Did the Founders Blow It?

(from historyonthenet.com)

I write this on the occasion of the 47th Vice President’s1 Executive Order regarding “gun” “control”2.  I anticipate that my readers would expect me to excoriate him and his ilk and denounce them as tyrannical, ill-informed, and a threat to our nation’s foundational principles.  All of these points are true, but they aren’t going to be the focus of this piece. The current “administration” will surely pass, but the diseased thinking that underlies its plotting will persist absent strong medicine.

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The diseased thinking I have in mind is, sadly, of the Founders’ creation.  Perhaps my title is unfair—certainly nothing I write will stand the test of time nearly as well as their creation did.  Before I take pot shots at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, let me be clear that it is the most successful framework for government ever created.  Notwithstanding that achievement, I believe that we are at this point in history because of critical errors the Founders made and for which we are now paying dearly.

The first of the Founders’ oversights related to one of the greatest challenges every writer faces:  communicating in such a way that their written words convey the entirety of their message and sufficiently capture the relevant context such that their message can stand alone.  This is an aspirational goal that can at best be approached but never fully achieved.  The Constitution and the Bill of Rights suffer in this regard because they do not capture the sacrifice of lives and fortunes in service of escape from tyranny.  It is impossible for modern Americans to conceive of years of bloody warfare on our soil to resist the dictates of a foreign crown.  Because if we couldd, we wouldn’t give up one single ounce of the rights they secured for us.

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The authors of the 47th Vice President’s executive orders (hereafter referred to as the puppet masters)3 regarding guns bring us to the second of the Founders’ critical errors.  The puppet masters chose his words very carefully, and the reason they did is that they too see the diseased thinking, and rather than cure it, they want it to fester to their advantage.  Biden said:

“But no amendment—no amendment to the Constitution is absolute.”

There’s a slight of hand here so deft that unless careful attention is paid the rest of the nonsense seems to flow logically enough.  Of course, “amendments”, taken literally, mean the written words are not absolute.  So why say this? 

The puppet masters realized that the Founders blew it in naming the Bill of Rights, their second consequential oversight. It should have been titled something more accurate, albeit unwieldy, like “The List of Absolute Restrictions on Government So That Your Inalienable Rights Are Forever Secure.”  This critical error allows people to believe that the words of the Bill of Rights, created by people, are what “give you your rights.”  This is made worse by two modern problems.  First, our society has drifted away from any meaningful attachment to a Creator who endows us with our rights. Second, wrapping one’s head around the constructs of “natural rights” or “inalienable rights” requires a capacity for abstraction that public education avoids imparting at all costs, leaving people without any conceptual basis to argue otherwise. 

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If this gets you to read this then my job here should be done. I think that article is both sufficiently catchy and lethal to the diseased thinking about rights that it could be the catalyst to taking our rights back. I’d be remiss however not to comment on one particular focus of Biden’s Executive Order. 

“Ghost guns” is the confiscationist term for guns made by their owners from components after personally drilling holes in one of the parts (the “lower receiver”) so that the components can be assembled.  No background check is required because the ATF (so far) defines a “gun” as the serialized receiver. But since it was purchased “unfinished” (i.e., without the holes) it didn’t become the “gun” until the holes were drilled. 

If any of this troubles you, consider the alternative: your right to self-defense would require absolute reliance on the commercial purchase of the implements of that right.  No other natural right works that way because it is antithetical to any conception of liberty.  The puppet masters’ obvious goal is to deprive you of the ability to arm yourself outside their watch.  It’s certainly not about crime because privately assembled guns are almost never used criminally.  Interfering with the home manufacture of guns, combined with universal background checks, would give our authoritarian Lords the ability to make a registry of guns for potential confiscation.

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Although we must fight these efforts through our representatives at every level of government, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the right to self-defense is enjoying increasing respect throughout the states, as noted here. I share that author’s optimism that we shall overcome.

Notes:

  1. I’d rather not debate the legitimacy of Biden’s Presidency, or whether he has the cognitive capacity for the job (or any job for that matter), nor would I assert he isn’t my President as certain people did of the previous one. I prefer to stick with the inarguable and just as regrettable fact that Joe Biden was the 47th Vice-President of the United States.
  2. “Gun control” actually means purposefully using guns safely and is well described by the training offered by the National Rifle Association.  “Gun” “control” is my way of denoting nonsense by confiscatory leftists that has nothing to do with “controlling” “guns” but has everything to do with controlling you and me.
  3. Please consider the full import of Joe Biden reciting the phrase “salute the Marines” as he passes them by in this clip before challenging the puppet master assertion.

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–Dennis Petrocelli, MD is a clinical and forensic psychiatrist who has practiced for nearly 20 years in Virginia. He took up shooting in 2019 for mind-body training and self-defense, and is in the fight for Virginians’ gun rights.

All DRGO articles by Dennis Petrocelli, MD