The Second Amendment thread

By on November 3, 2013 4:26:24 PM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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My old friend Steven Den Beste wrote this awhile back:

Let's talk about the Third Amendment for a moment. Remember that one? Probably not; in this day and age it's something of a Constitutional joke. "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

Remember now? The Bill of Rights which passed Congress had twelve clauses, and ten of them were almost immediately ratified by the states. Amendment Three was one of those. Why did they bother?

It's because memory of the Revolution was still current. It was only a few years after the Revolution succeeded, remember, and memory of British tyranny was still fresh. The British had done this, and the citizens of the nascent United States wanted to make sure their new government didn't.

The reason the colonies revolted was because the King of England was viewed as having become a tyrant. Having fought a bloody war to become free of his tyranny, the founders wanted to make sure the new government they created did not in turn become tyranny. Trading one tyrant for another wasn't what they had in mind. So the Constitution contains layers of mechanisms to try to prevent tyranny. And the last and best of these is the Second Amendment.

Remember how the shooting revolution began? The Battles of Lexington and Concord. Rebels in the Boston area had been stockpiling weapons, powder, and ammunition near Concord MA, and the British got wind of it and sent an armed column out from Boston to seize the stockpile. Superb espionage by rebel forces detected this, and word spread through the countryside for the militia (remember that word; it's important) which formed up and fought against the British force. The main battle was fought at Lexington MA, which repelled the British and caused them to retreat again back to Boston.

The "militia" was all able bodied men in the area, who were to show up with their own rifles (or muskets). Weapons of that era varied quite a lot, and of course they were muzzle-loaded using black powder. It took a lot of training to use such a weapon effectively (especially rifles, which were much more difficult to load than muskets) and that's why it was desireable that the men have their own weapons. It was assumed they already knew how to use them.

The earliest battles of the revolution were fought by such militia formations. Another was the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was only later that the Revolutionary Army was formed, and began training at Valley Forge.

Having just won their revolution, in which privately owned firearms played such a critical role, and mindful of the potential for their new government to potentially become tyrannical, the purpose of the Second Amendment was to make sure that the people of the United States would have the means to rise in revolt once again, should it become necessary.

That's what it's really about. It's not about hunting weapons; it's not about the "National Guard" (which isn't a militia). It's about everyday law-abiding citizens having the ability to resist a tyrannical government. And with that deterrent in place, we've managed 230 years without our government descending into tyranny (though it's come close).

 

 One of the most common problems when discussing the US constitution is that people will apply modern definitions to 18th century words.  For example, the word "regulated" today implies government run.  Such a concept would have been absurd in the 18th century. Well regulated meant effective.  Similarly, the word "welfare", as in, "promote the general welfare", was not about giving money to the impoverished but supporting the general stability of the states (not to mention it's in the preamble and has no legal meaning anyway). And of course, Militia today is often considered thought of as being government related whereas it traditionally meant "a group of armed men".
 
update: snipped out the overtly political paragraphs.
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November 3, 2013 4:48:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Not really a hot-button issue for me, but sounds a bit too much Us v Them mentality. Frankly I believe people kill people not guns necessarily, but don't see how we'd end up in a dictatorship with stronger background checks. Regulations are often seen as a dirty word, but I've worked dangerous jobs where I've heard the horror stories of people losing life and limb before there was OSHA, sadly all preventable. On the other hand, it's hard to have common sense regulations in any sector when you have the foxes guarding the henhouse...

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November 3, 2013 5:00:16 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I thought this forum wasn't supposed to be political....

Labeling people with abroad brush is rarely conducive to a productive discussion...

So may I suggest you take a deep breath, arm youself to the teeth and hide in your solar powered bunker and wait for the government to take your guns awayso you can go down in a blaze of glory.

 

 

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November 3, 2013 5:32:41 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I thought this forum wasn't supposed to be political....

Indeed, but I guess if Frogboy brought it up we have a free pass. 

Well regulated meant effective

Today a well regulated militia would need antitank and aircraft missiles if it is to be effective, yet those are mostly illegal and I think most agree that is a good thing. The whole civilian population of the U.S. could have AR-15s, yet if the government has the support of the military it wouldn't matter in the end. Our only defense against any sort of unconstitutional takeover is our military personnel refusing to do anything clearly illegal, not any weapons you'd be able to arm yourself with. All those weapons do is make it easier to kill your fellow citizens with.

 One of the most common problems when discussing the US constitution is that people will apply modern definitions to 18th century words.

Well back then "Freedom for All" in the declaration of independence actually just meant adult white males. I think most would agree it is a good thing we slowly updated it to its modern definition. America today is not the same place it was in 1776 or 1789, and insisting on strictly following the "original intent" of the constitution is a recipe for poor government over 200 years later.

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November 3, 2013 5:45:03 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Progressives? That guy is talking like a fool. He is saying things to get people crazy. Crazy talk to get people crazy. This is the problem.

Progressives want a dictatorship. Progressives want to take over. I think he is talking about people who lean towards the liberal. He means Democrats. Well I've been around the block a few times. The Democrats that are around now would be moderate Republicans years ago. There aren't any real progressives or liberals around anymore that have any power. It's just like The War on Terror. Let's create an enemy so these guys go ahead and come up with all sorts of bullshit.

The best thing a person can do is take it all in and regardless of labels make an educated choice. Do not believe anything until you find out for yourself. Do not listen to fear mongers or people who sling around crazy talk. I know people who think that socialist, communist and fascist are the same thing.

Let's face it the norm anymore is stupid.

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November 3, 2013 5:51:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

First 2/3rds of the text was brilliant, the last third nutter garbage. It all comes down to this (if I read the text right): people who argue against gun rights ("progressives") want to create a tyranny. I mean... straw man much?

I wouldn't want the same gun rights in my country, but I don't see the US ever getting rid of theirs. Precisely because the deterrent is needed, even if it is not effective (in this modern age of governmental spying on citizens the FBI would shut down any armed rebellion before it got its boots on*). And with guns so easy to get for criminals, the only reasonable self-defence is to carry your own. That's not a problem that can be solved, because you can't take the guns away from the criminals.

*I mean, it was essentially founded to hunt down "anarchists".

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November 3, 2013 6:03:46 PM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,


Well back then "Freedom for All" in the declaration of independence actually just meant adult white males. I think most would agree it is a good thing we slowly updated it to its modern definition. America today is not the same place it was in 1776 or 1789, and insisting on strictly following the "original intent" of the constitution is a recipe for poor government over 200 years later.

We did update it - with constitutional amendments. We didn't just decide the words meant something different.

Re politics. Not trying to make it a liberal/conservative thing. It's unfortunate the original article dovetailed into politics.

The part that interests me is how we tend to try to change the meaning of laws through semantics.

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November 3, 2013 6:15:22 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

So may I suggest you take a deep breath, arm youself to the teeth and hide in your solar powered bunker and wait for the government to take your guns awayso you can go down in a blaze of glory.

 

That happens.

 

David Koresh, the freak that he was, wasn't some monster kidnapping children.  They were legal firearms dealers, apocalyptic cult or not.

 

They were just a bunch of people preparing for the apocalypse, that expected the government to attack them and trigger the end times at some point.  The ATF rolls in with tanks and black helicopters, probably starts shooting first, and kills one poor bastard outside the compound on his way home from work.

 

Did they intentionally burn them to death at the end?  Not likely, not even the ATF is that corrupt.  They still got them killed for no reason though.  If they hadn't shown up and started fucking with them, the Branch Davidians would still be their kooky selves down on Wacko Texas, some of them legally selling firearms, most working normal jobs in the town, stockpiling food in preparation for the apocalypse while their nutbar leader prophesied doom.

 

That's hardly the only instance either.  The Weaver family was the same shtick.  Paranoid of the government, expecting the end times.  Randy Weaver misses his trial date for a nonsense charge because his lawyer sends him the wrong date when they change it on him, and the Feds sneaking around on his property kill his dog in front of his 14 year old son.  After that turns into a firefight, they later murder the guy's wife when they spot him outside and start sniping him.  No shots returned.

 

If you go and hide in a bunker waiting for the fall of civilization, the feds seem to feel a need to dig you out.

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November 3, 2013 6:25:05 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
We did update it - with constitutional amendments. We didn't just decide the words meant something different.

Re politics. Not trying to make it a liberal/conservative thing. It's unfortunate the original article dovetailed into politics.

The part that interests me is how we tend to try to change the meaning of laws through semantics.

Sometimes yes. But in practice the same words also get reinterpreted by society, and usually get legitimized via arguments in the Supreme Court. The text of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments did not change between Plessy V. Furguson and Brown V. Board of Education, yet in the 1890s the court ruled separate but equal was constitutional and by the 1950s it was not. Granted some people hate this kind of thing and dub it "judicial activism", but in practice you need to have some flexibility with the meaning of your laws to change with the times, as making amendments to change every little detail would be impractical.

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November 3, 2013 7:32:22 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

One of the most common problems when discussing the US constitution is that people will apply modern definitions to 18th century words.

Yes, why the guns refered to in the Constitution...those muzzle-loading muskets of black powder and famous inaccuarcy are now interpreted as self-loading assault rifles/machine guns/ 50 cal sniper rifles et al.

Apparently SOME 'modern definitions' are OK ... thanks to the brainwashing of the US populace by the NRA and other vested interests.

Meanwhile....much of the rest of the world gets by quite satisfactorily WITHOUT a mis-interpreted agendafied 'Constitution' and an armed populace scared of their own government.

The saddest thing is...intelligent Americans cannot see how the rest of the world regards the absurdidty that is the 'second amendment'.

It's the most pointless argument/debate known to man.

 

But...

Re this section and 'Politics'  it is only appropriate that he-who-makes-the-laws-is-empowered-to-break-them ...

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November 3, 2013 8:21:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Right.

 

It certainly couldn't be that our "agendafied Constitution", or "the absurdity that is the 2nd amendment" have contributed to the US owning the third highest standard of living on the planet, or the fact that the US gives out 2 1/2 times more foreign aid than any other nation, many of which nations would not even exist without the US.

Possibly "intelligent Americans" could care less how they are viewed by "the rest of the world", even though the majority of the countries of this old planet have favorable, even highly favorable views of the US, it's leadership, and it's citizens, or that the US has the highest number of immigrants, by far, than any other nation in the world.

 But don't let facts get in the way of perception.

 

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November 3, 2013 8:49:18 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Generations

 

If only someone had explained to the Aborigines that there wasn't any reason to fear the government that disarmed them.

 

Most of human history is the people in power stomping on the ones that aren't.  It's foolish to believe our species has evolved beyond such behavior.  Especially when you live in one of the many countries that have been doing just that in living memory.

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November 3, 2013 8:59:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Brewskin,
It certainly couldn't be that our "agendafied Constitution", or "the absurdity that is the 2nd amendment" have contributed to the US owning the third highest standard of living on the planet, or the fact that the US gives out 2 1/2 times more foreign aid than any other nation, many of which nations would not even exist without the US.

Are you seriously suggesting firearm ownership has anything to do with America's economic performance? 

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November 3, 2013 8:59:32 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Brewskin,
even though the majority of the countries of this old planet have favorable, even highly favorable views of the US, it's leadership, and it's citizens,

Never said there was any issues re favourable views of 'the US, its leadership or its citizens', only that no-one outside of the US can comprehend what mechanism is in place that prevents the US in general from any form of pro-active response to the prevalence of mass-killings.

Now, naturally there will be the mandatory response that 'cars kill people too...ergo ban cars' - also lauded by 'reasonable' debaters who again miss the point of what 'constitutes' [there's that word again] a WEAPON.

America is a great country....tends to get a little over-zealous re policing the planet at times.... loves to protect others from themselves ... but meanwhile defends to the death the right for every citizen to own the SPECIFIC tools to kill people.

It wouldn't be so bad if it were a 'privilege' to be awarded/qualified rather than a RIGHT to all [and clearly also to the lethally deranged].

Now if it's all about not having a reliable/trustworthy police force that thus demands you MUST be able to defend yourself directly...then perhaps it's time to get a better police force - you know... fight the issue head-on.

I recall the interview with an 'American' couple on Australia Day....when asked why they were becoming Australian Citizens said 'because our [AUS] gun laws made them feel safer'.  Obviously they were derranged and a mere isolated abberation....and everyone in the US is 100% behind the precepts of the NRA.

Clearly the cries of 'Gun Control' the world hears after every mass-shooting is a leftist-pinko generated false-hood whose sole agenda is to wrest those guns from Heston's dead cold hands....

 

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November 3, 2013 9:02:46 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting psychoak,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Generations



If only someone had explained to the Aborigines that there wasn't any reason to fear the government that disarmed them.



Most of human history is the people in power stomping on the ones that aren't. It's foolish to believe our species has evolved beyond such behavior. Especially when you live in one of the many countries that have been doing just that in living memory.

Psychoak..

This thread is about the Second Amendment.  If you want to point-score with the treatment of the Australian Aboriginies....might I thus mention the '500 Nations'?

Trust me... that line of debate will see you lose.

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November 3, 2013 9:11:10 PM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,


Quoting Frogboy, reply 6We did update it - with constitutional amendments. We didn't just decide the words meant something different.

Re politics. Not trying to make it a liberal/conservative thing. It's unfortunate the original article dovetailed into politics.

The part that interests me is how we tend to try to change the meaning of laws through semantics.

Sometimes yes. But in practice the same words also get reinterpreted by society, and usually get legitimized via arguments in the Supreme Court. The text of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments did not change between Plessy V. Furguson and Brown V. Board of Education, yet in the 1890s the court ruled separate but equal was constitutional and by the 1950s it was not. Granted some people hate this kind of thing and dub it "judicial activism", but in practice you need to have some flexibility with the meaning of your laws to change with the times, as making amendments to change every little detail would be impractical.

That's a good point.  One of the reasons the later amendments get more interpretation than the others is that they are written a lot more...I dunno, vaguely.  

The first 10 amendments are pretty short and to the point.

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November 3, 2013 9:29:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I'm not suggesting anything, my comments were meant to point out facts as opposed to hyperbole. Certainly, one would have to think that certain of our founding concepts have at least been a factor in the success of our Great Experiment. I try to draw conclusions from facts, not anecdotes and sound bytes.

 

And for the record, though as a youth I did work for Tricky Dick's re-election, and voted for Reagan twice, as well as Bush Jr. after 9/11, I also voted for Clinton twice, and Obama's first term as well. Gary Johnson got my last vote. I served under Jimmy Carter, and have also worked with his Habitat for Humanity program, building homes for the less fortunate. Which label fits me?

 

I am all for enforcement, and rational expansion of our existing laws which regulate firearm ownership, and in fact lean towards Heinlein's vision of only bestowing the full privileges of citizenry on those who have stepped outside of their comfort zone and served their nation, including owning firearms, as well as the right to vote. In other words, earning your rights, as opposed to assuming them.

 

My point is that it's easy to see this as black and white, but I find as with most things in life, it rarely is. Plus, I enjoy a lively discussion, and am not afraid to have my beliefs challenged, or even proven completely wrong.

 

 

 

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November 3, 2013 9:39:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jafo,


Yes, why the guns refered to in the Constitution...those muzzle-loading muskets of black powder and famous inaccuarcy are now interpreted as self-loading assault rifles/machine guns/ 50 cal sniper rifles et al.

You mean the guns referred to in the constitution, which were the same ones used by government forces?  If you don't take that into account you miss the point of the amendment.  To stand against government tyranny.  

If the point is to to enable citizens to fight back against tyranny (and it is the point) then allowing modern citizens black powder muzzle loaders is pretty useless when the various federal SWAT teams come knocking with their Vectors and tear gas.  

And if you think we can't slip back into tyranny in the various western utopias (hah!) you're not paying attention.  We're at most 2 generations removed from honest to god hard tyranny in several western nations and in a ton of other first world or emerging nations. Tyranny exists today in western nations.  It may be soft tyranny, the kind you wouldn't use a rifle to fight back against, but it is tyranny.  It's the first step on a path towards worse things.  Society may never take those extra steps, but can you be sure? 

But even as a practical matter, those who are unarmed are entirely dependent upon the government for protection.  Entirely.  And the stability and peace of modern society is the most fragile of things.  If your police forces were completely unable to respond due to some unexpected event and armed men broke into your home and threatened your family, what would you do?  Grab a kitchen knife?  Is that what your family's safety depends upon? 

Because that was exactly the case in NYC after Sandy and New Orleans after Katrina.  People were having to defend their homes, possessions and families from looters at the barrel of a gun because emergency services were cut off.  Hell, I lived in Baltimore a few years ago during a week where the city was hit with two blizzards several days apart (not nearly as rare or significant as a major hurricane making landfall).  Several people died because emergency services couldn't reach them.  Not that they didn't arrive in time, they simply couldn't get there because the city couldn't keep up with the snow plowing.  Now those were older people who had heart attacks and the like, but it could just have easily been a home robbery or an assault or an rape gone from bad to worse.  

I'm sorry, but I don't trust the clowns in charge (regardless of party) to protect my family in the worst moments of life.  Part of my responsibility as a father and a husband is to provide that last line of protection.  And a phone call to 911 isn't a guaranteed protection.  Especially if the phones are down, a key road is out or the police are busy with bigger problems.  Then your cell phone is a pretty flimsy last line of defense. 

And this: 

Quoting Jafo,

The saddest thing is...intelligent Americans cannot see how the rest of the world regards the absurdidty that is the 'second amendment'.

is thoughtless bullshit.  You're comments are usually insightful and thought provoking.  Doubly so when you are expressing opinions different than my own.  I look forward to reading your counter points precisely because you express yourself well and because we so often disagree.  The statement above is well below your usual quality.  

But, I'll respond anyway with my thoughts on what the rest of the world thinks of our "absurdity".  The rest of the world can quite simply fuck off.  I have literally zero use for foreign opinions of this particular American "absurdity".  Everyone out there looks down on the fact that I own several guns.. I feel ashamed of myself suddenly and wish I lived in a more Utopian place.  But since I don't, and since such places don't actually exist, I'll cling to my guns and my high quality of life and the peace of mind that I'm doing everything I can to keep my family safe.  

Now, if people want to ask questions about our second amendment or want to debate the need for that amendment, I welcome all comers from all countries to the debate.  But as for the world's opinion on what is absurd or not, meh.  My opinion of the rest of the world is probably lower than the rest of the world's opinion of the second amendment. 

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November 3, 2013 9:54:16 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Kantok,
The statement above is well below your usual quality.

Yes, it is...probably because the actual 'gun debate' is as pointless as banging one's head against a brick wall.  It is only good when it stops.

Now, how much of the 'thinking' behind the 2nd Amendment was about contemporary incidents re 'Independence' and suppressing the Native Americans [or even racial/slavery] - none of which 'should' be currently relevant to 21st Century America?

How much has the culture-of-gun-ownership actually contributed to its apparent current NECESSITY?

How do you reverse it?  You can't.  It's written in the 'law' of the 2nd ...and protected by [current] Supreme Court decree.

Meanwhile...the rest of the world is required to FEEL for all the victims of this RIGHT in spite of their being painfully cogizant of its fundamental flaw.

Americans seem to be REQUIRED to protect their Constitution to their death, refusing to drag it screaming into the 21st Century...

 

How's that....more eloquent?  I can add bigger words if needed...

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November 3, 2013 10:07:53 PM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

I updated it to remove the overtly political part of den beste's article.

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November 3, 2013 10:09:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jafo,



Now, how much of the 'thinking' behind the 2nd Amendment was about contemporary incidents re 'Independence' and suppressing the Native Americans [or even racial/slavery] - none of which 'should' be currently relevant to 21st Century America?

How much has the culture-of-gun-ownership actually contributed to its apparent current NECESSITY?

How do you reverse it?  You can't.  It's written in the 'law' of the 2nd ...and protected by [current] Supreme Court decree.

Meanwhile...the rest of the world is required to FEEL for all the victims of this RIGHT in spite of their being painfully cogizant of its fundamental flaw.

Americans seem to be REQUIRED to protect their Constitution to their death, refusing to drag it screaming into the 21st Century...

 

How's that....more eloquent?  I can add bigger words if needed...

A few things here.

First, it's convenient to talk about what's relevant and what's not in the modern century. Much like playing linguistic games with two hundred year old words forms the basis for the "living constitution" nonsense your argument is really just a convenient way to get rid of the parts you don't like while keeping the parts that you do.  Put another way, it's an easy way to undermine the constitution without having to go through the difficult process of amending it. 

Second, why is the rest of the world required to feel anything at all?  Don't they have their own problems to keep themselves busy?  Or are their Utopian societies so idyllic that they sit around watching American gun deaths like some reality TV show to see what life was like before they evolved to their higher state of human nature?  In other worlds, this is really just a more eloquent way to say the same thing you said before.  The rest of the world is enlightened and we Americans are too ______ (fill in whichever derogatory self-congratulating insult you prefer) to realize we've fallen behind on the path to the special kids club.  

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November 3, 2013 10:12:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,


Quoting Frogboy, reply 6We did update it - with constitutional amendments. We didn't just decide the words meant something different.

Re politics. Not trying to make it a liberal/conservative thing. It's unfortunate the original article dovetailed into politics.

The part that interests me is how we tend to try to change the meaning of laws through semantics.

Sometimes yes. But in practice the same words also get reinterpreted by society, and usually get legitimized via arguments in the Supreme Court. The text of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments did not change between Plessy V. Furguson and Brown V. Board of Education, yet in the 1890s the court ruled separate but equal was constitutional and by the 1950s it was not. Granted some people hate this kind of thing and dub it "judicial activism", but in practice you need to have some flexibility with the meaning of your laws to change with the times, as making amendments to change every little detail would be impractical.

This doesn't necessarily say that the meaning of the words changed.  It can quite simply be that one court is saying that an earlier court got it wrong.  It may be a gray line but there is a line between fixing previous courts' mistakes and judicial activism.  

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November 3, 2013 10:16:31 PM from Little Tiny Frogs Forums Little Tiny Frogs Forums

@Jafo, not sure why the rest of the world should care about our constitution. I suspect the native Tasmanians wished they had had a way to defend themselves from government eradication.  Americans don't trust concentrations of power and really dislike despots.  That seems to have worked out well for the rest of the world since it's likely that minus the US, despotism would be the norm.

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November 3, 2013 10:28:59 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Kantok,
First, it's convenient to talk about what's relevant and what's not in the modern century. Much like playing linguistic games with two hundred year old words forms the basis for the "living constitution" nonsense your argument is really just a convenient way to get rid of the parts you don't like while keeping the parts that you do. Put another way, it's an easy way to undermine the constitution without having to go through the difficult process of amending it.

I have no interest in a 'living constitution', nonesense or otherwise.  I don't care for any of it at all as it has no legal relevance for me.  What worries me, however is WTF didn't its author/authors spell it out absolutely clearly thus preventing ANYONE from agenda-inspired interpretation at some later date?

Like it or not, the US is stuck with it.  Someone has made a rod for their own back.

And yes, the rest of the world IS REQUIRED to 'feel'.... the News networks make certain of that.... death and drama makes good copy.  Outside the US has the same issues as inside after one of these 'events' .... one hopes no-one they know was caught up in it.

It all gets a bit bileous when the News eventually may add 'no [insert non-US nationality here] was injured in the shooting/whatever'.

Of course we FEEL.  there IS humanity OUTSIDE the US too, you know...

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November 3, 2013 10:37:37 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
@Jafo, not sure why the rest of the world should care about our constitution. I suspect the native Tasmanians wished they had had a way to defend themselves from government eradication.  Americans don't trust concentrations of power and really dislike despots.  That seems to have worked out well for the rest of the world since it's likely that minus the US, despotism would be the norm.

Brad, yes....the Tassie Aborigines probably could have done with a Constitution....and I am certain guns would have benefitted them more than a bit of writing.... but alas and alack ....the same can be said for all those Native Americans....Incans....Aztecs.....

Arming the US populace clearly didn't help everyone equally....

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November 3, 2013 11:13:15 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Kantok,


Quoting GoaFan77, reply 8

Quoting Frogboy, reply 6We did update it - with constitutional amendments. We didn't just decide the words meant something different.

Re politics. Not trying to make it a liberal/conservative thing. It's unfortunate the original article dovetailed into politics.

The part that interests me is how we tend to try to change the meaning of laws through semantics.

Sometimes yes. But in practice the same words also get reinterpreted by society, and usually get legitimized via arguments in the Supreme Court. The text of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments did not change between Plessy V. Furguson and Brown V. Board of Education, yet in the 1890s the court ruled separate but equal was constitutional and by the 1950s it was not. Granted some people hate this kind of thing and dub it "judicial activism", but in practice you need to have some flexibility with the meaning of your laws to change with the times, as making amendments to change every little detail would be impractical.

This doesn't necessarily say that the meaning of the words changed.  It can quite simply be that one court is saying that an earlier court got it wrong.  It may be a gray line but there is a line between fixing previous courts' mistakes and judicial activism.  

But the fundamental reason the court corrected the earlier court was because society, or at least some members there of, came to believe that separate but equal was inherently unequal. It never says that in the amendments, there is no technical reason for why the court was wrong the Plessy V. Furguson. The only thing that changed was people came to believe that it was against the ideas behind those amendments to allow the kind of discrimination that was practiced in the 1950s. When your job is to "interrupt the constitution", in a way I would argue the Supreme Court very much decides what certain words mean and when it changes its mind on such things it in a sense does change what those words mean (in practice at any rate).

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