Monday, April 21, 2008

The Guarantor of Freedom

I have what I believe to be the best argument for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, and for it being interpreted as it has over the entire history of America, that it guarantees a personal right to bear arms and a collective right to organize a militia.

To share my argument, I'll start with a little exercise. Imagine if you will you live in a democratic-republic country, like America, that guarantees such rights as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and freedom of association and protects property rights. I think the most beloved of all rights to both the political left and the political right are those previously listed rights, except for perhaps property rights. So in this country, that has been around for some years, the people enjoy their rights and exercise them all to their fullest extent, and the government is relatively small and mostly limited to its sphere of national defense. As has been seen in America, when these rights are guaranteed, prosperity spreads. Unfortunately, with these rights also comes some depravity, like the kind that characterizes America to most of the middle-eastern and eastern countries. Because of this undesirable quality, support for those who want censorship grows and eventually the majority of the elected seats of government believe something should be done about how people use their freedom of speech, and freedom of conscience, and freedom of association. In effect, they want to take away some of these rights and now have the power to do it.

So ask yourself, in a country like the one just described, would the personal right to bear arms and the collective right to organize a militia be beneficial in protecting the rights guaranteed to all, especially the minority?

I don't believe there are greater rights than the rights guaranteed us personally and collectively by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. They are the rights that guarantee every American the other rights in the Constitution: the right to freedom of religion, the right to free speech, or of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, the right against unwarranted searches and seizures, the right to a speedy and public trial by jury and due process of law and to the assistance of counsel, the right to just compensation for when private property is taken for public use, and the right against excessive bail and excessive fines.

Further, I believe the primary purpose of the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment is to do what I have above described, protection from tyranny in government. Only secondary is it for protection from individuals; criminals and so forth.

The argument above is the best and fullest anyone who wants to defend the Second Amendment needs, minus scholarly reference. Typically, those who don't like the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, specifically the personal right to bear arms, don't realize how necessary they are in protecting the rights they love: the rights to free speech and the press, and the right against a government establishment of religion. No dictator from the last century was able to murder millions of his own people without first disarming them. I hope we all will let that be a lesson to us.

(I also don't believe the government should be entrusted with weapons not entrusted first to the people, weapons of mass destruction excluded. I exclude WMDs because basically no government should have them, but unfortunately they are necessary and I don't believe a government would or could ever use WMDs against it's own, armed, people.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Reasons For Freedom

Throughout my life, I have observed, pondered, and concluded on many different things; things like what types of food I prefer, how I handle my finances, to the ideas of politics, philosophy and religion that I will subscribe to. In all cases, I hope to be not so certain as to reject truth when it contradicts my ideas and my ways of doing things.

For many instances, accepting new or additional truth is easy, such as learning to perform a task at work more efficiently or adopting a better medical procedure. But for other instances, accepting new or additional truth is difficult, especially if it seems to or does contradict our deeply held habits or beliefs.

I believe it is human nature to want to hold on to that which is familiar, even if it is false, so long as it isn't harmful. Some would prefer to hold tight to those falsehoods that they have, despite how much greater the new truth is. It's often inconvenient to accept new truth because of the change it could wrought in your life or the lives of those around you.

But for the seeker of truth, nothing could be more constant and certain than the faith that there is truth out there and that it can be found. This is the great motivator in the scientific studies. To believe that you can ascertain truth and build upon the world's knowledge and more often than not improve mankind's lot in life, is one of the most righteous of beliefs and has been more often a blessing to mankind than a curse.

Truth is everywhere and everything, and I believe that one will get closer to omniscience, that is closer to God, by seeking it and accepting it when it has been determined certain, even when it surpasses or even contradicts our own beliefs. This is true in science, philosophy, politics, and of course, religion.

No longer are the mythological Greek and Roman gods worshipped, no longer is it believed that communism or socialism are plausible forms of government, and no longer is the theory that the universe has existed in its present size since eternity accepted by the scientific community. In each instance, some times through great heart-ache and pain, and some times through vigorous debate, new truth superseded old truth and society has been the benefactor.

To be an honest seeker of truth, one must constantly re-evaluate his own ways and ideas and correct them when they prove to be wrong. But can everybody do this? I don't believe the can because not everybody is free. Those that are, the question isn't ability but rather desire. I believe those are the two great forces that will not only reinforce each other, but lead to improving oneself. If a man is free to explore and to question than he will be free to seek after truth. The most obvious barrier to this type of freedom is of course government. Coercion, or the threat of force, is the game of government and the more intrusive and bigger the government, the less freedom one has to explore, to question, and to act, or in other words, the less freedom society has to seek after truth.

This is one of the reasons that I support limited government and have faith in the free and voluntary market.