How Unalienable Rights Become Privileges

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You need look no further than this:

The case of a New Jersey man who is serving seven years in prison for possessing two locked and unloaded handguns he purchased legally in Colorado is a perfect example of how a law-abiding citizen can unwittingly become a criminal due to vastly differing gun laws among the states, gun rights experts say.

I’m going to stop with the quotes from the story right here, because nothing more needs to be quoted.

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.

What is the Second Amendment?

It is recognition of a right.

Parse that sentence again: Rights can be either recognized or abrogated but they cannot be granted.

In order to grant something, you first must have it. The State does not possess the right to the people’s self-defense (by definition) against either personal tyranny (e.g. a thug breaking into their home) or government tyranny (e.g. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.)

You either accept that you, and everyone else, have an unalienable right to self-defense or you do not.

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If you do, then the right to possess weapons suitable for self-defense (which most-certainly includes any sort of small arm such as a pistol) is inherently encompassed within that right.

The NRA, the Brady folks and others all in fact argue over nonsense. They argue over "reasonable restrictions." But there are no reasonable restrictions when it comes to peaceable exercise of a right.


Yes, I know that Miller says that short-barreled shotguns are permissible to restrict and there are other cases on the books that bear on this as well.

But laws and rights are not the same thing. Laws either respect or disrespect rights, but they do not bestow them, because the government is not from whence rights flow, and you cannot bestow that which you do not first possess.

This does not mean that there should be no legal strictures for non-peaceable acts – that is, violations of other people’s rights. Your right to peaceable self-defense expires when you pull that weapon with the intent to use it for an unlawful purpose (like sticking up a convenience store.)

But the principle of unalienable rights, standing alone, is that no government has a right to prospective constraint upon unalienable rights, as their peaceable exercise is unalienable – that is, beyond any government’s ability to review.

It makes many people very uncomfortable when one starts talking about topics in this vein, because everyone, it seems, wants to trade liberty for security in some form or fashion.

Yet a long line of facts and history prove beyond any doubt – reasonable or otherwise – that such trades never secure actual safety, but always sacrifice liberty.

Witness Chicago. It was illegal to possess a handgun unless you were a peace officer and functionally (despite Heller and friends) still is. Yet this has not prevented one thug from gaining possession of a handgun and waving statutes in front of said thug has not managed to stop one bullet in flight.

In fact, the thugs are so impressed with these laws that they burn police cars in front of cops’ homes in the middle of the night. The citizens? They (rightfully) refuse to step in and stop it. With what would they stop it? Their good looks? Remember, by definition a law-abiding citizen in that city is not armed!

Nor is this confined to the right to peaceably exist (which is why we have a Second Amendment.) It also extends to the right to travel. Not only has that been turned into a privilege with things like Driver Licensing but it is in point of fact illegal to bicycle while intoxicated in Florida – and many other states. That’s right – you can do the right thing by choosing to bike (instead of drive) if you intend to drink and get a DUI anyway. Worse, there’s a recent case where the cops arrested someone for drinking in the back of a limousine. That is, the patron hired a driver specifically to avoid the risk of a DUI and was arrested anyway.

Free to go upon the public roadways? A right to travel? Not any more – and we haven’t even discussed the TSA and other similar goon-squad nonsense yet.

You want to talk about liberty? Fundamental, unalienable rights? Which ones?

You only have the rights endowed by your creator you are willing to defend.

Today, that’s a blank sheet of paper, all in the name of "just a little compromise" or claimed acts "for your safety" (which in fact do not deliver what was promised, and liability for that failure by those in government is then, of course, refused.)

Just ask the 40,000+ dead on our nation’s roads every year or the 3,000 ghosts of those who were alive prior to 9/11, all of which were promised "safety" in consideration of giving up their liberty. They got neither, and to top it off a man who was peaceably going along his path in life, who had committed no offense upon the peace, was searched, arrested, tried, convicted and is now in prison because he peaceably exercised an unalienable right.

Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison and the rest would damn this nation and it’s government to eternal Hell were they alive to see this travesty and the millions just like it that are committed each and every year.

Reprinted from Market Ticker.

December 4, 2010

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