Our 2nd Amendment right: The militia is the key

By Alan Keyes

Any effort to disarm the American people is unlawful. That is clear according to the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” and the clear, plain language of the Constitution. Moves to disarm the people are unequivocally the benchmark of a design “to reduce them under absolute despotism.”

Despotism is Barack Obama’s purpose and the purpose of any and all forces in our society who support his bid to render Americans defenseless. Some of his less astute supporters are already sighing aloud about the need for dictatorship. Others, less imprudent, slyly promote the notion that to secure ourselves against madmen and terrorists we have no choice but to surrender to government all means of defending ourselves against either. Their policy is “Disarm and trust the government.” But when those in government become, or make use of madmen and terrorists (as the totalitarian Communists and Nazis of the 20th century did), what then?

Because government power, when abused, is precisely the source of the greatest threat to liberty, those in government cannot be trusted as the ultimate guardians of liberty. That task is properly and inevitably left to the people themselves. As individuals, in their families, and especially through their local institutions of religion and government, they were and are the proper focus for all the decisions and activities involved in maintaining the “well-regulated militia” that is the key concept of the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment’s logic arises from the connection between the people’s right to keep and bear arms and the security of their freedom. It aims to make sure that Americans do not easily forget a hard truth: moves to secure a government monopoly on the legal possession and use of arms war against what is, in practice, the sine qua non of the people’s right of self-government. Unlawful bills, (or, as in Obama’s plans, the issuance of unlawful “executive orders”) that aim to disarm the people, on whatever pretexts, are the open declaration of this war against republican self-government. As such, they signify the onset of what will inevitably become a war against the property, persons and lives of the people.

America’s founders understood this, which is why the Second Amendment sets up a bulwark, in the Supreme Law of the land, to defend the right of the people to keep and bear arms. This bulwark marks the Rubicon that separates lawful government from the abuse of power by lawless forces usurping the name and authority of government. It also signals the moment when the peaceable courses of action envisaged and protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment (which I discussed recently on my blog) give way to the stern necessity that makes a well-regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state.

But when law is abused to assault the people’s right of self-defense, the threat involved is not just physical. Would be tyrants clothe their lawless actions with the outward appearance of legality to demoralize people determined to stand firm in defense of freedom. They seek to impair the people’s sense that what they do is an exercise of right fulfilling the responsibility laid upon them by “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

In this respect, the most important purpose and effect of the Second Amendment’s recognition of the people’s right to keep and bear arms is its contribution to the morale of those inclined to defend their God-endowed liberty. It allows people unmistakably to recognize the unlawful nature of edicts that purport to disarm the people. It encourages and justifies them as they point out this lawlessness, and as they resist it. It highlights the connection between the people’s arms and the security of their state or condition of freedom. It invites them to discern and articulate the arguments, based on rational principles and actual experience, which prove the essential truth of this connection. In this way it encourages people to arm themselves with logic, reason and sensible proof against lawless efforts to eviscerate their capacity to defend themselves and their freedom, individually or in association with one another.

But reasoning is not enough. On my blog I recently reposted the advice I offered in 1999 with respect to the purpose and implementation of the Second Amendment. Though laid out over a decade ago, the proposal it outlines is still a good indication of what is needed. Its goal is not just to respect the Second Amendment right, but to enforce it. The essential starting point for the discussion is the recognition that, like all unalienable rights, our Second Amendment right ultimately derives from our natural obligation to respect and preserve human life as endowed by our Creator. It is first of all an obligation to ourselves, as individuals. But it is also an obligation to the rest of humanity. (For more on this point, as it was understood by America’s founders, read my blog post entitled “The Natural Logic of Second Amendment rights.”)

We need to offer Americans, from their youth, an ongoing course of education intended to help them recognize and carry out this responsibility. This involves more than knowing how to use whatever happen to be the appropriate, contemporary means of self-defense. It involves understanding and accepting our responsibility for the right use of liberty. It involves developing the character and self-discipline needed to assure a firm commitment to fulfilling that responsibility. In this respect, preparing citizens for the exercise of their Second Amendment right is the practical core of the education they require to fulfill their natural right of self-government. Indeed, it literally leads them to accept the inward inclination of mind and will without which they are apt to become morally unfit to do so.

The most telling indication of the elitist faction’s determination to overthrow self-government in the United States is the fact that in this regard they seek by all means to destroy, rather than strengthen, the moral fitness of the American people. In the formal institutions of learning and in the informal education derived from games, movies, television shows and other entertainment media, elitist agents of corruption encourage people to believe that the essence of freedom is self-indulgence. They induce them to reject all discipline except the scourges of fear, sensual desire, greed and the human will to power.

Ignorance and folly may lead susceptible people to accept the poisonous stew of lies that identifies this noxious view of freedom as “progressive.” In effect, however, it is exactly the opposite. It aims to mute the twin voices of reason and conscience, thereby intentionally promoting human degeneracy. As these twin voices fall silent, people become less and less capable of standing apart from the compulsive stream of merely sensual perception and experience. Their inner life becomes a montage of preoccupying images and impressions, devoid of logic and the conceptual perceptions it makes possible. Eventually their consciousness becomes barely distinguishable from what appears to be the consciousness of beasts, deprived of all but the most rudimentary capacity for self-conscious thought or action.

It is both correct and inevitable to conclude (as Joseph Farah reports Bill Clinton does) that people in whom distinctly human consciousness is thus virtually extinguished cannot be trusted to make right use of liberty, or the arms required to defend it. But when people like Bill Clinton voice this conclusion it’s imperative that we remember that they are the ones who have been and are most willing to be instruments of the elitist agenda that purposely and systematically seeks to degrade the moral intelligence and self-discipline of the American people.

For decades they encouraged this degradation by promoting selfish gratification, self-indulgence and even self-murder (for individuals, in the form of legal suicide; and for the species, in the form of abortion and gay marriage, the institutional equivalent of abortion.) They looked forward to the time when, by exploiting the rotten fruits of this degeneracy, they could once and for all deprive people of the freedom that is their birthright when their human nature is preserved, as intended by their Creator. Now Obama is instigating what could prove to be a decisive battle against the Second Amendment. Americans still capable of doing so should recognize what his action suggests: The elitist forces that fabricated him have concluded that the time they have so long engineered and anticipated has finally come.

If we fight the ensuing battle as if the war they are waging against us is about guns, we will lose the battle and the war with it. But if we insist, instead, that the war is about liberty, we may win the battle and give the forces of liberty a fighting chance to win the war. To do so we must promote the simple truth: The alternative to gun control is self-control; the key to self-control is moral understanding and self-discipline; and the key to both is citizen education. That course of education must be implemented at the level of self-government closest to home, and it must have first among its stated objectives the formation of a citizen body armed, educated and morally capable of being the “well-regulated militia” the Second Amendment prudently proclaims to be “necessary to the security of a free state.”

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