Saturday, September 14, 2013

Militias, Tyrants and Ancient History

I thought I would repost and elaborate on a comment I made:
A well-regulated militia was seen as a bullwark against the establishment of a standing army (large military apparatus).

The founders were well aware of ancient history (Roman and Greek) and knew that tyrants wanted a large military.

In the exact sense, a tyrant is an individual who arrogates to himself the royal authority without having a right to it. This is how the Greeks understood the word 'tyrant': they applied it indifferently to good and bad princes whose authority was not legitimate. [Rousseau, "The Social Contract"]

IOW, if "Chief" Kessler wants to kill tyrants, then the next time he needs to make sure it's lethal shoots himself.
You have to remember the Tory quip about the War for Independence that they would rather be ruled by "one tyrant who was 3000 miles away than 3000 tyrants a mile away".

Also, don't forget that tyrrants can usurp power, which is why the militia is "well-regulated"--that is under civilian control (and the Domestic Violence Clause exists).  The entire standing  army v. militia debate was about how much control would there be over the military.  And makes it far more likely that the Second Amendment was intended on addressing the militia, not private arms, since the US Constitution says it is intended to address the common defence.

Let's put it this way, there is far more evidence that the Second Amendment was intended to protect the "Well-regulated Militia" than private arms.


  1. The plain reading shows that it was protecting the institution of the militia by protecting the private arms used by the militia.

  2. "... a tyrant is an individual who arrogates to himself the royal authority without having a right to it."

    Newsflash Laci: we reject the entire notion of royalty and arbitrary/infinite authority in the United States.

    We the People have delegated a limited amount of power to our government for the purpose of securing our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That being the case, We the People push back when government oversteps that charter.

    Another newsflash: government oversteps their charter when they tell us that we cannot acquire and possess the personal property of our choice. Government has no business telling a citizen whether or not they can possess an umbrella or a firearm. Government answers to us -- We the People. It is not the other way around.

    - TruthBeTold

    1. Hey, dumb ass--did you get this referred to ancient history.

      or are you to stupid to actually understand something before making a comment.

      You could delete the term "royal" and it would be:

      "a tyrant is an individual who arrogates to himself authority without having a right to it."

      That would fit Kessler to a t.

      Of course, that is something which is beyond your intellectual capabilities.

    2. Double Dumbass on you.

    3. And Laci again shows that while he's not incapable of civilized discussion, he much prefers to call names and purposefully miss the point of people's comments.

  3. Let's look at the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, Article 3:
    "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

    This Article is written exactly the same as the Second Amendment. According to Laci, this Article only protects schools that teach religion, morality and knowledge necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind. Schools that teach anything else have no protection whatsoever. In fact government can criminalize schools that teach anything else.

    Such an "interpretation" is obviously ridiculous. The prefatory clause (italicized) of Article 3 states a "noble purpose" for schools. And the operative clause (bold) states the protection of schools. The prefatory clause was in no way an exhaustive list of purposes for the stated protection.

    And we must read the Second Amendment the same way. The militia/security clause of the 2nd Amendment states a noble purpose for the stated protection but it is in no way an exhaustive list of purposes for the protection -- the protection being that We the People have the inalienable right to keep and bear arms for any noble purpose. While participation in militias and securing our States are noble purposes to bear arms, there are other noble purposes such as defending ourselves from attackers.

    - TruthBeTold

    1. Excellent explanation TBT!

    2. I'm looking forward to seeing Laci insist that public schools in the territory named must therefore teach Christianity.

    3. Greg, do you enjoy making bizarre comments? That was a rhetorical question since we know you do.

      This would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

      Unless of course, it were a segment in a comparative religion course.

    4. As for the Northwest Ordinance--if you can grab arguments from elsewhere, so can I:

      This argument sounds superficially plausible, but there are several key problems with it. This may be why most of those who try to use this argument don't go any further than quoting the Northwest Ordinance, assuming that it speaks for itself and requires no further explanation. If they did try to make an argument based on it, though, they might realize just how weak their position is.

      First, there is no evidence that anything at all was done on the authority of this sentence. There is no evidence, for example, of anyone transferring money from the government to any religious groups and citing this passage as the basis for it. Indeed, Article III in its entirety seems to have failed to actually cause anything to happen — not surprising, since it reads like one long rhetorical flourish which was not designed to enact anything specific in the first place. If this passage really meant what accommodationists claim, why did government support for religion never materialize? It's more reasonable to conclude that the author had something else in mind.

      Second, the Northwest Ordinance was created in part to structure dealings with the native Americans of the region. These tribes were considered foreign nations by and, as such, relations with them were not covered under the First Amendment (or the rest of the Bill of Rights). Because of this, it cannot qualify as a violation of the letter of a strict separationist reading of the Constitution and certainly not as precedent for domestic government spending to support religion.

      Third, it is questionable whether or not the Northwest Ordinance was ever a valid law. It was originally passed when Congress was operating under the Articles of Confederation — a document which did not grant them authority to pass such legislation. Even when reenacted under the Constitution, it is arguable that where it conflicted with the Constitution, the Constitution was superior and the Ordinance was invalid — just as any law passed today which contradicts the Constitution is invalid.

      Fourth, The Northwest Ordinance was enacted eight days before the First Amendment was even first proposed by James Madison, never mind added to the Constitution. Accommodationists rely heavily on the idea that the Northwest Ordinance was reenacted by the same Congress which passed the First Amendment, but this order of events hurts their case more than it helps because they are trying to argue that the Northwest Ordinance contradicts the separationist reading of something which hadn't even been considered yet. We cannot assume that those who voted for the Ordinance had the First Amendment in mind at the time, and therefore it cannot be used as a basis for inferences about their beliefs as to what the First Amendment meant.

      Fifth, an earlier form of the Northwest Ordinance had a different version of this passage which would have explicitly provided for the government support of religion. Thomas Jefferson originally wrote the Northwest Ordinance, and some anti-separationists try to make much of this, ignoring the fact that his original draft was completely secular in nature. Later, the following addition was proposed:

      Institutions for the promotion of religion and morality, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.


    5. If it had passed in this way, the Northwest Ordinance would indeed do a lot that the accommodationists claim. Because the wording was changed, though, it's far more reasonable to conclude that people regarded such explicit government support of religion as inappropriate. They didn't return to Jefferson's fully secular version, but they changed enough. Had Congress really intended for the government to aid or encourage religion in any way, this phrasing would have expressed that intent; by adopting what was actually passed, they instead demonstrated that this was not their intention at all.

      Finally, the anti-separationist position is predicated upon the idea that whatever the First Congress did was necessarily constitutional. This premise is completely wrong. Many measures passed by the First Congress were fiercely contested — the Sedition Act of 1798, for example, was certainly unconstitutional. Just because they thought they were doing something constitutional doesn't mean that we, too, must agree.

    6. And Laci goes on to argue against the Northwest Ordinance, quoting from what seems to be something written regarding separation of church and state, completely missing the point.

      These arguments seem aimed at opposing the idea that the ordinance ALLOWED the use of public funds for religious purposes whereas TBT's point was that Laci's rules of interpretation would REQUIRE it and invalidate all of the funding of non-religious education.

    7. Laci fails again at reading comprehension. Two sentences, written in the same form, but apparently one appears to him to be structured in an entirely different way. He also misses the import of sarcasm.

  4. BTW: the text of Article 3:

    Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.