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Locke and Load: The Right to Resistance

Statists argue that the myriad tragedies that happen in a country of three hundred million people related to gun use are a call to disarm Americans and leave them prey to the caprices of the federal government. But it is no coincidence that the escalating tyranny of the U.S. government is matched by the increasingly insidious, self-serving, and opportunistic arguments that citizens can’t be trusted with guns.

It’s time to Locke and load.

American politicians like to think of themselves as invincible sovereigns who can toy with the fates of citizens and there is nothing the latter can do about it.  The elected elite blow the taxpayers’ money with no regard for the country’s future, endlessly meddle with the economy, and brazenly flaunt The Constitution that grants them any power to begin with.

The same hubris that causes politicians to ignore the laws of economics leads them to ignore political history.  This is not just to the nation’s peril, but to their own.

As hard as it may be to concede, Ice T was right: Guns are the final line of defense against tyranny.

The following puts some philosophical flesh on that bare-boned statement. The following is from “Never Ask Who Should Rule: Karl Popper and Political Theory” by Andreas Pickel (1989):

The specific problematic for which Locke developed his theory of sovereignty can be characterized as containing all three fundamental problems of political theory in a prominent and acute form. [The problems of institutional control of the sovereign, political order, and legitimacy. Ed.] In one sense, the problem of institutional control was perhaps the most fundamental of the three since Locke sought a solution to the problem of the right of resistance in a mixed constitution. (101-102)

This is significant because it seems to have been forgotten by our would-be rulers that The Constitution is the only basis of their legitimacy.  The Constitution was formed to allow a specific government, comprised of sovereign citizens, to solve certain problems using the limited powers granted to it.  It was not a mandate to rule over anyone.

And just as The Constitution was incorporated as a grant of legitimacy given to the government on behalf of the people, that grant of legitimacy can be taken away. The right of resistance can be invoked at any time, not as a form of sophistic bluffing, like the left likes to invent rights out of thin air, but as a matter of the people defending themselves from a tyrannical, that is to say, illegitimate government.

The article continues:

By vesting constituent power (ultimate sovereignty) in the People rather than in Parliament, Locke was able to assign legislative supremacy (delegated sovereignty) to Parliament as the representative of the People and partial supremacy to the king as the bearer of executive power. “The People was the latent and, on the dissolution of the government, the active sovereign; the legislature was the supreme organ of government so long as government endured, but could be dissolved by the People at any time; the executive power, held on trust, was supreme only so long as it operated within the legislature’s law. (102)

Granting that Locke’s influence on The Constitution that brought the American government into being might be a bit too obscure to modern politicians, perhaps this passage might be a a bit more familiar:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The train of abuses of the British government pale in comparison with those of the current American government. Unless the government seeks a crisis of legitimacy, the politicians had better cease serving themselves and start serving the interests of the citizens who provisionally grant them power.

We don’t intend to give up our right to bear arms or the right to resistance to a government bent on depriving Americans of liberty. Constitutional conservatives know exactly what this agenda entails, and the disastrous consequences for acceding to it.

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  1. Becker has taken over this website. Quick, someone write something cool! I like the photo of the revolutionary soldier!