Why the second amendment doesn’t make sense anymore
The philosophy behind the second amendment makes a lot of sense, for a different time in history.
I want to start by saying that I am not an expert in this topic, and I welcome any meaningful criticism and discussion around the topic as a response to this article.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
— Constitution of the United States, Amendment II
The philosophy behind the second amendment
The second amendment of the U.S. constitution was intended to protect the public from a federal government that could turn against its people, much like the first amendment.
While the first amendment protects the people of the land against an authoritative government’s attempt to control and potentially abuse them by censoring information that is accessible to them, the second amendment protects the people against a potential physical military threat by the federal government.
The founding fathers understood the human nature very well and wanted to take caution against potential flaws by the ruling class.
They understood that those who hold political power will almost always strive to reduce the freedom of those they rule and that many of the ruled will always be tempted to trade their liberty for empty promises of security. The causes of these political phenomena are sown in the nature of man.
It’s a different time
However, the realities, especially around the technology of weaponry of those early days of the republic and the 21st century are not the same. No matter how much you expand the right to bear arms of the citizens, the military of the federal government will always be more powerful than the people in today’s world.
A government with nuclear weapons and fighter jets will never be threatened by a public with pistols nor machine guns. An example of this is the war in Syria, the atrocities of a government against its own people can’t be prevented by arming the civilian population.
Whether the unbalanced power of a federal military over the civilians is good or bad is questionable. The level of civilization the U.S. has reached in the 21st century makes it very unlikely to have a situation where the government turns against its people. The focus today should be around keeping the institutions and the functioning democracy strong so that an armed public is never necessary, since it will be a losing strategy anyways.
First amendment is the second amendment of the 21st century
And for that, we should focus more on the first amendment than the second amendment. In a world where information and knowledge is so fluid and access is abundant, information is more powerful than ever and the most dangerous weapon in a government’s arsenal is censorship.
We should make sure the same imbalance between the people and the government in the area of weaponry doesn’t occur in the area of information.