Despite the title, this post is not going to be dealing with Das Trump.
Well, damn it, it wasn’t supposed to be. How did that get in here! I swear YHVH, you start a plague of frogs on my blog there will be consequences! I’ve got a Ragnarok and I’m not afraid to use!!!!
Anywho, no this is more to do with the wonderful conversation I’ve been having with Juliaergane which has some how started with trump and really gone into gun rights. Not sure why or how it happened, but it did, and it’s been pretty fun. We’re not changing each others minds, but then neither of us really want to.
However, the conversation’s turn has brought to my mind, at least a bit of a realization. Now, I know if you want to comment there’s going to be an urge to go for the whole gun thing, but I want us to focus on what I’m about to say. The gun thing is just the diving board into a larger pool of ideas.
So while we’re talking about this, Juliaer feels that civilians should not be able to buy assault/weapon grade guns. Hunters don’t need them, they’re more a threat to the populace, we have police to keep a lid on violence, and we have a military to defend us. Whatever the original intention was behind the 2nd amendment, those times have passed for our Enlightened age and we should just do away with, or limit extremely, the 2nd amendment’s unconditional language about what type of weapons civilian citizens are allowed to get.
My position is that the 2nd amendment is it is the Law, and not just any Law, but a Foundation Law. By which I mean that if we consider the government and nation as a building, the 2nd amendment is as much a part of the physical foundation as the 1st, 3rd, 4th, etc amendments. It’s there, it’s Sacred, and it should not be changed or limited. My own position on guns is that as long as you are a law abiding citizen, you have the right to purchase whatever damn weapon you please. Just like you’re free to believe or say anything you please, and expect the government not to come into your house unlawfully to search it for “forbidden” things.
Those are our positions. You can feel or believe about the issue however you want. And that is not the point of this article.
The point of this post, ultimately is that I hold despite Juliaer’s feelings or belief about guns, the 2nd amendment, or the present state of the USA as a nation in terms of politics, power, etc, that much like the ancient teachings of our Pagan ancestors whom we hold as sacred when it comes to religion, so too must we look at the fundamental laws of the USA, at least in terms of the Constitution.
“Well, it’s a bunch of governmental laws, why should we consider them as sacred?” One might ask. Others might say “well, you’re a God of Laws, of course you would say they are sacred.” Or, “Well, you’re an American, of course you’d think your laws are the best.”
Which, okay, fair cop. But the thing is, when you get right down to the history and philosophy of it, the Constitution wasn’t written up as a bunch of laws, or even about building a massive power structure (later laws, did that, and I have my issues with them). The unique thing about the American Constitution is that it was written by Deistic Philosophers, people who gathered everything that European philosophers had put together over thousands of years about equality, civil rights, egalitarianism, and freedom, and did their level best to make it law. It wasn’t a legal foundation for giving men power, but for giving everyone, regardless of sex, gender, race, etc, the most freedom, most equality, and most protection for those things.
People may not believe this when I say it, but under the Constitution, we didn’t need to legalize gay marriage. It was technically already legal. “All people are equal, and all people are given the same rights.” You will notice that the Constitution, if you read it, doesn’t lay down a lot of laws about what people can’t do. No where did it say “two dudes can’t get married.” What it did say is “everyone has the freedom to believe what they will, and practice that belief.”
Looping back around though, as I said, they drew from the highest and most sacred thoughts from History, and even put forth that the rights granted in the Constitution were no less than the God Given Rights of everyone on earth, to be enshrined as mortal law for the USA. As I said though, these men were largely Deists, and for those who don’t know what that means I’ll explain.
We who are polytheists in paganism, along with most other religions, are Theists. We believe that God(s) are real. Deists are the same thing as Theists, the only difference is that Theists believe in a “Divine revelation” (past or present, and this includes Gods just talking to you about tv shows), where as Deists didn’t believe in divine revelation, but felt you could grasp what God(s) wanted by studying the earth and philosophy.
These men believed in the divine as much as we theists do today, and they felt that the rights they were codifying into law were made by the Divine, not by mortals.
So what does this ultimately have to do with the Constitution or gun control, you may ask? Well, I’m assuming you’re going to ask. I have been talking history and philosophy for about six paragraphs, most people have fallen asleep by now.
If these rights are universal and given to us by the Gods (which given my studies of Norse history and culture, many of these were rights and laws under heathenism at least, so I will believe it) then do we as mortals have the right to countermand divine commandments? As a deeply faithful theist, I do not think so. But others may not agree with me.
But let’s look at it this way. Juliaer feels that because modern times are different from historical times, especially from the Revolution, that the 2nd amendment can be modified or changed to prevent lawful citizens from exercising the full right of the amendment. Now, their reasoning for this is somewhat sound (our government isn’t oppressing us as such), and these military grade weapons in civilian hands have proven far more deadly to the populace than they supposedly have towards the government (or useful for keeping said government in check). Juliaer also feels that because we have an Army, we no longer require a Militia, thus invalidating another reason listed in the 2nd amendment for free legal access to “arms.”
Tl:dr version; big guns hurt people, we don’t need to fight our government, we have an army for defense, make them go away.
Here’s the thing though…would we accept this kind of logic towards any of the other amendments?
Let’s take the 1st amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
Well, word can hurt people. Ideas can hurt people. If the articles I have posted about Cultural Appropriation show anything, it is that some people feel that other freely practicing their beliefs, exchanging ideas, and so forth is “Deeply harmful.” If “trigger warnings” are anything to go by, suicidal harmful.
So why not limit what people can say? I mean, words hurt, words can make people kill themselves, disagreeing online with someone these days is criminal harassment (there’s dude in Canada who got put in prison for saying “we shouldn’t dox this dude over not being a feminist”). Muslims believe that drawing a cartoon of Mohammad is so harmful that they will kill cartoonists who do it. Clearly, speech hurts, we should ban certain speech to prevent this harm.
And besides, this isn’t like the Revolution, where they really needed to protest the tyranny of the English Crown, our government is wonderful, friendly, it only wants what’s best for us and will keep us safe. We don’t need to speak out against such things, so let’s put the words away where they won’t hurt anyone.
And hey, you know what, Christianity/Islam is a wonderful religion of peace, so we don’t need all these pagan religions, let’s just ban them. They only hurt people, and lead them into sin and immorality. And those Atheists are just mean people, they’ll be so much happier if we ban that kind of talk and if they just accept our perfect religion into their lives.
Or how about the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th amendments? You know, the ones about unreasonable search and seizure, due process, trial by jury, and right to a quick trial?
I mean, clearly, these are modern times, not olden days. If people have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear right? And we should just believe the words of the victim, who needs this stupid stuff called evidence right? And screw it, they’re guilty anyways, so who cares if they rot in jail without a trial, they’re guilty, we can take our time proving it. And if they’re not, well they must have done something wrong in the first place to be charged.
See a pattern here?
There are those like Juliear who believe the Constitution should be changed, that it’s out dated or harmful with its ideals. One need only look at the way “rape cases” are handled at universities these days to see what happens when the 4-7th amendments are done away with. Kangaroo courts, guilty until innocent, no evidence or investigation, just an accusation to be believed, and a judgement to be handed out with punishment.
Hell, Yale students recently signed a petition to abolish the 1st amendment for reasons that basically included “some speech is harmful.”
These rights granted to us by the Gods are there for a reason. They are also put forth without limitation for a reason. The 2nd amendment is one of these. The original amendments were not about limiting behaviors that were “harmful” they were about limiting the ability of others to stop “harmful” behaviors they didn’t like.
Because when you decide to limit people’s freedom, bad things happen. As we’re talking the Constitution, let’s talk about what really was the only bad one we’ve put on there, and the only one we’ve ever taken off.
The 18th Amendment, which banned the sale of alcohol.
The 18th amendment was pretty much what Juliaer advocates we do with the 2nd amendment, ban an activity because we find it and its consequences “immoral and harmful.” Indeed, those who advocated for prohibition based and won most of their victories on the fact that “booze is harmful, causes violence, ruins peoples lives, etc.” And they were all fair, mostly logical points. Even today, we know well the harms of alcohol and alcoholism.
But something interesting happened when we banned booze. Booze didn’t go away, but booze suddenly found itself the soul possession of criminals. Crime families which had held maybe a neighborhood or two suddenly had so much money they could buy entire states. The problems and deaths didn’t get better, they got worse. Entire companies went out of business and in the case of my home area, some entire counties basically ran on moonshine and bootlegging. Heck, NASCAR, the biggest sport in America got started because rum runners wanted to see who had the fastest car.
A more modern example is Free Speech. College campuses have gotten so bad about policing speech, there are now underground “free speech” groups who meet in secret by invitation only. I’m not making that up, there are now secret societies on colleges just so people can speak their minds. And we haven’t even banned the 1st amendment yet.
Banning a thing only prevents a lawful person from having it. An unlawful person, will always be able to get the forbidden thing, assuming they don’t just make it. Ban free speech, people meet in secret to talk. Ban drinking, they meet in secret to drink. Ban high powered guns, people will meet in secret to build and sell them. The only thing you’re doing is making them illegal, but never non-existent, and abridging the freedoms of lawful people.
At one point I told Juliaergane that “Ultimately I do not have to convince you that civilians have the right to these kinds of weapons. It’s in the Constitution and it is there for the reasons I stated, which are taken directly from the founding fathers of the USA.” And I stand by this statement not to just to them, but to everyone. I don’t have to convince you that guns are good, or that everyone should have the guns they want.
All I have to do is convince you (you being anyone/everyone) to respect the law, the rights, and the freedoms of other citizens, even if you find those freedoms dangerous, offensive, or immoral. Because odds are, there is something you’re doing, believing, or possessing which other people will find dangerous, offensive, and immoral. Would you want them to have the right and ability to take that away from you?
And if you ever start thinking “well, that’s not going to happen or isn’t possible,” remember, we polytheists just got through a several month fight with a gentleman who found our theistic beliefs to be dangerous, immoral, and very offensive, who tried to get rid of us. Had we been denied the 1st amendment, if we had been denied the weapons of our words, we could not have maintained not only our freedom to practice, but to even call ourselves Pagans.
A lot has been said about the 2nd amendment. A lot has been read into it, twisted around, and interpreted by a lot of people to suit what they think it means both for and against. But the simple truth is there’s a reason it’s the 2nd, after freedom of belief and speech. It’s so that if at any time, anyone thinks they have the right to take away your rights, either by themselves or through the government, you are physically capable of telling them: No.
The Gods gave us these rights. All of them. It is not for us to deny another man what the Gods have given us all, simply because we do not like it or feel it appropriate.