Monday, March 30, 2009

How to Defend Your Rights

We hear a lot of talk, these days, about defending our rights, in particular, our Second Amendment rights. Unfortunately, there seems to be a great deal of misinformation and deliberate disinformation being circulated about our rights and how to best protect them. Allow me to clear the air on this, because it is really quite simple.

In a nut shell, the way - the only way to defend our rights is first, by exercising them and not submitting to any authority that proclaims you can't, and secondly, by repealing all laws that abridge or deny our rights. The first part of this solution is easy enough for all to understand. You don't ask government's permission to exercise your fundamental rights; you just do it. If there are repercussions afterward, or if the state refuses to "allow" you to do so, then it is the state that is in the wrong, not you. They have violated your rights. I think that's fairly simple enough that a child could understand it, yet many brainwashed adults these days don't seem to comprehend their correct relationship to government. We are they masters, government is the servant. Or, at least, that's the way it's supposed to be.

The second half of the solution may not be as easy for most to comprehend, so I will spend the bulk of this piece explaining it.

The best illustration of this concept can be made by examining the Second Amendment and how it has been repeatedly violated by hundreds of laws for over seventy-five years, beginning with the original gun control law: the National Firearms Act of 1934.

Never mind the fact that, in 1934, there was record gun violence in America, chiefly from lawless gangsters using the then-favored and easily obtained Thompson submachine gun. The fact that the Thompson was readily obtainable meant that anyone, regardless of who they were, could have one and that included the average citizen - until the National Firearms Act of 1934 removed these weapons from the hands of law abiding citizens, leaving the gangsters still armed with them (because, by definition, criminals don't obey the law), as well as the police and the military. For the first time in U.S. history, then, we had a situation in which the military, the police and the criminals were better armed than the average citizen. But I digress.

The point is, the National Firearms Act was illegal. It is a clear violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which is the law of the land. The Constitution is supposed to be the yardstick by which all other laws are measured. If a law violates the Constitution, it is ruled "unconstitutional," meaning that it is not a legitimate law.

The Second Amendment is quite clear to anyone who can read (which entails the ability to not merely voice the words in your head, but to understand their meaning, as well), despite the recent propaganda to the contrary. Ignoring the disputed first clause, which mentions the militia, it is the second clause that makes the Second Amendment perfectly clear:

"...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

There is no debating the intent of that statement. It means what is says and it says what it means, which is that, no laws can be made that alter, abolish, curtail or modify our fundamental right to be armed. Period.

Now, some people these days have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to be armed. They don't see the relationship between being armed and the tyranny of a despotic government. Indeed, many fail to see that there is any relationship between the two at all. The relationship is an inverse one. In other words, the better armed we the people are, the less chance there is of a despotic government existing. The opposite is that, whenever and wherever the people have been disarmed, government has historically become despotic. The people who wrote the Second Amendment knew this all too well, having lived through it. That's why they reasoned, quite rightly, that we needed some constitutional guarantees that would protect our inalienable right to defend ourselves against all who would take our lives and property from us - including our own government.

Having said all that, it becomes clear (or it should to anyone over the age of, say ten, anyway) that the way to prevent rights from being violated is to never allow a situation to exist in which they can be violated, in the first place. To quote an old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

However, today, the damage has been long done. Our Second Amendment has been cleverly and deliberately violated so many times that no one really knows the actual number of laws in existence that, in some way, violate the Second Amendment.

Even so, the remedy for this is quite simple and straightforward: the repeal of all laws that violate the Second Amendment. This is easy enough to understand. If you see that something wrong is being done, you take action to see to it that (1) whatever is being done is stopped and (2) you endeavor, if possible, to undo the damage done. In this case, both can be achieved in one fell swoop by the simple act of repealing all gun laws that are in existence and preventing any further from being created. Now, of course I realize that this has as much chance of happening as I do of winning the lottery. Actually, I think my odds of doing so are far greater, in fact. But, my point is that the solution is a simple one. There is nothing complex about it. The complexity resides in all the things that have to occur before it can be done, and therein lies the point I'm coming to.

For seventy-five years, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been "defending" the Second Amendment by backing law after law that violates the Second Amendment. It matters not that some of these laws seem to "lift restrictions" imposed by previous legislation. The fact is, these laws continue a systemic abridgement of the Second Amendment by deliberately skirting the central fact that all of these laws have to be removed before anyone's Second Amendment rights are truly restored. Piecemeal legislation that lifts some restrictions while allowing the greater bulk of restrictions to remain intact is not the solution to the problem and only adds to the widely held misperception that our rights are granted to us by government.

Whenever you hear some legislator say a law will "allow" you to do something you were denied doing before, this should raise a red flag in your mind. We don't have rights because government "allows" it. We have rights as a condition of our existence. The first and most fundamental of these is the right to life, which arises from the fact that we are alive. Because we are alive, we are entitled to continue living. No sane person would dispute that. Yet, there are many who dispute our right to defend our lives by use of force. Most libertarians will agree that they are against the use of force. It is a central tenet of the libertarian philosophy. However, most libertarians reserve the right of the individual to use force against force to protect one's life and property. After all, one cannot counteract forceful attempts on one's life by passive means. When our lives are in immediate danger of being snuffed out forever by some foe - whether it be a criminal or the government (I know; what's the difference?), there is no room for debating whether or not to use force to defend oneself. This is simple common sense, yet that is a commodity so sadly lacking in today's society.

Getting back to the remedy for this situation, if the answer is the repeal of all gun laws, then it should be immediately apparent to all that the people saying they are "protecting" the Second Amendment are either terribly ignorant of this simple, yet effective means of doing so - or they are lying. My observation is that it's the latter, not the former.

So-called "gun rights" organizations like the NRA have had four generations in which to get all gun laws repealed - yet they are not even demanding that this be done. Surely, the people running this organization are not so stupid as to fail to see this simple solution. They know very well what the problem is and they also know what the solution is. Yet, they will not act upon it. Why? This is a question every gun owner should be demanding the NRA to answer.

In light of this simple observation of the facts, it should be readily apparent to anyone with a mind that the NRA is not truly interested in protecting your Second Amendment rights - and never has been. To be fair, I am not singling out the NRA, here. There are other such organizations that are doing exactly the same thing. In fact, all of them are. They are all making the pretense of "defending the Second Amendment" while not doing anything to remove the mountain of laws that is the only impediment to the free exercise of the Second Amendment, in the first place. Again, why?

The answer is that all of these so-called "gun rights" organizations are simply another part of the false left-right paradigm. They are there to placate and misdirect the many people who, rightly, see the Second Amendment as an important protection of their freedoms. These organizations do so by appealing to their sense of patriotism, or to their fears about crime, and even by appealing to their fears of a despotic government - all while supporting the agenda of that same despotic government.

Some will say, "but the NRA has consistently backed concealed carry laws!" Yes, they have. But, what you have to do is examine, in detail, what these laws really do and what they really say. You also have to understand that you already have the right to carry a gun (or any other weapons) anywhere you want to, whether concealed or not. Your existing right to defend your life (which the Second Amendment was written to protect) is your "concealed carry permit." You don't require the permission of the government to carry any type of weapon anywhere, any time you want to. The only thing stopping you from doing so is your own fear of running afoul of the law. But the law, in this case, is illegitimate, in the first place, because it stands in direct violation of the Second Amendment.

The same is true of all these other laws that "allow" you to have back some of the freedoms stolen from you by the very same government that robbed you of them to begin with - and then requires you to ask permission for them and to jump through a series of bureaucratic hoops to obtain them. That is not freedom. It is tyranny, and by supporting such laws, the NRA and everyone else who supports these laws is supporting the continuance of tyranny in America.

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