Accuracy still matters
Thursday, May 17, 2018
A few weeks ago I wrote to correct Tinsley Yarbrough’s claim that the Supreme Court in its Heller decision limited the Second Amendment to protecting only the arms available at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. In that letter I also suggested accuracy is important with issues as important as civil rights. This caution does not seem to have taken hold, as now I have to correct yet another error: The Bill of Rights does have a preamble. This is its first paragraph:
“The Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.”
Clearly, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution were meant as a check on the power that the Constitution grants. Why would the second of those amendments give the government that was granted that dangerous power additional rights?
We are entitled to our own opinions about the right to keep and bear arms, but we are not entitled to our own facts. Opinions based on inaccurate assumptions are dangerous when they involve issues as important as fundamental liberties. Avoiding mistakes only takes having enough respect for another’s argument to bother checking it. If they are wrong you need to know why and articulate how. And personalizing attacks only weakens one’s position.