Dems and the 2nd Amendment: Why Repeal What You Already Ignore?
Make no mistake about it: in the hands of the American left, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not safe. For that matter, virtually nothing wise or precious or sacred or holy or otherwise good is safe with those corrupted by a liberal worldview. Whether marriage, the family, the church, life in the womb, education, small businesses, fossil fuels, law enforcement, the military, or the Constitution, time and again, liberals have proven themselves to be on the wrong side of the truth.
What's more, in the hands of today's leftists, the Second Amendment – and anything else in the U.S. Constitution with which modern liberals are unhappy – is in jeopardy whether or not it is "repealed." As most now well know, John Paul Stevens – a retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court – recently gave his direct endorsement to the shockingly foolish – but increasingly popular among Democrats – idea that the Second Amendment should be repealed.
Few should be surprised by Stevens's position in this matter. With the way too close Heller decision a decade ago, he almost got his wish. In 2008, liberals were a mere one vote short of effectively killing the Second Amendment. In a republic that properly respected and understood its Constitution, Heller wouldn't have been necessary, and under the absurd circumstances that such a case should make it to the highest court in the land, the vote to uphold the Second Amendment wouldn't be close.
As Charles Cooke put it:
Heller recognized what was obvious to the amendment's drafters, to the people who debated it, and to the jurists of their era and beyond: That "right of the people" means "right of the people," as it does everywhere else in both the Bill of Rights and in the common law that preceded it. A Second Amendment without the supposedly pernicious Heller "interpretation" wouldn't be any impediment to regulation at all. It would be a dead letter. It would be an effective repeal. It would be the end of the right itself.
In their efforts to remake America into their image of a leftist utopia, rarely have liberals let the Constitution stand in their way. For decades now – whether as public executives, legislators, or judges – liberals have conveniently ignored the Constitution or "interpreted" it beyond recognition.
For two centuries, the "right" to health care, housing, a "living wage," marriage, education, and the like escaped the vast majority of Americans – including our politicians and jurists. In the late 19th century, President Grover Cleveland explained well the prevailing thought on government and a citizen's "right" to public funds. While taking a stand against government aid involving a deserving orphanage in New York City during a severe economic crisis, Cleveland – a Democrat – said:
I will not be a party to stealing money from one group of citizens to give to another group of citizens. No matter what the need or apparent justification, once the coffers of the federal government are opened to the public, there will be no shutting them again[.]
In 1887, after vetoing a bill that appropriated $10,000 to buy grain for several drought-stricken Texas counties, Cleveland declared:
Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.
Nevertheless, in recent decades, as they increasingly made a god of government and sought to build a massive welfare state (through which votes could be purchased), Democrats and those like-minded have fully embraced the notion of "paternal care on the part of the government."
Today's liberalism stands upon two duplicitous notions that both require a modern "interpretation" of our Constitution: 1) the godless pagan principle of "Do What Thou Wilt" and 2) the presence of an "omnicompetent" government that is all too eager to mother us. And as C.S. Lewis put it, "[i]f we are to be mothered, mother must know best."
Of course, and in spite of the claims of modern liberals, such a political philosophy does not bring justice, and it certainly does not promote liberty. On the contrary, as Lewis also noted, such a modern State exists "not to protect our rights but to do us good or make us good – anyway, to do something to us or to make us something." Something, indeed. Lewis depressingly concludes that under such a regime, "[t]here is nothing left of which we can say to them, 'Mind your own business.' Our whole lives are their business."
One of the primary functions of the U.S. Constitution, as the Preamble expressly declares, is to "secure the Blessings of Liberty." One of the chief means through which such Blessings are "secured" is by ensuring the right of the people to arm themselves. Of course, a government that increasingly makes our "whole lives ... [its] business" is in direct conflict with the idea of securing "the Blessings of Liberty." Thus, we get "interpretation" of a "living Constitution" – especially when it comes to things like guns.
To repeal a Constitutional amendment is an arduous effort. Thanks to Barack Obama, Democrats today are in no shape to pursue repeal of anything, but thanks in large part to men and women like John Paul Stevens, they don't have to.
Trevor Grant Thomas: At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America.