Time for Green Eagle to go on a tedious rant about the "original intent" of our founding fathers. This phrase drips from the lips of conservatives at the slightest provocation, positive as they are that only they know what this bunch of guys two and a half centuries ago had in mind.
So sure are our modern right wingers, in fact, that they feel they have no need to examine the most pertinent and readily available writings of the founding fathers themselves. Nowhere is this more true than in regard to the second amendment, which they insist was intended by the founding fathers to allow any lunatic to own cannons, flame throwers, assault weapons...anything. As long, of course, as those lunatics aren't Muslims, of course. Much of this endless outpouring of nonsense relies on the term "well regulated" which is found in the second amendment.
This might be a good point to quote what the second amendment says, so here it is:
"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."
Well, what was meant by the term "well regulated?" Conservatives violently object to the notion that it might be the job of the federal government to regulate the militias. Can we answer this question?
Well, maybe we can't, but I know of someone who can- a man named Alexander Hamilton. This gentleman, as you may remember, was actually one of the founding fathers, and was one of the writers of the Federalist Papers, which were intended to explain what the people who wrote the constitution had in mind.
Perhaps these great conservative experts on the intent of the founding fathers never heard of this document, or they might have encountered Federalist Paper No. 29, intriguingly titled "Concerning the Militia," which was written by the aforementioned Alexander Hamilton, and surprisingly deals with this exact question. Let's dive in, and see what he had to say, shall we? Green Eagle will help Mr. Hamilton out with a couple of observations, if he may be so forward:
"THE power of regulating the militia, and of commanding its services in times of insurrection and invasion are natural incidents to the duties of superintending the common defense, and of watching over the internal peace of the Confederacy."
"Superintending the common defense. And who do you think was supposed to do that, the Federal Government, or the Hutaree Militia and Timothy McVeigh?
"It requires no skill in the science of war to discern that uniformity in the organization and discipline of the militia would be attended with the most beneficial effects, whenever they were called into service for the public defense."
Please ask yourself, who is supposed to ensure that there is "uniformity in the organization and discipline of the militia" across the entire country?
"This desirable uniformity can only be accomplished by confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority. It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, RESERVING TO THE STATES RESPECTIVELY THE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS, AND THE AUTHORITY OF TRAINING THE MILITIA ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLINE PRESCRIBED BY CONGRESS."
Let me repeat this, because it is apparently so difficult to understand that all the conservatives in the country have missed what it says: "This desirable uniformity can only be accomplished by confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority. It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia"
The national authority. The Union. The regulation of the militia. Could this be any more clear? Well, just in case anyone still is confused, let's continue:
"If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security... If the federal government can command the aid of the militia in those emergencies which call for the military arm in support of the civil magistrate, it can the better dispense with the employment of a different kind of force."
Well there it is, the well regulated militia is to be " under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security"- the federal government. Can there be any more clear statement of the intent of the founders that these militias be regulated by the government, and not by a bunch of violent armed lunatics in Michigan or Idaho or somewhere? Want More?
"What plan for the regulation of the militia may be pursued by the national government, is impossible to be foreseen."
"the regulation of the militia...pursued by the national government" I guess this wasn't plain enough for right wingers to figure it out. Or maybe what they are interested is not really the intent of the founding fathers, but rather their own deranged, violent intent.
There's more, if you care, but I think I've made my point, with the aid of Alexander Hamilton. If you want to read the rest, here it is.
Later in this particular Federalist Paper, Hamilton has this to say:
"In reading many of the publications against the Constitution, a man is apt to imagine that he is perusing some ill-written tale or romance, which instead of natural and agreeable images, exhibits to the mind nothing but frightful and distorted shapes "Gorgons, hydras, and chimeras dire"; discoloring and disfiguring whatever it represents, and transforming everything it touches into a monster."
Green Eagle couldn't have put it better himself.
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