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Update 07/19/2008

Parker was filed in DC federal district court in February, 2003. It went all the way to the Supreme Court as Heller. As of this update, it has been more than three weeks since the Supreme Court released its opinion in Heller. Five years and now three weeks and Diane Rehm has still not devoted a program to the Parker/Heller cases.

This is not a small matter. There is a great burden of historic responsibility. We have here a perfect illustration of the failed consciousness and dereliction of our shallow, lazy organs of public enlightenment. Diane Rehm did respond to the Potowmack Institute once ten years ago. It was: Take me off of your mailing list. Unfortunately, it does not get any better anywhere else.
inserted 03/20/2008

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the Parker / Heller cases on DC's gun law on March 18, 2008. Parker began in DC federal district court in February, 2003. It has been five years and the case has gone all the way to the Supreme Court as Heller. This has happened in Diane Rehm's immediate neighborhood, but she has yet to devote a program to it. She only conducts civilized discussions. She does not know how to conduct a civilized discussion on the unravelling of civilization. The correspondence goes back to 1991. Usually by the time an issue gets to the Supreme Court people start paying attention. The gun rights ideologies have been in the federal courts since the 1970s. The first case was US v. Francis J. Warin (1976).
Other cases have been:
Silveira, 2002
Nordyke, 2003
Emerson, 1999
There is still no real enlightenment anywhere on what is really at stake.


update as of 02/08/2008

NPR, Diane Rehm, WAMU; Or, Why there is a crisis in Gun Violence

My first letter was to Diane Rehm in May, 1991. She did not respond. In those days Diane Rehm had a local radio program. It was possible to get her on the telephone. She was completely dismissive as described in the letter that begins immediately. Diane Rehm can stand in for the whole news media charade. The interview that is the subject of the letter was conducted by guest host Susan Page whom I had also written to in the early 1990s. This experience is very illustrative of the shallowness of the news culture and the political culture.

Henry Kissinger made this observation on Gerald Ford in Washington Post's obituary of Ford, December 27, 2006. A similar observation could be made on our news "stars":

"The modern politician is less interested in being a hero than a superstar," he wrote. "Heroes walk alone; stars derive their status from approbation. Heroes are defined by inner values, stars by consensus. When a candidate's views are forged in focus groups and ratified by television anchorpersons, insecurity and superficiality become congenital. Radicalism replaces liberalism, and populism masquerades as conservatism."

Of course, we don't know where Kissinger himself fits into this characterization.


The Potowmack Institute was not able to file a brief to the Supreme Court in Heller. There will be an other opportunity later this year if the court remands the case to the appeals court for further consideration as the Bush DOJ has requested. Heller briefs filed to the Supreme Court are at:
http://www.potowmack.org/heller.html
Oral arguments are scheduled were held March 18, 2008. As of this upload on February 8, 2008, Diane Rehm has not devoted a single program to Parker/Heller even though these cases are litigated in her immediate neighborhood and have been in court for five years. Parker was filed initially in DC federal district court on Feb. 14, 2003. This is serious business. It demands serious attention. There is no better example of the failed consciousness of our much exalted purveyors of public enlightenment.

December 26, 2007

Diane Rehm
WAMU-FM
American University
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Ms. Rehm:

As you certainly know, the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Parker et al. v. DC Gov. It will be heard as DC Gov. v. Heller, Sup. Ct. Case no. 07-290.

You can find very representative example of how this subject is received at http://www.potowmack.org/lionel.html. Air America Radio, which calls itself "progressive talk radio," needs to explain why it gives a microphone to this very ignorant, crude air waves barbarian. There is nothing unusual in the experience. The pattern of hostility to public enlightenment has not changed in twenty years. What that says about the political culture is frightening. The Diane Rehm Show, more civilized, of course, along side The Lionel Show is another representative example: It was: If you want to talk about the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the American State Papers, the opinions of the courts, the pages of history, Take me off of your mailing list.

Too many people are offended by the suggestion that an enlightened citizenry capable of self-government reads, studies and thinks. It is not just many lives and whole communities that are at risk, but constitutional government itself.

I filed an amicus brief to the Appeals Court in Parker in 2006, http://www.potowmack.org/parkarg.pdf. I will file again to the Supreme Court and raise again the most vital and fundamental issues of political life. We should not have to wait until vital issues get to the Supreme Court before we can have public discourse. The gun rights ideologies have been in the Appeals Courts for more than thirty years. All last summer I proposed with no results to the Tavis Smiley Group that it pose simple questions to Republican candidates for president at its September 27 forum:

**************

The DC Court of Appeals released an opinion on March 9 in Parker et al. v. DC Government. After many pages in which the court fabricated an individual right to be privately armed and struck down DC's gun control law, Judge Silberman arrived at these conclusions:

Registration of ownership, militia call up, proficiency testing, public safety regulation, screening for militia suitability. These are the makings of a firearms policy. Do you accept and support Judge Silberman's conclusion and will your administration work towards a national firearms policy based on these conclusion that would address the devastating impact of gun violence on black and other minority communities?

*********************

Judge Silberman's conclusions are not just the basis of a firearms policy: they are also a devastating repudiation of the gun lobby's core doctrine that the purpose of all those guns in private hands is to maintain an anarchic balance of power between a privately armed populace and any and all government. Some people have a very difficult time accommodating to a governing authority. Others have a very difficult time with political and intellectual leadership. The individual right the gun lobby claims and Judge Silberman seeks to invent becomes, in Judge Silberman's conclusions, perfectly meaningless. There is no indication that Judge Silberman read my brief in Parker but his conclusions are what I arrived at— and what have graced Diane Rehm's trash can too many times since 1991— when I first starting thinking about this national absurdity twenty years ago. The gun lobby, led by the NRA, would fight viciously any legislative attempts to implement Judge Silberman's conclusions. The simple questions would turn the whole of American politics upside down. But, if the people who are suffering the collateral damage in a much larger political struggle don't care enough to take responsibility for their lives and their communities, they cannot expect anyone else to care. The "rabidly antigun Washington Post" does not care. The bankrupt Democratic Party does not care. AirAmerica Radio does not care. National Public Radio does not care. Diane Rehm does not care.

The reason there is a claim for a fundamental right to be privately armed for self-defense is because the gun lobby, led by the NRA, works very hard and successfully to defeat legislation that would apply laws against the lawless because the same laws would apply against those with the anarchic and insurrectionist fantasies that are at the core of gun rights ideologies. The NRA has always been in a very difficult position. It has to maintain its respectability and at the same time contain the extremists in its own ranks who really believe and want a constitutional right to the anarchic, insurrectionist nonsense. There is a reason why the NRA worked hard to sabotage the Cato Institute lawyers' Parker case. It does not want these cases in court.

But more than that the gun vote is not about guns. It is about controlling political outcomes in a much larger political struggle over the modern state and the political economy of capitalism. An AFL-CIO memorandum from 2002 makes this clear. "The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor Movement," http://www.wisaflcio.org/political_action/rightwing.htm.

This is an internal document. It is not part of any public arguments. The NRA is not a civil rights organization as it proclaims but a right wing political lobby with a very malignant and cynical vision of social and political life that parallels the malignant, cynical vision of unregulated capitalism now in resurgence. Gun rights will remain a pernicious and obstructionist factor in American politics until they are addressed on their proper terms and neutralized. The time is now. Judge Silberman in his Appeals Court opinion in Parker has given the opportunity.

Political leadership begins with asking simple questions. There are eleven months left in the overdone foolishness of the election season. Just pose the pair of questions to the candidates. It only takes a clear mind and clear purpose. Everything else changes. The Framers of the Constitution understood very well the difference between rights that are fundamental to political liberty and those that are less than fundamental. They did not want to confuse and pervert deliberative interpretations with marginal rights. It is completely missing from present public knowledge that the original militia concept was all about conscription. There are no individual rights in a conscript military organization. The right of the people manifest in the original militia concept was the republican right of the people to participate as conscript citizen soldiers in the military functions of the state rather than leave those functions up to a mercenary army whether the mercenary British Army recently removed or the US Army which, as created in the Constitution, was explicitly modeled after the British Army. The First Congress removed conscientious objector protections from James Madison's original Second Amendment draft, because it was then said: "It is extremely injudicious to intermix matters of doubt with fundamentals". Those are what are now before the Supreme Court.

Any hint of a fundamental or procedural right to be privately armed for private purposes would validate an anarchic doctrine and would confuse and pervert the opinions of the courts for decades. Such recognition and protection from the Supreme Court would be political not legal or constitutional and most certainly not historical. The politically appointed judges on the Supreme Court could become a constitutional loose cannon. Vincent Bugliosi is not reserved in proclaiming that in Bush v. Gore they were criminal and worthy of jail time--But, they got away with it. When the courts become politicized— and very ignorant— the people have to become energized and vigilant. The gun rights militants are energized. They follow these cases with intense interest. Their time has finally arrived. The courts are responding to them--sort of. Where is anyone else? Will the Supreme Court get away with it again?

Where does that leave the DC Government? The DC Government's objective should be to solve its problem. If the Supreme Court preserves constitution government by not validating the anarchic gun rights doctrine and lets DC's absurd, failed, counterproductive gun law stand, it will, in one sense, do DC a great disservice. DC will have no incentive to follow Judge Silberman's formula for a firearms policy that just might be effective and with which no one can take credible issue.

I should not have to work on this alone against constant, ugly repudiation and humiliation. I don't make any money at it. I don't make friends. But, there is constitutional government to save from destruction. Diane Rehm has credibility of intellect and political consciousness to establish to say nothing of basic civility.

Yours truly,
G. Eyclesheimer Ernst

PS. Look for this at http://www.potowmack.org/196rehm.html. "196" stands for January, 1996. That is how long it has been. But, don't worry. Less than 5 viewers show up there per day.


A package of clippings with comments accompanied the Dec. 22, 2006, letter. Those are not included here.


December 22, 2006

Diane Rehm
The Diane Rehm Show
WAMU-FM
American University
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Ms. Rehm:

The most charitable characterization that can be made of Diane Rehm is that she has a closed, conventional mind.

The last I heard from Diane Rehm was in November, 1998. It was, Take me off of your mailing list. I filed that email with the US Court of Appeals in Appendix C (...potowmack.org/parkappc.pdf) of our amicus curiae brief in Parker et al. v. DC Gov. (.../parkarg.pdf). That email message was included as part of an appeal to the court that when everyone else fails a burden falls on the courts to define and articulate the most vital and fundamental issues of political life.

The last word before that was in August, 1991. The word then was that Diane Rehm was not going to do a program on thatthat being the most vital and fundamental issues of political life. The greater part of the story in 1991 was the historical background and source documents which are the context for the discussion. Here it is fifteen years almost to the day, about half a million dead bodies, and countless tragedies and traumas later and Diane Rehm has devoted her program to that. Saul Cornell provides new historical research and observations but there is nothing conceptually new in his recent book that had not graced Diane Rehm's trash can frequently enough over the past fifteen years that she might have acquainted herself with what is at stake. We have had Cornell articles available for years (.../scornell.html), (.../scorn2.pdf). We are the ones in court, the only place that counts, with Cornell's source documents and research. Most of the concepts and much of the very language filed in our briefs (.../emerarg.html), (.../parkarg.pdf) was originally developed in unanswered and presumably unread letters that graced Diane Rehm's trash can going back to 1991. I did not receive and read Cornell's book until after the brief was filed on July 25. We petitioned the court to add it to the Table of Authorities. The court accepted the addition over the protests of the Cato lawyers. We can't say the judges will read it.

I take the subject to its next step which is the fundamental political concepts and put it in the present political context. This is where we receive our political education and understand everything else in the present political culture. The political concepts and context are what Orwell called "large and uncomfortable fact" (.../196intro.html), but they have to be taken up somewhere. We should not have to go to federal court to find even the smallest possibility of an audience. These are precarious times. Judges who are now politically appointed and ideologically motivated are not trustworthy either. We, the people, need to be watching the judges. We can't have "Patron[s] of Anarchy" (.../2ndtreat.html#94) on the federal judiciary dismantling constitutional government. The most fundamental issues of political life have to be taken up and settled in the public consciousness not in court. If that is not Diane Rehm's business and Susan Page's business, they need to explain what their business is so the public is not deceived; Or, start with a disclaimer: Seek your civic enlightenment elsewhere; and limit program topics to pet care, cookbooks, and travelogues. If I could access my old computer files I could also have included in the Parker appendix my unanswered letter from the early 1990s to Susan Page, another failed consciousness. There are no exceptions among our shallow, lazy news clowns. And not much better anywhere else. There is even hostility. It ranges from the nearest chapter of College Democrats to the halls of Congress (.../cong5.html).

Saul Cornell is the successor in the professorship under which John Kenneth Rowland did his PhD dissertation on the Second Amendment at Ohio State in the 1970s (.../1197row.html). His is only one of about three PhD dissertations written on the Second Amendment in reputable history departments (.../lcress.html), (.../mahonch3.html). Rowland is not an active historian but he keeps up with the subject. He has reviewed everything important I have written on the subject since I first made contact with him in 1996.

That support means something. There is no support anywhere else. I no longer call in to radio talk shows to raise the subject. Every time I do I am immediately cut off the air. The one time I got through to the Diane Rehm Show on June 16, 1999, the response was that someday the Supreme Court will decide. It is all so much constitutional tweedle- deedum and tweedle-deedee. Diane Rehm might just live long enough to devote her last program to one of her civilized discussions on the end of civilization.

The basic research and arguments continued to develop and were filed in our amicus curiae brief in US v. Emerson in 1999 (.../emerarg.html). Diane Rehm might still find the copy I sent her in the spring of 2000 moldering in her trash can.

She might acquaint herself with and determine the credibility of what some of her honored guests have written— Nelson Lund, Sanford Levinson (.../emerarg.html#slevin)), Daniel Polsby (.../197pols.html), Robert Levy, David Kopel (.../996dkop.html), and Glenn Harlan Reynolds, to name a few I have noticed and can think of. Robert Levy represents the plaintiffs in Parker. Reynolds is in the lineage of few Supreme Court justices.

The struggle between civil society and anarchy is far removed from public consciousness. News collected at http://www.nraila.org/News and http://groups.google.com/group/Gun-Policy-News-World is without conceptual context. Diane Rehm and the NRA's most reliable asset, the one the NRA calls the "rabidly antigun Washington Post, " can claim among their greatest accomplishments that few have heard of the two cases in DC federal court, Seegars (.../seegars.html) and Parker (.../parker.html). Seegars has been completed, cert. denied. The briefing schedule and oral arguments in Parker have been completed. An opinion may take months or even years. The way these cases have developed and transpired, almost completely outside of public view, is very revealing on the whole political culture. Earlier cases which few have heard of either include Emerson (.../emeramic.html), Silveira (.../silveira.html), and Nordyke (.../nordyke.html). The most complete earlier arguments were made in US v. Francis J. Warin (.../warin.html) in 1976. There are others listed in the Parker briefs (.../parker.html) which I cannot keep up with. The "children of [anarchic] darkness" lost Warin but regrouped and devoted themselves to producing an enormous volume of pseudoscholarship over the next twenty years. The pseudoscholarship now seeks again to establish its credibility in Parker.

The "children of [anarchic] darkness" found a weak link for their pseudoscholarship in the law journals. The demagogic leverage is perfect. The gun rights militants write to me, Who are you to challenge tenured law professors writing in peer reviewed law journals? I tell them I am a bankrupt home improvement contractor from the Maryland Suburbs who can read the English language. What other qualification is required? Many reputable scholars publish in law journals, but most of the pseudoscholarship is produced by gun rights/libertarian ideologues not tenured law professors, although there are too many of those. In addition, law journals are not peer reviewed. They notoriously, like lawyers, have no standards or ethics. As lawyers will argue anything, their journals will publish anything. There have been as many as 100 articles in law journals over the past 25 years. (See Spitzer article at (.../resource.html#chikent)).

The Chicago-Kent Second Amendment Symposium (.../resource.html#chikent) came out in 2000 and greatly expanded the background scholarship. These are people who have the kind of credentials and institutional status that find Diane Rehm very impressionable although none, as far as I can tell, have been on her program. A search of the "rabidly antigun" Washington Post's archive produces not one result for the Chicago-Kent Symposium. Another collection of articles was published in the Fordham Law Journal in November, 2004. On the fundamental concepts there has been, however, nothing new to what has graced Diane Rehm's trash can for years and the scholars and courts still have not gotten at what is really at stake.

Examining what is at stake and how it is treated begins in one place. Diane Rehm, the "rabidly antigun" Washington Post, Judge Garwood, George Will, Wayne LaPierre, G. Gordon Liddy and a host of pseudoscholars, too many of whom have been on Diane Rehm's program, can believe that what James Madison was describing in Federalist Paper No. 46 was a civil right of the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas" (.../emerappi.html), (.../emerappd.html#ak47), (.../parkappe.pdf) to be privately armed, outside of the law, outside of the knowledge and reach of government, outside of any legally authorized or permitted purpose, outside of any military or militia purpose, for anarchic and treasonous purposes. The "children of [anarchic] darkness" have built a whole preposterous doctrine of political liberty largely out of words lifted out of context from that one paragraph. Cornell gives only the smallest attention of the passage (p. 50, fn 17). Diane Rehm has no excuses other than a closed conventional mind, her disdain for her listeners, the listening public, and her dereliction in her public mission. Knowledge is power. Ignorance kills. The words in full context had graced Diane Rehm's trash can enough times over the previous ten years that she might have actually read them and appreciated the full context and the public deception. Nevertheless, on April 12, 2000, we still got:

James Madison was NOT describing a civil right of private individuals.

If that were not enough we can go to the next place. On July 27, 2001 we heard:

Oh, really! Rights are not secured by defeating legislation. I tell the gun rights militants, You have a civil right secured by government when you stand before a judge charged with a crime. The judge asks, how do you plea, guilty or not guilty? You have opportunity to say, I plea, not guilty, your Honor, on the grounds that the law is unconstitutional. If the judge and the higher courts agree, you have a civil right secured by government— that is, by the judiciary against the legislative— and the charge is dismissed. Court orders enforce the right. Diane Rehm might have initiated a national civics lesson by asking Charlton Heston when that has ever happened. If it happens now, it will be because of a complete breakdown in the political culture. Hello, Diane Rehm!.

The gun rights militants followed Emerson, which few others have heard of, with intense interest. Their time had finally arrived. Judge Garwood cited all their precious, mindlessly repeated quotations (.../thequotes.html) which amount to nothing on examination and meant nothing for poor Emerson. Having received his comically fabricated individual right in many pages of gratuitous obiter dicta, he was sent back to the district court for trial and eventually convicted. The Patrons of Anarchy of the Fifth Circuit en banc reprehensibly did not remove from the case history Judge Garwood's irrelevant, longwinded demagogic insertions which serve no other purpose than to further an anarchic, partisan political agenda. My suspicion has been that a gun right ideologue, the most likely candidate being Stephen Halbrook, had a hand in writing the opinion. It reads like a Halbrook tract. Judicial imprudence does not get worse than that. This is all about demagoguery not civil rights. Is Diane Rehm any less a Patron of Anarchy than Judge Garwood?

My purpose for fifteen years has been to expand public discourse and consciousness. I have been the eccentric who has thought that an enlightened citizenry which is capable of self-government needs knowledge to make informed public decisions on a level higher than bumper sticker slogans and sound bite demagoguery. The DC government and its lawyers, rather than find an opportunity to expand public consciousness to deal with a serious problem that affects DC, have repeatedly petitioned the Parker court to dismiss the case under the ruling of the almost identical Seegars case which is completed. It appears now that the reason that Parker has proceeded is that there are politically appointed, highly ideologically motivated judges on the DC Court of Appeals who want to insert their anarchic vision into the case history. Judge Garwood's gratuitous dicta has never been cited by another court, but now look for Garwood fulfilled. A contradictory opinion to Seegars will required a ruling either by the DC Court of Appeals en banc and/or the Supreme Court. Observations on Judges Silberman and Griffith can be found at:
http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2004/02/10/silberman/index.html
http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=14257&print=yes&units=all
The judges have an agenda. I don't expect the judges to read the briefs and address the issues anymore than Judge Garwood did. That does not prevent the rest of us. The childish political fantasy is amply documented at (.../parkappe.pdf). A right of individual armed self-defense becomes necessary when an anarchic social and political vision defeats any possibility of a regulatory scheme that can be applied against the lawless.

This is where we get seriously political. This is where we break out of a public consciousness that reduces vital and fundamental issues to false, rather silly polarizations. Here we have the perfect example. It is the model to understand everything else in the political culture and our public thought processes. The real issue is not some absurd progun/antigun culture war. The real issue is, Is the Constitution a Frame of Government with "just powers" that derive from the "consent of the governed" or a treaty among sovereign individuals who give no more than promise of "good faith" (.../emerarg.html#fp33), Is there a distinction between Civil Society and the State of Nature which is the state of anarchy (.../2ndtreat.html#94)? If that is not a distinction we can understand and agree upon, we need a more serious and sober reflection on the capacity of an enlightened— or, is it an unenlightened?— citizenry for self-government.

Anyone can listen to Bill O'Reilly and other airwaves demagogues and hear denunciations of the "far left"— whoever they are. We never hear about the "far right". There is a "far right". It is what I call the "Libertarian Right". It knows exactly what it wants. It wants to dismantle on sweeping ideological principles, not merit or national need, the twentieth century social contract. It brings with it a very malignant vision of social and political life that is explicitly manifest in the gun rights ideologies. The malignant vision parallels the Libertarian Right's malignant vision of economic life. At its most fundamental the revolt is against a governing authority.

There were at least five transformations of the United States in the twentieth century of constitutional proportions that made the United States into a modern state capable of performing on the world stage as a great power, managing an industrial economy, and guaranteeing liberty and justice for all:

These transformations are the dreaded socialism (See Parker amicus, (.../parkarg.pdf). The Libertarian Right would dismantle on sweeping ideological principles all of these (except in some quarters national conscription) to return to the golden age of political liberty of robber baron capitalism and preCivil War constitutional arrangements. That is the latent ideological agenda that we can watch to manifest itself in Parker. The Libertarian Right's problem is that most people accept the contours of the twentieth century social contract (.../ike541108.html). The strategies have to employ stealth politics and demagoguery. The Libertarian Right spent millions in the 1990s sniffing around Bill Clinton's undershorts to defeat any possibility that a popular Democratic Party president would impose a socialist agenda on America. The gun rights militants write to me that government is my god, I need a nanny state to look after me, if I want to touch guns with laws, I want to impose a socialist agenda on America. I tell them I support the socialism of the forty hour work week, originally proposed by the Socialist Party, enacted into law by the socialist Congress in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, signed into law by that socialist president Franklin Roosevelt, upheld by the socialist Supreme Court in Darby and enforced (more or less) by this socialist government ever since. The gun rights militants say they have never heard of such a thing, and then there is always the libertarian flake who says we don't need government telling us how many hours we can work.

Bill O'Reilly falsely divides our political struggles between "secular progressives" and "traditionalists". The Framers of the Constitution were our first secular progressives, and there are ancient traditions for just about everything including slavery, polygamy, pederasty and witchcraft. Does Bill O'Reilly want to repeal the forty hour work week? I once heard my favorite raving demagogue, David Horowitz (who receives millions in Libertarian Right foundation funding), describe himself as a John F. Kennedy liberal. Does Horowitz want to repeal the forty hour work week? Are their arguments against the "far left" or the "far right"? The most articulate voice for the doctrines and contradictions of the Libertarian Right is not either of these but G. Gordon Liddy (.../lidbadn.html). Last January when Samuel Alito was confirmed to the Supreme Court, Sen. Kennedy made a shrill statement on how all the protections for labor rights, civil rights, consumer rights, etc., achieved with so much bloodshed were in jeopardy. O'Reilly and Liddy both played the statement to ridicule it. Liddy added that Kennedy says nothing about all the blood shed performing abortions. There is no more explicit statement on the cynical role of cultural and moral issues in dismantling the social contract. Do the working stiffs who listen to Liddy want to return to a life of 70 hours a week in sweat shops and coal mines? David Kuo gives another account. The gun vote is part of the same. Kennedy and the bankrupt Democratic Party meanwhile have not educated and cultivated a passionately committed constituency that understands and rallies to his apprehensions.

There is no end to failed consciousness. One would think that labor organizations would have a strong interest in their hard won protections in the twentieth century. The fundamentals are not far removed from their vital interests. They do not get it. When Grover Norquist, a member of the NRA's National Board, says that labor unions were created by government the political cynicism is explicit: There are no real problems that law and government need to address or constituencies that politicians need to respond to. There are just closet Stalinist bureaucrats who invent problems so they that can expand their power to regulate and oppress the people.

Lou Dobbs and Thom Hartmann provide confused reporting and observations on "the war against the middle class." The "middle class," properly understood, is Karl Marx's bourgeousie, the capitalist class. It was the middle between the feudal nobility and the proletariat. Its ideology was the Enlightenment. Dobbs' and Hartmann's present "middle class" is the working class that enjoys the protections and benefits of the social contract which the Libertarian Right will dismantle. It is implicit in Jeff Faux's Global Class War that Keynes, the Libertarian Right's great economic theory demon, is the conservative if conservativism embodies any concept of nationhood and political community (.../parkappj.pdf). Keynesian macroeconomic management can only operate in a viable, contained national economy, which not just Dobbs and Hartmann but also O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader, and Liddy seem to want, but which the global economy will dissolve along with the social contract. Gary Hart speaks of the New Deal as establishing "one national community based on social justice" and, he might have added, national conscription. That is what the present political struggle with all its ideological conflicts and contradictions is all about. We have not heard that in any coherent form from the bankrupt Democratic Party— or, its few fellow traveling moderate Republicans— which led in creating our modern concept of nationhood but which has no competence to lead, politically or intellectually, now on the simple level of internal sovereignty and the rule of law.

Where does all this leave Diane Rehm? In the beginning of his last paragraph Cornell speaks of the "intellectual poverty of the current debate over the Second Amendment." The most constructive contribution Diane Rehm can make is to confess and explain her dereliction, fail consciousness and disdain for her listeners and the listening public that has done so much damage for fifteen years. Saul Cornell is only the beginning. Diane Rehm has serious business to attend to. The damage cannot be undone but it is never too late to cultivate a consciousness, develop convictions and get serious about the life of the Republic.

Diane Rehm and the "rabidly antigun" Washington Post need not worry. They are their own best protectors against the embarrassment of their dereliction.

Yours truly,
G. Eyclesheimer Ernst


Earlier letters and messages have become out of date but are included anyway.

The Million Mom March has advocated registration and accountability as reasonable regulations. Registration and accountability are the only means by which gun ownership can be effectively regulated. All other attempts will fail. These appear to be what NPR's Diane Rehm would support as stated below. It is what the Potowmack Institute has advocated and developed the arguments and background information to support for ten years. Diane Rehm has been provided with the arguments and information at every step. Many of the concepts, which support her own position, and much of the very language in the Potowmack Institute files were originally developed in letters to Diane Rehm. In November, 1998, Diane Rehm did finally respond. She told me to take her off of my mailing list. Diane Rehm's performance is very illustrative of the capacity of the news media to treat fundamental issues. Without conviction based on fundamental knowledge the Million Mom March will express no more than incoherent sentiment. Diane Rehm is very representative of how the organs of public enlightenment fail their mission to enlighten the citizenry. The children of darkness have nothing to fear.

Up until year 2000 Diane Rehm has given gun rights and gun violence only one or two poorly done programs a year if any at all. She has recently tried to catch up. Her treatment of the subject has progressed from extremely rare to infrequent without improvement in content. Gun violence is the one issue that will be addressed by employing free institutions for public enlightenment: We get out all the relevant facts, conduct rational informed public debate, arrive at a consensus and let policy follow. Without enlightenment, the public is left groping for knowledge, understanding and concepts. The whole purpose of free institutions is defeated.


[TOP] [BOTTOM]

Recent programs.
These programs can be heard with RealAudio at the WAMU archive.
May 23, 2000, Open Phones, call-ins raise the subject.
May 12, 2000, Supporters of the Million Mom March.
May 11, 2000, Gun Rights critics of the objectives of the Million Mom March.

Recent letters:
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 12, 2000

Response to April 12 program.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 8, 2000
Announcement of availability of Garry Wills article.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 5, 2000
Resources and contact.
Letter to Diane Rehm, March 14, 2000
Emerson amicus brief.

Other letters. Some of these are shortened.
Letter to Diane Rehm, September 30, 1995

Appearance of David Kopel.
Letter to Diane Rehm, January 16, 1996
Appearance of Sanford Levinson.
Letter to Derek McGinty, July 8, 1995
Appearance of Wayne LaPierre.
Letter to NPR, June 28, 1999
Appearance of Paul Weyrich.
Letter to NPR, July 17, 2000,
Richard Rosenfeld on NPR's Morning Edition.

My first letter to Diane Rehm was on May 30, 1990. I thought it was simple stuff. Anyone can judge what James Madison was really describing with the words "the advantage of being armed" from Federalist Paper No. 46. Madison was not describing the private rights of the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas" to "outflank" this government. The gun lobby has built a whole doctrine of political liberty largely out of a fraudulent representation of this one passage. Diane Rehm has been sent the relevant words several times a year for ten years. She actually cited the gun lobby's misrepresented version on April 12. Is there any wonder blood runs in the streets when the Federalist Papers become a subject of George Orwell's "all pervasive orthodox" that we don't discuss "large and uncomfortable fact"? We can wonder if there is any issue at all where we are getting the real information and context.

Diane Rehm would explain, as she does explain in other contexts, that she conducts "civilized discussions" and "interviews" people she does not "interrogate" them. A "civilized discussion" that evades "large and uncomfortable fact" has no substance and truncates public debate. It becomes a source of disinformation. There are many historians, political theorists and constitutional scholars available who can participate in a civilized discussion on what James Madison was really describing in Federalist Paper No. 46, what John Locke was really describing in The Second Treatise of Government or what the judiciary has long since decided in the matter of protecting gun rights. Of these she has been well-informed.

Recent experience has become more critical. School shootings and other horrors have forced gun violence more prominently into the public consciousness. The year 2000 is the best opportunity so far to break out of the false consciousness and false polarization and raise fundamental issues, but when this subject comes up minds close and there is an even greater determination to keep public consciousness narrowly confined.

The dramatic new development in 1999 was that a federal district judge in Texas embraced the enormous volume of gun lobby/libertarian pseudoscholarship published in the past twenty years mostly in law journals to find in the Second Amendment the gun lobby's personal right to be armed outside of any militia, military, or legally authorized or permitted purpose. The case, US v. Emerson, is now on appeal in the US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Of this Diane Rehm has received ample notice. Oral arguments are scheduled for June. See Docket. We can't know how the Fifth Circuit will handle this case. It might sidestep the Second Amendment constitutional issue entirely, but all the major players have presented their best arguments and these are available for any and all interested parties to study. The gun lobby has met its opposition here not at what the NRA calls the "rabidly antigun" Washington Post or on the Diane Rehm Show. This is where the real debate could be engaged, but the mind numbs and professional competence is diluted.

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Recent programs illustrate the catch up activity:
These programs can be heard with RealAudio at the WAMU archive.
May 23, 2000, Open Phones, call-ins raise the subject.
May 12, 2000, Supporters of the Million Mom March.
May 11, 2000, Gun Rights critics of the objectives of the Million Mom March.

May 23, 2000., The callers are bringing up the gun rights issue. Diane Rehm can take responsibility for their low level of knowledge. Two illustrative examples are given here. The whole program can be heard with RealAudio at the WAMU archive.

A CALL-IN

Steven: The other day you had a show where you were talking about arms. You had the Mom March one day. You had the people who were progun one day and the young lady who was proguns talked about that an insurance policy that was suggested by one of the callers shouldn't be necessary because people could get their own umbrella policy and I could not get in on the line at that time to argue the point. I am neutral pretty much over all both have valid points and we as a nation need to work it out together and could end of with some compromises 'cause there are some good points on both sides.

Diane Rehm: Steven I totally agree with you. I think that you know there are so many responsible gun users out there um I think that some how the idea of government is going to confiscate all guns is the extreme position and on the other side as people who say, you know, I use guns for hunting and I license them and I register them. It does seem to me that those kinds of things are sort of in the middle. Do you know what I mean, that if you register, if you license, if you train, why is that an infringement? when you license, you register, you train for an automobile? And, I have heard people say, Well, you have a right to our guns, you have a privilege to drive an automobile. In my mind they are equal because they are both very lethal weapons and we need to be trained and we need to be licences to use them. I mean that that is the compromise what do you think?

Steven:: I think that that is at least one reasonable compromise. There could be others but the point I hope to raise that while I was neutral it was that woman that convinced to go the other way.

Diane Rehm: Really.


Steven went on to discredit himself with the kind of flakey thinking that is common on internet news groups. The political cynicism that is the opposition to the policy goals Diane Rehm finds reasonable is the subject of the Potowmack Institute's amicus brief in Emerson which she has received in hard copy. The antidote to political cynicism is public enlightenment. We aren't getting that from Diane Rehm.

ANOTHER CALL-IN

Loretta: This is in regard to our Founding Fathers and the Second Amendment. I've wondered if anyone thinks, has thought of the idea that when they wrote the Second Amendment they had muskets and very unsophisticated weapons and I don't think in our widest imagination they could have conceived what has happened in the technology of firearms and wouldn't it be feasible that our government would update the Second Amendment to fit 2000 rather than 1776.

Diane Rehm: Well, I think that that is a reasonable question to put forward. Of course you would have so much opposition from gun owners who do take that as their true permission to own and operate guns of all kinds. Now, I tend to agree with you. We are talking about the words "armed militia." We are talking about muskets. We are not talking about the kind of high tech guns available today. So at some point if in fact the government the Congress decides to take that one on it would be a huge battle. Don't you think.

Loretta: Yes it would. The NRA has a bottomless pit of money and influence. I think they would find all kinds of reasons for that. I still think that, uh, there just isn't a parallel between 1776 and what we have today. Those assault weapons. Those Uzis. And even handguns and what is a handgun for but to kill another human being.

Diane Rehm: Yet on the other hand gun owners who buy them for their own protection might say, I did not buy this to kill but to defend. So you know I do believe there is a middle ground. That we haven't found it yet and that with reasonable conversation we will get there.


A reasonable conversation might correct Loretta's ignorance with the background knowledge at Diane Rehm's disposal below. The Declaration of Independence, a charter for revolution, was 1776. The Second Amendment was ratified in 1791 as part of a frame of government with just powers derived from the consent of the governed. The militiamen in 1776 were on the King's registry. Repudiating their loyalty to the King was treason. The Militia Act of 1792, enacted by the same people who ratified the Second Amendment, required the states to "enroll"--that is, register--militiamen for militia duty. It also required the states to report to the President inventories of militia resources including privately owned side arms and muskets. The Second Amendment and the Militia Act were about military organization not the civil rights of private individuals. The one thing our contemporary political cynicism cannot accommodate is that government, especially the Federal Government, would have any gun owner's number. The one point of policy the NRA works hardest to prevent is registration. See pp. 39-43 of Halbrook's petition for Sheriff Printz in Printz and Mack (1997). That point of policy is simply not supported by the facts of history and the Second Amendment that our very contemporary guns rights militants wrap themselves in. This subject on these terms has been repeatedly placed on Diane Rehm's plate for ten years. The most recent updates are below. If she wants to achieve her own reasonable goals, she can start by fulfilling her public mission to enlighten the public.

May 12, 2000,. The program included Connie Morella (R-Md). When politicians are included they cannot get beyond trigger locks. Anything else might require political leadership. The Million Mom March promotes as reasonable policy "registration" and "accountability". The gun rights militants can find relief that the Million Mom March and Diane Rehm have not been here for their education. US v. Emerson was not mentioned. WAMU archive.

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May 11, 2000,.
The first Million Mom March program on May 11, featured March critics Melinda Gierisch, David Kopel, and John Lott. There has to be a balance but there can't be any hard questions. Melinda Gierisch proudly wears the Potowmack Institute's label, "gun rights militant."
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a380b3d802880.htm
When the Potowmack Institute filed its amicus in Emerson in September, 1999, it was posted on the website that it was available by request as an e-mail attachment until it could be formatted. The first request was from Melinda Gierisch. She had it on her website before we had it up. It is still there.
http://homes.acmecity.com/rosie/awards/75/emerson/pi-amicus.htm
The Emerson case is where the real action is. However, Ms. Gierisch did not mention the Emerson case on Diane Rehm's the program.

David Kopel has been on Diane Rehm's program before and is the subject of one of my previous letters. We have also had previous communication.

Potowmack Institute quotes Kopel in its amicus brief:

"The tools of political dissent should be privately owned and unregistered"

http://www.potowmack.org/emerarg.html
See also Appendix D

Kopel filed a brief in Emerson. No matter, he did not mention the Emerson case either. He worries about the slippery slope to confiscation but in his brief describes the slippery slope to anarchy a "ridiculous scenario."

Kopel was quick to condemn the Million Mom March for its support and funding from the "extemist" Bell Campaign which according to him wants to confiscate all the guns. No one makes an issue of Kopel's insurrectionist extremism or where he gets his support and funding. His funding comes from Joseph Coors one of the leading players on the rightwing ideological front.

John Lott is discussed in The Rightwing Movement.

Of all of this Diane Rehm has been much informed.
WAMU archive.

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April 12, 2000
The guests were Bruce Fein and Lloyd Cutler neither of whom are significant contributors or players on Second Amendment issues. They are not among the long lists of parties who have signed on to the briefs in Emerson. They were billed as constitutional scholars and the context of the discussion was legal rights. The context of any discussion on gun rights is less legal rights than history and political theory. After her announcements leading up to the program, I sent Diane Rehm the letters below to provide some direction and references. She has actually been supplied most of the contacts on the list for years.

The Second Amendment and the Militia Act of 1792 were about military organization not personal rights. Militia duty was conscript duty. The regular army was not. There are no personal rights of the sort claimed in conscript duty. The most important single fact that defeats the gun lobby's opposition to registration is that the The Militia Act required the states to supply the President with inventories of militia resources including privately owned muskets. The controversies of the time were over state or federal jurisdiction (Houston v. Moore (1820), Martin v. Mott (1827)). Nevertheless, a personal right is seeking certification in Emerson on April 12, it took Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, the first call-in, to mention the Emerson case at all. Larry Pratt wrote in a letter to the editor, the Washington Post, March 21, 1991:

Pratt has introduced some weighty concepts and really opened the possibility of a discussion. See amicus. Diane Rehm has had this letter and my letter of March 9, 1996 at .../washpost.html many times in recent years. She has also had in recent weeks Appendix H of the Potowmack Institute amicus in Emerson on the source of the phrase, the state's "monopoly on violence." Pratt wrapped himself in the Second Amendment and the Militia Act of 1792 which do not support his claim. A real opportunity to expand the subject was missed.

The next caller was a woman from Texas who raised the issue of why it had taken so long for this subject to come up on the terms presented. Ms. Rehm directed the comment to her guests when the burden of explanation was on her.

Diane Rehm herself quoted the gun lobby's version of the ubiquitous words "the advantage of being armed" from Federalist Paper No. 46, as usually lifted out of context. She has had this passage with comments and explanation several times a year for ten years. James Madison was not describing a personal right to be armed outside of the law or a balance of power between a privately armed populace or "armed citizen guerrilas" and any and all government.

The gun lobby demonizes the news media as a successful enemy engaged in an unending assault on their self-proclaimed rights. Here is a recent characterization from the 2ndAmendmentNews Team:

Is the propaganda what we find on the Diane Rehm Show and at what the NRA calls the "rabidly antigun" Washington Post. By not challenging simple misrepresentations and raising fundamental issues, the news media serves a very useful purpose for the gun lobby in confusing the issue, perpetuating a false polarization, and enabling the gun lobby to rally its constituency to defeat legislation. See Charlton Heston's National Press Club speech, September, 1997.

Diane Rehm's e-mail address is drshow@wamu.org

Without basic knowledge especially of history and without conceptual foundation for what political community is and what a firearms policy has to be consistent with citizenship under law and government, we will get more trigger locks, more conceal carry permits, a larger body count, more bad laws that breed more political cynicism and an accelerated cycle of civic decline. Meanwhile there are the simple solutions that have been on Diane Rehm's plate for ten years.

Other organs of public enlightenment have refused to introduce any change in the context of the gun rights/gun ownership discourse. These submission, which were not published, were written from two to six years ago. The basic ideas would be the same if they were submitted now but they would be written differently now:
"A National Firearms Policy," Washington Post, Dec., 1993.
"The Armed Citizen and the Rule of Law," New York Times Magazine, Apr., 1995.
"Taking up the Second Amendment," Christian Science Monitor, April, 1995.
"The Gun Lobby's Problem," Baltimore Sun, May, 1995.
"Gun Rights, the Libertarian Fantasy and the Rule of Law," The Responsive Community, December, 1997.


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The first letters below relate to the program of April 12, 2000.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 12, 2000

Response to April 12 program.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 8, 2000
Announcement of availability of Garry Wills article.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 5, 2000
Resources and contact.
Letter to Diane Rehm, March 14, 2000
Emerson amicus brief.

Other letters. Some of these are shortened.
Letter to Diane Rehm, September 30, 1995

Appearance of David Kopel.
Letter to Diane Rehm, January 16, 1996
Appearance of Sanford Levinson.
Letter to Derek McGinty, July 8, 1995
Appearance of Wayne LaPierre.
Letter to NPR, June 28, 1999
Appearance of Paul Weyrich.
Letter to NPR, July 17, 2000,
Richard Rosenfeld on NPR's Morning Edition.

The next to last letter was to Derek McGinty who followed Rehm locally on WAMU and was on some NPR affiliates through 1998. Rehm is a victim of the all-prevailing orthodoxy but McGinty mindlessly provided a platform for the gun lobby's claims.


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March 14, 2000

Diane Rehm
WAMU-FM
American University
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Ms. Rehm:

Enclosed in a copy of the Potowmack Institute's amicus curiae brief in US v. Emerson. It has been no farther away than your finger tips since last September. Now you have it in hand. This is where you get serious. All the briefs are now available at http://www.potowmack.org/emeramic.html. Oral arguments have been tentatively scheduled for the first week of June. You might make an announcement to encourage your listeners to encourage C-Span to provide coverage (if of course the court will allow them in): events@c-span.org. I have made the announcement all over the Internet. The gun rights militants are very obedient on this one.

Most briefs are also available for Printz and Mack, Supreme Court, 1997. http://www.potowmack.org/pzamic.html

Winston Churchill once said, Americans will eventually do the right thing but only after having tried everything else. We are in the phase of trying all the wrong things. If you can't get it right, start with a disclaimer: No public enlightenment here. It ain't about trigger locks and it ain't about smart guns. This where you not only get in touch with your political adulthood but also fulfill your public mission. You might even save a few lives. Any other performance demands an explanation.

Yours truly,
G. Eyclesheimer Ernst


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April 5, 2000

Diane Rehm
WAMU-FM
American University
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Ms. Rehm:

I have written to you going back more years than I can remember that there is volume of ideological advocacy which I do not hesitate to call pseudoscholarship published mostly in law journals that lifts words out of context to mean things that are very different than what the words mean in context, recycle the quotes through different articles and then cite each other as authoritative sources. Below is how some professional scholars with the kinds of credentials you are impressed with observe the phenomenon. If your small hint that you will become a serious voice for public enlightenment on what is at issue in addressing gun violence, you might take notice. This is not a routine competition among equally valid, honorable differences of interpretation and opinion. I encourage everyone to examine the source material for themselves and arrive at their own conclusions. You can examine the source material too and encourage others likewise.

The gun lobby knows what it is doing. It cannot win what it wants in court. It has to cultivate a constituency to defeat legislation. It found a weak link in the law journals. The strategy is very effective. I hear from them all day long. It succeeds because you fail. Much of the pseudoscholarship, however, has no visible connection to the identifiable gun lobby. It is more insidious and reflects a much broader public mood that spans the political spectrum. In his book Everything for Sale Robert Kuttner devotes some space to the Rational Expectations school and Public Choice theory in economics. These have been around for decades. In these disciplines political choice and participation are reduced to the irrational and counterproductive. They are another version of the contemporary political cynicism that makes the individualism of marketplace relationships the basis of political choice and the only rational basis for human interaction. In Restoring the Public Trust (...potowmack.org/pubtr1st.html, Chapter 1) Peter Brown describes the inability of established centers of power to deal with the insurgence of this ideology. These are the same people who will give us trigger locks rather than open discussion on the contours of citizenship. If the Washington Post is any representative of the established centers of power, there seems to be a concerted effort to make sure no self-conscious constituency develops for a more constructive vision of political life. We can't have an enlightened citizenry taking charge of its political destiny. You can start explaining where you fit in.

Of those cited below, Garry Wills has been on your program. The others are among the 52 cosigners on the David Yassky brief in US v. Emerson. All four are signatories to the conventional points asserted in the recent letter to the NRA sponsored by Handgun Control through the Legal Community Against Violence, http://www.lcav.org/letter.html.

Garry Wills and Saul Cornell in "Showdown" on Linguafranca:
http://www.linguafranca.com/0002/showdown.html.

Saul Cornell succeeded to the professorship of John Kenneth Rowland's thesis advisor at Ohio State.

Michael A. Bellesiles, "Suicide Pact: New Readings of the Second Amendment," Constitutional Commentary, October, 1999:

See Appendix I, "The Meaning They Seek."
http://www.potowmack.org/emerappi.html See "A National Firearms Policy," for the source of "suicide pact."
http://www.potowmack.org/nfp.html

Saul Cornell, "Commonplace or Anarchronism: The Standard Model, the Second Amendment, and the Problem of History in Contemporary Constitutional Theory," Constitutional Commentary, October, 1999. http://www.potowmack.org/scornell.html

Don Higginbotham, "The Second Amendment in Historical Context," Constitutional Commentary, October, 1999: http://www.potowmack.org/higg.html

Law professors arguing in law journals follow the style of lawyers arguing in court. Lawyers are advocates for their clients and are the first to confess that they will argue all kinds of nonsense to win a case. Sometimes a judge and/or jury will buy it. The academics are advocates for a political ideology. More noteworthy is that the armed populace fantasy brings together left and right. The Potowmack Institute amicus characterizes this striving for consensus as a civic religion. It has its true believers. They find the meaning they seek (.../emerappi.html). The pseudoscholarship is now in federal court seeking certification. When they encounter a credible opposition, the advocates are quite shocked to discovered that this is not just another benign incorporation of a long neglected civil liberty. Despite the verbiage put before it, the Fifth Circuit may very likely sidestep the Second Amendment constitutional issue. That does not mean that the rest of us cannot take the opportunity to add substance to political choice this election cycle. It won't be taken up at the Washington Post.

An important case cited in both the Potowmack Institute and the Handgun Control amicus briefs is one where a bankruptcy court devoted much attention to the difference between militia arms and private arms. It will by added to the website by the time you get this,
http://www.potowmack.org/brown.html.

Another very valuable source on this subject is "Militia - History and Law FAQ" provided by Mark Pitcavage and Sheldon Sheps,
http://www.militia-watchdog.org/faq1.html. It is part of a very elaborate website. Pitcavage's history dissertation, An Equitable Burden: The Decline of the State Militias, 1783-1858, was completed at Ohio State in 1995.

I do my part and I don't get paid anything for the effort. You can start doing yours.

Yours truly,
G. Eyclesheimer Ernst

Contacts provide with phone numbers and e-mail addresses:
Saul Cornell
Michael A Bellesiles
Don Higginbotham
http://www.unc.edu/depts/history/faculty/higginbotham.html
John Kenneth Rowland
http://www.potowmack.org/1197row.html
http://www.potowmack.org/emerappa.html
Ralph Brock
amicus curiae, US v. Emerson
http://www.potowmack.org/brock.html
David Yassky
amicus curiae, US v. Emerson
http://www.potowmack.org/yass.html


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April 8, 2000

Diane Rehm
WAMU-FM
American University
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Ms. Rehm:

Copyright permission has been received for Garry Wills' article, "To Keep and Bear Arms," New York Review of Books, September 21, 1995. It is now available at http://www.potowmack.org/garwills.html. Wills makes mention of Max Weber (.../emerapph.html) and the abuse of Federalist Paper No. 46 (.../emerappi.html). He even uses the word fantast which I, completely independently, have used to describe our libertarian delivers. When you decide to become a serious voice for public enlightenment you will have to direct concerned parties to where the most important resources are located at "potowmack.org" right along side of your own dereliction, http://www.potowmack.org/196rehm.html.

The URL for Mark Pitcavage is http://www.militia-watchdog.org/faq1.htm. It is without the final L.

The most active file these day, however, is none of this but Whittaker Chambers' review of Ayn Rand, 1957, http://www.potowmack.org/aynrand.html. I provided it more than a year ago to point out the conflicts within rightwing ideologies. Last October the Ayn Rand Objectivists discovered it. It gets much attention.

Yours truly,
G. Eyclesheimer Ernst


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April 12, 2000

Re: Bruce Fein and Lloyd Cutler

Diane Rehm
WAMU-FM
American University
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Ms. Rehm:

Very Reprehensible.

You might have taken the opportunity to explain to the woman from Texas why this subject has been neglected for so long. You have a very important testimony to give on the false consciousness that has created the "muddied waters" and you have no shame that the story will be told. The woman might put "Diane Rehm" into a search engine and discover that this business on its proper terms has been on your plate for ten years.

On its proper terms, the only issue in gun rights, gun ownership, gun violence is accountability to public authority. It gets down to one simple question: Are gun owners citizens under law and government or are they individual sovereigns, laws unto themselves, in the State of Nature which is the state of anarchy; or, phrased another way, Is the Constitution a frame of government with "just powers" that derive from the consent of the governed or is it a treaty among sovereign individuals who give no more than word of honor and promise of good faith? Much follows from the distinction. See amicus brief.

After a while one come to the conclusion that there are forces in this society for whom the idea that an enlightened citizenry that might become involved in fundamental political choice is terrifying. We get trigger locks. Millions are spent on gun safety and public health statistics to deflect attention away from fundamental choice and the political leadership and necessary public enlightenment that goes with it. The whole purpose of free institutions is defeated. You might explain what constrains you. If this is more than you can handle, seek out assistance or start with a disclaimer and confine yours topics to travelogues and cookbooks. Anything else is a disservice to the public.

Yours truly,
G. Eyclesheimer Ernst


TOP
[BOTTOM]
Letter to Diane Rehm, March 14, 2000
Emerson amicus brief.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 5, 2000
Resources and contact.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 8, 2000
Announcement of availability of Garry Wills article.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 12, 2000
Response to April 12 program.

Other letters. Some of these are shortened.
Letter to Diane Rehm, January 16, 1996

Appearance of Sanford Levinson.
Letter to Derek McGinty, July 8, 1995
Appearance of Wayne LaPierre.
Letter to NPR, June 28, 1999
Appearance of Paul Weyrich.
Letter to NPR, July 17, 2000,
Richard Rosenfeld on NPR's Morning
Diane Rehm
WAMU
American University
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Ms. Rehm:

You do not read your mail but it is important that you be on record as having been sent the message. If you read your mail you would know that David Kopel has written referring explicitly to guns, "the tools of political dissent should be privately owned and unregistered" (— "Trust the People: the Case Against Gun Control," Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 109). Kopel does not care if private individuals have concealed weapons for self-defense and he is not "progun/procontrol" as he explains. Kopel is a militant libertarian. He does not accept the legitimacy of government.

Campaigning to liberalize conceal/carry permit requirements is part of the gun lobby's cynical strategy to have the doctrine of political liberty which the courts have thoroughly rejected. To have its doctrine the gun lobby has to defeat legislation. To defeat legislation it has to win the votes of gun owners. To win the votes of gun owners it has to prey on fear among other techniques. The next step in the conceal/carry strategy is to remove the permit requirement altogether. The gun lobby will be closer to the libertarian goal of individual sovereignty which means we become laws unto ourselves, judges of our own actions, and we reserve the discretion to withdraw from any political obligation whatsoever. The libertarians are quite explicit about this. Read their party platform. The libertarians provide the gun lobby the pseudointellectual justification for its demagogic appeal.

Libertarians get excited when the subjects of law and government come up and declare, "We don't want a coercive State." The problem is there is no other kind of state. Coercion is what the State does. A law is authority to coerce. The libertarians do not want a state. They cannot put themselves into political society. This childish insolence has been elevated into the civic pathology of mystical individualism which, in its extremes, has no resistance to malignant conspiracy theories. It has cultivated a few widely believed frauds.

Last April 10th on your program Daniel Polsby and Bruce Fein, without contradiction, attributed the gun lobby/libertarians' armed populace doctrine to John Locke. Daniel Polsby is, like Kopel, a militant libertarian, and also, like Kopel, a Second Amendment lawyer who has represented gun rights cases in court. I must be the only living person who has read John Locke's The Second Treatise of Government. The Second Treatise of Government is a treatise on government. It is not a treatise on anarchy. The gun lobby/libertarians quote as liberally and dishonestly from John Locke as from the Federalist Papers. (See FP No. 46.)

Locke's purpose was to "find out another rise of government, another original of political power" in contradistinction to an absolutist state where "all government in the world is the product only of force and violence, and that men live together by no other rules but that of beasts, where the strongest carries it, and so lay a foundation for perpetual disorder and mischief, tumult, sedition, and rebellion." Locke is explicit about his context: "Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the commonwealth from foreign injury; and all this for the public good." There is no implication that private armies are part of Locke's purpose.

Locke was concerned with government to guarantee the security of property. Property rights logically extend to civil rights. Civil rights are not self-proclaimed. Civil rights are guaranteed by government. The connection has only been fully appreciated and put into practice in our own lifetimes. At every place where Locke uses "property rights" can be added "[and civil rights]" without logical difficulties. We enter Political or Civil Society for the greater security derived. In the State of Nature we are burdened by the inconvenience of securing through our own efforts both our property and our rights and have little time or energy for anything else.

. . . .

See amicus for more on this.
Also "Libertarians and Conservatives".


TOP
[BOTTOM]
Letter to Diane Rehm, March 14, 2000
Emerson amicus brief.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 5, 2000
Resources and contact.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 8, 2000
Announcement of availability of Garry Wills article.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 12, 2000
Response to April 12 program.

Other letters. Some of these are shortened.
Letter to Diane Rehm, September 30, 1995

Appearance of David Kopel.
Letter to Derek McGinty, July 8, 1995
Appearance of Wayne LaPierre.
Letter to NPR, June 28, 1999
Appearance of Paul Weyrich.
Letter to NPR, July 17, 2000,
Richard Rosenfeld on NPR's Morning Edition.

Diane Rehm
WAMU
American University
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Ms. Rehm:

You do not read your mail, but it is important that you be on record for having been sent the message. If you read your mail you would know that Sanford Levinson has written explicitly in the context of gun ownership:

I sent you Levinson's article "The Embarrassing Second Amendment," Yale Law Review (fall, 1989) in May, 1990. This article came to my attention on your program on March 2, 1990. I sent you Dennis Henigan's article "Arms, Anarchy, and the Second Amendment," Valparaison University Law Review (fall, 1991) in the spring of 1992. Henigan's article explicitly refutes Levinson's prescription for anarchy.

. . . .


TOP
[BOTTOM]
Letter to Diane Rehm, March 14, 2000
Emerson amicus brief.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 5, 2000
Resources and contact.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 8, 2000
Announcement of availability of Garry Wills article.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 12, 2000
Response to April 12 program.

Other letters. Some of these are shortened.
Letter to Diane Rehm, September 30, 1995

Appearance of David Kopel.
Letter to Diane Rehm, January 16, 1996
Appearance of Sanford Levinson.
Letter to NPR, June 28, 1999
Appearance of Paul Weyrich.
Letter to NPR, July 17, 2000,
Richard Rosenfeld on NPR's Morning

Derek McGinty
WAMU-FM
American University
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Mr. McGinty:

In Denying the Holocaust, Deborah Lipstadt explains how she adamantly refuses to appear on the same platform with the deniers despite repeated requests from people in your business that she participate in a balanced discussion and debate the opposing view. She insists she will not debate an opposing side that presents a complete and thoroughgoing fraud and when its only objective is to gain respectability for arguments that have no respectability. You fall into that trap when you put Wayne LaPierre on your program.

What motivates the gun lobby is its doctrine of political liberty which is no less a complete and thoroughgoing fraud than the Holocaust deniers' fraud. The doctrine, the objective, and the strategy are amply explained in the enclosures. The gun lobby fights rabidly at the periphery on the most trivial issues, as you observe, because its doctrine at the core is childish nonsense. The doctrine has no validity in historical fact, constitutional doctrine, political theory or good sense. It is hostile to every premise that democratic constitutional government is built on. The strategy is successful in good part because the doctrine is so preposterous. No one believes this is what the gun lobby is up to. Nevertheless, what the gun lobby needs to maintain its doctrine and the frauds the doctrine is built on is respectability and credibility. The gun lobby is very experienced and practiced and knows exactly what it is doing. LaPierre presents himself as a very reasonable, respectable, credible spokesman for positions that are completely fallacious under the most cursory examination.

I, as the first caller on July 6, raised a very fundamental point that is the beginning of a serious discussion that, if pursued, completely destroys the gun lobby's credibility. At the point when I was abruptly and irresponsibly cut off in mid sentence, I was saying that when the gun lobby has to tell lies to make its case we have to inquire into its ulterior motive. The ulterior motive is to maintain its doctrine of political liberty. LaPierre went on to give big name references from the period of the founding of the Republic, all of which are as dishonest as the misquote from Federalist Paper No. 46. Then to prove his case itwas insulting to me that he was allowed to refer, without rebuttal, to the 1982 Senate Judiciary Committee Report. Your performance was particularly reprehensible because if you had read the paper "Armed Anarchic Individualism" I sent you more than four years ago you would have read the words:

[The words at issue here "...the advantage of being armed..." are quoted in the Judiciary Committee Report and in Sen. Hatch's Preface to the Report.]
Mary Jolly, the Judiciary Committee staff director, who wrote the report [gun rights ideologues Stephen Halbrook and David Hardy also had a hand in writing this report] and assemble the documents, left the Senate immediately for employment as an NRA lobbyist. LaPierre referred to the report exactly for the purpose it was created— to gain respectability. Because you do not read your mail, you become used. You provide your program as a platform in the gun lobby's cynical scheme. You become an accomplice in the carnage.

Getting this subject right does not require much effort. Getting it right is the basis for genuine political leadership. Once the gun lobby's strategy and real objective are understood, every one of LaPierre's arguments— 20,000 gun laws that don't work, scapegoating the criminal justice system, the blame the gun mentality, among others— which are presented so reasonably and seductively are easily refuted with a little thought and conviction.

It is noteworthy that some of your callers who indentified themselves as gun owners and NRA members actually expressed support for reasonable gun laws. The NRA's greatest weakness is the serious bind it is in between the majority of gun owners who, if enlightened, would find reasonable gun laws acceptable and the extremists in gun lobby ranks who really want to proclaim the right-to-arms as a right-to-insurrection.

. . . .


TOP
[BOTTOM]
Letter to Diane Rehm, March 14, 2000
Emerson amicus brief.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 5, 2000
Resources and contact.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 8, 2000
Announcement of availability of Garry Wills article.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 12, 2000
Response to April 12 program.

Other letters. Some of these are shortened.
Letter to Diane Rehm, September 30, 1995

Appearance of David Kopel.
Letter to Diane Rehm, January 16, 1996
Appearance of Sanford Levinson.
Letter to Derek McGinty, July 8, 1995
Appearance of Wayne LaPierre.
Letter to NPR, July 17, 2000,
Richard Rosenfeld on NPR's Morning Edition.

Re: America's Gun Culture, June 14-18

Morning Edition
National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Morning Edition:

On your Talk of the Nation program June 16, you had Paul Weyrich make, in the context of transportation policy, a distinction between libertarians who will fit the world into an ideology and conservatives who just want a way to live. He even went so far as to compare libertarians with Marxists. There is a large literature on the longstanding conflicts among libertarians and conservatives. See Resources. The distinction was especially noteworthy coming from Weyrich.

Further comment will enlighten the comparison with Marxists. The introduction to the Croft's Classics edition (1955, editor Samuel Beer), The Communist Manifesto, observes:

It is equally false to teach that evil arises only from government and public authority. Historian Richard Tawney described Marx as and "the last of the Schoolmen," the medieval theologians who made moral pronouncements on society; but, alas, Marx was a mere transitional figure. He was, ironically, the first of our Libertarian Deliverers. Marx and Engels at least required a historical process for the state, public authority, to wither away. Our Libertarian Deliverers will wish it away.

The conflict between libertarians and conservatives is intellectually acute in firearms policy although no one has explicitly debated gun ownership as a libertarian/conservative issue. It is unfortunate because this is where we can get a large perspective on contemporary American politics.

In this regard, your series on the gun culture misses a great opportunity to enlighten the subject. Instead, you go to some towns in rural America where there is no visible crisis in gun violence. You then report uncritically the same political cynicism— make laws that only apply to someone else— that permeates the political culture. You might have made an inquiry into what the NRA really wants. See ../potowmack/nratanya.html. You might have gone to some places where the true belief in the gun lobby's armed populace fantasy is more unabashedly proclaimed. You might have gone to neighborhoods in the inner city where gun violence is real. I have been there. The people on the street, who not only have guns in their pockets but have used them for something other than sport and recreation, are the first to say we have to get these guns off the street— that is, we have to create a civic culture. For national policy there are simple solutions. See .../nfp.html. Progress towards solutions starts with informed public debate about what we are doing here as a political community.

Here is where you can get serious, relevant, and competent: The gun lobby with much assistance from true believing libertarian law professors has invented a wholly new and malignant vision of political life. It is based on an elaborate fraud which is widely believed and which you have not examined or exposed. The quote in your first part that John Adams said, "arms in the hands of the citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self defense," is just one of dozens that are used to fabricate the fraud and cultivate a constituency. Here is what John Adams said in full context:

The words would be accurate cited as, "to suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion...is to demolish every constitution." The fraud and the strategy are the story for you. See also .../196fp46.html, .../196locke.html. It is not as if you have not had the story. I have sent it to you enough times. It is never too late. You might get to your homework. Much more is explained in the Potowmack Institute files. We don't want an armed populace that is not a citizenry and we don't want an armed citizenry that is not also an enlightened citizenry. You might report on a gun culture that connects gun ownership with the obligations of citizenship. See the Militia Act of 1792, .../597mil.html.

The gun lobby cannot win what it wants in court, but not for the want of trying. It has to circulate these quotes around among the already eager to believe to cultivate a constituency. Unmentioned by NPR, the elaborate fraud is now in federal court in a new case seeking certification. See US v. Emerson, http://www.txnd.uscourts/PDFs/emerson.pdf. If this case is successful on appeal, it will mean a redefinition of the relationship between citizen and state and the eventual unraveling of law and government.

The Potowmack Institute will file an amicus curiae in Emerson exposing the fraud. This is serious business. It is about time you started paying attention. It should not be up to us. There are 535 members of Congress who take an oath of office to maintain the internal sovereignty of the United States. In your next report, you get them to explain what that means.

Yours truly,
G. Eyclesheimer Ernst


NPR, Morning Edition, July 17, 2000

Announcer: As the November election approaches, Vice President Gore and the Democrats are pushing for stronger gun control laws. Texas Governor George W. Bush and fellow Republicans tend to enforce tougher enforcement of existing laws. Commentator Richard Rosenfeld reminds us that gun control has been an issue since the nation's first turn of the century election, though not in the same way.

Richard Rosenfeld: Control of arms was an important issue in the election of 1800 because only a year earlier in the spring of 1799, the nation's second president, John Adams, had unleashed his brand new federal army into the Pennsylvania countryside purportedly to enforce new tax laws but that federal forces invaded the homes of German speaking families who had been critical of John Adams' Administration. They torn down symbols of their political opposition, terrorized women and children alike and publicly whipped newspaper editors who reported the obvious misconduct. Reaction to the Federal Government's misuse of force in 1799 was a kin to recent public concerns about the possible misuse of federal force in Waco, Texas. The army's misconduct cost John Adams dearly in his presidential reelection bid in 1800. In Adams' words that army was an unpopular as if it had been a ferocious wild beast let loose upon the nation to devour it. Americans had been wary about arms in the hands of the government from the time of their Independence from England and even before. They remembered the seventeenth century British kings who had used government armies to keep the people in fear and had used restrictive hunting laws to keep the people without arms and therefore powerless against them. So while America's founders built many checks and balances against the misuse of power in the new United States Constitution, they all agreed that the ultimate check against possible government tyranny would be an armed American population. Thomas Jefferson, Mr. Adams' Democratic challenger in the presidential election of 1800, was also distrustful of arms in the hands of the Federal Government. He felt that in a republic the government should be in awe of the people not the other way around. So after he won the presidency from Adams in 1800 Jefferson substantially reduced the size of the Federal Army and he continued to champion America's first federal gun control regulation which is the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, the article of the Bill of Rights which reminds us that power starts and stays with the American people and that while requiring gun ownership to be safe and responsible the Federal Government must not infringe, in the words of that Amendment, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

Announcer: The comments of Richard Rosenfeld whose book American Aurora, a Democratic-Republican Returns recounts the ideological battles of the early American Republic.

July 19, 2000

Morning Edition
National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001

Dear Sirs/Mesdames:

Richard Rosenfeld's commentary on the Second Amendment as the "first federal gun control regulation" was ignorant and your giving him a platform in the present political environment was grossly irresponsible. The Second Amendment is a part of the fundamental law of the land. It is not a "regulation." Rosenfeld at best has the story half right and he goes a long way to destroying his credibility as a historian if that is what he claims to be. He comes off as a shill for the NRA and its armed populace fantasy. But just as the NRA quotes half an amendment, it is the other half of Rosenfeld's story that is most important. There is a whole contemporary school of pseudoscholarship that has tried to invent out of a vulgarized, fraudulent reading of eighteenth century political concepts an anti-government, anti-modern-state ideology that really rejects the twentieth century. The ideology is central to present struggles over gun rights and measures to address gun violence. If NPR and Rosenfeld put yourselves in that camp, it your political consciousness more than your history that needs to be examined. I get 30-50 e-mails everyday from people who are greatly fortified in their absurd belief system by this kind of sham commentary. If you want to be a responsible voice you might enlighten the public to what is really at stake.

Every sentence of your presentation starting with the introduction demands clarification. Since there is no indication that you are receptive to ideas or information, I won't elaborate too much. The struggles between the Federalists who gave us the Constitution and the Anti- Federalist who rejected any kind of serious central government were often bitter and violent. Anti-Federalist mobs assaulted Federalist advocates of the Constitution in 1787-9. The new government survived because of the convictions and forceful actions of Presidents Washington and Adams. The British Empire in Canada and the Spanish Empire on the southern tier did not think the new nation would survive and were waiting patiently to pick up the pieces. The war that started in 1793 between Britain and France resulted in the British seizing American ships in the Caribbean doing business with French ports. More than 200 ships with cargo and crews were impounded. Meanwhile, on the domestic scene, Alexander Hamilton's ill-conceived whiskey tax provoke a near repeat of the American Revolution on the western frontier. Washington sent a militia army not just the establish order but to assert the authority of the new government. Adams' actions merely compounded Anti-Federalist hostility to the new national government. The Anti-Federalists did not accept the Constitution until they got more or less in control of it in the Jefferson Administration, but Jefferson was not a modern gun controller or anti-gun controller.

The controversies over arms in the early republic involved wholly different concepts. The part about "not in the same way" is where you should give your attention. The Second Amendment was about military organization not gun control, not "safe and responsible" use and certainly not the civil rights of private individuals to defend themselves against the "just powers" of any government at all as many will read into your report. To "bear arms" describes a military function. The Constitution created a national militia out of the pre-existing state militias. The Militia Act of 1792 required the states to "enroll" that is, register militiamen for militia duty. Militia duty was conscript duty subject to federal call up. If the Constitution had provided for conscription into the regular army, routine in the mid- twentieth century, it would never have been ratified. The Militia Act also require the state militia officers to maintain inventories of militia resources including privately owned weapons and report them to the president of the United States. Don't tell the NRA but blank bureaucratic forms were provided. Washington and Adams neglected the inventory requirement but Jefferson's distrust of arms in the Federal Government, as Rosenfeld put it, was manifest in his desire to reduce dependency on the regular army and rely on the militia. To assess militia capabilities he required the inventories be reported. The inventories, called "Return of Militia," are the most subversive documents our present politics. See if you can get Mr. Rosenfeld, Wayne LaPierre, Charlton Heston, and our contemporary gun rights advocates to endorse the inventory requirement now. Jefferson founded West Point in 1803 to train militia officers not officers for the regular army. Jefferson, as president, it should be pointed out was not averse to using the federal army to suppress local dissent when the circumstance required strong action.

The controversies in the early republic were over state and federal control of the militia not maintaining a contingent of extralegal armed force that would keep government, state and federal, in awe. That is what Mr. Rosenfeld implies and many in our present political environment sincerely believe.

If you want to be a responsible voice for public enlightenment, there are plenty of resources available to inform your consciousness. You can start with the enclosed letters. You might study the briefs filed in US v. Emerson, now on appeal the US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, http://www.potowmack.org/emeramic.html." There are many competent historians who have contributed to those briefs. The Potowmack Institute's amicus brief might be particularly helpful. The ruling should be out before the election. There is a story where you can fulfill your public mission by opening up the subject. You might even make a constructive contribution.

This will be added to http://www.potowmack.org/196rehm.html right after the letter of June 28, 1999.

Yours truly,
G. Eyclesheimer Ernst


[PotowmackForum] interactive posting


Letter to Diane Rehm, March 14, 2000
Emerson amicus brief.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 5, 2000
Resources and contact.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 8, 2000
Announcement of availability of Garry Wills article.
Letter to Diane Rehm, April 12, 2000
Response to April 12 program.

Other letters. Some of these are shortened.
Letter to Diane Rehm, September 30, 1995

Appearance of David Kopel.
Letter to Diane Rehm, January 16, 1996
Appearance of Sanford Levinson.
Letter to Derek McGinty, July 8, 1995
Appearance of Wayne LaPierre.
Letter to NPR, June 28, 1999
Appearance of Paul Weyrich.
Letter to NPR, July 17, 2000,
Richard Rosenfeld on NPR's Morning Edition.
[PotowmackForum], interactive posting
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[US v. Emerson PAGE]
[NRA v. Reno (July, 2000)]
[Printz and Mack PAGE]
[US v. Lopez PAGE]
[ARCHIVE]. Potowmack Institute Files
[RESOURCES]. Newspaper, magazine, journal articles, books, links

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