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If you haven’t picked up on it yet, my background is in history. As a historian, I was inspired by the words of the ancient Greek rhetorician, known as Lucian of Samosata, who lived from about c.125 to 185. Lucian wrote that: “The good historian … must be fearless, uncorrupted, free, the friend of truth and of liberty. One who calls a fig a fig, and a skiff a skiff, neither giving nor withholding from any, from favor or from enmity, not influenced by pity, by shame, or by remorse. A just judge … a stranger to all, of no country, bound only by his own laws, acknowledging no sovereign, never considering what this or that man may say of him, but relating faithfully everything as it happened.”
I am left to assume that I have applied these instructions to not only how I research and interpret historic records, but also how I treat life, especially when it comes to contemporary politics.
My fifth great-granduncle was Dr. Hugh Williamson (1735-1819), a signatory of our U.S. Constitution. Inspired by that tidbit of information, I chose to study our Constitution, to understand the intentions of the writers, most notably, those of James Madison (1751-1836), who drafted both our Constitution, as well as our Bill of Rights. Apart from the four years of our very uncivil War between the States, from the ratification of our Constitution in 1788 through to the early part of the 20th century, the citizens of these United States were able to enjoy the Madisonian model, wherein our federal government was limited to legislate, spend and tax in the 16 enumerated areas that the Constitution delegated to it, leaving all other areas of human behavior either to governance by the states, or to the freedom of the individual.
Unfortunately our Constitution, designed by Madison to both establish the federal government and to limit itself, has proven itself incapable of limitation. Enter Thomas “Woodrow” Wilson (1856-1924), who was our twenty-eighth president, from 1913 to 1921.
Once elected to our highest office, Wilson was able to substitute his own model for our federal government in place of Madison’s. No longer constrained by the original intentions of our founding fathers, our federal government began to legislate, spend and tax in any and every area for which there was a political will to do so, constrained only by the areas that were expressly prohibited to them by our Constitution.
Over time, our Congress began to write almost any law, regulate any behavior, spend any money, tax any event, and intrude upon any relationship, just long as it did not offend an enumerated constitutional prohibition. Wilson’s sins were many, World War I, the Espionage Act, the federal income tax, the popular election of U.S. senators, the Federal Reserve, rampant racism, and his government by experts, known today as the administrative state.
A prime example of Wilson’s government by experts is the unconstitutional Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Nowhere in our Constitution is the power to control privately owned firearms enumerated. Yet, the ATF is tasked with enforcing the unconstitutional The National Firearms Act of 1934 that levies a federal excise tax and registration requirements on machine guns, short-barreled shotguns or rifles, silencers, and “any other weapon.”
This law is as much a violation of the 2nd Amendment as if the government were to levy a federal excise tax and registration requirements on your 1st Amendment right to free speech or to practice the religion of your choosing.
The ATF is further tasked with the enforcement of the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 that imposes a federal license requirement on gun manufacturers, importers and those persons in the business of selling firearms, that violate their 4th Amendment right of privacy. Additionally, the Gun Control Act of 1968 that expanded upon provisions of the prior acts and enacted prohibitions on the importation of firearms “with no sporting purpose,” established minimum ages for firearms purchasers, required that all firearms be affixed with a serial number, and expanded of the categories of prohibited persons.
Again, these are all in violation of constitutionally enumerated liberties. It is the end user that decides whether a firearm is for sporting purposes. If I had the finances to do so, I would consider it quite sportsman-like to compete with pieces of artillery across a range of a dozen miles in length, for either I am a free man to do as I deem best for my circumstances, as long as I do not infringe upon the rights of others, or I am enslaved under the authority of our administrative state, a violation of the 13th Amendment prohibition against involuntary servitude.
And then there is the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, which imposed a background check of a purchaser before a sale could be made, again in violation of a purchaser’s 4th Amendment right to privacy. And if you have somehow missed it in recent news, the ATF, an agency that does not have the power to create law, has recently changed its own definition of a “pistol brace,” a device created to help those with physical disabilities to be able to steady a handgun during usage, into an alleged “short-barreled rifle.”
This, despite having previously ruled that a pistol brace did not fall under their authority, and now that there are up to 40 million pistol braces in private ownership, the ATF has reversed their opinion and allege that every handgun, that is perfectly legal to own without a brace, is now a dangerous “short-barreled rifle” with the brace attached and is illegal to own, subjecting an owner to felony prosecution, unless they register their pistol as a short-barreled rifle and pay a tax, making it legal to own again, and somehow no longer dangerous.
The 2nd Amendment to our U.S. Constitution clearly states that “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” but apparently most of our Congress, and the unelected bureaucrats in Washington, do not seem to have understood the oath to our Constitution that they swore when they were hired or were elected to office.
The historian Howard Zinn (1924-2010) wrote that “if you don’t know history, it’s as if you were born yesterday. If you were born yesterday, then any leader can tell you anything.”
With that, I ask, what do you know of our American history? Do you know what really happened, and why? Or do you know the version that you were told, or worse yet, are you oblivious as to how far our government has exceeded its enumerated authority and is trampling upon your natural born liberties?
If for nothing else, hold dear to your heart the words of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), who wrote in our Declaration of Independence that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”