It's not about guns...

It's about citizenship

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Assaulting Jim Zumbo

The NRA on Extremists

NRA scams its members

The Lionel Show
AirAm Radio's ignorant, crude, ugly,
air waves barbarian
Dear John Ashcroft
The armed populace doctrine at the DOJ
The Washington Post
cultivating ignorance.
"Sixty Minutes"
Failing its Mission
NPR's Diane Rehm
Civilized without Substance.
A longstanding dereliction.
Violence Policy Center
The public health agenda
falls in line with the NRA.
Getting it right but
failing its mission in the
larger struggle
Militia Act of 1792
To enroll— conscript, register

Return of Militia
Inventory of private weapons in
the early Republic reported to the
President of the US
John Kenneth Rowland
Lawrence Cress
John K. Mahon
LaPierre's list

The Quotes, the Quotes
Fabricating the armed populace doctrine
Libertarians, Conservatives

Tenn. Law Rev., 1995

Chicago-Kent Symposium, 2000
What does the NRA want?

IV. Civic values and the politics of the modern state

Update 08/22/2014

The only changes since 2008 are that a national health insurance policy has been enacted and the Parker and Heller cases has gone to the Supreme Court and received Fourteenth Amendment incorporation in McDonald. There is still nothing in Supreme Court rulings that overturns the Parker conclusion that we can have "registration ... for militia service is called up".


The struggle is over civic values and political culture. The Supreme Court has completely missed this. Justice Kennedy in his talk to the Ninth Circuit judicial conference, July 31, 2008, on C-Span's archive dated August 9, said,
"Law cannot be isolated from history."
"Each generation shapes its destiny."
"The rule of law is in mortal danger."
"The state must have the monopoly on force."
It was incumbent on Justice Anthony Kennedy to explain his statements in light of his vote in Heller. He does not have to worry that anyone else will take him or the Supreme Court to task. The court has isolated the law from history to pander to a present day anarchic constituency. If he will admit that every generation shapes its destiny, he is in conflict with Justice Scalia who wrote the Heller opinion. Scalia wants us to be frozen in the political values, concepts, and institutions of the 1780s— as he will redefine them to satisfy present agendas. Justice John Roberts said in his confirmation hearings that the justices will act as umpires who will impartially apply the rules as written, not seek to participate in the game and change the results. Yeah. Right. The present Supreme Court is the most politically appointed, politically motivated in Supreme Court history. The political agenda is to dismantle the modern state. None of this is examined in public consciousness.

Kennedy went on to tell how most people in the world live outside of the law. Street gangs and warlords rule. This is not anarchy. It has already been called polyarchy. It is already reality not just in the Third World but in many American and European cities. It is incumbent on Justice Kennedy to qualify his vote in Heller as to how far he will take us in the direction he finds so dangerous. A less ignorant and more responsible man might tell us something about sovereigny and the larger context of our present politics. He might say something about anarchic and insurrectionist proclamations that abound on internet message boards.
Nothing of Kennedy's statements appeared in Rick Warren's interviews with the candidates on August 16, 2008
The insurrectionist fantasies cannot be separated from the struggle over capitalism. This agenda has progressed completely without notice in the larger political culture. There is no political leadership and, if discourse in the 2008 election season was any indication, no enlightened citizenry that understands anything about the political world we live in. The gun rights ideologies' malignant vision of social and political life parallels the malignant vision of economic life in primitive free market capitalism. The two are intimately connected ideologically and politically.

After a long struggle that started in the 1970s, the malignant social values and insurrectionist political values have now received the smallest recognition in constitutional doctrine. Justice Scalia's Heller opinion is a rehash of the arguments in "The Rise of Citizen Militias" published in the John Birch Society's magazine, The New American, in February, 1995. The John Birch Society is part of the ideological persuasion that has never accepted the modern state. It is the source of much Libertarian Right ideology— ideology which in the present political context no one will talk about.

The context for gun rights is not in the eighteenth century but in the political struggles of the twentieth century which are struggles over the modern state and the regulation of capitalism. The Libertarian Right will return us to robber baron capitalism's golden age of political liberty pre-1910 when we lived in company towns and worked 70 hours per week in coal mines and sweatshops. The central constitutional issue is the expansion of the powers of the Federal Government under the Commerce Clause. See "The Courts and the New Deal" (The Second Amendment gets its due mention). We can argue about whether the Commerce Clause is always appropriate or less than awkwardly applied, but the objection is on the sweeping ideological principles that any powers of a central government are creeping Stalinism. The ruling value is political cynicism. We cannot be a national community— a modern nation state— that functions collectively to address national issues with national authority. See Justice Alito's dissent in US v. Rybar (1996) for where this reasoning leads.

The same Robert Levy who argued Parker/Heller all the way to the Supreme Court wrote with his co-author William Mellor The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom, released May, 2008. We can argue Supreme Court cases on their merits and demerits, but the ruling value is still unequivocally the political cynicism that we cannot address national issues and national problems with a national governing authority. US v. Miller (1939), which upheld the National Firearms Act of 1934, is included in the twelve. Maybe the Supreme Court was thinking that sawed off shotguns, machine guns, handgrenades, field artillery, etc., in every personal arsenal are not appropriate for self-defense against the rulings of the Supreme Court. Levy and Mellor DO NOT list the Selective Draft Law Cases (1918) which constitutionalized national conscription in the most radical departure from original design and intent and the Federal Government's most severe imposition on individual sovereignty; NOR, do they list US v. Darby (1941) which upheld the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 establishing the forty hour work week as national law. One constitutional law text describes Darby as the culmination of and the very essence of the New Deal Constitutional Revolution which Levy and Mellor find so horrifying and want each of us to have a gun in our pocket to defend ourselves against. It gets very contradictory because the same federal judiciary expanded federal powers under the Fourteenth Amendment to protect individual liberties.

If Rick Warren wanted to get serious with the candidates on August 16, 2008, he might have inquired into where they stand on the modern state and the twentieth century constitutional transformations that created it. John McCain is committed to the justices on the Supreme Court that are committed to dismantling the modern state. Those are the five he approves of and they are the same five who voted in the majority in Heller. McCain is not required to explain himself.

The struggle as manifest in our present gun rights ideologies is between individual sovereignty and socialism. Sovereigns exist in the State of Nature before there is law and government. Sovereigns make treaties not governments. Socialism becomes any viable concept of constitutional government, like the authority to restrict possession of sawed off shotguns and machine guns. The political cynicism that rejects any collective political capacity to deal with the common good and common issues, like the forty hour work week, goes so far as to embrace anarchic and treasonous rights.

This is all so much demagogic bunk. Ronald Reagan campaigned from 1976 to 1980 on the Panama Canal treaty. From the time Reagan took office as president in January, 1981, we never heard about the Panama Canal treaty again.

In his speech to the Republican Convention in 1964 which launched his political career, Reagan said,

Well, what was the advance of socialism? Thomas' Socialist Party had four major policy goals:
1) Collective bargaining for labor.
2) The basic provisions of the original Social Security Act.
3) The forty hour work week.
4) National health insurance.
The first three of these were achieved in the New Deal. The fourth is still on the agenda. The Socialist Party still exists but is very marginal because it was our most successful political party. It achieved three quarters of its goals. Those are still fundamental parts of our national existence. Ronald Reagan had the next twenty-five years of his political life including eight years as president to dismantle the achievements of Thomas' Socialist Party. Just like the Panama Canal treaty we never heard another word about those achievements in the advance of the dreaded "socialism". There is no political or intellectual leadership that makes the advance of socialism part of our national consciousness and holds our candidates accountable for what they are really talking about. And, of course, no member of congress of any political persuasion has ever introduced legislation to repeal the policy achievements of the Socialist Party. We are all socialists now.

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