GUEST COMMENTARY: Our freedoms are under fire
What is freedom and liberty? We hear these terms thrown around a lot, but what do they really mean to you? Is it the enjoyment of leisure and entertainment? The privilege to speak freely, vote and petition our government for grievances?
While we may all disagree with what constitutes freedom and liberty, the founding fathers of our great country gave us an important base. Recognizing that individual liberty was the most important factor for freedom, they crafted the Constitution and more importantly the Bill of Rights. They purposefully and clearly restricted the government from infringing on the freedoms of the individual. This important notion, that all people are given natural rights from their creator (not from the establishments of society) was fundamental in creating the abundance of growth and advancement that humankind has enjoyed in the last 230 years. Though we might now take for granted that the poorest of individuals are also endowed with the inherent rights of self-preservation and self-ownership, as equals with the wealthiest royalty, listing these in the founding documents of this country was a revolutionary act.
The idea that men have the right to bear arms is essential to the foundations of liberty. Twenty-five hundred years ago while Plato was scripting “The Republic,” the broadsword was the “arm.” Two-hundred-thirty years ago the latest and greatest “arm” was the long rifle. In 2,500 years from now it may be the light saber. The “arm” is constantly changing. There will always be societal norms in what is acceptable behavior. While it was commonplace 2,500 years ago to wear your broadsword hanging from your belt, today it may be met with confused and puzzled looks. Is it any less important for free men (and women) to still be able to wear a broadsword on their belt?
What is the relationship between natural rights of an individual and the bureaucracies of society? And does it change? Such bearing of “arms” is not the problem. The responsibility of the owner remains the same. Assault and the initiation of violence is the same whether done by fist or other weapon. The charge of murder is the same whether done by sword, poison or gun. What is important is that the free man has the right to self-preservation, and the only sure way to best protect themselves includes the inviolate right to be armed. A natural right, not bestowed by a king or a queen, or subject to revocation by popular vote, cannot be changed.
Using laws to try to eradicate the actions of perceived wrongdoing in others is ineffective today as it was in the age of Plato. Just because we fear something or do not approve does not make it unlawful. Laws that try to govern our behavior due to perceived unacceptability are destined to fail. Did the laws against homosexuality hundreds of years ago end homosexuality? Did alcohol prohibition reduce alcohol consumption? Did the more recent drug laws end drug use? Will increased gun laws end gun violence? What is freedom without free will? Perhaps educating the free person on the importance of choice and individual responsibility will have more of a chance in ending any perceived wrongdoing. As long as harm is not caused to another, one should have the ability to use free will and exercise it accordingly. Only when another is legitimately threatened or harmed (not one’s sensibilities) can laws be used in pursuit of justice.
This debate, of which actions are truly unacceptable to society or are just perceived as unacceptable, has and will continue to be a point of interest for philosophers, a rallying cry for religions, and subject to abuse by governments. The Mesa County Patriots believe in solving problems by granting more freedoms to the individual, not taking freedoms away. For some to label our beautiful and majestic Mesa County “Gunlandia” should be a proud moment for us all. It means we are a free people who proudly practice our freedom and understand the duty of self-defense.
The founding principles of The Mesa County Patriots can be found at http://www.mesacountypatriots.com and you can engage us personally at http://www.facebook.com/mesacountypatriots. And you can always read a copy of the Constitution. Its relevancy is as important today as ever before.
Jesse Nelson is first vice president of the Mesa County Patriots.
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