Saturday, April 26, 2014

Some New Vintage Steven Den Beste

Which is pretty well described as a more concise blending of Vintage Steven Den Beste.  He replies to a correspondent who doesn't understand the nature and necessity of the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution:
Let's rewind back to 1789 when the Bill of Rights was written. It was only 6 years since the Revolution ended. And the early battles of the Revolution were fought by men using their own weapons. (That's what the Patriots used in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, for example.) Those who wrote the Bill of Rights were acutely aware that the only reason the Revolution was possible was because of widespread ownership of guns.

The Revolution was fought because the British government was perceived to have become tyrannical, and the Founders were well aware that the new government they were establishing could in turn become tyrannical. They included lots of checks and limits on the government, but knew that in the end the only sure way to prevent that was if the people had the means to rise in revolution, again.

The Second Amendment is the ultimate check. That's why it was included in the Bill of Rights.

This is what you're not going to like: the purpose of the Second Amendment is to make sure that the citizens of the US are sufficiently well armed to fight a revolution, if a new one is needed. That's what the "militia" referred to in it is about: in that time the word "militia" referred to the kind of thing that happened in Boston at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, where all able bodied men grabbed their own guns and fought on behalf of the community.

Which means that issues like hunting or self defense are a distraction. The Second Amendment is about allowing citizens to own weapons which are good enough to permit them to fight against a tyrant's army and win.
Tyrants can be either foreign or domestic in origin (that turn of phrase shows up in the original too), but the essential strength of the USA's fundamental governmental mindset is taken from the largely unspoken understanding that excess oppression can be met with counter excess from almost anyone in the general populace, whenever it appears, whoever the source.

As Steven says, "It isn't a perfect solution, but there aren't any others which have been as successful."  This weekend in particular, it seems appropriate to apply this particular ray of clarity to this specific question.

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