ACLU does not think individuals should own guns?


While this may be true in the general sense of the theme, the ALCU has expressly stated is position: “The American Civil Liberties Union firmly believes that legislatures can, consistent with the Constitution, impose reasonable limits on firearms…” and; "…the Constitution does not confer a “right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

then they say this;

“But some proposed reforms encroach unnecessarily on civil liberties.”

So, what does this mean? We agree that the government can pick and choose the parts they agree with, and feel free to encroach on our civil liberties, but don’t go too far? IMHO anything inconsistent with the exact language of the Constitution is outside the scope of the Constitution and without proper due process of the American People being accepting of a change is simply unconstitutional at its core and is to be rejected.


This is probably too extreme of a stance for almost anyone to reasonably hold. Keep in mind the Constitution – the supreme law of the land - by necessity is far, far shorter than anything but the most trivial of bills/acts passed today. The Framers intentionally left many things in the Constitution purposefully non-specific and general (e.g. the “Necessary and Proper” clause) thereby allowing them to be subject to future society’s circumstances and understandings – something they knew they could not possibly fully and completely anticipate.

But certainly, @wwwinans, you don’t really think or subscribe to the position quoted, do you? I already (above) noted the obvious and reasonable expectations to “freedom of speech” clause in 1A. If we take you at your written word, then since the 2A does not explicitly call out as exceptions inmates confined to a prison or a psychiatric institution (otherwise known as “insane asylum”, “looney bin”, or “crazy house”), then they must also have a right to keep and bear arms while confined or incarcerated, right? And the same would be true for grade school children while at school, or anywhere.

I am not advocating a “living constitution” perspective with this, but simply pointing out that since the Framers couldn’t possibly call out each and every exception and special circumstance to include or exclude under each clause or right or article, they had to trust in the reasonableness of the people (misplaced as it may be sometimes…) and that the checks and balances they built-in would suffice to ensure their basic intentions were understood and respected.

Since SCOTUS play such a major role in all of this, I’ll note, somewhat parenthetically, that it was one of the gravest of ommissions that the Framers left out of the Constitution the role of the judiciary/SCOTUS to review laws passed by the legislatures as to their constitutionality. It was left to John Marshall to assume/power grab this (fun fact: JM is my namesake and a distant relative) via landmark case Marbury vs Madison. Known as the Doctrine of Judicial Review, it’s now considered one of the most important and fundamental roles of the courts.

So even the Framers got it wrong on occasion…luckily the left us a mechanism for correcting any of their lapses or mistakes.


Yes…the issues you are referring to are a result of basic human nature, unfortunately. Some people (the wolves) will always try to dominate, rule, and gain influence and power over others. Some people (the sheep), through apathy, complacency, ignorance, self-interest, etc. will stand by and let it happen. And some people (the guard/sheep dogs) will stand up, put themselves in harm’s way, and try and stop it.

And virtually everyone is some of each…it just the proportions that differ.

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath—a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path.

– Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman


For the founders thoughts on citizens “bearing arms” read The Federalist #46; Madison explains his thoughts about a local militia vs a national militia. He concluded that citizens bearing arms forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition [that’s what our Government is today]. Also read the Federalist #29; Hamilton who believed, “Bearing arms is the right of the people who would make up a state militia, which protects us from national tyranny.”

Both Madison and Hamilton wanted citizens to have the same type weapons as the national militia and in 1788 that was possible.

The founders were almost paranoid about a National Military in the future and the 2nd Amendment was their hedge against a powerful National Government. Sadly the 2nd Amendment has been revisited several times and it is currently interpreted to, at most, allow citizens to own small arms.


Why sadly? :blankspace:


Because who doesn’t want a Main Battle Tank parked in their garage?


I certainly do. But I don’t trust my neighbors with such. Suspect they feel the same about me - something something collateral damage something something. So thus we sit in perpetual stalemate with neither of us possessing the MBT of our dreams.


It’s like I used to tell my kids - “of course I trust you, I raised you right. It’s all the other idiots out there I don’t trust. So no you can’t do whatever it is you’re asking.”


Because the courts have become agents of change, instead of simply interpreting the intent of the Founding Fathers.

I’ll agree that the language used in the 2nd Amendment is confusing to lay people [we don’t really have “militias” in 2018] but that term is easily defined by reference to other, period writings. If “scholars” disagree about the 2nd Amendment, that signals they are biased.

The courts have become much too political and SADLY flip-flop on major precedents. This does not lend to stability in our country. BOTH parties believe they can stack the Supreme Court and get rulings that are favorable to their vision of our country.

Note that our Constitution does not speak about political parties, but Federalist #10 does…strongly!

It is clear that at least the writers of the Federalist Papers, Madison, Jay, and Hamilton, believed that to allow our government to divide into factions, would lead to what we have today, which is gridlock. We need to get rid of “the aisle”. Senators should be seated randomly. During Senate hearings, there should not be two “sides” with Republicans and Democrats seated on opposite ends of a big, circular table.

Although I tend to be a “constitutionalist”, I’ll allow that the writers did not speak with one voice. They had differences of opinion, but they were issue-based, not faction-based. The omission of any advice about political parties in the Constitution, has left us with a mess!

This omission has given factions the ability to write their own rules for Congress. They change them on a whim. And they are not available for lay Americans to read.

I am sure that our country would be in a better state is the writers of the Constitution had included some guidance about:

  1. How many Political Parties are allowed

  2. How the Congress is to operate, in some detail

The original intent for the Electoral College was modified in 1804 with the passage of the 12th amendment; it codified a 2-party system.

An interesting tid-bit: It has been 16 years since the 27th Amendment was ratified. It was the 2nd Amendment proposed and written in 1789 but only 6 states voted in favor.

As the country expanded and the Congress grew increasingly corrupt, more states voted in favor of this Amendment, until in 1992, it received enough votes to be included.

It’s unlikely that any meaningful changes to our Constitution can happen in our mad, divided citizenry. They are not educated about our political history. They have no clue how to reverse the current stalemate.


It is covered in the 1st Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Political parties are groups of people ( Right to assemble ) expressing their views (no law respecting … prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech), an effective way to express yourself in a representative government is to have someone that is elected to represent you (petition Government).

Which of these rights would need to be impaired to achieve “control/regulate” the number of political parties?

Our system is far from perfect, but it takes on all comers. Once you restrict how parties can be formed and operate, the parties in power can truly deny access.

More and more people are identifying as Independents (which seems to be the center) my prediction is that as the Dem/GOP become more polarized to the extremes, an actual third party will emerge and if it just 5%-10% of the seats - then it will have have great power to get items through as neither will have a majority. I have faith it’ll work itself out.



I don’t think your interpretation of the 1st Amendment is quite right, but that is fodder for another day?

A challenge: Search for and assemble two lists. The data is easily found on the internet. One list should include all nations with TWO political parties. The other list should include all nations with more than 2 political parties. I have those lists, but it’s helpful to do it yourself, lest you question my research.

Then just stand back and look at the two lists. I think it will be obvious that the USA is an outlier in the 2-party list. Ask your self why we are not in that other list, where all the major nations are.

The question is, how to get a viable 3rd party while the R’s and D’s have control of the rules. What we have is as evil and unworkable as those nations with one political faction!

Most stable nations have factions based on an issue, not a team. They create temporary coalitions to address immediate issues by compromising, then dissolve them. Then create a new coalition…


That’s a somewhat dangerous perspective, i.e. if everyone else is doing it why not us? E.G., how many other countries on your lists have the equivalent of a 2A? Why are we an “outlier”? We must be doing something wrong…right?

RE: two-party political systems, reference (and other similar analyses):


In particular:

In the 1950s, the French sociologist Maurice Duverger observed that stable two-party systems often develop spontaneously in places that use single-member district pluralities. Political scientists now refer to this tendency as “Duverger’s Law.”

I’ll also note that countries with more than two (major) parties don’t run all that well, either.

I am not making a case for or against 1, 2, >2 party systems, just saying 1) political systems with only two parties are that way for a demonstrable reason, and 2) just because Timmy jumped off a bridge does mean we should too.

At end of the day, our politics is f-ed up and flawed for the same reason that virtually all other countries politics are f-ed up and flawed: because people/human nature is f-ed up and flawed. When given the choice between doing something right but complicated or hard, vs. wrong but simple or easy (e.g. taking to time to understand every candidate charcter and position on issues important to you and your community vs. voting for the guy that promises "a chicken in every pot "), too many people take the simple/easy way out.


If you want to learn more about how different incentive structures yield different political outcomes I would highly recommended reading “The Dictator’s Handbook.”

It is really well written and a lot of fun, it also inadvertently makes a strong case for the right to keep and bear arms.


Low turnout. (I’m not posting numbers. It’s depressing. Let’s just call it “two standard deviations from normal”.)


Along these lines, I bookmarked a relatively short but cogent link several years ago…you reminded me of it:


…ideal or close-to-ideal democracies are inherently unstable and therefore must fail. They are unsustainable. The reason for this is simple: ideal democracies are incompatible with Human Nature, i.e. power corrupts, governing inherently requires humans to wield power, and thus the democratic process must become subverted at some point or other.

This is also why I generally believe that China is going to win whatever global power contest or supremacy battle is going on over next seceral decades…their people may be far less free and enjoy far less liberties, but The Party (just the one, in this case) doesn’t have to deal with all of the messiness and inefficiency of a democratic form of government.


It’s a problem, I agree, but only tends to support that fact that people will often choose to take the easy/lazy/complacent/apathetic way out.

It’s also not clear to me (I’ll go do some digging and see if I can get some info) that the people not voting are significantly different from the people that are, i.e. that the actual vote results aren’t still representative.


It is not that straightforward. Above all else The Chinese Communist Party wants to stay in power, not only the party as a whole wants to stay in power but each individual within the party wants to increase their own position. If it more immediately advantages for Xi Jinping to cut military spending and instead blow the money on buying the loyalty of some group of cronies he will. China will only continue to be a power player as long as it is more profitable for those in power to grow the economy as a whole than it is to just rob the population of what little they may have. See The Cultural Revolution. Also North vs South Korea is an excellent case study.


Too many deviants in power in both parties. :wink:


Right, it’s not. Nothing at this level is simple. But on balance, and with all things considered, China has the clear and obvious advantage over long haul that a single party, generally autocratic form of rule – supplemented with selective free market, globalist trade, and state-sponsored capitalist policies; and enough appearance of (or actual) freedoms within borders to keep people less likely rather than more likely to rebel /revolt – is bound to have.

DMS originally created committees with benevolent dictatorship model of governance. It is because it is most efficient in many ways.

Exactly. He will do what is in his best interests. Because he can. Because if he decides it is in best interests of China, then, by definition, it is in the best interests of China.