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Old March 1, 2009, 07:45 PM   #74
Webleymkv
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Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 9,876
Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Sounds to me like the founders knew right from the beginning that Switzerland-style mandatory militia service would not work. Yet the Second Amendment was still included in the Constitution and Hamilton made the earlier comments that I posted in the very same document as his admission that mandatory militia service was not feasable.

Really? Is that why in 1792 an Act of Congress was passed that said:


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That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia,

Anyway, other than your affection for him, why should John Hamilton be the sole arbiter of our discussion? I bet John had no trouble with not allowing women to vote either. Doesn't make him right today.
First of all, it is Alexander Hamilton I am quoting. The reason that I choose to quote Hamilton and not the other founders is that he seems to have the clearest explanations for the purpose of the issue at hand. If you know of others, I would be quite interested to read them (note, this is not a challenge to your argument but rather a request to satisfy my own thirst for knowledge on the subject).

Secondly, whether he is right today or not (that's a separate issue), he gives the most clearly stated purpose for 2A at the time it was written. If you wish to debate wheter or not that purpose is still valid, that's a separate issue which is composed mainly of opinion. Such a debate would likely generate more heat than light.

Thirdly, the only aspects of the Militia Acts of 1792 that have been abandoned are the semi-annual requirement to report for active milita duty and the requirement to provide one's own arms. However, it should be noted that two separate types of militia were commonly recognized: the Volunteer Militia and the Conscripted Militia. The Volunteer Militia took part in much more extensive training and drills than the Conscripted Militia were required to and the Volunteer Militia was not abandoned. The Volunteer and Conscripted Militia were defined by the Militia Act of 1903 as the Organized Militia (our present-day national guard) and the Unorganized Militia (all male citizens aged 18-45 who are not members of the National Guard or other branches of the Military).

It should be pointed out that even when the abandoned requirements of the Militia Act of 1792 were in effect, the Conscripted/Unorganized Militia was not subject to requirements nearly as demanding as that of the Volunteer/Organized Militia or our present National Guard.

Regardless of your obvious disdain for the abilites and/or usefulness of the Unorganized Militia, the fact remains that it does still exist as citizens who meet the criteria for membership in it are still subject to military conscription should the need arise. While the government has always been able to provide arms to the Unorganized Militia upon their conscription into the regular military, there is no guarantee that it will be able to do this in every possible crisis. Likewise, the right of the Unorganized Militia to own and become familiar with arms makes them both more effective and useful should they be needed.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
The argument that lack of use necessarily equates to obsolescence has far too many problems and exceptions to be valid.

I am not arguing that it is obsolete because it isn't used, I argue it is obsolete because it does not exist and has been replaced by other institutions. Like the US Navy replaced Privateers and Letters of Marque and Reprisal.
They have not been replaced. Unlike the other institutions you point out, an armed citizenry is still in existance, it simply has not been necessary to use them.

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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
You still are unable to support your claim that the oath alone would prevent the military from carrying out illegal orders (it hasn't always done so in the past).

You are still spinning and must be dizzy by now. I have said that the Oath of Office all Military personnel take would prevent a rogue President form overthrowing the other two branches of government that you said could happen. A rogue President could not accomplish that feat as the military does not answer to the President alone.
You assume that every single soldier always has and always will take that oath seriously and there is not guarantee of that. The President also takes an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution, but there's no doubt that several of our Presidents have ignored it. What is to prevent a rogue president from convincing the military that his orders are legal, or from seducing them into ignoring the legality of his orders through promises of reward in his new regime. While I concede that such a situation is highly unlikely, improbability does not equate with impossibility. While I have great respect for our military personnel, at the end of the day they are still just people and are subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as the rest of us. I find it rather naive to assume that an oath, in and of itself, will prevent anything under every possible circumstnce as oaths are broken or misinterpreted all the time.

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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
COTUS cannot prevent anything if the would-be tyrant has no respect for the law and the means to carry out his wishes in spite of COTUS.

Again I say that unless the tyrant had a force outside and apart from the military (such as a private army) he could not have such means.
This argument is only valid if one assumes that the military cannot be convinced to follow illegal orders, a notion that I find illogical.

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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
I've answered that question numerous times, you simply continue to modify and qualify it because you don't like my answers but are unable to refute them. This is a game that I refuse to play.

Webley, lets be frank, you have not answered the question. The issue we are debating was whether an armed citizenry or democratic institutions protected us from tyranny. Admittedly I did not word the challenge carefully and the only example you gave was the Revolutionary War. Then I qualified the question and you have not answered to date.
In post #24, you said

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Can you show any instance in history where an armed population keep a leader from doing something tryannical.
I replied with the following in post #27

Originally posted by Webleymkv
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As far as an instance of an armed population throwing off a tyrannical government, what do you call the American Revolution? An armed population rose up and threw off a tyrannical government. While the outcomes weren't as favorable as the American Revolution, the French Revolution and Bolshevik Revolutions are also examples of an armed population throwing off a tyrannical government (in those cases monarchies). The reasons that the French and Bolshevik revolutions did not have as favorable outcomes as our own is that nothing like the constitution was put in place afterwards to keep the new government from becoming tyrannical.
You apparently did not like that answer, as you felt a need to re-phrase the question in post #39

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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Originally Posted by Webleymkv
As far as an instance of an armed population throwing off a tyrannical government, what do you call the American Revolution?

I should have said after the Revolutionary War. Caught me there but still no good. Why? Because we in America had no part of that system in 1776. No representation, no free press, no right to trial by jury, no free speech. Revolution in that case, and in some other similar ones in history, was the only option because there were no other means of redress.
Not only did you try to qualify out my example of the Revolutionary War, you completely ignore my examples in foreign countries. Now, while the examples I quoted did eventually devolve back into tyranny, they were nonetheless examples of armed populations rising up and overthrowing tyrannical governments and the reasons they devolved back into tyranny were explained.

So, yes I did answer your question. I simply refused to participate in your attempt to qualify away the validity of my answer. However, I will address your question one final time. Many of the colonists did indeed enjoy the right to free speech, free press, and other right that we enjoy today under the governments of their individual colonies and some of those rights, though certainly not all, under British law. So long as the British government left those rights unmolested, it was not viewed as tyrannical over the colonies. It was only after these rights were taken away that the British government was viewed as tyrannical. When this happened, the colonists attemted to use the means afforded to them by British law to rectify the situation, but the British government refused to comply. Only after every other option had been exhausted (not because of a lack of options) did the colonies revolt. While it is true that the governmental system in effect them was not exactly the same as that we have today (very few national governments fuction in exactly the same manner), they are not so dissimilar as to make the comparison invalid. Honestly, a request for another people throwing off a tyrannical government that operated in exactly the same manner that our own does is a loaded question as there is no other government, nor has there ever been, that operates in the exact same manner as our own. However, comparison of events in two similar, though not identical, governments is still valid as the same events have occured in very similar fashions with governments whose operation, and even culture, is more dissimilar that our own and 1770's Great Britain.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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whether an armed citizenry or democratic institutions protect us from tyranny.

Since during the reign of Britain over us as a colony there were no democratic institutions in place to protect or even acknowledge our rights as people the only option left to us was war. So, using the Revolutionary War as your example won't work because only half (armed citizenry) of the equation was in play.
There was a democracy in England (Parliment) and that government infringed upon the rights of British citizens (the colonists) who attempted to use the legal means of redress available to them. It was only when these legal means, and thusly the democratic institutions of Great Britain, failed that there was no other option but armed rebellion.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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I concede that if there is no political way to gain freedom or prevent tyranny force of arms may be the only way (apologies to Gandhi) but that is not what we face in the question I posed.
Then we are in agreement. The heart of my argument is that the Second Amendment is in place to combat tyranny through armed resistance if and only if our democratic institutions fail and thusly leave us no legal or political means to do so.

Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman
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On the other hand I have shown in each example of government abuse since our government was formed that in every case, the democratic institutions we have either prevented of reversed the abuse.

I now state you cannot show that an armed citizenry has ever in the history of our republic prevented or reversed an abuse by the government. You may believe it (or want it) to be true as you claim John Hamilton did, but have nothing to support that belief. I have shown the efficacy of our democratic system to right those wrongs.
No, armed citizenry has not ever combated or prevented government tyranny since the Revolution because our other democratic institutions were still in effect. However, I still maintain that part of the founder's purpose for including the Second Amendment in the BOR is to ensure that the people have the means to combat tyranny through armed resistance should our other democratic institutions fail and no longer be able to. Now, if you choose to believe that these institutions could never fail or be removed without the consent of the people, that is your right. While I find that position naive, you are obviously entrenched in it and no argument I make will sway you from it. However, I think we can agree that such confidence, whether misplaced or not, was not present at the time the Constitution was drafted and that, at least at the time, the necessity of armed resistance to tyranny was still a very real possibility. Thusly, a guarantee of the right to arms was a guarantee of the ability to mount an armed resistance, at least at the time the Constitution was drafted. I maintain my position that while its necessity may be less likely, the concern is no less valid now than it was when the Constitution was drafted.

Originally posted by Kleinziet
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The fact that Hitler and Stalin believed it was necessary to disarm the populace doesn't prove that it was, any more than the fact that some people believed it is necessary to not disarm the populace proves that it is. It's quite possible that, if Hitler and Stalin had let the people keep their guns, it wouldn't have made any significant difference to their hold on power.
It does however show that both Hitler and Stalin feared the reaction of an armed population to their acts of tyranny. While fear of the people in and of itself may not prevent tyranny, it would seem to be useful in, if nothing else, making the tyrant more hesitant to commit his tyrannical acts. To borrow a line from one of my favorite films "People should not be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people."
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Last edited by Webleymkv; March 1, 2009 at 07:53 PM. Reason: spelling
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