Mandeville, LA - So the furious quest to WILL the second Amendment into being something it never was continues this time at The American Conservative with writer Samuel Goldman channeling the Constructionist Justice Story to validate the 2nd Amendment as universal.
"As Sanford Levinson points out in this response, that interpretation is logically coherent but historically implausible. Given America’s mythologized origins in citizen revolt, Levinson suggests, a more convincing reading of the amendment can be found in Joseph Story’s classic Commentaries on the Constitution... If Story is right about the thinking behind the Second Amendment, as I believe he is, the claim that private ownership of guns is “necessary to the security of a free State” rests on two arguments that correspond to different strands of modern political philosophy."
Justice Joseph Story!? I sat through a wonderful dissertation on Story at the Mises Scholars Conference by Thomas DiLorenzo two springs ago, "The Founding Father of Constitutional Subversion" read it here.
Goldman then get his historical facts and chronologies all muddied up to make his point "bullet-proof".
"Although they made some dramatic stands, it had quickly become clear that militias could not defeat regulars–and that trusting the colonies’ freedom to them was therefore unwise. The same lesson would be reinforced when Washington’s army put down a different group of disgruntled farmers in Shays Rebellion."
Washington put down Shays!? Mirabile dictu! My response, which has been diwsmissed for publication at the American Conservative site - I did submit it - is posted below.
Mr Goodman's embrace of Gary Wills is fitting seeing as how neither of them can read history. Justice Story was the leader of the "constructionist" school of thought which concluded, after 1832 that there, lying unnoticed for 43 years was "an indivisible union" sworn to by the aggregate of the American People! Story's perversions of ratified intent are well known to those who have read them AND read important ratification debates such as VA's, held on Richmond's Shockoe Hill in June of 1788. If one cares to read contemporary views of the Constitution written by actual Founders, start with John Taylor's "New Views" and then graduate to William Rawles "Views".
Secondly, the purpose of all 12 amendments offered in the first Congress was, according to their authors, to add "further declaratory and restrictive clauses...to prevent misconstruction and abuses" by the new General government, thus leaving matters of firearm regulation to the states where it belonged and was never delegated to Congress. This was known to everyone alive all the way into the second decade of the twentieth century.
Thirdly, "Washington's army" was never called to "put down Shays Rebellion" seeing as how Washington was hanging out at Mount Vernon in Sept-Nov of 1786, retired and refusing to accept an invitation from VA Governor Edmund Randolph to attend the upcoming Federal Convention of 1787. It was the "army" or more accurately, the mercenaries hired by Boston merchants at the behest of Governor James Bowdoin, "commanded" by "General" Benjamin Lincoln, that "put down" the unjustly scorned Daniel Shays.