Fair Weather Friends
-Dr. Vieira’s most recent article posted at News With Views is linked below. I will only place the opening paragraphs here, so do click the link below the headline for his article and enjoy it at News With Views. Photo below is taken from James Jaeger’s new documentary film, Midnight Ride.
NRA, SECOND AMENDMENT AND “WE THE PEOPLE”
Read complete article here: http://www.newswithviews.com/Vieira/edwin279.htm
By Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.
December 21, 2015
As a member of the National Rifle Association, I regularly receive its magazine, The American Rifleman. In the December 2015 issue appears an editorial by Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s Executive Vice President, entitled “Obama, Hillary Embrace Gun Confiscation”. Although this observation of present political facts should hardly surprise anyone, it rightly vexes Mr. LaPierre, because of the dark history of “gun control” in Britain and especially in Australia—where confiscation went forward (according to him) “[t]o assuage an insane notion of collective guilt to impose a national gun ban”, and “will never end until the last firearm is removed from private hands”.
Now, most astute observers understand that, although the systematic disarming of Britons and Australians by their own rogue public officials over the years “will never end until the last firearm is removed from private hands”, it never has had anything, and today has nothing, to do with psychobabble about “collective guilt”, or even some “insane notion”, but instead was and is the product of a coldly calculated policy contrived by political elitists who were, and remain, intent upon creating in those benighted nations the conditions necessary for the imposition and perpetuation of police states. These events have been, in no small measure, “models” or “test beds” for the same tactics to be employed against the United States, for the same ultimate purpose. So I wonder whether Mr. LaPierre really imagines that, as leading political elitists in this country, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton espouse confiscation of Americans’ firearms simply because they supposedly suffer from “collective guilt”, or are the victims of “insane notion[s]”. After all, America’s rogue public officials have generally proven themselves to be ruthless political racketeers whose every exercise of real or imaginary power demonstrates that a police state in this country appeals to them far more than what the Second Amendment calls “a free State”. Arguably, these miscreants might be found guilty of numerous crimes, or perhaps even be diagnosed as “insane” in some sense—all too many political figures in high offices in the Western World today being at least subject to suspicion as narcissistic psychopaths. Yet there is method in what might be deemed their madness with respect to “gun control”. And it is their method which must be opposed, whether they are cunning criminals who deserve condign punishment, or merely pitiable wretches who suffer from some mental disease or defect.
Which brings me to my dissatisfaction with Mr. LaPierre’s editorial. He frets that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton “would alter the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court with the goal of overturning the landmark decisions that have recognized the sanctity of the Second Amendment in guaranteeing our right to keep and bear arms.” (Here, he refers to the Court’s recent Heller and MacDonald decisions.) But if those decisions had ruled against the construction of the Second Amendment which Mr. LaPierre favors (as, by merely one vote among the Justices, they almost did), would he now be so enthusiastic about preserving them? Or would he, precisely in the fashion of Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton (and many others of their political coloration), be in favor of “alter[ing] the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court with the goal of overturning th[os]e * * * decisions”? The answer to that question is obvious.
Unfortunately, Mr. LaPierre seems to embrace the fallacy known as “judicial supremacy”: the notion that the Constitution means whatever some decision of the Supreme Court says that it means. In practice, this reduces to the perverse conclusion that the Constitution must be taken to mean whatever the fifth fool who creates a majority among the Justices happens to believe at the time, no matter how obviously wrong that belief may be. So America is controlled by “a government of men”, all too fallible and corruptible, not “a government of laws” the meanings of which are capable of objective determination.
The truth is, however, that a decision of the Supreme Court does not determine whether the Constitution means this or that. Rather, the Constitution determines whether a decision of the Supreme Court in favor of this or that is correct or incorrect. We know that this must be the true rule of constitutional construction, because—by their own admissions in cases such as Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808, 828-830 & note 1 (1991)—the Justices have been wrong about the Constitution in the past, time and again, and therefore can and surely will be wrong in the future. Today they may hand down decisions such as Heller and MacDonald, which equivocally limit certain aspects of “gun control”; and tomorrow they may concoct some hideous decisions reversing Heller and MacDonald in favor of “gun control”. So as an institution the Court is a weak reed on which to lean if the goal is to enforce the Constitution, as opposed to some Justices’ idiosyncratic—perhaps idiotic—musings about the Constitution.
Please read the entire article at News With Views: http://www.newswithviews.com/Vieira/edwin279.htm