16 Dec 2007

Looking for the Meaning of the Second Amendment in the Grammar

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Adam Freedman, in the Sunday New York Times, demonstrates the characteristic talent of members of the contemporary intelligentsia in his facile ability to reduce the discussion of the meaning of the Bill of Rights to an exercise resembling an archaeologist or historian poring over philological treatises on ancient punctuation and orthographic convention in order to guess at the meaning of some cryptic expression found upon a potsherd from a vanished civilization.

Of course, it is only possible to reject the concept of a right of citizens to be armed and able to defend themselves in the first place by achieving a level of estrangement from the philosophical perspectives, values, and ideals of the framers so extreme as to look upon their thought-world as unfamiliar, alien, and irrelevant to oneself, contemporary political life, and current jurisprudence as the outlook and perspective of some Greek hoplite or Egyptian charioteer.

It isn’t difficult in the least to find the meaning of a right to arms in English history, or extensive discussions of a right to arms (for purposes of self defense in both the private and the public sense) in writings of the framers themselves as well as in those of the writers on political philosophy and government who inspired them. One can easily consult the leading earlier treatises (Blackstone) on the laws of England and (Joseph Story) on the US Constitution to determine the nature of the previous status of such a right.

The avoidance of reliance on far more relevant evidence and the resort to the parsing of grammar and punctuation is simply another variation of the old lawyer’s maxim: If justice is on your side, argue justice. If the law is on your side, argue the law. If neither is on your side, pound upon the table.

2 Feedbacks on "Looking for the Meaning of the Second Amendment in the Grammar"

Scott D

To liberal minds it does all depend on what the meaning of “is” is.

Thomas J. Mullarkey

It is an accepted fact of this Republic, and a rational consensus among most Citizens holding that the Federal should be granted the privilege and the ability to go armed, outside the strict definition of Police or Army, to be affective in their duties.

Further, It is worthwhile to consider that the term “Militia” would closely describe,
[ both grammatically and in the widest interpretation of the Constitution], the Conditions that exist in the FBI, CIA, Post Office, and dozens of other agency’s that employ tens of thousands of Federal agents, most of whom are extend this privilege of going armed into our free society.

If the above is a rational conclusion and an accepted by the People [ this is, in fact the working order of the matter, today] then conversely, the 2nd Amendment s compels [and even obligates] the People to posses the same weapons as available to the Militias [ and the Army, for that matter]. The desired affect being that the shear mass of the body of the People may offset any coordinated tyrannical tendencies of the Federal Bureaucracy and their Militias?

Personally, I believe that in the face of any armed contest between the People and a Tyrant, the Army would be conflicted and unreliable, to either side.

However, The Federal Militias would NOT be ambivalent and would actively and vigorously protect, and support the Tyrant.

This response would not be due to lack of Patriotism. Quite the contrary, but rather the proper response of their senses of duty and the nature of their established purposes.

Their Purposes? To be a well regulated Militia(s), that are necessary for the security of the free State.

Consequently, the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.

If there is a flaw in this logic, and all other archaic Philological arguments considered, please comment?

Thomas J. Mullarkey


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