I think looking at the Second Amendment solely as a means to deter governmental malfeasance is a bit short sighted, and while many activists choose to focus on that aspect, I don’t.Â What the Second Amendment really protects, at root, is the right to self-preservation, and I think that is an important right of free people who inhabit a liberal democracy.Â In fact, it’s hard to think of any right which is more fundamental than that of self-preservation.Â Preventing serious government malfeasance is merely a side-effect of preserving the means to exercise the right.
And understand, the kind of government abuses that the Second Amendment is meant to deter does not sink to the level of the PATRIOT Act.Â While I have many problems with more than a few provisions of that act, it was still enacted by an elected legislature, signed by an elected President, and will be scrutinized by functioning courts, all using a Constitution and other bodies of law that we still largely follow.
I generally follow the philosophy of Judge Alex Kozinski, in his dissent in Silveira vs. Lockyer, when it comes to the Second Amendment and its purpose as a check on governmental power:
The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed â€” where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
It’s reasonable to say that Lawyers and Money are the most important, but if those don’t work, then what?Â If the worst you can think up when it comes to government abuse is the PATRIOT Act, I would argue you’re a poor student of history.Â We know just from the twentieth century that human beings are capable of far far worse.Â Having a gun never means you’re always guaranteed to come out on top, but it expands your options and capabilities.Â Â Let me ask MikeB, and others like him this: if you were a member of the Secret Police, would you prefer to have to go round up dissenters in Germany?Â Â Or would you prefer to try doing it in Texas, where there will be a gun behind every door you kick in?