Standing on The Shoulders of Giants

Profile Pic B&W JPEGThese observations come from Chapter one in The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams, Early Expressions of The Right in Ancient Times.

Continuing my journey through this book I have seen that we are not simply relying on the philosophies of the modern politician or solely on those of our founding fathers. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. You see, our founders “had been rigorously educated in the classical European Tradition.” They were well versed in the teachings of the greatest philosophers in history. Many of their parents and grand parents were born in Europe; this gave them an in-depth understanding of European customs, tradition, society, and law.

Early Expressions of The Right in Ancient Times page 18

“In their formal educations, the Founding Fathers had been thoroughly schooled in the history of England and Europe – the Age of Enlightenment, the Reformation, the Thirty Years War, the Renaissance, the Crusades, Charlemagne and the rise of the Franks, the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Empire, the classical civilizations of Rome and Greece, the Pyrrhic and Punic Wars. And it is in those ancient classical civilizations that we find the earliest expressions of man’s inalienable right to keep and bear arms.”

Early Expressions of The Right in Ancient Times page 19 

“They were well-educated statesmen intimately familiar with classical philosophy, European history, and the English common law. Moreover, these men knew how to say things in plain eighteenth-century English, and they meant what they said.”

These men were not educated in the contemporary, superficial sense of the word. They did not merely go to school, learn a trade or skill, begin their career and then aimlessly seek pleasure in their down time. Their lives were founded upon the pursuit, acquisition, and dissemination knowledge. It was their lifeblood. Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Washington, and Hamilton were no sluggards. They read, wrote, and thought deeply and philosophically on what it means to be free. The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights were never intended to constrain but rather implemented to set and keep men free in such a way that had never been done before. The purpose of these documents is to ensure that no tyrant, monarch, or despotic majority could ever take away the God given individual rights of the people.

Early Expressions of The Right in Ancient Times page 18

“…the philosophical concept first enunciated over two thousand years ago – that the people have a right collectively as a nation and individually as persons, to bear arms in their defense…”

Over two thousand years ago the greatest minds of the age understood that free men must bear arms. Individually to defend their lives, liberty, and property; and collectively to guarantee a free state defending against tyranny and standing armies.

Early Expressions of The Right in Ancient Times page 20 (Stephen Halbrook) 

“Aristotle, Cicero, Machiavelli, and the English Whigs provided an armed populace with the vindication to counter oppression…the people’s right to have their own arms was based on the philosophical and political writings of the greatest intellectuals of the past two thousand years.” [Emphasis added]

The great philosophers all agreed that free men shall not be debarred the use of arms, nor should arms be restricted to use by a certain class of citizen or institution. Aristotle believed that the right to bear arms derived directly from the natural human form.  Cicero defended man’s right to bear arms in the following way:

Early Expressions of The Right in Ancient Times page 23 (Cicero)

 “There exists a law not written down anywhere, but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition.”

Government boiled down to its essence is force. In a society where government has a monopoly on force, liberty shall soon be extinguished. All totalitarian rulers of every age have maintained their rule through the use or threat of violence against their people –  unarmed defenseless people. The right of man to bear arms is natural, understood, and intuitive. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms for it is written in the laws of nature itself.
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