So, I get this tweet from Eric James Stone (I and his other millions of fans) linking to a post written by someone he claimed to be a liberal making sense on the second amendment. On the Daily Kos no less. Being as enamored of mythical beasts as well as jackalopes I clicked through for a looksee. … He was right.
Not only did the guy make sense, he did it without simply invalidating all those things the liberals hold most dear in this one, oh so special, case in which he was called upon to make sense. Bravo sir. Bravo.
His larger point though, the car he was riding in if you will, was not so logical and it’s where most of his power to be persuasive from a liberal point of view came from. He was saying, in that oh so self-righteous way we all know and love, that conservatives are about taking rights away from the people while liberals are about keeping rights in the people’s hands.
This only works if you consider putting the control of any given right into the hands of the government to be keeping it in the hands of the people. I beg to differ. I already have the right to donate money to Maplethorpe, or, conversely, to NOT donate money to Maplethorpe. Funding the NEA with tax dollars actually takes that second right away. I already have the right to donate money to the poor. Funding welfare projects with tax dollars takes that right away. The principle is universal.
Putting ‘rights’ into the hands of the government to administer lessens the rights of the people in every case. In some cases we are losing the right to be a jerk. So what. That is nevertheless a right you are actually taking away rather than leaving in my hands. I’ll wager nearly all the arguments about what the government should and should not regulate hinge on one side considering a particular behavior to be jerky that the other doesn’t. (mmm jerky)
That’s the liberal position. The government should not allow people to be jerks, and the liberals get to decide what being a jerk IS. The conservative side of that argument (Largely, I’ll not defend all things done in the name of conservatism) is to keep the government out of the matter as often as possible, thus leaving the rights in the hands of the people by default. The people who wrote the constitution were very careful to make it clear that the government had no powers other than what was specifically granted in that document for that very reason. Everything else was already inherently in the hands of the people and getting the government involved just screwed things up.
So, thank you Angry Mouse for making a cogent point from atop your tower of unassailable non-jerkiness.
If I hear of an article calling for the government to mandate that every household shall own and maintain a proficiency in the use of firearms I will point out that, once again, the author of that article has missed the point.