Monday, December 17, 2012

Militias and Armies

Again we are embroiled in heated discussion about gun control, something about which I have no particularly strong opinion. Perhaps it would be better to say that my opinion is sufficiently divided, having to do with preservation of constitutional civil liberties, reality and practicality, that I simply prefer to leave the discussion alone.

And again the meaning of the phrase about “a well regulated militia” in the second amendment is being argued vociferously. The argument is moot, since the Supreme Court ruled some time ago that the amendment clearly guarantees the right to individuals, but still we argue as to what the founders meant by that clause.

I flunked mind reading in high school, something that has frequently played havoc with my dating career (and we won’t talk about its effect on my marriage), so I won’t claim to know what they meant by it.

I do know that the founders had a major revulsion to the new nation maintaining a standing army, something which they forbade in the body of the constitution, so I have to wonder if that had something to do with it. Maybe they just saw an opportunity to make sure that a militia was maintained as a hedge against the government finding an excuse to create a standing army.

Obviously that didn’t work out very well, but…

1 comment:

bruce said...

I think they had that because they just went through an armed rebellion against a repressive government. And they wanted to preserve that ability in the future, lest the new /continuing government become repressive to the same point as the old one that we threw off. A government does not fear a toothless populace.

There is some debate on how well that worked out....

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