Sunday, April 14, 2013

"The Second Amendment is Bullshit"

I'm actually grateful to Bill Maher for saying what I suspect not an insignificant number of people on the left believe, but aren't quite willing to say aloud.  I made sure to use a clip that included the entire context of the conversation, so as to be fair and not go ape over a one-sentence soundbite (at 2:23).  I think the context is actually quite useful in showing what Maher and other like minded people would like to see, which is the elimination of most all guns in private hands like in many European nations.  In listening to the panel, it's clear they don't understand (and probably don't know any) gun owners/enthusiasts.  They paint a caricature of them that is colored with derision.  It's also evident that Maher, either doesn't understand (I think he does), or doesn't care about American history and its founding.  There is reasonable debate to be had over the meaning of the Second Amendment, but I think Maher's comments speak to the aspirations of so many on the left, who wish to see America transformed into a kind of egalitarian, government-centered society, that sheds those mores of the past which inhibit the state's power to bring about necessary change.   Back in 2001, President Obama expressed a similar sentiment over the limits placed on government by the Constitution.
To that extent, as radical as I think the people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical.  It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted it the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.
Some on my side have gone too far reading into this quote, but I think it accurately expresses the frustration of some on the left who would like to see the government take a more active role in establishing the kind of society they long for.  As a conservative, it's refreshing to see an issue in which the left is so out of step with the American people, and the frustration that they, their representatives in government and the news media, cannot move public opinion like they have on so many other issues like "the rich not paying their fair share" and gay marriage.

For good or for ill, Americans love their guns.  So much so that even the combined media blitz following Sandy Hook and the shameless demagoguing by the President failed to get any kind of "meaningful" gun control passed.  Even liberal politicians tread lightly on the issue because of their constituents.  Ever wonder why President Obama was utterly silent on gun control during his first four years or in the Presidential campaign?  He wanted to be reelected.  What's worse for liberals is that all this manufactured hysteria after Sandy Hook to get strict gun control passed has only served to make Americans more protective of their firearms; more wary of government efforts to curb their second amendment rights, and creating another a kind of hysteria to load up on guns and ammo.  Companies like Remington, Glock, and ATK having been running their factories 24/7 for months and STILL cannot keep up with demand.  So as a result of the left's barrage of outrage and push for government action (the "do-something disease") every time a crime or tragedy like Sandy Hook occurs, the gun companies they have so much contempt for are making money hand over fist.

If this issue proves anything, it is the power of representative government.  Since 1789, politicians have tried to bend, walk over, sneak by, or flat out ignore the Constitution. Thankfully, in spite their efforts, the will of the people still holds some sway in the halls of power in Washington, and that gives me some comfort, even if Bill Maher thinks it's bullshit.

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