In George Orwell’s prescient novel, 1984, the slogan of the Party is
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
The idea is both simple and profound. By eradicating and reinventing history, it is possible to completely reframe reality for future generations. This is routinely done by leftwing academics searching for penumbras and emanations of the US Constitution. This kind of douchebaggery is what allowed Anthony Kennedy to flush several thousand years of human history and discover that homosexual marriage was something we had to bake cakes for or be punished. But the real motherlode of this kind of butchering of facts is found in progressive critiques of the Second Amendment.
Salon runs one of these epic falsehoods titled Sorry, NRA: The U.S. was actually founded on gun control.
Sorry, NRA: The U.S. was actually founded on gun control https://t.co/pPvNCHoHnH
— Salon (@Salon) December 16, 2017
It is written, oddly enough, by a couple of fat, addled Hollywood types:
Ed Asner is a television legend, well known for his role as Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and subsequent spin-off Lou Grant. He is the winner of seven acting Emmy Awards, and has been nominated a total of twenty times. Asner also made a name for himself as a trade unionist and a political activist. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, from 1981-1985, during which he was an outspoken critic of former SAG President Ronald Reagan, then the US president, for his Central American policy. He lives in Los Angeles.
Ed. Weinberger began his career in the early 1960s with Dick Gregory and has written for such diverse comedians as Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, and Johnny Carson (for five years on “The Tonight Show”). He wrote for and produced “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, co-created “Taxi,” “Dear John” and “The Cosby Show.” He also executive-produced and created “Amen,” “Sparks” and “Good News.” He has won three Golden Globe Awards, a Peabody, and nine Emmys. In 2000, he received The Writer’s Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in Los Angeles.
If you get your science from Bill Nye and your political philosophy for Neil deGrasse Tyson there is nothing wrong with getting constitutional exegesis from Ed Asner. It makes perfect sense.
What is the killer proof they provide that America was a gun-control nation before the constitution?
The question we now ask is why did Scalia come up with this odd “grammatical” theory nobody’s ever heard of, then or since, while abandoning his much-beloved Originalism — his precious methodology for interpreting the Constitution based on the Framers’ thinking at the time?
Probably because Scalia didn’t want to admit what James Madison — the author of the Amendment — had in mind.
Here is Madison’s first draft of the Second Amendment:
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, a well-armed and well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”
Madison’s intent could not be more obvious: his Second Amendment refers only to state militias. If not, why include that exemption for what we now call “conscientious objectors?”
When Madison’s amendment was rewritten by a joint committee from the House and Senate in 1791, the “religious” exemption was lopped off as too cumbersome in language and too complex to enforce. Thus, the Amendment as it now stands.
But Madison’s original intent remains and is there hiding in plain sight for any Supreme Court Justice who takes the pains to look for it. The gun crowd and their apparatchiks ignore, as well, the very reason the Second Amendment got into the Constitution in the first place: to calm the anti-Federalists’ fears of the establishment of a standing army. The Second Amendment is, in fact, Madison’s (and the Federalists’) response to those who felt threatened that the strong central government, as proposed in the new Constitution, might disarm the state militias. And to miss that connection is to . . . well, miss everything.
This is a great answer to the ‘odd “grammatical” theory’
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) December 17, 2017
This is simply nutbaggery. Madison’s draft amendment is only intended to protect Quakers and Mennonites from being compelled to provide military service. It’s pretty simple.
Ed-squared also turn the logic of the Second Amendment upon its head. If the Founders had, indeed, harbored fear of an armed populace then they went to great lengths to hide it. Take a look at the militia laws extant in the colonies at the signing of the Constitution.
Connecticut required every male over sixteen to keep a musket, powder and shot.
Virginia declared that all free men were required to possess a musket, four pounds of lead and one pound of powder. If a free man was not financially able to afford a weapon, the county had to provide one.
New York dictated a fine of five shillings to any male, sixteen to sixty, who could not arm himself.
Similar statutes are in all colonies. The clear intent of these laws is not that they link firearms ownership to militia membership, rather they are aimed at people who don’t have firearms in order to ensure the colony has a militia. Think of these laws in the same way that you’s think of laws requiring kids to be immunized before they can go to school. The laws aren’t aimed at people who voluntarily immunize and the purpose isn’t to further public education. Rather mandatory immunizations are on the books as a way of coercing people who would not immunize voluntarily.
Then they go on to this bit of nonsense:
For example, James Madison who, as a young member of the Virginia legislature, introduced a bill for the “Preservation of Deer” which penalized persons “. . . who shall bear a gun out of his enclosed ground unless whilst performing military duty. . .”
This is simple dishonesty. By use of strategic ellipses they make it seem like it is illegal for someone to carry a weapon off their own property. If one goes to the actual text:
The plain text says if you are caught illegally taking deer, the prohibition on carrying your weapon off your property is part of the performance bond of the offender and it is only valid for a year. This, I’ll note from my own experience poaching, is a lot less than happens to you today in Virginia if you get caught spotlighting deer from your truck. It doesn’t take away a general right to carry firearms, it is clearly not a “gun control” law. It is a restraint placed upon someone convicted of a crime.
A free and an independent people are a direct threat to the progressive experiment. The only way they will achieve that goal is to lie and lie relentlessly and shamelessly until they control the past. We can’t allow that to happen.
For some additional, comprehensive myth-busting on this subject, see this article from Caleb Howe. It was originally about the Media Matters “fact-check” of Dana Loesch’s book, but addresses some of the most-common and erroneous myths about the Second Amendments.