Friday, May 3, 2013

What to tell your Uncle Harry the gun nut about the 2nd Amendment at the next family reunion

James Madison wrote the 2nd Amendment to make it ambiguous on purpose, to make it noble-sounding when in fact it was a compromise demanded under the table by the slave states led by Virginia. The Brits had attempted to confiscate American individual arms, but that wasn't a big deal when the 2nd Amendment was written, because America had been a separate nation for over a dozen years and thus the Brits had no say in who had guns here.

Who did have a say was the South, and the white oligarchs depended on white militias to keep black insurrections in check. But Madison couldn't come out and so this because the non-slave states would go ballistic.

So he had to come up with an ambiguous, pretty-sounding compromise that gave the slave states what they wanted--to keep their boot heels on black necks, while at the same the non-slave states could accept the 2nd Amendment as something all rugged frontiersman-y that fed into American mythmaking.

In other words, things haven't changed much from then to now. Look down this thread and you'll see that white Southern men are still obsessed about black men--particularly the one in the White House.

"plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

(the more it changes, the more it stays the same--Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, 1808-1890)

For a clear, well-written article about all this see The Hidden History of the Second Amendment, from the UC Davis Law Review, published in 1998.

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