Amendments I – IV; In Which the Founders Explain How Not To Be an Asshole
What do you think of when the words “Bill of Rights” are uttered? If you thought, the rights to free speech, owning a gun, and not being unreasonably searched or having your stuff unreasonably seized by cops, then you’re in the majority of Americans. If the first thing that popped into your head instead was the right to be free of quartering a soldier, or maybe, the right not to be levied with excessive bail, then… well, at least you’ve read the document.
The radical Leftists at work in our media, academic, and political establishments have certainly read the document. But the problem is that they’re either functionally illiterate—that is, misunderstanding the words they’re reading—or, they’re quantitatively retarded. Or, perhaps more likely, they’re actively deconstructing the document a la Derrida in order to derive a meaning from it that suits their agenda, even if that meaning runs contrary to the very words there written upon the page. So let’s do a short, cumulative analysis of what amendments present in the Bill of Rights are there that the popular Left actually agrees with.
This piece is divided into three parts. The first part will cover the basic gist of what the Founders wanted the government to do in the broadest sense, explicating a system in which the State is bound by restraints for the purposes of guaranteeing certain freedoms of its constituency. The second part will focus on Amendments concerning the justice system, in which the Founders effectively explain the hows of ensuring that this government stays more or less in the form that they originally desired. And the last part will focus on Amendments IX and X, in which wiggle room is provided for the growing country while attempting to maintain a distinctly tight belt around the inevitable swelling gut of the growing State apparatus.
I’ll freely admit that I am no expert on constitutional law. And unless I’ve attracted the radiant ire of some amusingly curious Yale graduate with some time on his hands, I’m guessing you aren’t either.
Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
At this point, the Leftist infiltration of academia is so obvious that it hardly even needs to be mentioned. If anyone believes seriously that college campuses and universities are the bastion of serious debate and higher learning that they were fifty years ago, that person should probably get his head examined—or better yet, walk onto his nearest campus with some chalk and write something about Trump on their sidewalks.
I’m talking, naturally, about this whole issue of ‘hate speech’, and whether it’s covered under the First Amendment. It is.
This is not to say that the First Amendment is limitless. Solicitations to violence and criminal activity, obscenity, child pornography, blackmail, and threats are all commonly agreed upon as being off-limits and subject to legal action. And this is all common sense; treasonous language and private calls to arms against anyone or any group of people shouldn’t be tolerated by the governing body, nor by any group of people. But none of this really covers so-called triggering hate speech. And for good reason: hate speech doesn’t mean anything. It’s visceral language from the lips of sycophants and undesirables whose only offense isn’t even criminal, only that insulting the feelings of a coddled and degenerate group of millennials. And that’s if the hate speech in question can even be legitimately considered hate speech. More often than not, the crap classified under the moniker is applied to perfectly reasonable claims that fall within the realm of regular discourse. Sometimes it’s taken out of context. Sometimes it isn’t. The problem in such instances isn’t ever the speech in question, though. It’s the accusers.
But enough about speech. The Left isn’t too fond of religion, either—at least religion that isn’t willing to compromise on certain fundamental precepts of nature like the reality of unborn children or the incapacity for homosexual unions to be comparable to families. It doesn’t matter what someone thinks of these things, no—at least, not for most American conservatives. For democrats, though, reconciliation of religious doctrine with liberal agendas isn’t so obvious; a conservative who finds homosexual behavior sinful clearly cannot also be of the opinion that it really isn’t any of their business what goes on behind closed doors, for instance. Even though a majority of Americans believe exactly that. No, the Lefties in charge seriously believe that the so-called homophobic Right wants to stamp out civil liberties that only exist in the realm of imagination, and probably even execute gays while they’re at it. And accusations of this sort wouldn’t be so easily made if Anderson Cooper wasn’t on CNN a few nights ago trying to demonize Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in the wake of the recent Orlando gay club shooting. It’s this crap that makes the media look so incomprehensibly awful.
But, hey. It’s hard to blame the media for their general retardation when they’ve been playing this autistic game for the last couple decades.
About the only thing you can credit the Left with in defense of the First Amendment is their willingness to stir up protests to address grievances. Problem is, in recent history, their protests all-too-often spiral into chaos and violence as they fight everyone from conservative speakers at universities to Trump supporters to cops to their own communities. And that just tramples on another amendment that we’ll get to later.
Amendment II: 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.
Perfect timing! We’re in the thralls of a national debate on gun control this very month. Although, conveniently, when aren’t we? The Left is all too happy to indulge in fear-mongering about inanimate objects while ignoring the will of radicals, terrorists, and the mentally deranged to do harm to their neighbors. It’s much easier to pretend that boomsticks are the problem.
In any case, the typical arguments levied against the second amendment really only come in one form, and it hangs on the words ‘a well regulated militia’. Everything about how the constitution was written at a time muskets were the only form of firearms the Founders were considering, and how there’s a huge difference between the level of lethality of a 3-round/minute muzzleloader and the technical-spec 800-round/minute AR-15 is all irrelevant and, actually, historically ignorant.
In fact, confusion over the term ‘well-regulated militia’ is itself something of an historical ignorance. The argument goes something like this: firearm ownership is perfectly acceptable when overseen by the State, inasmuch as militias are State-organized bodies designed to keep the public peace—something like a militarized police force (the irony of such a concept and the Left’s fervent decries of the militarization of the police to fight gangs and the drug war seems lost on most people who argue this, but hey, nobody’s perfect). Here’s the problem, though. Militias were never State-organized bodies, and they were never overseen by the State. They were basically armed community watch programs of colonial times, back when the State was responsible for little more than collecting taxes and arbitrating criminal law. There wasn’t even a significant police force in the colonial period, much less a militarized one.
And that was part of the point, as is evidenced by the very phrasing of the amendment. The Founders didn’t want the ever present shield of a police force breathing down their populaces’ necks. Personal security had always been the responsibility of individual families, and it was intended to remain that way. The rugged life of the colonial period was rough and dirty, and it was hard. Personal security meant the gun over the fireplace.
“Oh,” but the urban liberal will argue, “things are different now.” Sure, we don’t have to defend our settlements from Native American raids, or send armed escorts with trade caravans across the Great Indian Warpath and risk life and limb for some pelts. Instead, we have urban crime rate fueled by gang and drug trade violence, cartel violence on our southern border, and ports used as cemeteries for organized crime. The violence hasn’t gone away, it’s just changed its face from the frontier violence of isolation to the urban violence of look-the-other-way. Sure, “things are different now.” Sensible gun control of course means further restriction of what firearms a civilian can legally buy. Ridiculous.
Part of the confusion around the militia terminology comes from the fact that a state’s National Guard is now commonly considered its militia force, and that this force is comparable in purpose and constitution as that militia spelled out in the Second Amendment. However, the National Guard as we know it today owes its existence to the 1903 Militia Act, which effectively reorganized, funded, and federalized the individual state militias into formal military command. This was done in part to help centralize the nation’s defense, such as to avoid conflicts of interest between states (like New York refusing to send its militia into British Columbia during the War of 1812, as well as the numerous examples of colonial powers’ wariness to send their militias into the service of the Continental Congress, which necessitated the creation of the Continental Army).
In any case, comparing the National Guard as it exists today with the colonial and state militias as they existed up to the twentieth century is misguided. The National Guard is a State apparatus, similar in its top-down regulatory approach with urban law enforcement and national military. The militias it supposedly grew out of were bottom-up community defense programs organized and regulated by townships and local governments. Their organizational structures are different, and in turn, the aims and purposes of their ends are different, as well. Claiming that gun ownership hinges on enrollment in the State’s official military force utterly ignores the historical discrepancy between a militia and the National Guard.
Amendment III: No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
We’re third down on the list and at last we reach an amendment that doesn’t seem to have anything whatsoever to do with the contemporary liberal agenda. Fortunately, there is very little of note to say about this one—it was established to combat a principle colonial concern, and due to the manner in which the US military is administrated today, seems to be among the last of the amendments likely to crumble before the almighty Leftist march.
That said, should the country collapse into a state of near-anarchy in the future, with a second civil war or revolution of some sort breaking out in urban cities, be prepared for the sort of legislation that demanded this be codified as the Third Amendment coming back into vogue.
Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
On some level, the language of this particular amendment doesn’t quite get to the core of a modern reader’s concerns. Unreasonable search & seizures and the obtaining of warrants by law enforcement officials seem like common knowledge among anyone with access to a television set during primetime. Shows like CSI and Law & Order have trained us to expect a certain amount of justice to be administered on behalf of the police and administrative branch of government.
Except, of course, when one considers the greater issue at stake in the Fourth Amendment: the right to privacy. It is not a right explicitly spelled out—you don’t see ‘privacy’ present there in the amendment—but the concept is there in the words “unreasonable searches,” “probable cause,” and “particularly describing…”. The limits are pretty clear.
So it is with this context that the NSA scandal from a few years back is so striking. Yes, the Obama Administration tried to blame it on Bush—who, after all, opened the door to governmental collation of private information from phone companies and firms. And yes, the Bush Administration’s Patriot Act did demand a strengthening of vigil over security concerns at the expense of some degree of privacy.
That said, the President has always had the last word on the program’s continuation. Any time it comes up for renewal—in theory, in the yearly budget—he can always nix it. But he hasn’t. Instead, when congress passed a four-year renewal back in 2011, the contents of the law remained classified to the general public. So much for Obama’s transparency.
And this surveillance stuff doesn’t even touch on the obviously questionable nature of things that so-called Affordable Care Act required. Oh, what’s that? You don’t like having your hard-earned money being automatically allocated to healthcare premiums that you probably won’t even need because you’re a healthy young person with no history of serious physical ailments? Too bad—the government gets to tell you now how to spend your money. And it’s the law.
I cover this more under the Ninth Amendment, but the ethos of State-sanctioned theft of property is readily apparent.
These were the easy ones. It’s pretty obvious that the Left’s relationship with the first two amendments are, to say the least, tenuous. Like having a conversation with that one contrarian friend of yours—the one that says “yes, I agree with what you’re saying, but…” wherein he proceeds to fill that ellipsis with the exact opposite of what he claimed to have just agreed to. “Speech should be free and you should be allowed to say anything you want, except all the various sorts of things that might hurt someone’s feelings.” “Owning guns is a Constitutional right, but there are some guns that are simply dangerous, so unless you’re trained by the government and plan on only possessing a flintlock, owning guns isn’t really a right.” Etcetera, etcetera.
“Of course you have the right not to be unreasonably searched and of course you shouldn’t have stuff randomly taken from you. Unless it’s, you know, through high insurance premiums that are being used to finance someone else’s abortion.”