Be sure to vote, I am curious where most atheists stand on this issue.

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You made incorrect statements on grammar. I provided the correct information. The militia clause is called an absolute construction in grammar. It cannot be removed without altering the meaning of the sentence.

Whether or not that meaning calls on law agencies to take some specific action or perspective is not under debate. That is a matter of context, not grammar.

The comma in this case is there to incorporate content which is relevant to the overall thought, but not essential to the sentence. The militia portion of the sentence acts like an adverbial phrase. Grammatically, it is called an absolute construction. There is no other way to read the sentence other than: Given consideration A, we submit position B. There can be variations on how A and B are connected, but they are connected.

It is wrong to say that the middle comma merely marks a pause, but it is also wrong or at least misleading to say that it separates 'militia' from 'people'. 

Penn's position is one I actually haven't heard before, and I am really not sure it is correct. He seems to be stating that the Amendment means the following:

"Sorry guy, but we have to have militias. In order to keep these militias from walking all over you, the people, we're gonna safeguard your right to keep and bear arms."

The grammar doesn't preclude this way of interpreting the sentence though. There are numerous ways to interpret it when looking only at the amendment, as written, in isolation.

Kris, This is the first I've heard Penn's position too.. 
Now I will admit, I agree with him on his atheist views, but certainly not his political views.. 

@Rob Klaers:

Rob, read Warren E Jappe's and Missy Hollingsworth's replies then read the Federalist Papers.

After you are done re-read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments), hopefully then you will better understand the value of the 2nd Amendment to freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Those of us who defend the Bill of Rights have indeed read them, understand them and care about those Rights deeply and are sickened by their slow degradation.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are not suggestions to elected leaders, they are instructions and they are obligatory, woe to those who allow their Rights to be degraded and striped from them.

RE: "several of the Founding Fathers distrusted a formal military and felt it could be used to over-throw the government." - on the other hand. Rob, Jefferson said he thought we should have a revolution every 20 years.

And you are all wrong.  If you wish to know the intent of the founding fathers for the 2nd Amendment then read the Federalist Papers.

The founding fathers Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison clearly stated their intentions in passing the Second Amendment: to preserve the slave patrol militias of the southern states. Virginia required this amendment as a condition of voting to ratify the Constitution.

Patrick Henry especially feared the federal government, once it assumed responsibility for national defense, would strip slave states of the right to maintain the armed militias that controlled Blacks using violence and terror. (You can read a detailed history of slave patrol militias in Sally E. Hadden's excellent book Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas.)

This is why the Second Amendment says "state" and not "country". The Framers understood the difference: read the Tenth Amendment.

The hypocrisy of this is palpable and disrespectful of all those who have given theirs lives to establish and protect the freedom and liberty we all now enjoy. Stay Armed, Stay Free.

Knowing that history, I find the hypocrisy in the last four words above to be far more palpable. The Second Amendment was intended to protect slavery not freedom.

And to all those who have given their lives to establish and protect slavery and its many legacies which survive until this day: fuck every last one of them.

Gallup:

"The Second Amendment was intended to protect slavery not freedom."

The Second Amendment's  purpose has evolved.

As did the Fourth Amendment's "unreasonable searches and seizures", the Eighth Amendment's "cruel and unusual punishments", and more.

The Second Amendment's  purpose has evolved.

It's evolved from slave patrol militias to the ultimate gimmick in firearm sales and marketing.

Nearly everyone I know drives. They have licenses, insurance, registrations, inspections, and tags. Despite all that well-regulated horsepower, in 2010, there were 5,419,000 crashes, causing 2,239,000 casualties, including 32,885 deaths.

There is no Constitutional right to own a motor vehicle. Motoring is not a right. Yet, even with all the regulation, millions of people drive, and despite the staggering body count, no states have banned it. Imagine that.

Firearm ownership does not require a Constitutional right. Millions of people could still own firearms without the Second Amendment. Your average "Stay Armed, Stay Free" crackpot may equate the concept with "BanAllFirearms!" But of course they are not the same.

I don't think that not having the 2nd Amendment would change much. 

@ Gallup's Mirror;

Hey Gallup how many slaves you currently you got?

How many legal slaves are there currently in the USA?

Oh, that's right we did away with slavery.

Don't like "the Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." then change it, otherwise it's the law.

Stay Armed, Stay Free.

Hey Gallup how many slaves you currently you got? How many legal slaves are there currently in the USA? Oh, that's right we did away with slavery. Don't like "the Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." then change it, otherwise it's the law.

None of which addresses the hypocrisy and inaccuracy of the phrase...

Stay Armed, Stay Free.

...in favor of simply repeating it. 

I didn't say the Second Amendment is not the law. And change the Constitution? Are you joking? The Republicans have too much power, the Democrats don't have enough, and Washington barely functions enough to keep the lights on when it's time to pay the bills. You can relax. Your slave militia rights are quite safe.

No, I was responding to your words about "the intent of the founding fathers for the 2nd Amendment", hypocrisy, disrespect, and "all those who have given theirs lives to establish and protect the freedom and liberty we all now enjoy".

So if the intent of the founding fathers no longer matter, then why did you comment on their intentions? Which were: Stay Armed, Stay Slave.

But "Stay Armed, Stay Free"? You might as well be saying, "Praise The Lord!" or "Coke is It!". They all have the same informative meaning and value: none.

I suppose you could have explained why the Second Amendment is required to enable Staying Armed (or how Staying Armed is related to Staying Free) now that no state requires the Second Amendment to maintain its slave patrol militia. That would be quite a fascinating "evolution" for the Second Amendment. (Are democratic countries where citizens lack Constitutional gun rights Not Free?)

Dogma is dogma. Usually it's religious. In the case of the Second Amendment, it's ideological.

Gallup, dogmas are indeed dogmas.

Like slogans ("Stay Armed, Stay Free", "Praise The Lord!", "Coke is It!" and millions more), they serve to discourage thinking about the costs.

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