The Second Amendment

Guns

The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

There is one irrefutable fact, supported by contemporary writings of a number of the Founders: the 2nd amendment was written to enable the individual people of this nation, as a last resort, to overthrow a tyrannical government. Self-protection, hunting and shooting were well received by-products; however the original intent has never changed. The Founders themselves armed for war with smooth bore muskets, which at four shots per minute, were the commonly issued assault rifles of their day.

Contemporary rifled bore flintlock rifles, while having more far range in the hands of elite marksman only fired one shot per minute, and some took far longer to load. Hand grenades had been in military use in the United Kingdom as early as the Battle of Holt Bridge in 1643, and had been in widespread use for 100 years. Artillery, from swivel guns to cannon, howitzers, and mortars, were in common use and owed by private citizens and communities.

Warships, the most powerful weapons of the day, were often privately owned; in fact, the eight frigates of the Continental Navy performed pitifully, and were all sunk by 1781. The only real naval successes enjoyed by the rebellious Americans were from privateers, who made the best of the 1,697 letters of marque issued by Congress. (1)

This posting will cover the original intent of the second amendment as well as an introduction to a few of the many legislative attempts to place limitations on it. This document relies on vetted on-line information, books, and other available materials from institutes of higher education. Credit will be given to the best of the ability of this writer. Spelling will contain the spelling of the time of publication. I can only hope this post can lead to further discussion of the subject matter. Continue reading

The General Welfare Clause

The “General Welfare” clause
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution
The 10th Amendment to the Constitution

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
– Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

This posting covers many areas spanning from the original institution through the beginning of the subversion of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This document relies on vetted on-line information, books, and other available materials from institutes of higher education. Credit will be given to the best of the ability of this writer. Spelling will contain the spelling of the time of publication. I can only hope this post can lead to further discussion of the subject matter.

Article 1 [Legislative Branch] Section 8 [Powers of Congress] of the US Constitution defines what the enumerated duties of the Federal Government are while Amendment 10 [ratified December 15, 1791], which is also known as the States’ Rights Amendment, reinforces what is inside and outside the purview of the Federal government. The Constitution was written and ratified to both authorize and limit the powers of the Federal government listing those enumerated duties which, in part, were reaffirmed with the Tenth amendment of the Bill of Rights two years later.

Renderings of the exact enumerated duties are commonplace in the age of the internet; however, this post will look at what the men who wrote the Constitution had to say about the Constitution in general and the “general welfare clause” in particular. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, said, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one …” Madison also said, “With respect to the two words “general welfare,” I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” Reiterating, Thomas Jefferson said, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

Reaffirmation comes as part of the Bill of Rights, and in particular, the 10th Amendment which embodies the general principles of Federalism in a republican form of government. The Constitution specifies the parameters of authority that may be exercised by the three branches of the federal government: executive, legislative, and judicial while the Tenth Amendment reserves to the states all powers that are not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, except for those powers that states are constitutionally forbidden from exercising.

With consideration that the Framers were wary of a centralized government, they created a novel system of mixed sovereignty between duties of the national (Federal) government and those of the States. Noted in The Federalist No. 39, the new government was “in strictness, neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both.” Critical to this system was the enumerated federal powers, which allows the federal government to operate only within defined areas where the States individually could not. Federalist No. 33 states that a congressional act beyond its enumerated powers is “merely [an] act of usurpation” which “deserves to be treated as such.” Additionally, in Federalist No. 45, Madison explained: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

Governments control people–constitutions control governments

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Natural Born Citizen

This is the second in a series of Constitution-related posts.

Natural-born, Native-born, and Naturalization

Let’s start this discussion with some definitions, dispel some assumptions, and request some civility in the follow-up discussion. This discussion is going to be, as much as possible, restricted to the qualifications for the Office of President of these United States and the portion of U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1 which states “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President”.

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The Political Spectrum (Left vs. Right)

This is the first in a planned series of posts about the Constitution and political ideology.

Aside from the belief of the Founding Fathers for the need of an “enlightened electorate” which are both educated on the issues and of high moral standing—the misguided effort of the Progressives to march out the quite often disproven yardstick of “Communism on the Left” and “Fascism on the Right” is one of many of my pet peeves commonly employed by this very same group of uneducated potential voters.

The Communism = Left, Fascism = Right misnomer has more to do with the seating arrangement of the parliaments of Europe than it does with where the political system actually falls on the left-right spectrum. Plain and simple–government is power by rule or control. Political systems (not parties) can be measured by how much coercive power or systematic control the system employs over its people. Remove the monikers from the parties because this argument has nothing to do with parties but rather power and control. Nothing to do with Republicans, Libertarians, Democrats, Progressives, or even the Green party–the measurement is not one of political parties, but rather political power.

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The founders considered the two extremes to be anarchy (no government, no law) on one hand and tyranny (absolute control) on the other. On one side, the left, of the scale was tyranny or complete domination which they called “Ruler’s Law” and at the other extreme of their scale (on the right) was “No Law” or total anarchy. What the founders designed was a system shy of total anarchy but based on as much freedom as possible which they called the “People’s Law.” Try to remember this has nothing to do with political parties but rather the amount of systematic control the “ruling class” exerted over the ruled.

Ruler’s Law

Some of the characteristics of Ruler’s Law (which was often described as a tyrannical monarchy) echo the thinking of Progressives; People are not equal, but are divided into classes, all are looked upon as subjects of the King.   The entire country is considered to be the property of the ruler(s) who speaks of it as his/her realm. Thrust of Government is from the top down, and not from the people up. “Subjects” have no unalienable rights; rights are issued and rescinded by government hence government is by the whims of men and not fixed by the rule of law. As Jonah Goldberg explains (in Liberal Fascism) “They have a desire to form a powerful state which coordinates a society where everybody belongs and everyone is taken care of; where there is faith in the perfectibility of people and the authority of experts; and where everything is political, including health and well-being.”

People’s Law

This country was therefore founded under Anglo-Saxon Common Law, Natural Law, or what was called the People’s Law, where the people were considered a commonwealth of freemen and the decision and selection of its leaders had to be with the consent of the people. Laws were considered natural law given by divine dispensation, power was delegated among the people, and the rights of the individual were considered unalienable. The primary responsibility for resolving problems was first with the individual, then the family, then the community, then the religion, and finally the government or nation.

Conclusions

With anarchy marking the right boundary of the scale while tyrannical monarchy marks the left side of the scale it becomes easy to mark where on this scale differing political systems, not parties, fall. As we traverse this scale from left to right, political systems like Communism and Fascism are placed at the far left, if not totally on the left side of the scale because of the oppressive nature of the rulers, state ownership, or state control over, of all industry and farms, and the lack of individual rights. Progressive-based systems are next, as is Liberalism (a “child” of Progressive think), but definitely left of center on the scale no matter the form. As Goldberg points out, an effort of Liberal Fascism is “to create an “all-caring, all-powerful, all-encompassing” state” but concludes with “Simply because the nanny state wants to hug you doesn’t mean it’s not tyrannical when you don’t want to be hugged”. No matter how benevolent they attempt to appear–political systems are based on control and power. Finally on the right side of the scale stands our Representative Republic as far to the right without falling into total anarchy allowing its people as much freedom as possible while living under a rule of law. The question of how far to the left on the scale they fall is answered by how much power and control they exert over the individual.

Make no mistake, since the foundation, this country has been shifting left by hook and crook through the likes of Presidents Wilson, Roosevelt, and Johnson, among others but that is neither the original framers’ intention nor those of us who uphold the Constitution today as an outline for the best means of governing the country. We hope this post, as well as subsequent related posts, leads to meaningful, civil discussions about exactly what kind of country and what level of government we want for future generations of Americans. As a final note: A great deal of this posting goes to many people but not least folks like W. Cleon Skousen, Cicero, J. Goldberg, and some residents of this blog.