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The [American Constitution] Justifies Itself
I've been having a debate on another board about the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, the one about the right of the people to keep and bear arms. I managed to drag [chat] into it, but rather than start another gun control debate, there's something else that bothers me about these discussions.
The tendency for people to think that the constitution is it's own justification.
For example, people keep telling me that since I am Canadian, and have not grown up under the US Constitution, I would just not understand the importance of such a thing. This makes no
sense as not only does Canada have a constitution of its own, but the document is just a piece of paper. The implementation of its ideals and the consequences of that implementation is the reality that we should be discussing, not what the forefathers wanted (Who gives a shit!?) or what the chances of a tyrannical oppressor overthrowing the US government by means of military oppression are.
No,no, no,no, a thousand times no. We should not have to constantly justify our inherent rights, rights described in the Constitution but not granted to us by it. Those who wish to restrict those rights should have to justify their wish, at each and every step.
The people have the right to defend themselves, their families, their communities, their nation, and their freedom. bearing I arms to this end is inherent, and does not need to be constantly justified. It is restrictions on this right that bear the burden of proof.
So, the question is, should the constitution be its own justification, that is, simply saying "The US constitution guarantees the right" is a valid and unassailable response to an argument to curtail certain rights? If I say that requiring licensing to purchase and use a firearm has a proven track record of reducing firearms related deaths, is that argument invalidated in an American context simply because of the US constitution? Or are defenders of the right to keep and bear arms obligated to formulate a response that is based on real world consequences of curtailing that right?