OMG this a helluvapost from the Daily Kos.
I do not exactly consider myself to be a “liberal” in the English sense of the word (as it usually defines more leftist and pro-governmental positions). I would probably rather consider myself to be a conservative – or more precisely, a libertarian. I also rarely agree with the Daily Kos – although I must admit that I haven’t really read it in years. This post on the Daily Kos is however one of the best blog posts I have read in a long time: This question is, how can “liberals” defend certain liberties (e.g. free speech) while they refrain from defending others (e.g. gun rights)? This post is a very intelligent argument on why “liberals” should indeeed be the first advocates of gun rights (the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights: the right to keep and bear arms). Thanks to C.D. for this.
Why liberals should love the Second Amendment
by Kaili Joy Gray aka Angry Mouse
Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:00:03 AM PDT
Liberals love the Constitution.
Ask anyone on the street. They’ll tell you the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a liberal organization. During the dark days of the Bush Administration, membership doubled because so many Americans feared increasing restrictions on their civil liberties. If you were to ask liberals to list their top five complaints about the Bush Administration, and they would invariably say the words “shredding” and “Constitution” in the same sentence. They might also add “Fourth Amendment” and “due process.” It’s possible they’ll talk about “free speech zones” and “habeus corpus.” (…)
And while liberals certainly do not argue for lawlessness, and will acknowledge the necessity of certain restrictions, it is generally understood that liberals fight to broadly interpret and expand our rights and to question the necessity and wisdom of any restrictions of them.
Liberals can quote legal precedent, news reports, and exhaustive studies. They can talk about the intentions of the Founders. They can argue at length against the tyranny of the government. And they will, almost without exception, conclude the necessity of respecting, and not restricting, civil liberties.
Except for one: the right to keep and bear arms.
When it comes to discussing the Second Amendment, liberals check rational thought at the door. They dismiss approximately 40% of American households that own one or more guns, and those who fight to protect the Second Amendment, as “gun nuts.” They argue for greater restrictions. And they pursue these policies at the risk of alienating voters who might otherwise vote for Democrats.
And they do so in a way that is wholly inconsistent with their approach to all of our other civil liberties.
Those who fight against Second Amendment rights cite statistics about gun violence, as if such numbers are evidence enough that our rights should be restricted. But Chicago and Washington DC, the two cities from which came the most recent Supreme Court decisions on Second Amendment rights, had some of the most restrictive laws in the nation, and also some of the highest rates of violent crime. Clearly, such restrictions do not correlate with preventing crime.
So rather than continuing to fight for greater restrictions on Second Amendment rights, it is time for liberals to defend Second Amendment rights as vigorously as they fight to protect all of our other rights. Because it is by fighting to protect each right that we protect all rights.
And this is why:
(Reasons below the fold)
No. 1: The Bill of Rights protects individual rights.
(…) The Founders well understood that the militia is the people, for it was not only the right but the obligation of all citizens to protect and preserve their liberty and to defend themselves from the tyranny of the government.
And fighting against the tyranny of the government is certainly a liberal value.
No. 2: We oppose restrictions to our civil liberties.
(…)And just as conservatives weaken their own arguments about protecting the Second Amendment when they will not fight as vigilantly for protecting all the others, so too do liberals weaken their arguments for civil liberties, when they pick and choose which civil liberties they deem worthy of defense.
No. 3: It doesn’t matter that it’s not 1776 anymore.
(…) And yet, when discussing the Second Amendment, liberals become obtuse in their literalism. The Second Amendment does not protect the right to own all guns. Or all ammunition. It doesn’t protect the right of the people as individuals.
Liberals will defend the right of Cindy Sheehan to wear an anti-war T-shirt, even though the First Amendment says nothing about T-shirts.
They will defend the rights of alleged terrorists to a public trial, even though the Founders certainly could not have imagined a world in which terrorists would plot to blow up building with airplanes.
But we do not quibble about the methods by which we practice our First Amendment rights because methodology is not the point. Red herring arguments about types of ammunition or magazine capacity or handguns versus rifles are just that — red herrings. They distract us from the underlying purpose of that right — to ensure a free society that can hold its government accountable. The Second Amendment is no more about guns than the First Amendment is about quill pens.
No. 4: It doesn’t matter if you can use it.
(…) And this is why liberals work so hard to get out and rock the vote — to encourage citizens to exercise their rights. That is our obligation as citizens, to protect against the government infringing upon our rights by making full use of them.
And yet, when it comes to the Second Amendment, liberals do not fight to protect that right. Instead them demand more laws. Regulate, regulate, regulate — until the Second Amendment is nearly regulated out of existence because no one needs to have a gun anyway.
And that, sadly, is the biggest mistake of all.
No. 5: The Second Amendment is about revolution.
In no other country, at no other time, has such a right existed. It is not the right to hunt. It is not the right to shoot at soda cans in an empty field. It is not even the right to shoot at a home invader in the middle of the night.
It is the right of revolution.
Let me say that again: It is the right of revolution. [emphasis in the original -ed.] (…)
No, this is a rallying cry for the Bill of Rights — for all of our rights.
This is an appeal to every liberal who says, “I just don’t like guns.”
This is an appeal to every liberal who says, “No one needs that much ammunition.”
This is an appeal to every liberal who says, “That’s not what the Founders meant.”
This is an appeal to every liberal who supports the ACLU.
This is an appeal to every liberal who has complained about the Bush Administration’s trading of our civil liberties for the illusion of greater security. (I believe I’ve seen a T-shirt or two about Benjamin Franklin’s thoughts on that.)
This is an appeal to every liberal who believes in fighting against the abuses of government, against the infringement of our civil liberties, and for the greater expansion of our rights.
This is an appeal to every liberal who never wants to lose another election to Republicans because they have successfully persuaded the voters that Democrats will not protect their Second Amendment rights.
This is an appeal to liberals, not merely to tolerate the Second Amendment, but to embrace it. To love it and defend it and guard it as carefully as you do all the others.
Because we are liberals. And fighting for our rights — for all of our rights, for all people — is what we do.
Because we are revolutionaries.
Picture by Oleg Volk