A Well Regulated Militia…?

by Devin

Have you ever pondered what exactly the words of the 2nd Amendment mean? I mean, besides its purpose to protect your right to bear arms?

Let’s take a look at it. Here is the full text:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The second half, after the comma, is pretty clear, other than the possibility of the term, “the People,” possibly being misinterpreted as meaning “the collective” and therefore meaning the State. But anyone with at least half a brain (four Supreme Court justices, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, notwithstanding) knows the founders weren’t a bunch of Marxists. No chance of such an interpretation ever gaining traction unless our government is able to erase the Founders entirely from our history. And how would they do that? Maybe, just maybe, they would start by replacing them on our currency with non-Founders…

Our beloved late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the landmark majority (5-4) opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller that made it absolutely clear that the 2nd Amendment refers to an individual right.

Anyway, for the moment, it doesn’t seem that the second part of the 2nd Amendment requires much attention. But what about that first part, “a well regulated militia?”

A quick search around the internet, or a conversation with pretty much any liberal, or simply an examination of Justice Stevens’ dissent in District of Columbia v. Heller, will reveal that more than a few people think those words, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State,” were meant by the Founders to be something like the National Guard. After all, isn’t the National Guard a well regulated militia?

Those first words of the 2nd Amendment are practically famous for misleading those who have never studied the Constitution. Many seem to think the Founders did not intend for individual citizens to have the right to keep and bear arms, but rather intended the formation of a paramilitary force, something like the National Guard, where the arms are locked up until some sort of insurrection requires they be brought out and used to restore the security of our free State. (For you Bernie Sanders fans out there, the term “free State” does not mean you get everything for free!)

These people seem to think that the second part of the 2nd Amendment was written to justify the first part. As we shall see, however, it is exactly the opposite.

In the late 1700s, the Founders were not in the least bit concerned about justifying the need for a militia of any sort. They were most concerned about the danger posed by a standing army. They had seen firsthand how the British used a standing army to occupy the colonies and enforce British law or the King’s latest whim. They were also most recently reminded by their very own Continental Army following its victory over the British when the Continental Congress took its sweet time making good on its promise to pay the soldiers for their service. Standing armies were dangerous back then. They are no less so today.

The Founders understood that a standing army, “a well regulated militia” to use their words, would be a necessity if America were to be capable of defending herself from foreign enemies. Thus, they wrote and ratified the 2nd Amendment to guarantee that American citizens would have the ability to fight back against a rogue army or a rogue government directing an army.

In recognition of that fact, the 2nd Amendment was born. And to make it absolutely clear that the 2nd Amendment wasn’t about protecting the right of “the People” to hunt game and participate in shooting sports, or even about home defense, they stated right up front, at the very beginning, the purpose of the right of the People to keep and bear arms.

 

Forget the Great Depression, 1913 Was Far Worse

by Devin

The 16th and 17th Amendments were ratified in 1913. On February 3, the 16th Amendment gave the federal government the power to “lay and collect taxes on incomes.” Something the Founder’s never intended to happen. And to make matters worse, on April 8, ratification of the 17th Amendment changed how U.S. Senators are chosen, as originally laid out in Article I, Section 3, Clauses 1 through 3 of the Constitution.

Originally, U.S. Senators were chosen by the various State Legislatures. The full text is thus (bold emphasis mine):

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The full text of the 17th Amendment is thus (bold emphasis mine):

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

In the first sentence of the first clause of Article 1, Section 3, and of Amendment 17 the method of selection is changed from (referring to the States), “chosen by the Legislature thereof” to “elected by the people thereof.” The purpose of this change was to give direct control of the Senate to the people of each State. The argument for such a change is readily made by appealing to the desire of citizens to have direct control over the selection of their U.S. Senators. This, it would seem, is the most democratic way to ensure the citizens of each State are best represented in the U.S. Senate.

So what were the consequences of this change?

To answer that question, we must first understand why the Founders decided that U.S. Senators should be chosen by the State Legislatures, rather than by the people of each State. As we all know, and as is enshrined in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, members of the U.S. House of Representatives are elected by the people of each State. This, just like the selection process for U.S. Senators, was overtly intentional. That is why it is called, “The People’s House.”

On the other hand, the U.S. Senate was not intended to be another “people’s house.” It was intended to represent the governments of each State. Since each State Legislature represents the people of the respective States, the people would still be represented in the U.S. Senate, but indirectly through their State Legislatures.

If, at this point, you are thinking that all this sounds rather esoteric and unimportant, not to mention downright undemocratic, you are not alone. Ratification of the 17th Amendment depended upon just such a basic misunderstanding by American citizens of the Founders’ intent for the role of the U.S. Senate. A role that was, as originally envisioned and enacted by the Founders, to give voice to each State’s government in Congress.

You may ask, why do State governments need representation in Congress?

That’s a good question. The answer can be found, ironically, in the 10th Amendment, which was ratified along with the first nine amendments in what is well-known to most as the Bill of Rights. The full text of the 10th Amendment reads thus:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

One sentence. Simple. This amendment was directly linked to the original role of the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Senate’s job was to ensure that no legislation made it through Congress that violated the terms of the 10th Amendment. This seems a little bit backward at first, because the 10th Amendment was ratified along with the rest of the Bill of Rights four years after the Constitution was ratified. But the whole purpose of the Bill of Rights was to spell out the 10 most important things the Constitution was designed to protect in such a way as to make it absolutely crystal clear, just in case there were ever any question. And how have there ever been questions!

Now that we have over 200 years of experience with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we can easily see just how incredibly smart it was to include the Bill of Rights! Given how frequently (practically daily) the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to religious freedom are being challenged and how often the First and Second Amendments are cited in defense, without the Bill of Rights, we would likely, by now, have none. Thank God for the Bill of Rights!

So what about that 10th Amendment? Why does it matter how U.S. Senators are selected?

Think about it. U.S. Senators, just like members of the U.S. House of Representatives, are beholden to those who put them there. If they were beholden to State governments, how easily do you think they could get away with passing federal legislation that in any way infringes upon the powers of the States? Not too easily. Think State sovereignty.

In this day and age, the States are constantly bullied by the federal government in various ways. The most recent occurrence being the direct threat to revoke federal funding for any public school that fails to implement a policy allowing any male or female to use any bathroom they choose. Why is our federal government in our school bathrooms?!

If you were around back when the legal drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 years, you might recall that while this happened nationwide, all at once, it was not done by federal law. It was done by the federal government threatening to withhold federal highway funds from any state that failed or refused to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years.

That’s right. The drinking age is not federal law. It is State law. And it used to be freely set by each State for their own citizens, as they saw fit. This is clearly a 10th Amendment issue, as setting the drinking age is not enumerated in the Constitution as a federal power. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1986 did not actually set a national minimum drinking age. It merely codified the federal government’s intent to extort the States into submission. This is a classic example of federal government bullying and overreach. Don’t believe me? Google it.

One State, Louisiana, fought the bullying, but eventually capitulated. If you are, or have ever been, in the U.S. Military, you know that on military bases the drinking age is still 18. Talk about hypocrisy! Apparently, what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander!

So, back to answering our question about the consequences of the 17th Amendment. When U.S. Senators can pass federal laws that force State governments to act against their will, State governments can do nothing about it. Nothing. And since State governments comprise the most local and immediate representation of their citizens, the will of the people is subverted.

You may ask, if the people directly elect their U.S. Senators, why wouldn’t they simply kick them out of office for passing a law that subverted their will at the next election?

Simple. The people are busy living their lives and not paying attention. How else to explain Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell, and John McCain?! Furthermore, the people do not understand the significance of each federal law that chips away at local control of their lives. State governments, on the other hand, are a much smaller subset of each State’s citizens and their job is legislation. These are the very people who, given control of the U.S. Senate, would not stand for being bullied by the federal government. It used to be a major part of their job.

A second major consequence of the 17th Amendment was a major reduction in the public’s attention to whom they elect to their State legislatures. No longer having to worry about who their State Representatives and Senators might choose to send to Washington, D.C., their interest was severely diminished. As a result, State governments are now populated by people, about which, few of the people they represent know very much. And knowing that few voters are paying attention at the State level gives State legislators the ability to abuse their positions and be derelict in their duties.

So what would happen if the 17th Amendment were to be repealed?

Firstly, at each of the following three election cycles, the State Legislatures would appoint replacements for those U.S. Senators whose terms were up. Since as of this writing 30 States are under total Republican Party control, it is likely that the U.S. Senate would become dominated by Republicans in short order unless the Democratic Party suddenly made major gains in the State governments.

Secondly, numerous federal laws that trample on State sovereignty would be considered in Congress for repeal. And no bills further infringing on State sovereignty would make it past the U.S. Senate, thus taking a major step toward reigning in federal power. Federal agencies that have made a habit of imposing crippling regulations on States would be directly in the crosshairs of U.S. Senators who would have to answer to their State’s government if they did not put a stop to it.

In short, the bullying would end.

Thirdly, the voting citizens of each State would pay a heck of a lot more attention to the candidates running for their State Legislatures at election time. The citizens of each State would have a very big hammer to use against a runaway federal government in the form of their own State government. Any U.S. Senator not doing the bidding of his or her State’s government would be a one-termer. No campaigning to a public that is too busy living life and earning a living to stay on top of what is going on in D.C. would help.

Finally, think of the reduction in disgusting negative political television ads that would occur each election cycle if U.S. Senators no longer had to campaign to the public for office! That alone might make it worth it!

It is time to Repeal the 17th Amendment!

Bathrooms, Hate Crimes, and the Progressive War on Women

by Amanda

I have to get this out of the way: I don’t hate transgendered people. My best friend for many years was TG. Progressives equate that to me saying, “I’m not racist because my maid is black,” but I’ll assume that anyone reading this has at least half a brain. Also I used to do a bit of cross-dressing as a teenager. I guess you could say I was gender confused. I don’t have an opinion about whether I was deranged or mentally ill. (I sure did suffer from depression.) I came across a bunch of jocks before school one morning, and they called me a fag. I thought it was funny.

Let me get another thing out of the way. I have shared a public bathroom with a TG person any number of times (in addition to my best friend) and it never bothered me. I never saw it bother anyone else, either. I’m sure I have shared a bathroom with a TG I was never aware was TG, because that person passed. These laws and regulations are useful only to protect Transgenders who do not pass.

Given that, why do I rant about these new bathroom laws? First, because they are laws. If a law does not fall under the Non-Agression Principal, then in my book, that is government overreach.  Target and Planet Fitness are private businesses which have the right to make whatever bathroom, locker room, and changing room policies they want. If I don’t like it, I can shop or work out somewhere else. But once bully government gets involved in my naked spaces, I no longer have a choice. Well, I do have a choice. I can be more vulnerable to straight morons who are going to take advantage of the laws to stalk and assault women, or I can be pushed out of the public sphere, living like my great-grandmother did, or like a woman in a Muslim country.

Talk about “Get your laws off my body”!

The second thing that infuriates me about these laws is how proponents justify them: as a civil rights issue, and as a safety issue. Gender fluidity begins with internal feelings that may result in an action being taken. It may be controversial for me to say that a person can control their feelings. I happen to think it a necessary skill for every adult. But for sure a person can control their actions. So if a non-passing TG does not feel accepted in certain situations, such as employment, that person can refrain from going TG to an interview. Can an African-American refrain from being African-American? No, black people actually were “born that way.” Being African-American or a woman is a state of being; it is not possible to refrain from being that. Transgendering is a behavior. Should TGs have to constrain who they are and what they do to maintain equal treatment in society? No. Of course they should not. Nor should anyone. The point is, they CAN; African-Americans can’t.

The other justification I hear for having transgender people use the bathroom or locker room of their gender identity is that bathrooms and locker rooms are places where non-passing TGs experience violence. Violence against TG people is horrible. It is inexcusable.  It is unacceptable. A Time article dated August 17, 2015 titled: “Why Transgendered People Are Being Murdered at a Historic Rate” states there had been 15 murders of TGs up to that point in 2015, primarily TGs of color.  In 2014, there were 1,359 incidents of hate violence against LGBT individuals, of which TGs were the largest share.

No one deserves to be a victim of violence. Every individual human is a child of God who has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No one deserves to be harassed. But since we are asking women and girls to be the safe harbor for TG individuals, and to bear the brunt of straight jackasses who will inevitably abuse these laws, how are women faring?

TGs are undoubtedly harassed, but harassment is also a fact of life for many women. When I was young, I was sexually harassed at school, at work, on public transportation, walking down the street, at the YMCA. I could go on. The last time I was harassed was a few months ago in a grocery store parking lot at noon. Does our world feel safe to women? Survey your women friends. How many look in their back seat before getting into their car? How many would go to a bar alone? How many feel safe on a walk or jog alone? Or staying at the office past business hours? How many walk through a parking garage alone without a second’s thought? Or are afraid to be at home alone?

According to the CDC, nearly one in five women has been raped in her lifetime. One in six women has been stalked. Of raped women, 40 percent experienced their first rape as children, and 12 percent were children under age 10. I say first rape because 35 percent who were raped as children were also raped as an adult. Doing the math on those numbers yields about 2 million American women raped in 1 year. Most of these women experience PTSD, and are much more likely to experience asthma, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, and poor mental and physical health.

The PTSD that literally millions of female rape survivors experience is only going to be aggravated by opening up bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms to biological males. There are laws against indecent exposure, and laws against voyeurism, but these laws would seem to be, nonsensically, suspended in the very places where men and women are most likely to be undressed, particularly shower or swim facilities. Our girls will be forced to endure voyeurism against themselves, and exposure to post-adolescent penises, at the very tenderest ages. Our government is not just allowing, but requiring, sexual violence against women and girls.

So are Progressives telling us it’s worth it to put millions of women and girls into trepidation and fear about being exploited, in order to protect a tiny minority of TG individuals from feeling uncomfortable? To prevent whatever percentage of a few thousand hate crimes that may occur in a changing room, bathroom, or locker room–by replacing those with an untold number of acts of voyeurism and indecent exposure against untold numbers of girls and women?

I guess the right to safety and privacy is non-existent for women and girls, unless that woman or girl was born with a penis, or pretends to have one.  It’s the penis that confers the rights. If that isn’t male privilege, what is? TG behavior being equated with blackness makes it white male privilege.

There’s the Progressive war on women for you.


 

Constitutional Rant

by Amanda

This post is in response to an article published by the Brookings Institute, which can be found here.

This opinion piece is interesting. But “liberals” and progressives somehow believe in Constitutional protections? FALSE.

  • Are Christians who are forced to bake cakes, freely exercising their religion?
  • Is ideological diversity allowed at our college campuses?
  • Can there be discourse of non-progressive ideas without being called a bigot or a racist?
  • Does the federal government leave things not enumerated as a federal power to states and localities?
  • Are American citizens free from search, seizure, and surveillance without due process?

No, no, no, no, and no.

Progressives don’t believe in the Constitution. They believe in building up and using a powerful and coercive government to jam their personal beliefs down everyone else’s throats, and telling them if they are gagging it’s because they’re racist, classist, or whatever-phobic. To believe that somehow Drumph is more “frightening” when it comes to his commitment to constitutional protections than Democrats?

That’s insane.

Democrats have no commitment to the Constitution.

Why am I so Passionately Non-Socialist?

by Amanda

Why am I so passionately non-Socialist? Because the personal is the political. When you are needy and dependent on another person, they can (and probably will) abuse you. When you are needy and dependent on the government, it can (and probably will) abuse you. As an individual in relationship you have to be strong in yourself to be able to create a healthy, interdependent relationship, rather than an unhealthy codependent one. Likewise, as a citizen of a country, and a part of an economy, being needy and dependent is a hopeless and undignified position. I would like to see us focus our national creativity to come up with ways to integrate disadvantaged and disabled people into a position of feeling useful and being valued. Socialism doesn’t do that. It is charity, in a sense, but lacks love and relationship and so is not true charity at all. It doesn’t give a hand up, it keeps people down. A vibrant economy and dedication to the principle of the dignity and freedom of the human person, as our founders envisioned, is psychologically and socially healthy.