Posts Tagged consent of the governed

The Second Amendment and the consent of the governed

second amendment rights 2Richard Reeb
Thinking it Through
The current debate over the constitutionally guaranteed “right of the people to keep and bear arms” has shed more heat than light, despite a Supreme Court ruling that individuals, and not simply “well-regulated militias,” possess this right. For both liberals and conservatives have sold this right short.

Liberals have been gnashing their teeth over the Court ruling, and are seeking to circumvent it by “regulating” firearms. Thus, President Obama now proposes that certain dangerous-looking rifles be banned and ammunition be strictly controlled. That this proposal has more to do with leftist ideology than public safety is demonstrated by the fact that a bushmaster handgun, was used by the lunatic last month in Newtown, Connecticut.

Advocates of what is known as “gun control” are hoping that emotion can triumph over reason by means of public hysteria over what one conservative commentator rightly called “bright shiny objects,” in utter ignorance of the fact of widespread gun ownership. It is undisputed that more than 300 million firearms are privately owned, an insurmountable barrier to confiscation. Note this fact well.

While liberals have historically emphasized the constitutionality of militias and dismissed the rights of individuals to own guns, they are in fact no fans of militias. Liberal media took great delight in discovering private militia groups when the nation as a whole was more concerned about Islamic terrorism.

When push comes to shove, their rhetorical preference is undoubtedly a ploy to insure that individual gun ownership is subjected to crippling regulations and even made an offense against decency, as revealed by the suburban New York newspaper that “outed” legal gun owners. (That was just outlawed by the New York state legislature.)

Although I believe liberals are wrongheaded, I understand their fears. The last thing they want is a well-armed citizenry providing a barrier to the establishment of an unrestrained bureaucratic state.

That fear ought to empower conservatives who, in their determination to secure the rights of individuals to “keep and bear arms,” seem to have overlooked the role of “well regulated militias.” Our first Congress proposed the Second Amendment as part of the Bill of Rights. No one disputed that citizens had a right to defend themselves, the only question being whether a constitutional limit on Congress was necessary.

Second AmendmentThe reason is obvious. Militias assisted the Continental Army in winning independence from Great Britain. This was not merely because there happened to be lot of armed men in the soon-to-be free colonies but because guns were indispensable to protecting rights.

Certainly, the best guarantee of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a well-ordered government responsible to the people. But inasmuch as those rights are, as the Declaration of Independence says, “inalienable,” no government can justifiably deny them or the means of defending them.

As a friend reminded me recently, early militias possessed firearms but also more lethal weapons. Cannon balls and mortar rounds boomed across Revolutionary War battlefields too. If citizens are to be a match for the might of despotic regimes, then they need equivalent firepower. This assumes that freedom is better than tyranny. Let that fact not be lost on potential tyrants.

So let us put our political situation into perspective. Under our Constitution we, the people, have the power to control the government through free elections and constitutional checks and balances. But our power depends on the respect our public officials have for these safeguards.

Regarding the Second Amendment, consider by way of analogy the role of the armed forces in our relations with other nations. President George Washington first articulated the policy which keeps the peace, viz., a nation must at all times be prepared for war. Weakness invites aggression.

Similarly, the possession of 300 million lethal weapons by American citizens is a deterrent to tyranny. A people jealous of their rights will not hesitate to defend them. It is not necessary for Americans to brandish their weapons. It is sufficient that our governments are aware that citizens are armed.

It is surely essential that we have enough firepower to protect ourselves against criminals. All attempts to limit the number of rounds are therefore misguided. That young mother in Georgia who recently fired five shots against an intruder fortunately was not so limited.
But whether the threats come from private or public malefactors, the citizens, both individually and collectively, are, by “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” entitled to adequate protection.

Richard Reeb taught political science, philosophy and journalism at Barstow College from 1970 to 2003. He is the author of “ Taking Journalism Seriously: ‘Objectivity’ as a Partisan Cause” (University Press of America, 1999). He can be contacted at

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THE TIME OF OUR LIVES… It’s the time when we must change the course of America


By: Tom Durbin

Progressives and the Obama Administration and this current edition of Congress have put this nation on its back.

This is an extraordinary nation, and President Obama and his surrogates have made an extraordinary effort the past four years to fundamentally transform it, to change it to their vision for America. Their vision and their effort includes demolishing free market delivery of health care with the Affordable Care Act, trying to destroy capitalism, and attempting to make the Constitution a useless document.

They have set us on a course to European style socialism, crippled our economy, put millions of people out of work, caused a decline in the income and wealth of middle class Americans, strangled small business across the country with regulations, run up our debt to a point where it can destroy our national credit and spark severe inflation if we don’t get it under control, created dependency of many more Americans on their federal government than ever before, diminished the dignity and self determination of many of us, and have deceived us and lied to us to a point where many think of it as the norm!

This has been a disastrous period in the history of America, and unless this Administration and its supporters in Congress are removed from office in 2012, this course we are on will lead us to absolute ruin.

We can reverse this course…but, Americans need the truth! The truth is NOT what Democrats and progressives say it is! Between now and the November election, Republicans and the Tea Party and conservatives can provide the truth, must provide the truth…or our liberty will be at risk. Republicans must expose the Democrat lies and deceptions, Republicans must articulate their programs and how the middle class will benefit, and Republicans must articulate the outcome of the Obama agenda, the Obama fundamental transformation, and how it will impact middle class Americans.

Republicans must define the agenda and force Democrats and the Obama Administration to debate the issues and their record. There is no other option for Republicans, no other tact that will work to change our course and remove Obama and his radical associates and the progressives in Congress.

This is the time of our lives – the time to propose real changes that benefit Americans, the time to give Americans the truth about the current course and the Obama agenda, the time to give Americans real hope they can trust, the time to revive the opportunity of the American Dream. This can be the time that changes our lives! It is less than a three month window…that’s all!

This nation is floundering in a very weak economy, the weakest recovery from recession since WWII…but, this 2012 election is not about the economy as most pundits and politicians would have us believe. Clearly the economy is a major problem today, but even the current Administration could help us out of this slow economy if it wanted to do so.

Republicans must help voters understand the nature of economic problems caused by the Obama Administration in order to win, but…this election is about how we govern, about socialism, about self-determination, about basic rights, about the free pursuit of happiness, about a government that governs from the consent of the people…this election is about a nation that has to choose now between a government-centered nation that controls our lives or a government where the American people and their posterity enjoy the liberty of a nation that was created by a God-fearing people with a Constitution that provides the blueprint for a people to be secure and free of an oppressive government. This election is about these choices just described! It is historical.

Unless we understand the nature of this election and how serious a situation we find ourselves, the Obama Administration and Congressional supporters will likely remain in office. If we care about our future and the future of our children and grandchildren, we simply cannot let that happen.

The Republican presidential ticket and the Republican party and conservatives must have a platform and an aggressive strategy that reaches the voters, the great middle class, in a manner that gains their support. Republicans need to figure out how to win!

We can’t emphasize ‘cutting government expenses or the budget’ without clearly demonstrating how it will benefit America and the people…otherwise, votes of people receiving government welfare and entitlements will be lost. Republican solutions must be framed in how they benefit the middle class, seniors, and the nation in the short and long term. Republicans must rise to this occasion to preserve the Republic.

Republicans cannot let Democrat and liberal lies and deception go unchallenged and explained. For example, President Obama recently claimed more oil and gas production under his Administration…that is deception…his Administration has virtually stopped all new production in favor of untested and unprofitable renewable energy. The increased production is coming from fields opened by the Bush Administration before Obama was elected!

Democrats claim Republicans will destroy social security and Medicare…Obama and the Affordable Care Act stripped over $700 billion from Medicare…doctors will lose reimbursements for services to seniors, and more and more doctors will simply stop treating seniors. I know…I was turned down about two years ago by a medical clinic who said they were not taking any more Medicare patients. Medicare has already been crippled by the Obama Administration and ACA. The ‘fair share’ increase in taxes on so-called millionaires will negatively impact small business and destroy jobs, and equally significant won’t make a dent in the $15 trillion debt. With regard to taxes, the Democrats are defining Republicans, saying Republicans want to cut taxes for millionaires…in fact, Republicans are trying to not increase taxes on anyone including those making over $250,000, particularly during this time of economic stress. If the Bush tax rates are allowed to expire, that is a tax increase on all Americans. Republicans need to explain themselves on this issue so that Americans understand.

The Democratic line is simplified, a lie, and unfortunately easy for many to believe! Democrats conveniently refuse to address the trillions in debt that has accumulated during the Obama Administration…Republicans need to make it an issue that the average voter can understand…explain how the debt and interest will ultimately result in a level of inflation that will decimate earning power and savings of the middle class. We cannot sustain this kind of debt without inflation, particularly when the economy starts to grow again under a new administration. Democrats and pundits are spewing trash about Republicans daily, and they have to be challenged. Expose the deception and lies! Help the American people see clearly how the Obama Administration operates…it is unlike any other administration in our history. They blatantly lie and avoid the real issues because they are desperate…but they are formidable because the electorate is not well-instructed. There are less than three months for the electorate to become better instructed on the issues of their future.

The people, Republicans and conservatives, must evaluate where progressive policies are taking us…where we will be in the future, the near future!

It will not be a pretty picture as I have outlined in my previous essays including Fundamentally Transformed, Selling Socialism, Where is the Outrage, and Government-centered Ideology. We have to work to ensure that progressives are removed from office in November, 2012. We can’t sit idly…we have to encourage voters of both parties to understand why the nation loses if the course isn’t changed, and to vote for that change…we can’t rely on someone else to get the job done. Each of us can make a difference…we have to! This is truly the time of our lives.

Our nation needs leadership in the White House that has integrity, a president who will defend and uphold the Constitution, a caring president who respects the people and free market capitalism and enforces the laws enacted by Congress, and is dedicated to assuring Americans of an opportunity to pursue prosperity and happiness. We have had just the opposite the past four years!

Tom Durbin August, 2012

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