A while back, in the Heller case, when some centralist libertarians put their faith in the murderous and criminal federal leviathan to protect the individual right to bear arms, those among us suspicious of all state power and centralism warned that no good would come of this. The central state would only use this as an excuse to further entrench its power to regulate us, and to supervise the states, further eroding federalism, one of the few remaining structural limits on central state power.
Cato’s Robert Levy, one of Heller’s lawyers, lauded the decision: “Heller has taken a major step to restore sensibility in Washington, D.C.”
Yet, as I wrote in To Hell with Heller, the case
makes it clear that gun limitations and regulations are perfectly permissible. Their only legitimate use–when the state thinks it’s “reasonable”–is for self-defense against private criminals–not self-defense against public criminals–down with this whole right to revolution. So the ruling really helps entrench government power. And, of course, thanks to the perverse incorporation doctrine, the Second Amendment will no doubt be applied to the states … by the federal government. I.e., yet more power seized by the feds. So let’s see: Heller has further eroded two of the most fundamental limits on the central state: the right to revolution, and vertical separation of powers (federalism). [See also my posts Cato on “sensible gun regulations”; More Heller-aceous Damage to Gun Rights; The Great Gun Decision: Dissent.]
Levy agreed that incorporation is coming: “Soon, with incorporation, Heller will have nationwide implications.” Though, apparently, we disagree on our evaluation of this inevitable result: “That’s a big win for common sense. More important, it’s a big win for the Constitution.” (I hope my disagreement with him is not “hateful or vulgar”–see Cato Chair Demands $3.5M From DC Peasants; also Levy Digs Himself In Deeper.)
Oh, yes, incorporation–nationalization, centralization–is coming (just do this google-fu; also the recent Report on Heller Incorporation case in California). Looks like everyone is happy with Heller and with the advent of nationalization of this issue by the federal state which they all normally distrust when it comes to other issues–from centralist libertarians (Levy, Objectivists; see also Libertarian Centralists; and Healy on States’ Rights and Libertarian Centralists) to gun-rights advocates (Time for incorporation of the Second Amendment) to gun opponents (Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence). Everyone, that is, except decentralist and anarcho-libertarians who despise and distrust the federal leviathan [yes, hate: Rothbard wrote and fought because “hatred is my muse“] and know that to trust it to respect the Constitution and “protect” our rights is naive and foolish beyond belief–to fall for the state’s propaganda aimed at Spooner’s knaves and dupes.
Update: An example of how federalism could be useful it were not being continually curtailed by the very centralism favored even by libertarian supporters of the incorporation doctrine and the Fourteenth Amendment: a proposed law in Montana would exempt firearms manufactured and used in Montana from federal regulation. Well, I should say “attempt to exempt,” because the feds would no doubt swoop down and snuff out this effort in no time quick, just as Lincoln, the darling of Straussian-Jaffa-ite neocons-in-libertarian clothing, did with seceding states.
(Thanks to Jason Gordon)10:37 pm on February 17, 2009 Email Stephan Kinsella