Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Makin' It Up

It's been a while since I've made fun of Doug Giles. It's a cottage industry in some corners of the blogosphere - god knows, the "Motel Messiah™" gives you enough material. But I'll leave the ridicule to TBogg and company, and just comment on the history.

This week's column is called Packed, Stacked and Ready to Whack - it has nothing to do with gay porn - it is another defense of the 2nd amendment. Alas, only the title is in rhyme, though Doug maintains his usual command of the English language. That aside, let's get to the history. Here's Doug, explaining the second amendment:

One of the basic human rights that constantly has to be defended is the right to keep and bear arms.  Why did the original founders of this great American experiment toss this given, no-duh, entitlement into the Constitution?  Well … it wasn’t so that we would be guaranteed that we could hunt squirrels and woodchucks without serving time, as great as that is.  It was for the purpose of defending ourselves against perps when the cops are running a little late, and for the purpose of protecting ourselves against the government should the system go south.

Alas, no, the right to keep and bear arms was not (originally) about protecting yourself from "perps" or even overthrowing the government. It is guaranteed for the fairly obvious purpose of maintaining a "well regulated militia" - so there would be no need of a standing army. Standing armies lead to tyranny, went the argument - an argument rooted in the English Civil War and the unfortunate example of Oliver Cromwell - an argument given plenty of fuel in the 1760s and 70s, as the redcoats made their presence felt in the colonies. Mr. Giles here makes a fundamental mistake - the right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed not to protect the citizens against an army out of control - but to take the place of that army.

The rest of the column is typical nonsense - claiming that if the German citizens had been armed in the 1930s they wouldn't have voted Adolf Hitler into power -ignoring the fact that most of the free world has quite restrictive gun laws - and generally showing no sign of a clue as to how politics works. If he thinks arming both sides will prevent civil wars and genocides, he hasn't been paying attention.

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