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Freedom Has Consequences

Peter Hamm from the Brady Campaign seems to be rather insistent this morning that I get on board with their “Terror Loophole” legislation:

Sebastian!  Please!  Good God in heaven, man, how can you keep a straight face and say that allowing the Attorney General of the United States to deny a gun to someone that the FBI considers too much of a terrorist risk to get on an airplane should have unfettered gun purchasing rights?

Do you know that this will marginalize your side with the American people so severely that you will lose credibility for years to come?  Are you insane?  Or are you just really so blind that there is nothing, nothing, that you could ever, ever support to keep anyone, anyone, from buying any weapon they wish?

God. This one is so simple.  I cannot believe that you and your commenters can be opposed to this and call yourselves American patriots.  It’s put up or shut up time, gunners.

There are many aspects of our free and open society that make life easier for terrorists. I think most Americans would agree that preserving our essential liberties is an important consideration when we’re deciding how to deal with terrorism. Whether the Brady Campaign likes it or not, the Right to Bear Arms is one of those liberties, among many others.

I don’t think anyone here really wants it to be easy for terrorists to get guns. I don’t really want it to be easy for them to roam around the country either. It would be really nice if we could identify all the terrorists who are in the United States right now and eject them from the country. But none of these goals can be achieved without destroying essential liberties. This is a consequence of having freedom. In fact, it’s reasonable to argue that terrorism is a consequence of the open society our freedoms and liberty create.

Which brings us to the “no fly” list. It should be noted that the list doesn’t actually stop anyone from flying. That would bring about constitutional issues because the right to travel is a fundamental right under our system.The “no fly” list only applied to travel in and out of the United States. I should note that even this as not been constitutionally tested as far as I know, so it’s still an open question as to whether this is constitutional, at least as applied to American Citizens. My opinion would be that it does not. The right to travel should, within the confines of citizenship, include the right to travel in and out of the country.

I have little doubt the Brady folks don’t like the idea of gun ownership being a right, but it is, and if we win McDonald, it will likely be deemed fundamental. I don’t frame the “terror loophole” issue in terms of guns or terrorists. It’s a question of whether it’s proper to deny American citizens their constitutional rights without due process of law. To that, I think the answer is no. That’s grounds I’m very comfortable disagreeing with the Brady folks on. Despite what the Luntz poll may or may not have said, I believe most Americans, if asked the question framed in terms of denying Americans Citizens their Second Amendment rights because of their presence on a secret government list of suspected terrorists, you wouldn’t get such overwhelming approval.

56 Responses to “Freedom Has Consequences”

  1. ExurbanKevin says:

    Let’s alter that opening paragraph just a bit and see if it gets any better:

    Sebastian! Please! Good God in heaven, man, how can you keep a straight face and say that allowing the Attorney General of the United States to deny the ability to speak out to someone that the FBI considers too much of a terrorist risk to get on an airplane should have an unfettered ability to speak his mind?

    That doesn’t sound better. Let’s try again.

    Sebastian! Please! Good God in heaven, man, how can you keep a straight face and say that allowing the Attorney General of the United States to deny a lawyer to someone that the FBI considers too much of a terrorist risk to get on an airplane should have access to a trial by jury?

    Still sounds crazy. One more time…

    Sebastian! Please! Good God in heaven, man, how can you keep a straight face and say that allowing the Attorney General of the United States to search the house of someone that the FBI considers too much of a terrorist risk to get on an airplane should be allowed to walk down the street without a cop stopping him?

    Nope, still fails.

  2. B Woodman says:

    As I noted on another blog on rthe same subject;
    Let’s put these Leftist Libtard politicians and their sychophants on the No Fly and Terrorist Watch lists, just for “suspician”. With little to no due process or recourse to clear their name.
    Then see how quick they holler when it’s THEIR freedoms that are being restrained and compromised.

    It would be a classic case of the Law of Unintended Consequences writ large. And a giggle-fest besides.

  3. Matt says:

    I am stunned by the people who are horrified that “you want terrorists to have guns” and don’t see the due process issues involved in this.

    It’s just guns after all. What’s the problem?

    This type of thing needs to be called out by civil liberties minded folks for exactly what it is: secret police tactics.

    Other countries had secret lists too. Administered by agencies with names like the Gestapo or Stasi or initials like the NKVD or KGB.

    As you say, ask them if they would like other rights curtailed due to being on a watch list and see how they like it. Say terrorists start distributed pamphlets on the Mall describing weaknesses in security. Add them to a watch list and take their pamphlets away. Might support it but then again, support might begin to waver.

    Then extend it to anything else. That is the only logical end for the foot their sticking in the door on this issue. Let a government official deny rights or privileges based on their “reasonable suspicion” and suddenly we are absolutely no different than Nazi Germany. Different name but Gestapo or NKVD pretty much fits.

    Once you’re denying rights based on “suspicion”, it’s only a short step to pre-emptive action to imprison folks before they act in the name of safety. And I do believe it can and would happen in this country with people in power who learn towards the “power corrupts” end of the curve (in other words, any politician).

    The fact politicians are even discussing this type of thing openly ought to scare the hell out of anyone who cares about freedom. Because in my opinion that is literally what is at stake here.

    PS: If there are truly “terrorists” walking among us and the government feels they are dangerous, why don’t they have enough probable cause to arrest, detain and/or eject them? Sounds like it ought to be pretty easy to do. The fact that they don’t means the term in meaningless and the number of true terrorists in this country is grossly overinflated.

  4. Carl in Chicago says:

    Excellent summary, Sebastian.

    The Hamm’s of the world are far too quick to dismiss gun owners. But far more importantly, they are far too quick to also throw out the baby. The baby here is the due process issue. And the willingness to throw that out … not even consider it an issue in this case, is truly worrisome. And unacceptable.

  5. BC says:

    I think I can live with having oxygen thieves like Hamm calling me “unpatriotic” for opposing the arbitrary denial of Americans’ constitutional rights without due process of law. I’m okay with that.

  6. Colin says:

    Sebastian, I have to disagree with your statement about “most Americans, if asked the question framed in terms of denying Americans Citizens their Second Amendment rights because of their presence on a secret government list of suspected terrorists” wouldn’t approve. Unfortunately, I think there’s a large percentage of non-gun-owning, guns-are-evil-believing Americans who wouldn’t mind giving up their (unexercised) RKBA to “fight” terrorism. However, along the lines of what Kevin said, this discussion definitely needs to be framed in terms of people being stripped of their Constitutionally protected rights without due process. If someone threatened to disallow a Muslim on this secret-squirrel no-fly list the right to practice Islam because it might promote terrorism (radicalize his thinking or make him want to martyr himself for the cause), the ACLU would be all over it! We need to drive home the point to the American public at large that the no-fly list (which is Constitutionally questionable at best) cannot be used to deprive people of any of their rights, because once we start down that path, it could be one of them, or one of their “pet” rights next. In conclusion, I think Ben Franklin put it best: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  7. Ronnie says:

    I really could not care less that the attempted Times Square bomb suspect reportedly had purchased one firearm. What I do care about is how he wound up getting into this country and becoming a citizen.

    So far, with the exception of Major Hasan the Fort Hood shooter, a Muslim terrorist whom the Obama bunch still does not want to even admit is a Muslim terrorist, almost all of these other Muslim terrorists since Obama has become president have been obtaining things like hydrogen peroxide, propane bottles, and consumer grade firecrackers from a Phantom Fireworks store in Pike County, PA, to attempt their acts of terrorism with. Guns don’t really even enter the equation with these sort of Muslim terrorist plots. (Oops, there I go again – I said “Muslim terrorist plots,” something the Obama bunch won’t dare ever say.)

    Does this mean that I believe that there ought to be a big barrage of new laws to control the sale of every consumer product on the market that could be possibly used for terrorism purposes?

    Of course not! Just about every type of retail sales operation might as well just close up shop if this were to occur. Imagine how much red tape there could be every time somebody wanted to just get some propane for their barbecue grill, or somebody needed a bottle or two of hydrogen peroxide, etc., etc.

    So to me, it seems quite disingenuous that the libtard gun-hater crowd is once again trying to use the Islamic terrorism issue, an issue that libtards themselves have no clue on how to fight effectively unlike conservatives have done in the past, as a stepping stone to advance their gun-grabber agenda.

  8. Freiheit says:

    The rest of the sick irony in all this is that domestic terrorists by and large have not used guns, nor have they used guns that they could have legally bought:
    – Columbine – minors, not allowed to own what they had
    – 9/11 – Airplanes and box cutters, no guns
    – Times Square – Owned a gun, didn’t use it.
    – Oklahoma – Probably owned guns, not used in the attack.

    I don’t want to drift into the “lets ban cars” argument here, but gun ownership has not been a defining factor in terrorism in the US. Guns just don’t kill enough people fast enough to meet their goals.

  9. Jim Manley says:

    Right on Sebastian. This has less to do with gun rights than it does due process rights. I have no problem banning terrorists from owning guns. But banning ownership by people who the AG *thinks* are terrorists? “This one is so simple.”

  10. David says:

    That’s awful nice of Mr. Hamm to be concerned about out side being marginalized for supporting liberty for individuals who have been found guilty only of having their name on a list that noone can explain how the name got there.

  11. Dixie says:

    It would be a classic case of the Law of Unintended Consequences writ large. And a giggle-fest besides.

    This. Ted Kennedy was on the no-fly list and was PISSED. The left was PISSED about military tribunals under Bush.

    Now that the left is in power, they want to put more people on the no-fly list, make the no-fly list worse, and strip American citizens of their citizenship.

    And they want us to take them seriously?

  12. geekWithA.45 says:

    Sebastian! Please!

    Agree with me, or be cast out into the eternal darkness! Your credibility is at stake for all time to come!

  13. BC says:

    Indeed, David: it was all pretty transparent concern-trolling.

  14. Pete says:

    Can we start to submit the names of Brady/VPC people to the FBI to get them on the “no-fly” list? That would be entertaining.

    Man. Some people must have failed basic civics class at the Brady Camp. Denial of rights without due process of law? I’d encourage the Brady Camp to push this one so that we can watch the SCOTUS slap their silly law down 9-0, and order them to pay lawyer fees to Mr. Gura.

    “Sebastian! Please! Good God in heaven, man, how can you keep a straight face and say that allowing the Attorney General of the United States to deny a gun to someone that the FBI considers too much of a Jew to get on an airplane should have unfettered worship rights?”

    Just had to Goodwin that one.

  15. Pete says:

    Whoops, forgot to change gun to worship rights in that last one.

  16. j t bolt says:

    We have a Mine Shaft Gap, with the Soviets, Mr. President! Look at the big board!

  17. Rob Reed says:

    Sebastian,

    I can’t believe this is the second time today I’m putting a link to something I wrote on someone else’s blog, I usually try to avoid that.

    I did write about yesterday’s Senate hearing on Firearms and Terrorism at Examiner.com.

    If you think this is scary in the abstract, read more about how this would really work and read some of the analysis of the bill.

    This is as blatantly Unconstitutional and Anti-American as it gets.

    This is the modern version of Mc Carthyism “I have in my hand a list of TERRORISTS” and there go your 2A rights.

    Here’s the article if anyone wants to read more.

    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-30265-Detroit-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2010m5d5-Will-the-terrorism-watch-list-strip-citizens-of-their-2nd-Amdendment-rights

  18. Guav says:

    Nice concern trolling by Hamm.

  19. Guav says:

    Ronnie said,

    What I do care about is how he wound up getting into this country and becoming a citizen.

    After being approved for US student visas in 1998 and 2002, Shahzad passed all the necessary national security background checks, married an American citizen in October 2008 and became a naturalized US citizen in April 2009.

    Upon what grounds do you think he should have been denied citizenship? And how would that have prevented him from purchasing a car, alarm clock, firecrackers or BBQ and gardening supplies?

  20. Matthew Carberry says:

    Peter, Good god man! How can you say with a straight face you are in favor of star chambers?

    Really? This is all you have left? Arguing in favor of arbitrary secret watch lists without due process of law?

    We’re waiting, ready and willing to take you back into the decent world of reason, science and Enlightenment ideals when you come to your senses.

  21. I’ll go a lot further than Sebastian. Not only should the no-fly list not ban gun ownership, all gun ownership restrictions back to and including the National Firearms Act of 1934 are blatantly unconstitutional, hence null and void. It should not be necessary to repeal them, since the courts should have already nullified them, and barring that, juries should always nullify them. That means no background check, no Federal Firearms License, fully-automatic weapons, with grenade launchers, available by mail order.

    And “shall not be infringed” also means that you may not bar ex-cons from having guns, either. Anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun, shouldn’t be allowed out of prison. Not that we should have prisons…

    Of course, we won’t need the no-fly list, either, because everyone who wants to should carry their guns while flying. Had that only been the case on 9/11. We’d have a handful of dead terrorists, instead of two buildings full of dead Americans.

  22. Sebastian says:

    Not only should the no-fly list not ban gun ownership, all gun ownership restrictions back to and including the National Firearms Act of 1934 are blatantly unconstitutional, hence null and void. It should not be necessary to repeal them, since the courts should have already nullified them, and barring that, juries should always nullify them. That means no background check, no Federal Firearms License, fully-automatic weapons, with grenade launchers, available by mail order.

    Good luck trying to convince federal judges of that one. That’s a lost argument. It’s time to move on.

  23. There is no such thing as a lost argument. Unless one side of the argument gives up. I won’t. Ever.

  24. Sebastian says:

    I understand. I suppose I’ve just kind of lost patience with absolutism. We’re far from that ideal and I don’t really see any way to get there. I’m more concerned with trying to get as broad protections as we can out of the federal courts. Overall I think Heller opened more doors than it closed, but it did close some.

    It might be possible to achieve legislative relief for some of these things, but I don’t really see a future where the Second Amendment is absolute as interpreted by the judicial branch. Not that I believe the judicial branch should have a monopoly on interpreting the constitution, but it’s their interpretations that have legal effect. I might still believe machine guns are constitutionally protected, but I don’t see why that’s useful if I can’t get 5 out of 9 judges to agree with me.

  25. Ed says:

    The simple response is to say that if being on the no-fly list is grounds for denying 2nd Amendment rights in violation of due process, then why can’t it also be applied to the First Amendment? If you’re on the list, you cannot publish, you cannot worship, you cannot attend a peaceable assembly. How about the 3rd? This would actually make more sense, since if someone is a suspected terrorist, it might make sense to quarter troops in his home to prevent a terrorist act. Why not the whole damn Constitution? If you’re on the list, you can be a slave, you cannot vote, you’re not entitled to a jury trial, you are subject to unreasonable search and seizure, etc. See how the Brady Bunch like that. Then see if the NYT et al agree.

  26. Guav says:

    Of course there is such a thing as a lost argument—this occurs when one side has no hope of ever achieving their goals. Doesn’t matter one whit whether you decide to concede or not.

    Forget trying to convince federal judges of Bill’s idea of how things should be, I think you’d be hard-pressed to convince most gun owners that his scenario is desireable.

    We already have ex-cons walking around with guns—some automatic—having undergone no background checks. And it sucks.

  27. And I’ve given up on pragmatism. They just keep taking our liberties away, a little at a time. There have been small steps back, like Vermont carry in Alaska and Arizona (though the cost in AZ may well have been too high), and, perhaps, Heller.

    Concealed carry permits cut both ways, trading what should be an inalienable right for a license to exercise a privilege. I see no net gain.

    Personally, I think there’s going to be a war, a war that will make the Civil War look like a cake walk. I certainly don’t want that to happen, but I am less and less able to see an alternative I can live with.

  28. Guav says:

    If I wanted to live in a country where ANYONE can go anywhere with ANY type of weapon with NO restrictions, regardless of their criminal history (and let’s just get rid of prisons too) then I’d move to Somalia.

    I heard it’s lovely.

  29. Guav says:

    They just keep taking our liberties away? The last few years have seen nothing but expansions on gun rights.

  30. Sebastian says:

    I guess what I have a hard time understanding is what is absolutism going to accomplish for us? I’m not picking a fight here, I just want to understand the philosophical underpinnings of it.

    So I believe that machine guns ought to be protected by the Second Amendment. That’s very much a minority view, among Americans, who view machine guns as outside the category of arms protected. I think polling on that issue north of 80% last time I saw a poll.

    But that’s not really on the short term radar. So what’s the point of concerning myself with it right now? I’ll work towards goals I can achieve. That’s really the essence of pragmatism. I guess it’s hard for me to see what absolutism accomplishes, other than giving people an excuse to sit around doing nothing while they wait for the revolution to start.

  31. Guav says:

    I guess it’s hard for me to see what absolutism accomplishes, other than giving people an excuse to sit around doing nothing while they wait for the revolution to start.

    It accomplishes something else: it gives our opponents ridiculous quotes like the above that fit the stereotypes their narrative is trying to perpetuate—the same stereotypes that we’re busy trying to prove are false.

    Not helping.

  32. Carl in Chicago says:

    Bill St. Clair Said:
    Personally, I think there’s going to be a war, a war that will make the Civil War look like a cake walk. I certainly don’t want that to happen, but I am less and less able to see an alternative I can live with.

    Well, it’s my hope that you help to prevent such a thing from happening, and if it does happen, that you chose sides carefully.

    I am an absolutist in principle, but a pragmatist in practice. I think that absolute, or nearly absolute freedom can be won, but that the cost of winning it all back in one “absolute” step is just far too high. I advocate winning back freedom in a stepwise fashion. That is the nature of most change on earth.

    As for concealed carry licenses … I disagree with St. Clair. It is decidedly a net gain. Why? Because it is easier to go from licensed carry to constitutional carry than it is to go from no carry to constitutional carry. The difference is public support … conditioning to the fact that carry isn’t accompanied with bad consequences.

  33. William says:

    “Good luck trying to convince federal judges of that one. That’s a lost argument. It’s time to move on.”

    Convincing 5 of 9 robed judges may not happen any time soon, but there are other tactics by which “absolutists” can increase freedom. Like educate people in jury nullification as applied to the position they’re an “absolutist” in. Whether it’s machine guns or warrantless searches or recreational drug use, if you teach the absolutists how to get on a jury, they can make a difference.

  34. Sebastian says:

    That just results in a hung jury most of the time, meaning a new trial, and a new panel, which most likely isn’t going to have a person on it who will hang it. I agree with jury nullification in principle, but I don’t think it’s an effective tactic for promoting social change, or improving law, unless a large number of your fellow citizens agree with you. In short, it only works if you’re largely already a majority view. I question its usefulness as a tactic when you’re trying to promote change from the position of being a small minority.

  35. staghounds says:

    I believe that “most Americans” would be perfectly happy if people on the no-fly list were summarily deported, chained to trees, or electrocuted.

    “Most Americans” didn’t mind Slavery or Jim Crow.

    As long as people don’t see it as a risk to something THEY care about, other people’s liberties are pretty negotiable.

  36. Sebastian says:

    I’m not suggesting that “most americans” serves as any useful moral guide. It’s just a reality that has to be dealt with in any democratic system. Jim Crow was defeated by a carefully crafted strategy, executed over decades, that was designed to weaken and eventually destroy it. It worked. That’s what we need right now.

  37. Ed says:

    ““Most Americans” didn’t mind Slavery or Jim Crow.”

    Really? Perhaps most Americans didn’t mind slavery (which was Constitutional, but certainly wrong) until the 1850s, but given that most Americans (who could) voted for abolitionist Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and again in 1864, that statement clearly had an expiration date. Furthermore, those who supported abolition (again, empirically most Americans) were not directly affected by slavery, as the majority were white northerners. Jim Crow was largely ignored by most Americans, I’ll give you that, until the 1950s, but again, it was thrown out with the support of most Americans by the 1960s.

    Today, most Americans might not care about those on the no-fly list being denied 2nd Amendment rights, but as soon as you deny far more widely accepted rights like freedom of religion, that would change. Hence my challenge. If it’s okay to violate one part of the Constitution, violate the whole thing and see what people think.

  38. MicroBalrog says:

    Sebastian: How about this as a suggestion:

    There are certain arenas where absolutism is appropriate, even if these are arenas different from the one you operate in.

  39. Sebastian says:

    Could be, but what arenas do you have in mind?

  40. Alpheus says:

    “If I wanted to live in a country where ANYONE can go anywhere with ANY type of weapon with NO restrictions, regardless of their criminal history (and let’s just get rid of prisons too) then I’d move to Somalia.

    “I heard it’s lovely.”

    The problem with Somalia isn’t unfettered access to weapons. The problem is decades of absolute tyranny, followed by decades of anarchy.

    Somalia is actually doing better under anarchy, than under despotism, though!

  41. MicroBalrog says:

    There’s a variety of arenas where you don’t need the support of 50%+1 of the people to succeed. For example, suppose (I am not sure there’s anybody with the resources and interest and capacity to do this) someone arranged for a series of law review articles to be written and printed in major law reviews arguing for the 2nd Amendment covering machineguns. Or imagine a gun club hosted a machinegun shoot where people would be allowed to shoot a magazine from an Uzi and receive educational material on how bad the GCA is. If I recall correctly, I published a column in a US periodical (a small-time gun periodical) arguing against the 1968 GCA. Such educational efforts don’t require political victory in the immediate future.

    I am not running for office, and neither are you. We are not required to only state opinions that will get us elected.

    I believe that it’s important to educate people about these things, even if there’s not a prospect of us achieving practical change NOW NOW NOW through doing so.

    There’s a certain critical mass of people, that, if it is achieved, we’re going to have change. [Oh god that’s terrible grammar. Sorry about that.]

    And it’s actually a bit smaller than 50%.

  42. Nathaniel says:

    “Really? Perhaps most Americans didn’t mind slavery (which was Constitutional, but certainly wrong) until the 1850s, but given that most Americans (who could) voted for abolitionist Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and again in 1864, that statement clearly had an expiration date. ”

    Lincoln was no abolitionist, until it became politically expedient. From his first inaugural address:

    “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

    [Slavery] has been a mighty instrument not for evil only, but for good in the providential order of the world.”

    And the Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in areas where Lincoln had no control–not in the North, where Lincoln could have actually done something about slavery.

    Abolitionists at the time were extremists, even advocating secession of the North. They only gave up that position when the Great Consolidator came along, and they decided domination was even better than independence.

  43. Sebastian says:

    MicroBalrog:

    You won’t get any argument from me there, but I consider educational efforts to be pragmatic, rather than absolutist, but a pragmatic absolutist is going to keep the experiences if his audience in mind when it comes to education.

  44. Sebastian says:

    Nathaniel:

    Lincoln may not have been an abolitionist, but it would be a stretch to argue that he wasn’t anti-slavery. He was elected through an anti-slavery party.

    Plus, the emancipation only freed slaves in the rebelling areas because Lincoln based the order on his powers as commander-in-chief. It took a constitutional amendment to eradicate slavery.

    And when it comes to dominance to eradicate an evil like slavery, I’m all for it.

  45. Nathaniel says:

    “And when it comes to dominance to eradicate an evil like slavery, I’m all for it.”

    Yes, it was a net positive, even though Lincoln et al. chose one of the worst possible ways to do it. We got rid of slavery and federalism all at once… and it sure would have been nice if we had managed to keep the latter.

  46. Sebastian says:

    I don’t think we got rid of federalism, we inserted the federal government into the business of protecting the constitutional rights of its citizens, which I think was appropriate. The problem was, we gave up on it in the late 19th century, and didn’t start taking it seriously again until the mid 20th.

    To me federalism is a balance between what is state and what is federal. What we really eradicated with the 14th Amendment was anti-federalism.

  47. Ronnie says:

    Q: Upon what grounds do you think he should have been denied citizenship?

    A: The grounds would be the country that Shahzad came from, which would be Pakistan, an Islamic country. Shahzad should never have been allowed into this country to begin with. The biggest reason why America has been the target of Islamic terror attacks over the years is because of America’s support for Israel. There has even been testimony to support this inconvenient truth during 9/11 Commission hearings back in 2004, but all of it was stricken from the final report for reasons which remain unclear to this day.

    So, as long as America is going to support Israel as much as it does, America should have immigration policies which are similar to Israel, and as far as I know, Israel does not issue all that many visas to all that people from Islamic countries such as Pakistan.

    Q: And how would that have prevented him from purchasing a car, alarm clock, firecrackers or BBQ and gardening supplies?

    A: It would not have prevented any of that. The key is to keep people like Shahzad from entering the United States in the first place, people from Islamic countries, that is.

  48. Guav says:

    Ronnie, should I assume you are “Ron W” saying the same shit over at Uncle’s who I’ve been discussing this with? I don’t want to be redundant:

    http://www.saysuncle.com/2010/05/06/be-prepared-3/

  49. Nathaniel writes:

    Lincoln was no abolitionist, until it became politically expedient. From his first inaugural address:

    “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

    Exactly right. He was a lawyer, and he knew that his authority on this was rather limited.

    [Slavery] has been a mighty instrument not for evil only, but for good in the providential order of the world.”

    And the Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in areas where Lincoln had no control–not in the North, where Lincoln could have actually done something about slavery.

    I would be curious to see the context of the quote. The Emancipation Proclamation was targeted at those parts of the South still in rebellion, in the hope that the fear of loss of their slaves would provoke a change back to Union loyalty. Lincoln actually had no legal authority in the North to end slavery. That’s part of why it took an amendment to the Constitution to end it in the North. (In the South, the slaves were spoils of war.)

  50. Really? Perhaps most Americans didn’t mind slavery (which was Constitutional, but certainly wrong) until the 1850s, but given that most Americans (who could) voted for abolitionist Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and again in 1864, that statement clearly had an expiration date.

    Most Americans actually voted for someone other than Lincoln in 1860. The race for President was split four ways. Lincoln received less than 40% of the popular vote. Lincoln did receive a majority in 1864, but that’s because a large fraction of the country had stupidly left.

  51. MicroBalrog says:

    “So, as long as America is going to support Israel as much as it does, America should have immigration policies which are similar to Israel, and as far as I know, Israel does not issue all that many visas to all that people from Islamic countries such as Pakistan.”

    This Israeli citizen is interested in this new information.

  52. staghounds says:

    You can be an absolutist in ypour heart and a pragmatist with your mouth.

    That’s what our enemies are. Have you noticed that “Good First Step” has almost vanished from their lexicon, when twenty years ago they said it constantly?

    That’s because “good first step” scares people who fear they are the next step.

    “Concealed carry now, machine guns for everyone next” scares people who might be persuadable on concealed carry now.

  53. MicroBalrog says:

    And yet this sort of educational thing doesn’t seem to be done that much by the major groups.

  54. staghounds says:

    And here’s the context of the Lincoln quote, from the first inaugural:
    Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States, that by the accession of a Republican Administration, their property, and their peace, and personal security, are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed, and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this, and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And more than this, they placed in the platform, for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves, and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

    Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.”

    I now reiterate these sentiments; and in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause — as cheerfully to one section as to another.

    There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:

    “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

    It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it, for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the law-giver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution — to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause, “shall be delivered,” their oaths are unanimous.

    And later:

    “I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution, which amendment, however, I have not seen, has passed Congress, to the effect that the federal government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments, so far as to say that holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”

    I’ve often thought about how the First Inaugural makes it clear that the War part of the Civil War was one hundred per cent the South’s fault. Lincoln basically said that if the South seceded, all he would do is hold onto the customs houses and arsenals.

    Sad.

  55. Ken says:

    So what will the consequences be when they go ahead and do it anyway: you’ll send another donation to Fairfax?

  56. Sebastian says:

    Yes, I’ll keep supporting NRA, because they are the only organization out there who can actually fight this stuff, no matter what you might want to believe.

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