Vail Daily letter: Spinning the Constitution |

Vail Daily letter: Spinning the Constitution

If I understand the gist of Arn Menconi’s rambling article in Thursday’s Vail Daily, he seemingly indicates that a “privilege” to bear arms is granted to an individual by a governmental authority, be it a municipality, district, a state or the federal government, and in alleging this, he cites that part of the Second Amendment which asserts, reaffirms and declares that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”; “infringed” by whom? Why government of course, since this was a specific and expressed limitation on the authority of governments in general by virtue of the Second Amendment in conjunction with that of the 14th.

I ponder how Menconi can spin, massage, and parse a Constitutional, recognized and expressed term such as a “right” into a “privilege” or “license” to be granted by a governmental authority to its citizens or some of them. A preamble to the Constitution (Declaration of Independence) pronounced in part that all men are “endowed by their creator (not man) with certain unalienable rights.” It all comes down to this question: Are rights man-made, the social creation of a particular vision of society as Marxists claim? Or, are rights a self-evident endowment of our creator as Jefferson asserted? I believe that Marx wrote the “Communist Manifesto” as Menconi endeavors to implant into the Constitution’s meaning, whereas Madison and Jefferson in fact patently manifested in that charter an indefeasible “right” that applies in full force in our times as well.

Menconi brazenly asserts, “The Second Amendment has roots in protecting states from losing a militia to protect itself against a revolt of slaves, not individual rights to form a militia to arm themselves against government”; this is a blatant and categorically misstatement of history and the law, for as the Supreme Court held in McDonald v Chicago (2010), “Self-defense is a basic right, recognized by many legal systems from ancient times to the present day,” and in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), “we held that individual self-defense is a central component of the Second Amendment right.” This basic, individual, natural and unalienable right of self-defense applies to anyone or anything that would unjustifiably do us harm or deprive us of other rights, to wit: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yes, this right encompasses even the government of any stripe within its purview — it is our “firewall” against tyranny! Simply put, Menconi declares that there are no individual rights that are recognizable in any indenture, including the Constitution. He avers that what rights we have are ceded to us by government itself via licenses, permits, certificates or waivers; ergo, government is separate and apart from the governed.

Fredric Butler

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