Wishful Thinking

At least one MIT history professor thinks Breyer and Stevens’ dissent was correct. Unfortunately for her, Stevens’ dissent has been thoroughly discredited, and just based on this article, Professor Maier has only superficial knowledge of the scholarship in this area. What she does know she’s obviously using to bolster her pre-conceivded notions, rather than looking at what the founders really had to say about the topic.

7 thoughts on “Wishful Thinking”

  1. Isn’t that what the vast majority of academics do? After all, it’s not like history, sociology, economics, are real sciences…where there are right answers and wrong answers, and you don’t get a doctoral degree for publishing 300 pages of bullcrap that comports with your advisors prejudices.

  2. It should be noted that the “Humanities” at MIT are for the most part a red-headed stepchild. E.g. back in the ’80s MIT was spending $1 million per year to get just the department’s professors access to Harvard’s library system (2 subway stops away). I’m pretty sure it’s never been a place that’s attracted “names”, outside of some special cases (e.g. some SF writers have taught there as I recall).

    That said, there were some fantastic teachers of history there in the ’80s, but they were older white males and have long since retired. And they were often frustrated … almost all the students didn’t know much history then (we’re talking at the level of not being able to identify the French Revolution) and I’m sure it’s worse now. And of course no one goes to MIT to get a degree in history (other than in the history of science and engineering, perhaps).

    Anyway, if the best the NYT could find was an MIT history professor, they’re not doing well….

  3. It’s worth remembering the full extent of Breyer’s attack on liberty in “McDonald v. Chicago.” Quoting from Breyer’s dissent:

    “[E]xamination of the Framers’ motivation tells us they did not think the private armed self-defense right was of paramount importance…Further, there is no popular consensus that the private self-defense right described in Heller is fundamental…In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self defense. There has been, and is, no consensus that the right is, or was, ‘fundamental.’ ”
    – Justice Breyer (Ginburg & Sotomayor)

    That’s right–not only did 4 members of SCOTUS reject the individual right to bear arms, at least 3 of them rejected THE RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE. There is simply no possible way to read the writing of Jefferson, Adams, Sherman and the rest of the founders and come to the conclusion that they didn’t support the right to bear arms for personal self-defense.

    I hate to reduce it to this level, but Breyer, Ginsburg & Sotomayor are either too stupid, too partisan, or both to qualify for positions on the Supreme Court. And following her own testimony, Sotomayor deserves to be impeached for perjury before the senate.

  4. The right to private armed self-defense against criminals wouldn’t have been of any concern to the founders at that time, as this was exactly the sort of thing they left to the states (or, more accurately, the states kept for themselves). It was none of their concern from the central government’s standpoint.

    They simply intended to prevent the federal government from taking any action which might interfere with the right to keep and bear arms within the states. Yes, with an eye toward guaranteeing the continued operation of state militas, but this necessarily includes protection of individual citizens as well as the militas themselves.

    This is the conclusion I have come to, based on my search for the truth.

  5. I disappointed to see Maier write this. I’ve read enough of her stuff to know that she is either consciously or subconsciously cherry-picking the history of the period to get this result.

  6. Sigh. If the Bellesiles affair is any guide, it would seem that absent brutal fraud when it comes to the RKBA revolutionary truth wins every time in the academy.

  7. So Stevens and Breyer are right because there were “many Quakers” living in Rhode Island 220 years ago?

    Clayton’s right – it’s cherry picking and maybe the weakest agreement I’ve ever heard.

    1. Rhode Island was a refuge for religious rejects like the Quakers but they were never more than a very small percentage of Rhode Island’s population. She makes them sound like the modern Democratic Party in RI. They were in no position to block anything having to do with the Constitution.

    2. She assumes with absolutely no supporting evidence that the Quakers were not only non-violent, but anti-gun and willing to impose those beliefs on others through government force – more than a hundred years before banning guns occurred to anyone else in the United States. Clearly she is projecting her own beliefs on to the Quakers.

    I was a history major – those kind baseless assumptions would have earned an F from the real history professors I studied under.

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