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Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby pjbogart » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:57 pm

Ninja wrote:
pjbogart wrote:I know you're trying to make a point, Ninja, I'm just not sure what it is. In relation to the Second Amendment, of course.


Yeah I realized after about my fifth reply that this was a total threadjack. But the constitution is important, and people shouldn't be allowed to mislead others about it. Threadjack over.


I understand your point about the Constitution being a restraint on government rather than the citizenry, but I think that's a bit simplistic for several reasons. First off, as was pointed out, the Constitution does restrict private citizens' behavior, for instance by setting age restrictions for voting and running for various elected offices.

Secondly, "we the people" are the government, therefore the entire Constitution, as an anti-democratic document, serves to limit what we the people can do. For instance, we the people cannot vote to outlaw Islam because because such a vote would be in violation of the First Amendment. No matter how angry and alienated the government may make people feel, ultimately the government is still us. We choose it, wisely or unwisely every time we vote. This is why I always bristle at anti-government types, because they seem to view our nation through an "us against them" lens, whether "them" refers to immigrants, political adversaries or government in general.

But you're right that the Constitution is not directly used to limit the vast majority of our behaviors. The document mostly spells out limitations on government, though such distinctions can be somewhat meaningless. For instance, a father arrested for child abuse is not said to have violated his child's Constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The father is charged under State statutes, as you pointed out. But those State statutes are crafted from their controlling document, the Constitution, at least indirectly. Some people may smirk at the notion that all of our laws are in some way based upon Constitutional prohibitions, but drug laws are couched on the right to pass laws to promote and protect the general welfare, labor unions are permitted based upon our right to peaceably assemble and associate. To say that the Constitution is directed at government is correct, but to claim that it has no bearing on private citizens is incorrect. It does. Indirectly.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby pjbogart » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:01 pm

So back to the OP and the gun rally, I think we might see a few people have their right to free speech infringed when the gubmint gets a look-see at their web postings.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby Meade » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:02 pm

snoqueen wrote:You can establish a religion.

Maybe, but not because the constitution says you can.

Your fundamental rights of life and liberty come from your Creator, not from the government and not even from the constitution.

Snoqueen's comment illustrates perfectly the mindset of a society required for a totalitarian political system to take hold.

ADDED: And PJBogart's comment illustrates how infectious, unfortunately, that mindset becomes. Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby Ninja » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:31 pm

pjbogart wrote:I understand your point about the Constitution being a restraint on government rather than the citizenry, but I think that's a bit simplistic for several reasons. First off, as was pointed out, the Constitution does restrict private citizens' behavior, for instance by setting age restrictions for voting and running for various elected offices.


Threadjack back on! The voting age is statutory. The constitution gives the government the right to establish any voting age up to age 18 (26th amendment), but it doesn't have anything to say about the age itself. And the president thing is about becoming part of the government. You subject yourself to the constitution if you want to run for president (despite what that Kenyan dude thinks - kidding, kidding).

This is not a controversial position that I'm taking here. It's just the position. The constitution is a document of negative rights. It doesn't expressly create any affirmative rights, it only limits the rights of the government. In doing so it implicitly recognizes certain inalienable or natural or whatever rights - we'll leave it to the poli sci majors to worry about what they should be called. But there's really no debate over who the document applies to. It's the government.

ETA: "To say that the Constitution is directed at government is correct, but to claim that it has no bearing on private citizens is incorrect. It does. Indirectly."

That is absolutely correct and I didn't mean to create the impression that I thought otherwise. I have severely bruised ribs and percocet and you know how it goes. Looking back I see that I haven't been super-coherent on every point. Threadjack over.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby Meade » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:17 pm

Ninja wrote:It doesn't expressly create any affirmative rights, it only limits the rights of the government.

The constitution limits the powers of the government. Only the People have rights; the government has limited enumerated powers.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby Mad Howler » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:25 pm

Meade wrote:
snoqueen wrote:You can establish a religion.

Maybe, but not because the constitution says you can.

Your fundamental rights of life and liberty come from your Creator, not from the government and not even from the constitution.


You can believe whatever nonsense you like. But all evidence suggests that your creator has been a long and not so random process at times. There are a great deal of mysteries out there, although it is no mystery to me that the notion of religion is a unique and useful human innovation.

Meade wrote:Snoqueen's comment illustrates perfectly the mindset of a society required for a totalitarian political system to take hold.


You do like to project don't you? You should mention to your friends over at Heritage that, as hard to believe as this is, people are catching on to this age old tactic.

Best,
MH

p.s.- Sorry to extend the jacking of this thread but I could not resist.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby Ninja » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:28 pm

Meade wrote:
Ninja wrote:It doesn't expressly create any affirmative rights, it only limits the rights of the government.

The constitution limits the powers of the government. Only the People have rights; the government has limited enumerated powers.


That's funny. I was just re-reading my comment and I noticed the same mistake.

But fuck off and don't talk to me. You're a weasel. I don't associate with weasels.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby pjbogart » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:30 pm

Ninja wrote:And the president thing is about becoming part of the government. You subject yourself to the constitution if you want to run for president (despite what that Kenyan dude thinks - kidding, kidding).


A citizen aged 24 is prohibited from becoming President. By the Constitution. A Kenyan dude is also prohibited, though we might accept a muscle-bound, terrible actor from Austria.

I mean, at least he'd protect our Second Amendment rights.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby pjbogart » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:36 pm

Ninja wrote:
Meade wrote:
Ninja wrote:It doesn't expressly create any affirmative rights, it only limits the rights of the government.

The constitution limits the powers of the government. Only the People have rights; the government has limited enumerated powers.


That's funny. I was just re-reading my comment and I noticed the same mistake.

But fuck off and don't talk to me. You're a weasel. I don't associate with weasels.


If you're a Democrat or Independent, Meade is a nuisance. If you're a Republican, he's an embarrassment. Best not to look him in the eye, it encourages him.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby Galoot » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:43 pm

That's an excellent example, Peej. Are there any in the Bill of Rights like that? I tend to side with Ninja on this--I've always understood the BoR to be a restriction of what the government powers over individuals are, rather than restrictions on what individuals can do. I do tend to think that is unique to the BoR though.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby rabble » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:50 pm

Just because it's so obvious to me that the BoR and Constition put limits on both the government AND the people, it had never occurred to me that there were people who thought they only limited government.

I don't understand it but now I know this view exists and I can work with that.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:06 pm

Ninja wrote:
Francis Di Domizio wrote:I think it's mostly a semantic argument to be honest.


It's not semantic. What the hell is going on here? Just read it. Cite the part that says "Citizens can't do X." It's all about what the government can and cannot do. I seriously thought this was elementary school-level civics.


It's a semantic argument in that either way our rights and the restrictions on government remain the same.

However I think you are overlooking that the BoR does indeed specify several rights that a Citizen has, as well a baring the government from infringing on others. The 9th also makes clear that the BoR should not be read as a complete enumeration of rights of citizens or limitations of government.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby Donald » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:16 pm

The powers of the federal government were left purposely vague in the Necessary and Proper Clause and in the General Welfare provision of the Spending Clause. The framers didn't nail these down for the perfectly good reason that nailing them down was politically impossible during the Constitutional Convention. Thus, they left certain powers of government vague, expecting them to be fully fleshed out through the political process. Madison's views on the Necessary and Proper Clause went through several iterations, as did the views of many of the Founders. Original intent is bullshit. The Founders were smart enough to realize that a government that would last would be one that could change when necessary.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:31 am

Jesus. Land wars in Asia, death matches against Sicilians, and non-literal statements about the Constitution. Got it.

Thanks to the authority of the amendments to the Constitution, I can sign a recall petition and not be arrested for it. Thanks to the authority of the amendments to the Constitution, I could not vote until I had reached the somewhat mature and experienced age of 18.* Thanks to the authority of the amendments to the Constitution, I can buy liquor. Thanks to the authority of the amendments to the Constitution, I cannot buy another human being.

Yes I understand that the amendments are literally phrased, by and large, in the negative related to legislative activity. But the final effect of these amendments is to ensure my ability to do certain things and prohibit my ability to do other things.

These people who refuse the authority of the federal government when they disagree with it, but cling to the authority of the 2nd Amendment as if it isn't an expression of the core authority of that same government -- our government -- just don't get it. Ninja, if you refute what I've written above, then one of us is equally blinkered.

*Edited for duh.
Last edited by TheBookPolice on Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Saturday's gun rally at the Capitol

Postby pjbogart » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:15 am

Galoot wrote:That's an excellent example, Peej. Are there any in the Bill of Rights like that? I tend to side with Ninja on this--I've always understood the BoR to be a restriction of what the government powers over individuals are, rather than restrictions on what individuals can do. I do tend to think that is unique to the BoR though.


Drunk post! But I won't put it in my special drunken thread. Just trying to excuse any typos.

Jeepers, Wally. A restriction on the government is a restriction on the citizens. Because we are the government. The Constitution is an anti-democratic document. It literally restricts what we can vote for (and yeah, I used "literally" correctly there). You, Galoot, cannot effectively vote to elect a 24 year-old as President.

In a pure democracy, you could vote for anything. Murdering all the Jews, arresting people for swearing, sending Meade to prison for being a shithead. The Constitution limits democracy. It sets aside basic rights which cannot be infringed, even by popular vote. Saying that those limitations are for the government, not the citizenry, makes no sense. Any limitation on the government is essentially a limitation on the citizenry.
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