Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11th Teaparty in TRF

I'm sorry this is late and backdated. I hope it doesn't mess up you life too much for me to be a bit behind in my postings. I was asked to speak at a Teaparty in Thief River Falls on June 11th. The topic was Socialism and Gun Control. I was given 30 minutes. I used about 40 minutes of that.

What I post here is the text of my notes. I did the speech without referring to my notes very much. I hope to have a video of the speech sometime in the next month or so. That way I can find out what I actually said.

These notes are incomplete. They are written as I intended to deliver the speech. The notes say what I covered in the speech.

So, it is:



Socialism, Gun Control, The Founding Fathers, and Tyranny

"It couldn't happen here"?


Good evening. My name is Joseph Abrahamson. I am pastor of Clearwater Lutheran Parish. I'm not here as a pastor today. I'm here as a citizen of the United States. I'm here because I am concerned about the direction our elected officials have taken. I'm concerned for my children, because I want them to grow up in a nation where the law respects private property, individual liberty, and life. I am here today because I have studied history, and I have seen where fascism, socialism, communism, and all forms of statism lead. They lead to poverty, inequality, enslavement of populations, and very often the wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians at the hands of the government which was supposed to protect them.

So permit me to start with some basic things which many of you may already know and understand. I can't assume that everyone does.

First: There is a direct link between private property and individual freedom. The founders of our country knew this and incorporated this understanding into both the Declaration of Independence and into the U.S. Constitution.1

The Founders sought in the Constitution to create a document that preserved the citizen's intellectual and real property from the whims of government. They sought to safe-guard the citizens by establishing in the Constitution that the rule of law would be predictable, applied to every citizen equally so that there would be no arbitrary use or abuse of power by the government.2

The United States is the oldest government in the world. There is only one other government in history that has lasted longer: the Old Roman Republic before Julius Caesar. Our country has suffered Constitutional crisis, as during the Civil War. But it is only since Progresivism, Fascism, Socialism, and Communism raised their heads in the early 20th century that our Consititution has become a less and less relevant document in the Government's running of the country and the use of power more and more arbitrary.

Second: We need to remember that the U.S. Constitution does not grant rights to the citizens of the United States. Nor do our rights come from the government. The Constitution was written to protect our rights from the powers of the government. The Preamble shows that the Founders understood and meant that the government existed only because it was authorized certain limited powers by the people of the United States. The government was limited to very specific duties by the Constitution. And the government was explicitly forbidden by the People of the United States through the Constitution from infringing on not only the rights listed in the first eight Amendments, but any other right that the people may have, or that the people might grant to their states.3

From the very outset the Founders distrusted not only the government of England from which they rebelled, they distrusted every form of government—even the one they were bringing into existence through the writing of the Constitution.

They feared the monster it could become if the original meaning of the Constitution were disregarded. James Madison wrote to Henry Lee in 1824:

I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution. And if that be not the guide in expounding it, there can be no security for a consistent and stable, more than for a faithful exercise of its powers. If the meaning of the text be sought in the changeable meaning of the words composing it, it is evident that the shape and attributes of the Government must partake of the changes to which the words and phrases of all living languages are constantly subject. What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in its modern sense. And that the language of our Constitution is already undergoing interpretations unknown to its founders, will I believe appear to all unbiased Enquirers into the history of its origin and adoption.4

Private property and liberty, preventing the arbitrary use or accumulation of power in the government, and the original sense of the Constitution are the bedrock upon which the Founders established this nation. The Founders trusted in the judgment of the individual citizen. They trusted that individual citizens are best able to acquire, produce, own, trade, or dispose of their own intellectual or real property. They had seen what the loss of this liberty had done to nations throughout history. They all had fallen or were about to fall.

The current behavior of our elected officials, and of certain members of the Judicial branch stand in stark contrast to this Foundation. Exorbitant taxation is only one symptom, however painful, of the problem our nation is facing.

Taxation is the seizure of private property by the government. Most citizens do not object to taxation if it is for the purpose of carrying out the duties of the Government which have been limited by the Constitution. But the Constitution hasn't stopped the Government from taking money from citizens for other reasons since F.D.R.'s New Deal. At first the Supreme Court rejected F.D.R.'s social spending. But through several Supreme Court appointments F.D.R. was able finally to get whatever social programs and social spending he desired.

So whit is it that we are concerned about and what is it that we need to study so that we can return our country to its Constitutionally limited form of government?

The basic political philosophy which the Constitution opposes, and which we oppose is this: The government, or the State, knows best how to provide for the people and can best manage the production of resources, their distribution, and best ensure that all citizens are treated equally.

There are several types of Government that share this philosophy: Feudalism, Fascism, Socialism, Communism, and Sharia Law, among others. These are all Statists, meaning that they think the State is the source of rights, property, goods, and services.

What these political philosophies share is the rejection of the notion of private property. Every thing and idea is subject to the government, usually in the name of the people. Taxes are something which each citizen should desire to pay their fair share for the privilege of being in this country. Property can be seized by the government at any time since, in the Statist's view, all property really is a resource for the government. And the Statist, whether socialist, fascist, communist or other; the Statist fears an armed populace.

We need to have a bit of a wake up call. How many times have we heard the sentiment: “It couldn't happen here?”

Which government in the 20th Century mandated that a farmer could no longer farm productive land but still required the farmer to pay full taxes on it for the privilege of ownership? Yes, this happened in socialist countries and communist countries. Their governments limited the means of production by reducing land available for food production, and hence profit for the farmer. They limited the rights of property owners so that farmers needed government permission to grow certain crops, to remove trees, to graze cattle.

“It couldn't happen here.” Surely in the U.S.A. the government wouldn't take the use of private property from farmers and still require them to pay property taxes on land that the government forced out of productivity?

But this same property grab happened here in the United States in the late 20th Century. Just ask farmers in our area what the Wetlands Act is and how it affects them or other farmers they know.

This is just one example of many others that you could relate which fall under the category of Environmental Activism.

And, despite the claim “It couldn't happen here,” local, city, and state governments are now confiscating the private property, the land, of citizens for the purpose of selling it to other private concerns that the governments think would pay more taxes.

When Hugo Chavez nationalized the oil fields of Venezuela citizens of the U.S.A. rightly pointed out the socialist power grab for what it was: the desperate power of a nationalizing Socialist dictator. Despite the claim “It couldn't happen here,” two major automobile industries have been nationalized.

In Argentina Juan Peron was elected in 1948. From that time he nationalized the largest banks and then bought industries through those banks, effectively nationalizing those industries which were then controlled by the government through government appointments.

“It couldn't happen here?” It has happened here. Where is the outcry of the media? The reason I bring these examples to your attention is to show you that the information is out there. History has shown these nationalist and socialist policies to fail.

Gun control is just one more aspect of how the Statist wants to control the citizenry of our country.

The Founding Fathers of our Republic stated clearly, repeatedly, and forcefully that the right of the citizen to own and carry weapons is the only guarantee that the Republic can remain free of tyranny from its own government.

They never said "It couldn't happen here." They recognized the Statist, the socialist, the fascist, and they called him a tyrant.

St. George Tucker, Revolutionary War veteran, wounded at the Battle of Yorktown, a Legal Scholar, a Family Man, and a U.S. District Court Judge appointed by James Madison in 1813 wrote:

The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Whenever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.5

The excuse for gun control laws has been from its beginning in 1934 the desire to either keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys, to protect innocents from gun crime, or that citizens don't really need such and such for their own use.

The Constitution sets out specific limits to the powers entrusted to the three branches of the Federal Government. The Bill of Rights was worked out as a list of specific items that the Federal Government was forbidden the power to regulate or take away from law abiding citizens.

They did not say: "It couldn't happen here." They were pessimistic about government. They were students of history. They had experienced tyranny first hand. So they wrote what shouldn't happen here. But they knew it could. Noah Webster wrote on the Constitution in 1787:

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive."6

The Second Amendment states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

But it did happen here.

Gun Control began in 1934 when Congress passed a tax law called the National Firearms Act of '34. The law was designed to discourage the purchase of fully automatic weapons, silencers, shortened rifles and shotguns, and explosives. The law did not make these items illegal to possess. The law required the owners of such tools to register them, their serial numbers, and to pay for a $200 tax stamp whenever such an item was made or transfered. This gave the government a legal basis for charging and holding certain infamous gangsters since they would be unlikely to register their weapons and pay the tax. The purpose of the law was to diminish the number of such guns in the hands of criminals.

Then followed the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 which required sellers and gunsmiths to be licensed by the Federal Government, prohibited sale of firearms to felons, made a crime of owning a gun with an altered serial number, and required sellers to keep records of who bought which guns and which ammunition from them. Based on the Interstate Commerce clause in the Constitution, the goal of the law was to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and to ease the Government's ability to trace purchasers though sales records.

Already, from its start in the United States, the advocates of Gun Control have used the argument that such controls were necessary to keep bad guys from getting guns. The right of the public was infringed in the name of greater security for the public from criminals.

Benjamin Franklin wrote: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."7

He did not say "It couldn't happen here."

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 introduced the notion that the Second Amendment is supposed to protect guns with a "sporting purpose." by prohibiting import of firearms "with no sporting purpose." It implemented a registration system for all purchases via Form 4473 (the yellow form each of us has had to fill out when we buy a gun from a dealer). It prescribed stronger restrictions on automatic weapons. And it prohibited the import of small handguns, then called "Saturday Night Specials."

The FGCA1968 was a late response to the assassination of Pres. Kennedy. As in 1934 notorious public crime played highly in the passing of these restrictions. But the restrictions passed in 1968 had nothing to do with the kind of weapon used by Kennedy's assasin.. 8

There is more legislation. And there are many court cases all of us should read and learn. But these examples show the outward reasons given the Gun Control movement. The examples for stronger gun control laws are paraded through the news almost daily. Bad criminals, mass murderers, crazy shooters, innocent children killed by mishandling guns, and the victimization of women. All the while there is the consistent claim "We're not going to take your guns."

Now we have so-called Gun Free Zones that infringe on a citizen's right to keep and bear arms. Let us list just a handful of the more well known Gun Free Zones:

  • Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado USA, April 20th 1999
    Casualties: 14 dead including the shooters(2) & 23 wounded
  • Rocori High School Cold Spring, Minn. Sept 24, 2003
    Casualties: Two students are killed by John Jason McLaughlin, 15. Sept. 28, 2004
  • Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minn. March 21, 2005 Jeff Weise, 16, killed grandfather and companion, then arrived at school where he killed a teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself, leaving a total of 10 dead.
  • Trolley Square Mall, Salt Lake City, Utah USA, February 12th 2007
    Casualties: 6 dead including the shooter & 4 wounded
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia USA, April 16th 2007
    Casualties: 33 dead including the shooter & 15 wounded
  • Tinley Park, Tinley Park, Illinois USA, February 2nd 2008
    Casualties: 5 dead
  • Kirkwood City Council, Kirkwood, Missouri USA, February 7th 2008
    Casualties: 6 dead including the shooter & 2 wounded

Since 1966, there have been almost 200 killed in schools that prohibited possession of firearms.9 This is not counting mall shootings, nursing home shootings, or shootings in other public space gun free zones. These always make the front page.

On the other hand are the 1.5 to 2 million, yes "million", incidents per year where law abiding U.S. citizens use firearms to defend themselves.10 These rarely make the news. Even in the Trolley Square mall incident there was an off duty police officer named Kenneth Hammond, who carried his gun in violation of the mall's ban. That officer stopped that massacre. But that was not in the news.

And while Self-defense is the essence of the 2nd Amendment, the intent and application goes specifically to one kind of self-defense: Defense against tyrannical governments.

The Founding Fathers lived through tyranny, they knew the real danger


© JPFO.org 2002

Government

Dates

Targets

Civilians Killed

"Gun Control" Laws

Features of Over-all "Gun Control" scheme

Ottoman Turkey

1915-1917

Armenians
(mostly Christians)

1-1.5 million

Art. 166, Pen. Code, 1866
& 1911 Proclamation, 1915

Permits required •Government list of owners
•Ban on possession

Soviet Union

1929-1945

Political opponents;
farming communities

20 million

Resolutions, 1918
Decree, July 12, 1920
Art. 59 & 182, Pen. code, 1926

Licensing of owners
•Ban on possession
•Severe penalties

Nazi Germany
& Occupied Europe

1933-1945

Political opponents;
Jews; Gypsies;
critics; "examples"

20 million

Law on Firearms & Ammun., 1928
Weapon Law, March 18, 1938
Regulations against Jews, 1938

Registration & Licensing
•Stricter handgun laws
•Ban on possession

China, Nationalist

1927-1949

Political opponents;
army conscripts; others

10 million

Art. 205, Crim. Code, 1914
Art. 186-87, Crim. Code, 1935

Government permit system
•Ban on private ownership

China, Red

1949-1952
1957-1960
1966-1976

Political opponents;
Rural populations
Enemies of the state

20-35 million

Act of Feb. 20, 1951
Act of Oct. 22, 1957

Prison or death to "counter-revolutionary criminals" and anyone resisting any government program
•Death penalty for supply guns to such "criminals"

Guatemala

1960-1981

Mayans & other Indians;
political enemies

100,000-
200,000

Decree 36, Nov 25 •Act of 1932
Decree 386, 1947
Decree 283, 1964

Register guns & owners •Licensing with high fees
•Prohibit carrying guns
•Bans on guns, sharp tools •Confiscation powers

Uganda

1971-1979

Christians
Political enemies

300,000

Firearms Ordinance, 1955
Firearms Act, 1970

Register all guns & owners •Licenses for transactions
•Warrantless searches •Confiscation powers

Cambodia
(Khmer Rouge)

1975-1979

Educated Persons;
Political enemies

2 million

Art. 322-328, Penal Code
Royal Ordinance 55, 1938

Licenses for guns, owners, ammunition & transactions
•Photo ID with fingerprints •License inspected quarterly

Rwanda

1994

Tutsi people

800,000

Decree-Law No. 12, 1979

Register guns, owners, ammunition •Owners must justify
need •Concealable guns illegal •Confiscating powers

From the Book Death by Gun Control by Aaron S. Zelman; Richard W. Stevens11

“When the gun prohibitionists quote a statistic about how many people are killed by firearms misuse, the discussion sometimes bogs down into whose crime stats to believe and how to count crimes vs. the defensive firearm uses.

“In the 20th Century:

  • “Governments murdered four times as many civilians as were killed in all the international and domestic wars combined.

  • “Governments murdered millions more people than were killed by common criminals.

“How could governments kill so many people? The governments had the power - and the people, the victims, were unable to resist. The victims were unarmed.”

Conclusion

Whether it is income, banks, property, purchases, production, sales, housing, land, or guns, the Statist believes that he and the state know what is best for the population. He believes that individual citizens are unpredictable, they cannot be managed if they have the absolute right to the fruits of their own labor. The Statist believes that such rights held by individuals are dangerous and must be reigned in so that the less fortunate and others that the state chooses to favor can be helped by the state. That is, made dependent upon a government check. This helps to ensure the Statist's power.

But most of all the Statist fears the armed individual citizen. Socialism depends upon blaming someone for its failure. Socialism cannot produce anything new, it and all other forms of Statism depend upon production by subjugated citizens. And socialism needs a focus for its hatred. As long as the citizens are armed, socialists will fear taking the steps of the other governments listed above.

But how long will that be if we don't get involved in convincing other people of their need to know what is going on.

Convince just one other person.

Bibliography

Tucker, St. George

1083 Blackstone's Commentaries with Notes of Reference to the Constitution and Laws of the Federal Government of the United States, and of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 5 Volumes, William Young Birch and Abraham Small, Publishers, Philadelphia.

[Tucker's work is available online at http://www.constitution.org/tb/tb-0000.htm ]


Lott, John R. and Landes, William M.,Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: Contrasting Private and Public Law Enforcement(April 1999). University of Chicago Law School, John M. Olin Law & Economics Working Paper No. 73. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=161637 or DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.161637



Notes:

1Article I, Section 8 recognizes the duty of the Legislature to protect private intellectual property; I Section 9 preventing Bills of Attainder to protect private property and business from legislation that would punish those businesses. The first five amendments in the Bill of Rights explicitly protect civilian intellectual, and real property from the Government.

2See Levin's phrasing on p. 4.

3Amendment 9 - Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

4TO HENRY LEE. mad. mss. - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 9 (1819-1836) [1910] athttp://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1940&chapter=119292&layout=html&Itemid=27 http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1940&chapter=119292&layout=html&Itemid=27
Also cited in Levin, p. 37.

5http://www.constitution.org/tb/t1d12000.htm Online version of Tucker's work.

6--Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

7 Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759. Found at http://www.guncite.com/gc2ndfqu.html

8The rifle used by Oswald was a Carcano M91 bolt action. The rifle was designed in 1891 and used in WWI and somewhat in WWII. It was not a machine gun or "assault weapon." In 1962 this rifle was already considered outdated by the military.

9http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shooting

10Gary Kleck is a Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University found 2 million annual incidents in his 1993 study http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdguse.html

"Subsequent to Kleck's study, the Department of Justice sponsored a survey in 1994 titled, Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms (text, PDF). Using a smaller sample size than Kleck's, this survey estimated 1.5 million DGU's annually" same link.

11See the Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership page at http://www.jpfo.org/

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank You, Thank You!
Barb