The Founding Fathers tried to guard against the tyranny of an overly big government that would seek to deprive its citizens of their inherent rights. On Thursday, Bret Stephens, the NY Times’ version of a conservative, called for abolishing the 2nd Amendment to get gun laws passed. Aside from numerous factual errors, including using studies already debunked, he mischaracterized James Madison’s views to such a degree it’s as if he never passed fifth grade.
Stephens called up James Madison to bolster his argument of tossing the 2nd Amendment aside, and we hear James has been threatening to return from the dead to haunt Stephens.
Fake conservative Stephens, now living in the bubble built by the NY Times editors, claimed Madison, who authored the Constitution, would call for the prohibition of firearms in this modern day.
Charles Cooke, writing for National Review online writes: “Stephens is not a stupid man, and nor is he unaware of the reach that tyrannies have enjoyed. On the contrary, his is often a welcome voice in the fight for the liberty of all people. This being so, it is remarkable how blithely he elects to invoke Madison as a friend to his cause, and how readily he subordinates the right to bear arms to expediency.”
Cooke goes on to explain that the 2nd Amendment was NOT an Amendment at all. It was neither a change nor a remedy. As with the rest of the Bill of Rights, it represented the inherent rights that Americans rightfully hold. They are understood to be the basic rights, not up for discussion.
In The Federalist Papers, Madison believed the Central government would be constrained by the carefully enumerated and limited powers. The anti-Federalists disagreed and wanted them spelled out so there would be no confusion.
It was “a belt to the suspenders”, Cooke writes.
He continues: “Madison acknowledged this when introducing the Bill of Rights in Congress. The rights he had included, he made clear to his peers, were those “against which I believe no serious objection has been made by any class of our constituents.” In encoding the right to bear arms among the set, neither Madison nor his opponents were innovating. Instead, they were channeling Justinian, Locke, and Blackstone, and ensuring that the people of the new country would enjoy a robust right to self-defense, and the auxiliary protections that enabled it.”
Stephens thinks if the Founding Fathers saw the modern world, he’d agree. The opposite is in fact true. They would be horrified and see the need for it even more.
“Power, ambition, human nature — these are constants, not variables. And it is for that reason above all else that our enduring Constitution must be cherished,” Cooke says.
Madison was the chief author of the Federalist Papers, along with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton. Both Federalist 29 and 46 discuss the role of an armed populace in defending the freedoms so recently and dearly won. Madison was the chief drafter of the 2nd Amendment.
Madison chose to not put the 2nd Amendment into that part of the Constitution that enumerates the authority of Congress over the militia specifically because it is the right of the people.
Madison himself coined the phrase “Bill of Rights” to refer to the amendments he was proposing, including what would become the second amendment. States do not have rights. They have powers. Individuals have rights. In any event, the second amendment guarantees in its own words a right of the people.
Left-wing Twitter users recently attacked Bill O’Reilly when he tweeted that the tragedy in Las Vegas is the price of a free society, but he was exactly right. Thomas Jefferson would agree. In a letter to James Madison on January 30, 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
Do Americans still yearn to be free or do they prefer enslavement to an enormous unaccountable, unelected government.
If the 2nd Amendment falls, the others will fall.