U.S. Citizens Have a Legal Right to Insurrect

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#51 Edited by PannicAtack (21020 posts) -

I'm sure Cliven Bundy's nutjob militia friends agree.

#52 Posted by Rhocky (22 posts) -

I'm going to step away from my characteristically bad attempts at sarcastic humor and respond to this sincerely.

I would argue the Constitution was meant to give power to the people, not the government. You must be a liberal.

It's probabe I missed a joke or some kind of internal Gamespot OT feud or something, but just in case it needs clarification the Constitution was written for the explicit and exclusive purpose of creating and empowering a federal government. In fact, it is ONLY from the Constitution that our government derives its legal authority. It was a compromise while we were operating under a loose federation under the Articles of Confederation. There's a whole backstory to this I can provide if people want better historical context, but I don't know of a good way to give it in TL;DR form. For now it suffices to say that the Constitution created and empowered the government, while the Bill of Rights were amendments to the Constitution that limited the government's power for the purpose of guaranteeing freedom of the citizens.

Also, people seem to be misreading that amendment. If the point is to secure a free state, isn't that obviously only referring to keeping the nation-state of the USA free from being controlled by foreign entities (such as, I don't know, the British Empire)?

It seems to be a huge leap to infer that "free state" means "free people within the state", given the context in which this was written. Hell, the US Constitution and legal system in general is all about binding people within the state to certain rules and regulations - you're allowed to be free, provided that you do what the government tells you to do.

As far as the second amendment goes I don't think it's just about insurrection. There are other purposes for guns: hunting, self-defense, sport/hobby, though the amendment does mention a "well-regulated militia", the purpose of this militia was probably more ordinarily to guard against foreign invasion, or for protection against Indian raids, although it is likely that it was also intended as a safeguard against the possibility of an oppressive government.

No. As I said, there's quite a bit of backstory here I'd be willing to provide, but the Bill of Rights' amendments are solely concerned with protecting us from our own government's potential abuses. This is true of the First, it's true of the Third, it's true of all them down to the Eighth, with the Ninth and Tenth being more generic but still serving the same basic purpose. Not a single one other than the Second is even ever suggested as being about protecting us from anyone other than our own government. So even if you do not know the history of the founding of the US, the Federalist vs. anti-Federalist argument, the ratification of the Constitution and soon after discussion of amendments to it, Shays' Rebellion, and other contributing factors, you could still easily deduce the meaning and purpose by simply looking at it within the context of the Bill of Rights as a whole.

In answer to the OP, we don't really have a "right" to insurrection, but we do have a right to acquire the means necessary for it. Or we did, anyway, until such a right eroded over the many years.

Moreover, I favor Jefferson's view on the matter. In discussing Shays' Rebellion while serving as an ambassador to France, Jefferson argued against both the British propaganda and the Federalist propaganda of the time. (Even back then we followed the infamous advice of Federalist Rahm Emmanuel that we should not let any good crisis go to waste.) I'm doing his eloquence no justice by paraphrasing as such, but Jefferson made the basic argument that there is no reason rebellions should necessarily prove to be more common or any more costly in damage and lives in a state of self-rule than in others; that after having stopped a rebellion we should treat rebels as misguided citizens rather than traitors; and that though a rebellion is inherently harmful and may in most iterations result in no true benefit, the occasional rebellion is just the cost of providing a permanent threat of potential future rebellion, which tempers a government. A government so unrestrained has no practical requirement to observe any of your freedoms except as it feels it might like to do so.