The Rittenhouse Trial Underscores the Left’s Determination to Eliminate the Natural Right of Self-Defense
The American left’s determination to conduct a media-inspired political trial of Kyle Rittenhouse had as its objective the ultimate disarming of Americans and the elimination of the Second Amendment. While Kyle Rittenhouse was listed as the defendant, it was the right of self-defense that was on trial.
To what extent does man have a natural or God-given right to self-defense and protection of himself and his property? This question has been bandied about for thousands of years and that issue, not guns (which are an instrument of self-defense), is at the heart of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The United States is the only nation in the annals of mankind to be established on the basis of a political and social philosophy centered on natural, or God-given, rights. Among these are self-defense and property. Property rights are the bedrock of the American political system; without that foundation, there is no freedom.
The Founders held that property rights encompass not just physical property but also one’s life, labor, speech, and livelihood, as individuals own their own lives; therefore, they must own the products of that life which can be traded in free exchange with others. Further, as there is a natural right of self-preservation, man has the right and duty to defend himself against transgressors, including the state, that would deny, abrogate, or unlawfully seize his property.
However, over the past 160 years, the statists, including the current iteration of the American left, have marched in lockstep to what Karl Marx espoused in his Communist Manifesto -- “The Theory of Communism may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” He contended that one’s labor or livelihood (and by extension one’s life) is not private property and is thus subordinate to the common good as determined by the state. Therefore, the individual has no God-given and unconstrained right of self-defense against an individual or government, as that right can be utilized to counter or oppose the common good.
Opposing views regarding the purpose of the state and individual property rights (including self-defense) have been bandied about for 2,500 years. The Greek philosopher Plato (427 BC-347 BC) called for a communal social order in which property is held in common (the state) and that human nature can and should be molded and transformed to benefit the state. Thus, an individual, being subservient to the state, cannot exercise any form of self-preservation except that acceptable to the state.
On the other hand, Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) argued that if property is held in common and man cannot, therefore, exercise his right of self-preservation, then there exists the potential for animosity and anger; further, man possesses a human nature that cannot be molded or transformed to some ideal of a perfect state. The laws of nature and the rule of law demand that government should govern for the good of the people, not for the good of those in power.
While the conflict between socialism/communism and democracy/capitalism has been the centerpiece of the history of the past 100 years, the underlying philosophical battle over the role of self-defense was waged in 17th Century Britain between Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704).
Thomas Hobbes published his seminal work Leviathan in 1651. In it, he described man’s essential nature as one of aggression, avarice, destruction, and near-constant war. Therefore, an all-powerful sovereign (or government) was paramount in order to protect against and repel this base human nature. He acknowledged the right of self-defense, but he thought there could be no agreement on what constituted legitimate self-defense, so the state must arbitrarily determine what constitutes legitimate self-defense.
John Locke published his Second Treatise of Government in 1690. In contrast to Hobbes, Locke wrote that an individual has a natural right to his property which encompassed one’s life, labor, and speech.
Therefore, on the issue of the natural right of self-defense, Locke claimed that men are intended to live as freely as possible without interference from anyone or anything else. There is a right of self-defense that obligates man to defend himself from those individuals and governments who seek to infringe upon his natural liberties.
…he who makes an attempt to enslave me thereby puts himself into a state of war with me. He that in the state of Nature would take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away everything else, that freedom [Self-Defense] being the foundation of all the rest; as he that in the state of society would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society or commonwealth must be supposed to design to take away from them everything else, and so be looked on as in a state of war. [emphasis added]
The Founders were greatly influenced by the writings of Aristotle and Locke among others. In drafting the Constitution, they assumed the recognition of the God-given right of self-preservation was self-evident and not in need of enumeration. Alexander Hamilton wrote, in Federalist 28 (published 6 months before the introduction of the Bill of Rights):
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government…. [emphasis added]
However, the men who proposed the Bill of Rights as the first ten Amendments to the Constitution were insistent that this inalienable right of the individual be recognized in clear and unambiguous language: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Thus, the Founders recognized the natural right of self-preservation includes the possession and use of virtually any implement of self-defense.
The Founders were steeped in the history of mankind and recognized that among the first steps taken by all despotic governments throughout the ages was the usurpation by the state of the natural right of self-defense. This was accomplished first and foremost by the seizure and outlawing of any weapons the citizenry might be able to use for that purpose. A process often, and with disastrous results, repeated throughout the Twentieth Century in nations such as Russia, Germany, Italy, China, and Cambodia among others.
This is the tension now afoot in the United States as the American left, the heirs to the legacy of Plato, Hobbes, Marx, Lenin, and Hitler are hellbent on eviscerating the right of self-defense. It is not a coincidence that over the past 60 years the left is the source of all gun legislation, regulation, and furor. Now they claim there is a need to rein in “arbitrary” self-defense claims as they are being abused by the “enemies of the state.” The incessant drumbeat of falsely claiming that Kyle Rittenhouse “crossed state lines” is an overt attempt to justify more federal gun control.
Thus, the determination to pack the Courts with likeminded or easily intimidated judges and prosecutors, as the left knows once they can eliminate or greatly alter the laws of self-defense, they have essentially gutted the Second Amendment. Thereby, without having to amend the Constitution, flinging open the door to the registration and ultimate confiscation of guns in the United States.
While the left’s unbridled anger at the outcome of the trial and the ongoing lies about Kyle Rittenhouse’s actions on August 25, 2020, confirm their motives and strategy, the fact that the trial took place reveals how close they are to achieving their objectives.
Photo credit: YouTube screengrab
To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.