“. . . we need to go back to the real meaning of the Second Amendment. What was the historical context of the Amendment and of the Bill of Rights in general? What particular philosophical and ideological terms were at the foundation of the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights in general? Who were the people who were granted the rights? Who was the “antagonist,” the entity against which the rights were to be exercised?
All these questions are very important, and all these have been answered incorrectly by modern liberals in their gun-grabbing attempts. But the real problem is, conservatives have been just as bad in interpreting the Second Amendment – and it is their failure to read it for what it is is what led to our present loss of individual rights. Yes, folks, it is not the liberals, it is the conservatives’ failure that our rights have been taken away little by little. Had conservatives been consistent and faithful to the real meaning of the Amendment, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Book of the Week:
– August 1, 1946. The battle of Athens, Tennessee by C. Stephen Byrum
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Welcome to Episode 24 of Axe to the Root Podcast, part of the War Room Productions, I am Bo Marinov, and for the next 20 minutes we will be talking about police and the Second Amendment. We will cover that cherished delusion of the majority of conservatives that police is good because cops are somehow “conservative” and are somehow “pro-Second Amendment.” We will see what the real meaning of the Second Amendment is, and we will see how we can tell a true pro-Second Amendment Sheriff from a socialist propagandist who uses pseudo-conservative rhetoric to endear himself to a specific voting block.
My previous episode on police, “Should We Have Police?”, produced certain negative reactions from people who consider themselves “conservatives.” Obviously, given that I dared touch one of the idols of modern American conservatism, the men in uniforms. And I didn’t just point to cases of police brutality, which are easier to ignore with the favorite phrase, “a few bad apples,” I presented a principled position why, from a Christian and traditional perspective (which is the professed perspective of American conservatism), police should be abolished. Even worse than that, I presented evidence that from the beginning, police was created as a socialist and progressivist experiment in social engineering, to control and subjugate what once was a free people. That must have made some people mad, for I am not just pointing to individual cases of injustice, I am pointing to the principle of injustice behind the existence of police. Thus, the supposed “conservatives” who worship cops and are eager to defend their crimes every time are now faced with a principled position that police as an institution is neither conservative nor just. And that, as a principle, defending police makes you a socialist just as much as defending government welfare, or government schools, or the FEMA camps, or government regulations, etc. For any clearly thinking person out there, defending police as a principle and being a conservative is a case of schizophrenia much more unresolvable than anything the liberal side of the spectrum can offer.
This is to be expected, of course, given that despite their rhetoric against big government, American conservatives are really not against big government, and certainly not against socialism. They just have their own version of statism and their own version of socialism. As has been said many times, American conservatives and American liberals are both statist and socialist, except that liberals envision the state as a caring mother in an apron, while conservatives envision it as a stern father in a uniform. Both want the state to control individuals; and both want to give the state all the power to enforce their preferred version of socialism. And both have their own inconsistencies and schizophrenias and self-contradictions. While conservatives like to call out the liberal schizophrenia, the conservative schizophrenia is just as bad, if not worse, and I have talked about it in other places. From their view on immigration to their view on police, conservatives most of the time speak and act contrary to their professed principles, and seldom even stop to think whether their positions make sense at all, given their own ideology.
Intellectual schizophrenia, following the epistemology of Van Til, is always the fruit of idolatry. In his books, Van Til directed our attention to the fact that sin and unbelief produce not only practical immorality but also intellectual debility; he called it the “noetic (having to do with the mind) effect of sin.” Intellectual consistency and honesty can only come from a thoroughly Biblical Trinitarian worldview. Thus, people whose minds operate in a regime of permanent schizophrenia are people whose hearts operate in a regime of permanent idolatry. I don’t have to go into exposing the idolatry of modern conservatism in this podcast, but we will do it in future podcasts.
Knowing that I have to deal with idolatry, and that idolatry is irrational, I knew that trying to reason with detractors based on principle would not be productive, so I tried with a simple question with an obvious answer: “If the Federal government announces a gun ban and confiscation of all privately-owned guns, who do you think is most likely to knock on your door to confiscate your guns: a Washington DC politician, a local member of the Democrat Party, or your local cops?”
The answer I got from all those with whom I tried to reason was this: “Our cops are different.” Yes, folks, just like “Our schools are different.” If we gather all the claims by all the Christian parents who send their kids to government schools, we will find that 99% – if not more – of all the schools in the US are different. In the same way, I bet, 99% of all the cops in the US are different, based on testimonies of defenders of police. And hardly anyone knows where those few cops are who would enforce a gun confiscation is ordered from Washington DC.
One of my correspondents referred to David Clarke, Sheriff of Milwaukee County. Clarke, who is a 100% Democrat, with deep ties within the Democrat Party, has become a conservative celebrity propped by FOX News, mainly because of his image of a tough man in a uniform – exactly the kind of image the Republican Party statists worship. He has learned to use the rhetoric of conservative idolatry, from bashing Obama, through paying lip service to the Constitution, down to talking about the Second Amendment. He even sort of passes for anti-abortion – at least, he has made a few PR statements to suggest he is. FOX News and other conservative media have dubbed him the “rebel Sheriff,” for his ostensible opposition to Obama’s Federal government and its agenda.
So, Sheriff David Clarke, my correspondent said, is a pro-Second Amendment Sheriff. We need police, because such Sheriffs as him is will protect us from the Federal government’s gun grab, when needed.
Now, if we needed to make a personal assessment of David Clarke, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that should the time come, he would put his money where his mouth is. For one, He certainly hasn’t done it when it comes to abortion: No abortion clinics have been closed in his county. Clarke has repeatedly said in respect to protests against police murders that, “If black lives mattered, they would be protesting in front of abortion clinics.” The fact that he, a man in uniform, a man of power vested in him to fight crime and injustice, relegates the resistance against murder to groups and people of no official authority or power, already shows he is a coward: in the perfect case where he could make a stand against the Federal government and protect justice against a wicked, statist agenda, he cops out and asks other people to do it for him. Right there, it is obvious that David Clarke has no guts nor intention to stand up for his principles – if he even has principles to start with – to the Federal government when needed, his militant rhetoric to the contrary. And second, David Clarke is just one of the thousands of sheriffs and police chiefs around the country who have lined up at the Federal government’s shop for military equipment worth millions of dollars, from helmets and automatic rifles to armored vehicles. Who is he going to war against? Hardly against his benefactor, the Federal government. More likely against his own constituency. Why else does he need to be better armed than the population in his county? Clarke is obviously already compromised, and relying on him and others like him to oppose the Federal government is, at best, foolish.
Leaving aside David Clarke’s personal integrity – or the personal integrity of thousands of Sheriffs and police chiefs with the same macho rhetoric and heroic self-image – the more strategic question before us is this: Are they really pro-Second Amendment? Let’s assume that they are honest; let’s accept their rhetoric at prima vista, not digging deeper in their personal reliability and honesty; are we to assume from the claims of these Sheriffs who claim to be pro-Second Amendment, that they are really pro-Second Amendment?
In order to answer this question, we need to go back to the real meaning of the Second Amendment. What was the historical context of the Amendment and of the Bill of Rights in general? What particular philosophical and ideological terms were at the foundation of the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights in general? Who were the people who were granted the rights? Who was the “antagonist,” the entity against which the rights were to be exercised? All these questions are very important, and all these have been answered incorrectly by modern liberals in their gun-grabbing attempts. But the real problem is, conservatives have been just as bad in interpreting the Second Amendment – and it is their failure to read it for what it is is what led to our present loss of individual rights. Yes, folks, it is not the liberals, it is the conservatives’ failure that our rights have been taken away little by little. Had conservatives been consistent and faithful to the real meaning of the Amendment, we wouldn’t be here today.
Any serious analysis of it needs to start not with the specific notion of gun ownership or liberty but with the philosophical and ideological distinction, very popular at the time, popularized by John Locke, namely, the distinction between state and government. While we don’t have too much time to delve into the political philosophy of John Locke, one very important characteristic of this philosophy is relevant to us today: namely, that individuals by nature tend to organize in states. Now, “state” at the time meant not the separate institution that controlled the society judicially – that institution was the “government.” State was any politically organized community – that is, a community under a uniform law. (Uniform as in accepted as valid and binding by all or most members of the community.) Thus, any town, any county where a uniform law acted to regulate relationships between individuals, was a “state.” A “state” could be a neighborhood, but it could be a whole nation. Either way, “state” denoted the community, and it included ALL the people in it.
Now, while every group of individuals who organized politically was a “state,” not every state had a government. A government was an extra, something that some states might choose to have but some might not to. A great number of townships and counties in America at the time had no governments; they all relied simply on citizens’ courts when a crime had to be investigated and prosecuted. Meanwhile, all the other social functions were performed by private citizens or corporations. People could organize in states, they didn’t have to have a ruling elite to govern them. The difference between government and state was deeply embedded in the political thought at the time.
This difference is clearly visible in the Bill of Rights. The real antagonist, the real target of the Bill of Rights was the government. The First Amendment made it clear that the one who was targeted was the government, and it is the government that the people had the right to petition to redress those grievances. These were not grievances inflicted by other entities; for other entities – like criminals, other individuals, corporations – there were courts where the people could go to. It was the government, with its superior power, that could grow more powerful than the courts and therefore had to be restrained by the Bill of Rights. The government was the enemy. Any agent of the government was the enemy.
On the other hand, the state was not the enemy. The state was perceived to be the whole population organized in the same polity. Thus, the Second Amendment specifically establishes the state as separate from the government:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State . . .
Notice, while the First Amendment mentions the Government as a possible source of troubles and grievances, the Second establishes the necessity of the security of a free State. Obviously, state and government are not the same, for it wouldn’t make sense to first try to restrain the government and then try to make it “free.” Not to mention, make it “free” by establishing that the people – as separate from the government – have the right have their own militia (not a professional army) and have their guns.
A free State, therefore, was a community that could stand its ground against a government, foreign or domestic. To do that, it had the right to have its own organized armed forces, different and opposed to the government, and its own private guns. At the giving end of these guns was to be the free state, that is, the community and its regulated armed forces. Regulated, that is, by the community itself. On the receiving end of these guns was to be the government, and only the government. The government had its unique and reserved place in the cross hairs of the Second Amendment. And if the Amendment was to be taken seriously, the government – in all its levels in the US – should have stayed there forever. And it was taken seriously, for a while.
It is right here where we see the first instance of deviation of modern conservatives, and especially of modern Sheriffs and police chiefs, from the real meaning of the Second Amendment. In news after news that I read about the so-called “Second Amendment Sheriffs,” I see the same fallacy repeated: that the people have the right to own guns to protect themselves against criminals – meaning private criminals. This fallacy is repeated so many times not only by Sheriffs but also by pundits in FOX News that many conservatives have accepted it for real.
But the Bill of Rights was not written to establish our rights against private criminals. Such a thought never even occurred to the Founding Fathers; there was not a single bit of an idea in their view of government that would make them think or say that the people needed a Bill of Rights against private criminals. A private criminal breaking into a house had forfeited his life and no one had a need for a special law – let alone a whole Bill of Rights – to shoot a criminal. If there was a court warrant or a court verdict on a criminal, he was an open game for anyone, government agents or private citizens. There was absolutely no need to legally establish the right of defense against private criminals, the thought would sound ridiculous to the early colonists. The target was the government, and only the government, as over against the free state, that is, a community free of government intervention.
It is a distortion of the Bill of Rights and of justice, therefore, when modern Sheriffs declare that they are pro-Second Amendment because they want the people to have arms to protect their homes against criminals. It is not only an abandonment of the true meaning of the Second Amendment, it is also a deliberate obfuscation to disinform the people about their rights. Since the target has been moved from the government to private criminals, the balance of firepower that is the real meaning of the Second Amendment has been shifted from the government to private criminals. And as a result, more and more legislation has been enacted to curb the freedom of owning guns – obviously, no one needs heavier guns if the criminals don’t have them either. Meanwhile, since the government is now freed from being in the cross hairs, these same supposedly Second-Amendment Sheriffs have used Federal funds to accumulate weaponry far superior to that of their constituency. Thus, their babble about being pro-Second Amendment is a lie. Any Sheriff who claims to be a Second-Amendment Sheriff but takes from the Federal government military-grade weaponry which his constituents can’t have legally, is a liar. And also, a future tyrant, or at least, an agent of tyrants.
Why do they lie? Because they know not only what entity is in the cross hairs of the Second Amendment. The Sheriffs also know who specifically is supposed to be shot by the guns protected by the Second Amendment.
It is important to understand the historical context of the time. Just a few years earlier, the colonies rebelled against the British government. The immediate occasion for the beginning of the hostilities in 1775 was nothing else but the attempt of the British authorities to seize guns, gunpowder, and ammunition from several communities. The colonists rightly saw this as a tyrannical act against the existence of a free state, and responded by putting the government in their cross hairs. Without this attempt of the authorities to seize the guns, we can imagine that there would hardly be any occasion for a full-scale rebellion, and the needed changes would have been instituted by legislative action. England lost the colonies because the English government wanted their guns. This made the government the target.
But who was the direct target? It wasn’t the government in London. The American colonists didn’t try to attack London; Britain, actually, wasn’t considered an enemy country or territory by the colonists. British non-military individuals traveled between Britain and the Colonies and were not disturbed by any hostilities. During the Revolutionary War, some of the Founding Fathers referred to the British system of government as a “republic,” and pointed to the English Common Law as the best legal example for the colonies.
The direct target were the British troops. That is, the men in uniforms, with government-issued weapons, who had the power to arrest colonists and seize their weapons, and to enforce the British laws. The people needed guns not to wage global wars against distant potentates. The guns were needed to shoot the men in uniforms right in front of their houses.
Fast forward to today. And listen carefully to the following question: Do we have today, in our society, men in uniforms who serve the government, against a free state? Men who have the executive power to enter our houses or arrest us on the streets, and seize our belongings? Men like those red coats back then?
Now listen even more carefully: The Second Amendment was written with the red coats in its cross hairs. Now, let me say it: Today, the Second Amendment, if applied correctly, should have in its cross hairs the men who represent the red coats today. The men who are in uniforms, have government-issued guns, and have the executive powers to arrest us, enter our homes, and seize our belongings.
Thus, this is what the Second Amendment was written for: To establish the right of the people, for the existence of a free state, to shoot cops who overstep their boundaries. And no, no the boundaries established by the state – for these are arbitrary boundaries. Not the boundaries of the technicalities of the police protocols – these are even more arbitrary, and are specifically written to make cops more tyrannical. But the boundaries that establish the existence of a free state: a state free of government intervention. Thus, the Second Amendment was written to prevent the existence of police as we have it today – for there is not a single police department or Sheriff’s office in America today that doesn’t use its powers to steal and harass and murder people. The Second Amendment established the right of Americans to shoot at police in defense of their Lives, Liberty, and Property. Thus, they all should be in the cross hairs of the Second Amendment, if America is to return to her real historical legacy.
I have not heard any Sheriff in America who claims to be pro-Second Amendment, say such a thing. And without proclaiming that the Second Amendment is for shooting cops, there is no real understanding of it.
Thus, next time a Sheriff claims he is pro-Second Amendment, ask him if he believes that the Amendment allows the American people to shoot cops who try to exercise tyrannical power. If he says no, or if he is unwilling to answer, he is a liar. My bet is, 100% of them are liars. And if I am wrong, I will be very glad.
So far, though, I am proven right. Even David Clarke, after with all his macho self-promotion as a Second-Amendment Sheriff, said in an interview: Police are always in charge. If police says you go to jail, you go to jail. If police says get out of the road, you get out of the road. And you complain later. Etc. But the Second Amendment says, No. Police are not in charge. If police says you go to jail without a warrant, the people are in charge and the cops should be shot, until they learn to never cross the border of a free state without a warrant. Just like those red coats more than 240 years ago. David Clarke is a liar. He is not pro-Second Amendment. And neither are all these Sheriffs who wouldn’t read the Amendment for what it really means.
The book I will assign this week is a history of one of the most important battles on American soil; the last battle of a really free state against the rightful target of the Second Amendment: The battle of Athens TN in 1946. The book is titled, August 1, 1946. The battle of Athens, Tennessee, and is written by C. Stephen Byrum. It is an expensive book, and out of print, but it is worth being in the library of anyone who cares about liberty.
And on the mission front, I have a request for you. We are starting a project in Bulgaria, of setting a few libraries for homeschool materials in a few cities in the country. Since Bulgaria still doesn’t have any Christian homeschool materials in Bulgarian, and there are some good materials in English which can be used by some parents in Bulgaria – helping others as well – we want to make those available at zero price for homeschoolers to rent. Hoping, of course, that eventually some of them will either be led to translate them, or write a Bulgarian version of them. The project will require certain capital for purchasing the materials – not much, but more than Bulgarian families can afford. So, my request is this: go to BulgarianReformation.com, subscribe to the newsletter, and donate. The Second Amendment is important, but much more important is preparing Christian children for the future. And in Bulgaria, God has grown the homeschool movement from one to several hundred families within 20 years. It’s a battleground of proven victory record for the Kingdom of God, and your help will go a very long way. God bless you all.