Thursday, April 4, 2013

Quote of the day

The government’s us. These officials are elected by you. They are constrained as I am constrained, by a system that our founders put in place.” - Barack Obama

I probably don't agree with Obama on everything around gun control, but he makes a good point here. Certainly the reason for the second amendment was defense against tyranny. But the founders had many other defenses in mind besides that. Obama picks up on the defense against tyranny that is perhaps more important than the second amendment:

- Democratic elections
- A system that constrains elected officials

Now you know what would be really wacky - if someone tried to make the case that Obama was saying that the government is not democratic - it is concentrated in himself, and that a system that constrains elected officials (like the Constitution) is not important.

That would be nuts!

That would be like taking the quote and then saying the exact opposite of the quote!


  1. "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."

    Any argument that the purpose of that amendment has to do with defense against the state, rather than defense of the state, is quite strained.

    1. Disagree.

      It seems to me to be both. Threats to a "free state" can be internal or external. If it had said "the security of the state" I might agree with you. It's very hard to buy the argument that coming out of the revolution bearing arms as a defense against a tyrant wasn't part of the thought process of the founders.

    2. Dan, you are badly informed on this one.

      The Second Amendment recognizes is a right of self defense, of which bearing arms is but as example. Other examples include collective action, free speech, and many lesser powers, such as the right to fence and lock doors and engage in surveillance.

    3. The Constitution's guarantee of a republican form of government is a statement of defense against tyranny. The tyranny against which the colonies rebelled was not against their own governments, but against a government in which they had no representation. (It was also against the British East India Company. See the Tea Party.) It was not a rebellion against the tyranny of the majority. The Bill of Rights was a defense against the tyranny of the majority, but not a violent one. Do you think that the Second Amendment was an endorsement of Shays' Rebellion? (Which was still fresh in memory.) IIUC, fear of rebellion was one thing that led to the ratification of the Constitution in the first place.

      The idea that the Second Amendment sanctions bearing arms against the gov't is a rallying cry for groups such as the Posse Comitatus and other home grown terrorists.

      What do you think about what Dwyer is up to in Maryland?

  2. Regarding the first part, YHBT.

    Regarding the second, okay, maybe you don't think the 2nd amendment is part and parcel with what the other posters have already said, but it's not absurd.

    1. So you're not critical of Obama on this one? See the funny thing about you is that you always seem very quick to say "oh I'm just trolling you" when someone calls you out on something, but there are other ideas you seem to firmly hold that are just as nuts. Anyway... no way to read your mind and say for sure one way or another but I'm very surprised that you aren't critical of Obama along the lines in the post.

      I don't understand the second point. So far I haven't called anyone's thoughts "absurd", so I don't know what you're saying. I think all commenters on this so far are right, I just think it's clearly about protecting against tyranny - I don't see that as a claim that ought to be all that controversial.

    2. Anyway, still quote of the day simply for the quote itself. People have had a weird animosity towards the quote this morning, so I thought I'd highlight the full thing.

    3. The L'etat, c'est moi thing was the trolling. And you can tell when I'm trolling when I FILE THE BLOG POST UNDER TROLLING.

      The "lyrics" had more truth, in the sense that it's a fairly common argument that guns hold back tyranny (though you are correct, it's an argument from he right), and one that I think has at least some degree of truth. The democracy/other restraints comment, which was part of "the government's us," is very condescending to that point of view.

    4. Pssh - who looks at tags anymore?

      re: "The democracy/other restraints comment, which was part of "the government's us," is very condescending to that point of view."

      Oh, so you ARE nuts! (I'll let you decide if that was trolling or not).

  3. "democratic elections"

    Many people, including myself and a great many other political thinkers, see this as quite possibly the source of the greatest of tyrannies.

    "A system that constrains elected officials"

    Considering your views with regard to the Constitution, as well as that of many others, what constraints?

    1. Joseph Fetz, you are not a thinker. All you do is rationalize your own narcissistic greed.

      In answer to your rejection of democracy, let me remind you that I am smarter than you, by several factors. Any time, you want me to start making decisions for you, I will be happy to start.

      Democracy has its foundations in the fundamental dignity and worth of every person and in the very sound proposition that the waitress who served you lunch yesterday, when you stiffed her on a tip, is a far better judge of human nature than you will ever be.

    2. Well, I guess there's no use in arguing against that then, is there?

  4. As I noted in my libertarian FAQ, public choice theory is refuted by the evidence, something people don't point out often enough. See, for example, Leif Lewin, whose book 'Self Interest and the Public Interest' shows that most voters, politicians and whatever else work in what they perceive to be the public interest. That doesn't mean special interests don't play a role, but it does make the public choice framework questionable, or just plain wrong.


All anonymous comments will be deleted. Consistent pseudonyms are fine.