Last week I happened to stumble upon a headline that said something like, “NRA-Type Organizations Springing up in Europe”.
I did not get a chance to read the article, but the headline itself got me thinking.
It is entirely reasonable to believe that organizations that are focused on protecting individual rights would exist throughout the world. From humanitarian NGO’s that strike a direct opposition to tyrants in deepest Africa, to organizations that protect disaffected minorities throughout the world, people see rampant injustice and seek to right those wrongs, however Quixotic those missions may ultimately be.
Freedom is a unique issue though.
Typically we don’t see “freedom” as a victim herself. We see individuals… those who challenge the legitimacy of the state… being deprived their freedom as a means of protecting a privileged group with access to prosecutorial powers.
Yet, freedom herself is a victim is she not?
I saw that headline and the first thought I had was, “They don’t have a Second Amendment… poor bastards, I admire them for the fight, but I think they have very little chance of success.”
Then I paused.
They do have the Second Amendment in Europe. It exists everywhere. It is a right that pre-exists the Constitution and, in fact, was granted by the Creator. It does not serve a limited geographic function. The Creator did not bestow fundamental human rights on those living north of Mexico and south of Canada. The rights that exist within all of us are not dependent upon where we choose to stand at any given moment in time.
Our Founders were enlightened enough to recognize those rights and codify them in the Bill of Rights. There was a great debate as to the necessity of a Bill of Rights. All agreed they existed, but many worried that if they were codified, then those not expressly stated would be waived.
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So, our dear brothers and sisters in Europe do have solid legal footing; their respective governments may be the ones on shaky ground. True… those governments may have the leveraged power of force to enforce laws that violate individual liberties, but that does not give those laws legitimacy.
While “might does not make right”… might does make the exercise of tyranny a whole lot easier.
Hence, the fundamental need for the Second Amendment.
We all know this… and many of us are well versed in the more subtle doctrinaire points of 2A philosophy and legal theory.
Not so with our friends beyond our borders.
Many of them see firearms as a form of recreational pursuit. They are hunters, clay pigeon shooters, precision competitors… and yes… as is always the case… John Wick romanticists.
What we need them to become are passionate defenders of classical liberalism. Through the philosophy of the Second Amendment and the foundational belief in individual liberty, the dangerous twin pillars of collectivism and nationalism are, by definition, kept in check.
As I have written before, the Second Amendment is a sentry defending against tyranny. The very fact that a population is armed acts as an ultimate check on not just government, but any group or person that would use force rather than persuasion to alter the behavior of another.
Power resides in the individual, and this individualism allows for the greatest development of individual potential. We do not succeed because we are oppressed by the collective… we succeed because we overcome the collective.
Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East… The collectivists in these regions have been largely spared the need to explain the value of their collectivist mentalities. Those who have questioned, have typically been executed, jailed, or at times simply “disappeared”.
I used to posit that Pax Americana was not the umbrella of military might over the world but, instead, the value of a judiciary and a trust that agreements between parties could be enforced. This allowed for the expansion of credit and the development of industry (basically capitalism for lack of a better word).
Perhaps I have been wrong.
Maybe the greatest gift we have given to the world is the nascent idea that we are all individuals and “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, that amongst these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The right to life, or the right to “exist,” comes with it the right to use force to protect one’s very existence. Bearing arms secures that right. It also boldly states that we are, in fact, individuals and graced with individual liberty.