Stanley Fish, professor of (in?)humanities and law, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times Monday speculating that perhaps the NRA is “un-American.” Not all NRA members, mind you–not the recreational shooters, or those who believe that the Second Amendment protects the right of self-defense (although Fish describes himself as “deeply unpersuaded” by that argument). So to whom does he refer? Only the “militant” members, and most of the leadership. Let’s have him explain who the “militants” are:
I mean those who read the Second Amendment as proclaiming the right of citizens to resist the tyranny of their own government, that is, of the government that issued and ratified the Constitution in the first place.
Ah–“un-American” like Founding Father Tench Coxe, for example (one example of many). Coxe, in fact, described the people’s right to prevent a “government monopoly on force,” so beloved of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and of Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), as “the birthright of an American.”
Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American….
Hmm . . . “every other terrible implement of the soldier“–puzzling. We are so often told that one can “respect the Second Amendment,” while simultaneously advocating banning “weapons of war” (which tend, oddly, to include semi-automatic rifles not in standard use by any military on Earth).
What troubles Professor Fish about the idea of armed private citizens fighting back against a tyrannical government is that it disrupts “the orderly transfer of power,” to which he refers as “one of the cornerstones of democracy” (we won’t jump him about the “democracy” reference yet, because he addresses that later).
Well, what’s wrong with that? Why should we grant tyrants power in an “orderly” fashion? How could it not be our duty as citizens to make a tyrant’s usurpation of power as difficult and “disorderly” as possible?
As it turns out, Fish is aware of the difference between a democracy and a republic, and seems to have at least some perception of the importance of that distinction:
In a democracy the majority determines what the law is and could, at least theoretically, take away the rights of individuals for the sake of the “public good.” In a republic, majority will is held in check by constitutional guarantees that forbid legislation encroaching on individual rights even if 51 percent or 95 percent of the population favors it.
He does not, unfortunately, seem to think very highly of that argument, because he appears to doubt that the citizenry is qualified to judge which laws are “tyrannical,” and so disobeying laws based on their perceptions of what constitutes tyranny stands in opposition to the principle that “ours is a government of laws not men.” A few sentences later, he bolsters that with the statement that “no man is above the law.”
That’s all well and good when the laws are themselves not unconstitutional, not tyrannical, not evil. But when they are, we are to obey them, just to be “orderly”? If private citizens are not to be trusted to decide when government has devolved into tyranny, who is? The same government that might have gone tyrannical? How is that not the government fox guarding the hen house?
National Gun Rights Examiner Dan responds to Fish on his War on Guns blog, and notes the most contemptible aspect of this outright rejection of ever fighting back:
The one thing he and his fellow travelers never will [say] is what their personal line in the sand for resisting tyranny would be. That’s because they want an unchallengeable monopoly of violence, and can’t conceive that when an idiot’s usefulness has expired, he will too.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence must love Professor Fish, because they too have no line in the sand–including when the government rounds up members of “undesirable” races, religions, etc., for shipment to the camps. It would seem though, that like CSGV, Fish has a bigger problem than he realizes. It’s not just “militant” NRA members who do have a line in the sand–it’s 29% of the voting public–and that should be more than enough.
- CSGV abandons Max Weber, accuses me of ‘insurrectionary thought’ (and treason)
- Do ‘gun control’ groups think rights of minorities less important?
- Forget ‘gun control’; CSGV represents ‘genocide enablement lobby’
- CSGV backs government ‘right’ to political violence against citizens
- Think government mass murder for ‘gun control’ can’t happen here? It already has
- ‘Gun control’ oppresses the minority, as always
- Believe 2nd Amendment is last bastion against tyranny? CSGV wants you dead
- NBC Chicago seems surprised US is a republic, rather than ‘democracy’
- Well, if you think another revolution is coming in this country, you aren’t alone.
- Obama To Grads: Reject Voices That Warn About Government Tyranny
- Bad news for CSGV: 1 in 3 voters meets their definition of ‘insurrectionist’
- I Know You Are, But What Am I