Saturday, August 7, 2010

Request for Open Debate to Dr. Mathis

Recently Dr. Stephen Mathis of Wheaton college in Massachusetts wrote about the 2nd Amendment's current meaning in society.   Dr. Mathis with his Master's degree frm Duke, and Ph.D from Kansas (a state that only recently allowed discussions about Darwin's theory of evolution) has used his time and effort in one attempt: To nullify the 2nd Amendment of the United states Constitution.

While I don't have the enormous credentials of Dr. Mathis, I would present this open challenge to him to debate this issue with someone like me; a common person, working what is considered an entry level position, who is an autodidact (self-taught), free from the biases laid upon one by professors and institutions as a whole.  

To begin with, Dr. Mathis claims that "the Founders were against the idea of a standing military in peacetime, because a standing military gave the president too much power, thus making citizens less free. Consequently, a citizen’s militia played the central role in national defense."  this of course would explain why The Continental Army was established by the Continental Congress on June 14th, 1775.   This was because the founders we know and love were against a standing army?   Or were they simply against the use of armed forces against the citizens?   I argue there is sufficient evidence that they were simply against the use of organized armies against its own citizens, and were not against a standing army for national defense.   The lack of evidence to support the Founders being against a standing military comes moreso after the Revolutionary war in the creation by the Congress of the Confederacy (1781-1789) of the United States Army on the 3rd of June, 1784.  The constitution was drafted in 1787, after an Army already stood, and yet there was no mention in the constition of the restriction of a standing army.  Dr. Mathis claimed our founders were against a peacetime standing army with no mention in the United States Constitution, and I have shown the exact opposite, the founders supported a standing army, they were simply cautious of their power.

Please read this portion of the preamble of the Bill of Rights, often ignored by writers like Dr. Mathis, because of the straightforward impact it makes:

"THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution."

This says the people were distrustful of the government, and wanted to guarantee certain freedoms from being tampered with.  

Enter the 2nd amendment which Dr. Mathis claims to be misinterpreted, because it implies the citizens have the right to overthrow the government which for some reason strikes Dr. Mathis as illogical.  Then he tries to confuse the militia line because he can't read...    So: I will explain the logic as simply as I can, so that even a PhD can understand it:

"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."

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state BUT the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed:   People is in contrast with militia, it does not read, the right of the militia to keep and bear arms, it says "people."  Our Founding Fathers just ended a war with a tyrannical state "MILITIA", and were uncertain of the future, they created a document that ensured future generations the ability to do the same thing that they did, in fact, they encouraged it!  Just listen to Thomas Jefferson, writer of declaration of independance, and major contributor to the United states Constitution:

"If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." (November 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith)

I interpret this as a man who is a Founding Father, and supports the idea of armed rebellion against the very government he helped to create.  According to Dr. Mathis,"Theoretically, it makes no sense for a nation’s founding document to guarantee citizens the right to overthrow the government that document helps establish" But given that previous quote, it is hard to justify his claims that this was not the intention.  Dr. Mathis Continues: "if one is really committed to this understanding of the Second Amendment, one is also committed, by logical extension, to overthrowing the U.S. government altogether."

While he was throwing that line in as a sort of counterpoint to underscore how illogical the concept of overthrowing the government was, that bit of sarcasm seems to be straight in line with what Thomas Jefferson wrote.  

Since it's all too easy to make claims that Thomas Jefferson was an extremist in the Founders eyes, so let's look at some more of the primary drafters of the constitution:

"When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually...I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now of the whole people, except a few public officers." (George Mason, Virginia Constitution Convention)

"Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?" (Patrick Henry March 23, 1775)

"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms" (Samuel Adams Debates and Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts)

Dr. Mathis also claims, not incorrectly that the supreme court has redefined the 2nd amendment to be about personal protection, and not about the right to overthrow the government.   This was cleverly astute of him.   While the court did rule that individuals had the right to arms for protection, they were vague as to specify what people needed protection from.   Was it robbers, murderers and rapists?   Or is it police, judges, and PhDs?  Judges CAN be wrong, Supreme Judges doubly so.

The Supreme Court has in a number of cases, ruled against the Founders of this nation, creating gaps  mainly in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 8th amendments of the United staes Bill of Rights.   If you want a pure test of the constitutionality of any of these rulings ask yourself this question:  what would Thomas Jefferson, or George Washington, or samual Adams do if .

for example, "What would Samual Adams do if the governement attempted to tax his brewery dispropotionaly with other goods?"   If your answer is anything other than the death of those tyrants, or armed protest of the tax, then you don't know history very well.  

Another good example:  "What would Thomas Jefferson do if a strange man in a blue uniform stopped his carriage and told him that he'd been drinking, and must now go to jail, and pay $10,000 or never drive a carriage again."  If your answer is anything other than the death of that blue uniformed tyrant, or armed protest of such actions... then you don't know history very well.

Dr. Mathis has a lot to lose if the people successfully rebelled against all this over-taxation.   He has a PhD, teaches at a college that is probably tax funded in some part, and has a job that probably pays him comfortably.   The end of overtaxation from a successful armed rebellion leaves most of the common people in a better spot, we lose our tax bills, the overpaid elite that believe they have control over people are suddenly reduced to nothing, and tyranny for the time being, is thwarted for a few years.

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