The most fundamental unalienable human right is the right to self-defense. This would seem self-evident, a basic understanding for all rational people. After all, if individuals do not possess that right, the consequences are obvious—and brutal. If one doesn’t possess that right, what other right matters?
How is it then, that many citizens of the United States of America, circa 2015, do all they can to not only deny the existence of the individual right to self-defense, but labor ceaselessly to deprive individuals of the most effective means and methods—arguably, concealed handguns–of defending their lives? Are they merely deluded, oblivious to reality, or is their stance intentional, a means to an end? How is it such people are accorded positions of honor, leadership and respect among men when they are working to deny men the very right that makes the continued existence of men—and which constrains governmental power—possible?
Before discussing this important issue, it’s important to understand that “individual self-defense” implies absolute bodily integrity and sovereignty. It acknowledges the inestimable value of each human life, and the right of each human being to preserve their life against those that would unlawfully take it. In this way, in this most important sense, the individual is supreme over the state, and every other human right flows from this understanding of the individual/state relationship. To be sure, under the social contract, individuals must surrender some degree of sovereignty to live together under the rule of law. Thus may the state, on behalf of all, take the lives of those that commit murder, but this power is conditioned on the consent of the governed and upon the maintenance of equal justice for all—the rule of law.
And if the rule of law fails? That’s why we have the Second Amendment, which also acknowledges the right to self-defense while referencing the means and methods by which it may be exercised. As those that study the Constitution know, an unalienable right is not granted by government, nor can it be rescinded by government, though some will surely try. Tyranny, soft or hard, rests not and always seeks its chance.
In 1651 Thomas Hobbes published Leviathan, an early and influential treatise on the social contract, the proper relationship between the governed and the government. He wrote that life in a state of nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Anyone living in a state that is not under the rule of law, as is currently common in the Middle East, would easily agree with Hobbes in this narrow assertion, if nothing else. So should we, for it explains why educated, comfortable, prosperous, and healthy people work so assiduously for a principle that would render their life, and the lives of those they love, meaningless, a political commodity to be husbanded or destroyed at the whims of those physically stronger, more numerous or politically powerful.
Gun control is a conceit, a luxury of advanced societies.
The societies with the greatest respect for the individual respect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, subject to the rule of law established by the consent of the governed. Societies without respect for the individual significantly restrict or completely ban the keeping and bearing of arms. No tyranny can allow its subjects arms.
A famous aphorism observes that a conservative is a liberal that has been mugged. The inherent truth underlying the aphorism is the idea that philosophy may change in the face of reality. However, this is not always true of the citizens of an advanced society like ours.
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