Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Constitutional rights--not 'necessarily good ideas'?

I was planning to write a follow-up to yesterday's blog post about "Doctors for Defenselessness," but this bit of commentary by Lino A. Graglia (a "Catholic conservative," according to Wikipedia) demanded an immediate response. The very first sentence sets the unbelievable tone.

In striking down the District of Columbia's gun control law, the U.S. Supreme Court raised the question whether constitutional rights are necessarily good ideas.
"Raised the question" among whom--people who think tyranny has gotten a bad rap?

Graglia then goes on to criticize the notion of examining the Second Amendment by exploring late 18th century attitudes about gun ownership--apparently, people have far less reason to fear a power-hungry government now than they did then--the people of Burma (or Myanmar, if you insist) will be pleased to hear that, I'm sure. Then, he goes into the obligatory plug for the (now officially discredited) "collective rights" interpretation of the Second Amendment.
It is arguable — as the 5-4 split on the Supreme Court indicates — that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual right to possess guns; "bear arms" has a military ring.
And how about "keep arms," genius? I still can't believe there was ever serious discussion about the possibility that 10% of the Bill of Rights was dedicated to protecting the government's right to have an armed military. By the way, in my reading of the Heller decision, the "collective rights" interpretation lost 9-0. The four dissenting justices acknowledged the individual right--they just apparently think it's a right that can permissibly be rendered meaningless.
If democracy is the norm, only policy choices clearly precluded by the Constitution should be struck down by the courts. The view of elected legislators should prevail in cases of doubt. The court might well, therefore, have refrained from taking the gun control issue out of the political process.
I don't know what "the norm" is, but I do know that the United States was founded as a republic--not as a democracy, in which 51% of the population can vote away the fundamental rights of the other 49%. As to "clearly precluded by the Constitution," what more would the Second Amendment have to say to make it clear to you that citizen disarmament is not an option? Should the original twenty-seven words of the amendment be followed up with another sentence--something along the lines of "We're really serious here, guys; no f***ing infringing, damn it!"?

Graglia disparages constitutionalism on the grounds that it "takes policy options off the table." That's what it's supposed to do, Einstein. Certain policy options have no business being brought to the table, and a government monopoly on force is definitely one of those.

Oh, by the way--Graglia is a law professor at University of Texas--just gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling about the future, doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

Good idea on your proposed amendment to the 2nd Amendment!

Anonymous said...

Some folks are apparently trying to change the goal posts... again. Catholics have always been (classically) liberal on most issues, save some specific social ones. I'm guessing that "Catholic conservative" is code for "statist".

W W Woodward said...

"Constitutional rights not necessarily good ideas"?

Another one of the "My rights are more precious, important, relevant, God-given, ad nauseum ... than your rights" elitist, highly educated, too dumb to come in out of the rain, Constitution twisting, law professor, idiots who thinks we're living under a democratic (mob rule) form of government.

Another case of "education" not being a synonym for "intelligence".

Ben Franklin called it right, (and I paraphrase) "We've given you a republic. It's gonna be up to you to keep it."

Thirdpower said...

I wonder if he thinks the BOR 'creates' rights like another former law professor we all know?

the pistolero said...

"bear arms" has a military ring.

Fun fact: In Miller v. United States, the Court had this to say:
"The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. "A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline." And further, that ordinarily, when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time."
Now. Note the phrase "writings of approved commentators." I could be wrong, but I'm thinking some of those approved commentators would be some of the fine folks quoted
here, such as Tench Coxe:
"Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."
In the hands of the people, and not the government. You take that, and the attitudes of the Founders toward government in general, and the lunacy of the thought that they would codify the government's power to arm itself comes into pretty stark relief. But I'm betting that, as all gun prohibitionists do, Mr. Graglia is more or less banking on the ignorance of his audience.

The_Chef said...

Not good ideas if you plan on controlling what people think and do.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion is that Graglia designs a laboratory wherein he waives all his constitutional rights and sets up a committee of students, cops, teachers, auto mechanics and trash collectors who all, each and every one have total authority over him.

Let's see if he still thinks constitutional rights may not be a good thing then.

I volunteer for the committee in the position of financial activities administrator/social interaction czar.

Kevin said...

The ways to shut down fools like him:

Race! The Majority of the population should be able to do what they will to the minorities, Hey it's a democracy, right? It would be legal if the people voted to keep them down.

Religion. The religion with the most members should be the religion of the state, all others should be banned. What? that's unconstitutional? But it would be Democratic, if the country voted on it. Catholic is the largest single religion in the US, but only about 25% of the Christian population total. Would he risk that?

Language. Vote on the official language, If Spanish wins, then learn or suffer!

One little nit to pick, 51% of the few, motivated, citizens who actually vote would decide the rules for the 49% of the voters and the vast majority of the lazy and disinterested population.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

One little nit to pick, 51% of the few, motivated, citizens who actually vote would decide the rules for the 49% of the voters and the vast majority of the lazy and disinterested population.

Point taken, but I was referring to the theoretical "worst case scenario" of the downside of democracies.