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Archive for February, 2013

“The right of bearing arms—which with us is not limited and restrained by an arbitrary system of game laws as is in England; but, is particularly enjoyed by every citizen, and is among his most valuable privileges, since it furnishes the means of resisting as a freeman ought, the inroads of usurpitation.”

Henry St. George Tucker— 1 COMMENTARIES ON THE LAWS OF VIRGINIA 43 (1831)

“Now the natural right of self defence is nothing more than liberty which the law of nature allows us of defending ourselves from an attack which is made upon our persons or of taking such meausres as may guard against any injuries we are likely to suffer from one another…
…[A]s the law of nature allows us to defend ourselves, and imposeds no limit on the right, the only limit we can impose is the necessity of the case. Whatever means are necessary must be lawful; for if the rule is general, that where a right is absolutely given, then mean to exercise it must also follow.”

Henry St. George Tucker— TUCKER, A FEW LECTURES ON NATURAL LAW 95 (1844)

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The peaceable part of mankind will be continually overrun by the vile and abandoned while they neglect the means of self-defence. The supposed quietude of a good man allured the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside…Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them;…the weak will become prey to the strong.

Thomas Paine— 1 WRITINGS OF THOMAS PAINE 56 (Conway ed., 1894).

“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

Thomas Jefferson— 8 PAPERS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 407 (J. Boyd, ed., 1953).

“[W]hat country can preserve it[]s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that the people preserve their spirit of resistance? Let them take arms, the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is nature’s manure.”

Thomas Jefferson—   Id., vol. 2 at 344.

I used these quotes from “the Toms” today because of their uniquely contrarian natures.  Paine was a fairly astute observer of human nature, and because of it, he understood that society, and government were both necessary evils…neither to be wholly trusted, and both should meet with some limitations preserved by the individual.  While his keen perception was not enough to keep him from the hubristic belief that man is capable of becoming better based on his intellect and self-restraint alone, and the sad consequences that followed for him, he still understood that arms were and are the great equalizer, which allow those who want to be able to live in peace, from all who threaten it, to do so, some without ever having to rely on their actual use.

Jefferson had no illusions about arms.  As the primary author of the prose of the Declaration of Independence, he also understood that at times, it falls upon the governed to open the ears of those who would govern them, and that sometimes, sadly, that means using arms.  Clearly, he also understood that the right to bear arms was a pillar of liberty, as he knew firsthand that going to government, hat in hand, and asking “Please sir, may I have some more freedom?” is no more effective than a sternly worded letter to a member of Congress who is convinced that the august body of which he is a member does not have a spending problem.

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Obama’s campaign is now a “social welfare group”, and for only $500,000.00, you too can have access to the President. Organizing for Action is doing all the things Obama claims to hate. But then, leading by example has never been Obama’s strong suit. Still, I think when even Chuck Todd thinks that it “looks bad”, you’ve probably pushed it too far. Read more at Sweetness and Light.

And now, your moment of truth that your dear leader doesn’t want you to know:

I think I need a cigarette. You?

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“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.  The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.”

Noah Webster —Pamphlet, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787, in PAUL LEICESTER FORD, ED., PAMPHLETS ON THE CONSITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, PUBLISHED DURING ITS DISCUSSION BY THE PEOPLE, 1787-1788, 60 (1888, repr. 1968)

“Mercenary armies…have at one time or another subverted the liberties of almost all the Countries that they have been raised to defend…”

George Washington—WRITINGS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON  388 (Fitzpatrick ed., 1931)

“Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used in at individual discretion…in private self-defense.”

John Adams—A DEFENCE OF THE CONSTITUTIONS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 475 (1787-88).

“To disarm the people [is] the best and most efficient way to enslave them…”

George Mason—ELLIOTT, ED. 5 THE DEBATES IN THE SEVERAL STATE CONVENTIONS 380 (1836, repr. 1941)

Why, it’s almost like these guys didn’t believe that government had their best interests at heart.  Afterall, the government only spends money it doesn’t have because it cares about us…so much so that it doesn’t care how much debt is wracked up for our children and grandchildren to eventually pay.  And it’s perfectly ok for it to be engaged in all manner of giveaways and performing all manner of functions never reserved or assigned to it, because if bubblewrapping your life and then taking away the consequences for bad choices, and then the ability to actually make any choices of consequence is wrong, they don’t wanna be right.

And they don’t want you to be, either…

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So I heard about this story on the way home. Back in November, Tyndale House Publishers (They publish Bibles and other religious materials) sued to enjoin the HHS from imposing its mandates upon it, and this interesting exchange took place at the hearing:

Benjamin Berwick [DOJ Flunky]: “Well, your honor, I think, I think there are two distinct ideas here: One is: Is the corporation itself religious such that it can exercise religion? And my, our argument is that it is not. Although again, we admit that it is a closer case than for a lot of other companies. And then the second question is, can the owners–is it a substantial burden on the owners when the requirement falls on the company that is a separate legal entity? I think for that question precisely what their beliefs are doesn’t really matter. I mean, they allege that they’re religious beliefs are being violated. We don’t question that. And we don’t question that that is the belief.

Judge Reggie Walton: But considering the closeness of the relationship that the individual owners have to the corporation to require them to fund what they believe amounts to the taking of a life, I don’t know what could be more contrary to one’s religious belief than that.

Berwick: Well, I don’t think the fact this is a closely-held corporation is particularly relevant, your honor. I mean, Mars, for example–

Judge Walton: Well, I mean, my wife has a medical practice. She has a corporation, but she’s the sole owner and sole stock owner. If she had strongly-held religious belief and she made that known that she operated her medical practice from that perspective, could she be required to pay for these types of items if she felt that that was causing her to violate her religious beliefs?

Berwick: Well, Your Honor, I think what it comes down to is whether there is a legal separation between the company and—

Judge Walton: It’s a legal separation. I mean, she obviously has created the corporation to limit her potential individual liability, but she’s the sole owner and everybody associates that medical practice with her as an individual. And if, you know, she was very active in her church and her church had these same type of strong religious-held beliefs, and members of the church and the community became aware of the fact that she is funding something that is totally contrary to what she professes as her belief, why should she have to do that?

Berwick: Well, your honor, again, I think it comes down to the fact that the corporation and the owner truly are separate. They are separate legal entities.

Judge Walton: So, she’d have to give up the limitation that conceivably would befall on her regarding liability in order to exercise her religion? So, she’d have to go as an individual proprietor with no corporation protection in order to assert her religious right? Isn’t that as significant burden?

The correct answer, for those who didn’t pay attention in class, is “HELL YES, IT IS A SIGNIFICANT BURDEN!”

Corporations are private property. Even if you own publically traded stock, it is still private property. Why do people own private property? To do with it as they wish. If I can’t act through a corporation I own in a manner consistant with my Constitutionally protected beliefs, then how, exactly, do we still have a First Amendment?

I think the Judge understands that as it applies to personal services corporations, which are extentions of their owners, the government model becomes completely disconnected from reality, which is why he issued the injuction.

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“In the Second Article, it is declared, that a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state; a proposition  from which few will dissent.  Although in actual war, the services of regular troops are confessedly more valuabl; yet while regular peace prevails, and in the commencement of a war before a regular force can be raised, the militia form the palladium [safeguard] of the country…

The corollary from the first position is, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

No clause in the Constitution could by any rule oc construction be conceived to give Congress a power to disarm the people.  Such a flagititious [infamous or scandalous] attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature.  But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.

In most of the countries of Europe, this right does not seem to be denied, although it is allowed more or less sparingly, according to circumstances.  In England, a country which boasts so much of its freedom, the right was assured to Protestant subjects only, on the revolution of 1688, and it is cautiously described to be that of bearing arms for their defence “suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law.” An arbitrary code for the preservation of game in that country has long disgraced them.”

William Rawle, A VIEW OF THE CONSTITUTION, p.125-126 (2nd ed. 1828)

William Rawle was a Philadelphia lawyer appointed to be the United States District Attorney for Pennsylvania by President George Washington in 1791, and Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania from 1796 until his death, and the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar.

But I’m sure he simply didn’t understand that the right to bear arms was subject to whatever restrictions, conditions, and limitations that politicians in local, state, and Federal government could bleat effectly about being “reasonable”, and therefore legitimate limitations upon the right, because government would never, ever abuse power, and usurp authority not reserved to it, right?

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“Little more can be reasonable aimed at with respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped;…This will not only lessen the call for military establishments; but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidible to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little , if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of their arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens.”

—Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 29

Whaaaaat?  One of the ARCHITECTS of our Constitution, even before there was a Bill of Rights and a Second Amendment, not only supported the concept of an armed citizenry, but contemplated it as a means to preserve the liberties of the people?  I guess he realized that a sternly worded letter was a poor means of keeping an overreaching government in check.  Thankfully, we now have a government lead by people with nothing of the best intentions, who would never lie to us, and never propose the curtailing of rights that are not government’s to give to begin with, right?

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