It’s still sinking in. Could the Supreme Court really have come out in clear support of the constitution? Did the majority really reaffirm that yes, we live in a country where the locus of control resides with the people – every individual – and not with the government? Will we begin to see again finally a creeping awareness culturally that the we -are- the government?
In informatl conversation, the problem of the Second Amendment is often cast in three contextual lights – each of which, I think, misses the real point. The first sets the debate in terms of whether we can safely allow guns in our society. The second says “guns are inherently bad and evil and its a different world than it used to be and the police should protect us”. The third debates the value of guns in protecting us from the government.
All three of those arguments all center around…guns. Why? The value, role, and entire point of the Bill of Right has only ever been to support and cement the relationship of American citizens to their government.
The Bill of Rights, if it was just a list of “things people should be able to do”, would have been much, much longer. That is, if it had been created at all.
The fact of the matter is that the Bill of Rights is the document that GUARANTEES that the government shall derive its power soley from the individual and not vice versa. What is it that the rights of free speech, speedy and public trials, the right to not be arbitrarily searched, etc. are protecting us from? Not each other. Not foreign states. No, they’re written as hedges against the enroachment of government-derived power taken from the individual. They protect us from those in the government and without who would opt for the easy route – the one people in many less free, successful states follow willingly. The Bill of Rights exists because for a free nation to exist and to thrive, the people MUST retain the locus of control.
This goes beyond “free elections” and democracy. Freedom is only a word if people expect their government to take care of them. If they expect the group – the police, the legislature, the executive branch – to solve their every problem and to make decisions for them.
The reason our constitution is so amazing is that the framers understood that only from the flexibility and insight of free people is real strength derived. The government should only ever be framework through which disputes are resolved and a mechanism for people to, where necassary, take civic advantage of economies of scale. This is where centralized economies and other socialist constructs FAIL every time. It’s an information theory problem. There is too much information needed to make good decisions for a central, top heavy government to process that it just cant. Similarly, everyone always acts in their own self interest so giving everyone the power to act in their own self interest is much more likely to yield solid, beneficial results than allowing a select few to force many to act in the interests of the few. There HAS to be math behind this somewhere.
At any rate, back to the point: The Second Amendment is one of the lynchpin components of the Bill of Rights, our government, and the foundational principles that make it all work. The Second Amendment says, in effect, that for a free state to exist, the -population- shall retain the RIGHT to USE FORCE in its own SELF-INTEREST and that right shall NOT be adbicated to the empty machinery of government which will unfailingly abuse it. The power of the Second Amendment – which was reassirmed today – is in that specific line it draws.
There are more threats to “the security of a free state” than foreign countries and abdicating our individual power to the empty, crushing machine of government is at the top of the list.
(Edit: This is an aside from the regularly unscheduled programming here and only represents my not-nearly-educated-enough opinion on the subject…)