enacted by feds) and anti (enacted by local gov) civil rights laws have done. If you don’t want to do business with a black person? Fine, but don’t expect others to do business with you. Don’t want to serve a nazi? Fine, but in this case it’s ok to discriminate, per our betters. I think one has the right to not associate(i.e. do business with) and should not be coerced by the state into doing business with anyone.

  7. All “rights” recited in the Bill of Rights (Amendment to the Constitution) are freedoms



    There is no logical way in hell that any Drafter of the Constitution meant for the self-same government to also


    from the government that you need protection from.

    Further, the Constitution is merely our attempt to say how we will all get along, GOVERNING OURSELVES (WE THE PEOPLE) to uphold our beliefs and assertions under the Declaration of Independence, Especially the 2nd Paragraph.

  8. the left coast communist, Islam loving, sanctuary city wanta bee’s, and rainbow people are getting conservative because of the shock of this article!

  9. Anything the government grants (gives you), the government can take away.

    By saying it’s a natural or God-given right, PROTECTED BY the Constitution, that ought to prevent .gov from trying to infringe on what is not theirs.

  10. Don’t need the government or god or anybody or anything else for the right to defend myself from any predator regardless of its nature. The instant some cave dweller picked up a pointy stick and used it to keep from being food the idea of self defense using tools was born and has evolved to present day. There is nothing fancy or complicated about that.

    • Yours strikes me as a good point. We need to remember who our audience is. It’s not those of like-mind. Nor is it those who would take our guns if they could. Our audience is the relatively neutral voter.

      Who, if anyone, has the power to disarm us? Our Creator; if S/He so willed? Our government(s); which would, if they could? Our debate opponents; who would, but couldn’t?

      We PotG won’t be dis-armed. And, we are already armed and will defend our Right to keep and bear them. So, Mr./Mrs./Ms Voter: Where is this debate going? Do you see where this debate leads?

      What are the political consequences of pitting the determination of the PotG against that of the Progressives at the ballot-box? Day by day, a few more people decide to become first-time gun-owners. Month-by-month, gun shops sell another million new guns to civilians. Which side will prevail? At the ballot box? By other means?

      Once you have come to your conclusion as to the likely outcome, do you think we should turn the discussion of guns-in-civilian-hands toward a more constructive direction?

  11. The LAT and unconstitutional infringements are getting hammered in the comments. What’s up with that? Are the denizens of Cali becoming woke? Is the yoke of their masters starting to become uncomfortable?

    There may be hope, yet.

  12. This is one of the better strings of conversation we have had. Even some who often devolve to emotional attacks on other commenters seem to be restrained. The bad part of all this is that the forum is so limited; not enough people visit.

    Some here remarked about the oddity of LAT printing the original comments. Maybe those who have laid-out well-reasoned commentary should also send those comments to LAT. Perhaps LAT would be astonished at how well POTG can reason, and explain the ideas behind the founding of the nation. It may also prove interesting to see how many of the other hard-shell leftists news outlets would respond if many of the comments here were to be sent to those cities.

  13. what’s the going pay for ‘journalists’ or ‘editors’? I may want to switch careers and apparently there are no educational requirements or standards whatsoever.

  14. This all goes back to the “Social Contract”: the general agreement that living in an organized society is better than trying to slug it out with our peers for a superior position. Attendant upon membership of society are both duties and rights, for the mutual benefit of society and all of its members. The type of society dictates what rights and duties are required for a functional society. For the majority of civilized nations, there are restrictions on weaponry that can be casually carried, in order to limit the damage in instances of social unrest or disturbance.

    The difference with the USA is that it was created from armed rebellion against the world’s foremost power, and it was a frontier society with dangerous beasts and wild Indians and crazed villains afoot abroad. Therefore at that time, and for much of its history since then, it has been a practical necessity for an ordinary person to be well armed to ensure his or her survival on a day to day basis. Hence the existence of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

    The question for US citizens is: Have you become civilized? Evidence would suggest not. Therefore abandonment of the Second Amendment would appear to be premature. The next question should be: Who benefits financially from the existing state of affairs? It would appear that the flyover states benefit from the construction of a vast network of prisons to contain the urban youth trapped within the Justice system, who are unwilling to contribute to the economy in any meaningful way, and who are replaced in the labor market by desperate refugees from Mexico and Central America who work in your vast agro businesses.

    From the outside, the causes of the incivility in your society are the enormous powers wielded by multinational corporations who dictate policy in Washington, who disenfranchise huge numbers of your poor people, and criminalize and incarcerate them. The spillover onto your streets as these victims of social injustice are released from custody, is what forces you to go about armed.

    Only a root and branch upheaval and redesign of your social fabric will improve matters. Taking government away from business and giving it back to the people is what is needed. There is so much embedded corruption in all systems that nothing can be done to fix it as is. Americans need to see who is behind all the harm.

    You do not own your own country, and you have not done since well before the Second World War. It is time you took it back. And Donald Trump will not help in this.

    • The “root cause” of the incivility observed today is “the greatest generation”. After being burnished in the fires of WW1 and the great depression, too many (half or more?) purposed that their children would “have it better than I did”. From that mantra commenced a movement to remove all hardship from the lives of children. Eliminating any hard lessons completely obliterated those very circumstances that made “the greatest generation” who they were. The movement to keep children acting as children throughout their lives. Those first post-WW2 children then begat children whose parents did not have a model for maturity, so the second generation after WW2 raised their children to be and remain children. And so on. Children are not civil. They are self-centered, selfish, and dismissive of anyone not them. This leads to an insufferable insistence on putting themselves above and beyond the “social contract”. Every decision of leftists (as in fascists) and Demoncrates is based on childish responses to frustration. From this arose the term “sense of entitlement” for simply breathing.

  15. We must also keep in mind that there was a great of contention during the Constitutional Convention as to the necessity for a Bill of Rights. Among those who thought a Bill of Rights was superfluous was James Madison, its primary author. He and several other of our Founding Fathers, the Federalists, including, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, feared that if some rights were listed, others not explicitly enumerated would be left vulnerable, as they feared that if some rights were listed, others not explicitly enumerated would be left they were of the opinion that the document as written clearly spelled out what the federal could – and more importantly, could NOT – do. On the other hand, the Anti-Federalist camp led by George Mason and including such luminaries as Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, were adamant that the Constitution must guarantee certain fundamental rights that no government could ever take away. They believed that not listing rights risked there not being any rights and were concerned that if our basic rights were not specifically enumerated, they could be taken away by government whim. The Federalists, to include Madison, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, feared that if some rights were listed, others not explicitly enumerated would be left vulnerable to violation. In the end, the Federalists won out.

    That the Founding Fathers believed in an Almighty Deity in whose belief they subscribed, the Declaration of Independence makes abundantly clear in its second paragraph: We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

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