Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Heller Misdirection (William Grigg)

William Grigg isn't joining the chorus of celebration over the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the 2nd Amendment:

Like the inhabitants of other formerly free societies, Americans are content to define "freedom" in terms of those liberties we are permitted to exercise. Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller (.pdf) is perfectly in harmony with this self-defeating concept of "freedom."

It is entirely appropriate that the decision was written by Antonin Scalia, the most reliably authoritarian and consistently liberty-aversive member of the Court. With an air of regal condescension, Scalia allows that the Second Amendment acknowledges and protects an individual right to armed self-defense. He then explicitly limits the extent to which that "right" can be exercised, thereby redefining it as a State-conferred privilege.

We can't really expect a statist creature like Antonin Scalia to embrace the view that the right to keep and bear arms includes the right of citizens, acting either individually or collectively, to kill agents of the state when such action is necessary and morally justified. Any other view of the Second Amendment is worse than useless; this is certainly true of the view that emerges in Scalia's Heller opinion.

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