We begin with a simple question. Does the US Constitution give you any rights? The answer is no. It is a document whose predecessor, England’s Magna Carta, was likewise a written instrument limiting the power of the spendthrift and generally incompetent King John I. Modernly, the Constitution serves as written limits on the power of government to protect the natural rights we possess as broadly identified in the Declaration of Independence. Namely, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. These rights are further expressed and protected in the world’s greatest “Appendix A”… the Bill of Rights.
However, the Founding Fathers could not identify, with precision, all of our natural rights. Some would be found “beneath” the surface of the document, meaning not specifically named, but subject to protection none-the-less. Two such rights immediately come to mind. The right for a private citizen to own a personal weapon and right of a woman to have an abortion. And when we compare the two, we find a conservative’s conundrum, for if all natural, fundamental rights are created equally, when compared to one another, the Liberty Bell just don’t ring true.
Firstly, the Second Amendment is by its very words limited to actions and gun ownership taken within a well-regulated militia and does not include any direct reference to private ownership of a firearm. Period. This false narrative was invented by unscrupulous and inhumane weapons manufacturers and lobbyists to boost profits. The rest of the AK47 or bust mythology has been perpetuated for the most part by self-appointed defenders of democracy from the it must be there somewhere, deep state. But our inquiry does not end there. Did personal gun ownership for purposes of protection and hunting exist at the time of the signing of the Constitution? Would the Founding Father have acknowledged this “unarticulated” right as part and parcel of the understanding of all former Englishmen now Americans? The answer is yes.
The right to own a weapon for personal protection and hunting was well known and part of the common laws for the time. Granted, the Founders were thinking about muskets, but I suppose if anyone in America wanted to own a musket today, there would be an historical and constitutional foundation for such a claim. No conundrum there. But, what about a woman’s right to have an abortion?
The word privacy does not appear in the Constitution but the US Supreme Court has ruled that within the “Liberty” component of the Due Process Clause sits a right to be left alone from government interference and hence in such matters of familial rights and child bearing there exists a right to privacy. If we look to the common law at the end of the 18th Century, it was commonly known women had the right to an abortion up and until the time of the quickening. The quickening was evidenced by the kicking of the child. Up and until, the fetus was thought to still be a part of the woman and subject to her personal rights, abortion and all.
This unequal treatment of rights, one for men, one for women, speaks to an inconsistency in the modern conservative’s canon. It’s a question mark that cannot be solved by any conventional constitutional analysis of natural rights, common law or common sense. Constitutionally speaking, it is indeed a conservative’s conundrum and there is no magic bullet in gun-sight.
[Ed.’s Note: Phil has been ranting for weeks now – you can catch each and every one of his past posts at the Link given below.
Go there now… good thinking, entertainingly stated 🙂
Here’s that Link: To Get Your Phil of All His Other Rants