From the Western Free Press:
Most of the attacks are ad hominem slurs, lightly smeared with historically ignorant quotations designed to give their “arguments” a patina of plausibility. Erick Erickson has done a good job of taking these apart over at Redstate. Others are rising to Loesch’s defense as well, offering spirited defenses grounded in an understanding of the Founders’ intent, rather than based on convenient sophistry. For what it is worth, here is my bit for king and country.
Right off the bat, I must note that I have not read the book yet. Of course, virtually none of those attacking Loesch have either. But even if they did read the book, they still wouldn’t get it, because they lack a fundamental understanding of what motivated the Founders: natural rights. Oh, the left uses the language of rights, of course, but they don’t actually know the first thing about what real rights are. (Hint: There is no “right” to force someone else to give you stuff.) Fortunately, natural rights is my area of focus, so I can speak to these points while only knowing the framework of Loesch’s argument.
It’s simple, really. The Founders did not begin by asking, “What does the law say?” They began by asking, “What are the rights of man?” Their first concern was not the nature of man as a subject of government. They first wanted to know, “What is man when there is no government at all?”
They claim “Loesch presents this quote as if Jefferson were quoting Beccaria approvingly, but that is not necessarily the case.” WHOA! Not necessarily what he meant? Well call the Massachusetts Spy! We have a breaking story here! Headine “Nuh-uh, probably!”
Speaking of quoting someone incorrectly, here is MMFA’s reasoning.
Jefferson copied the Beccaria quote in Italian into his legal commonplace book, a “journal or notebook in which a student, reader, or writer compiles quotations, poems, letters, and information, along with the compiler’s notes and reactions.” Jefferson notated the copied passage with the words, “False idee di utilità,” which is a summation of the idea contained in the quotation and is not evidence of what “our Constitution’s drafters intended when they drafted and approved the Second Amendment.”
In fact, Jefferson’s notation doesn’t mean what MMFA says it does at all. Jefferson notes the passage with the phrase “False idee di utilità” in his commonplace book. The passage quoted and marked with that notation, which means “false ideas of utility”, includes examples of such false ideas.
Laws that are examples of a false idea of utility “are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent.” Well gosh, what can that mean?
Luckily, it goes on:
“Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance?”
Another example of a false idea of utility was legislators “who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned.” Does that sound like something Thomas Jefferson would do? Sacrifice liberty in pursuit of safety? His notation was blatantly drawing attention to these transgressions against liberty as being “false ideas,” and that includes the false idea that disarming the law-abiding citizens serves any useful purpose. To put it another way, Media Matters is dead wrong, both in their understanding of the quote, and their understanding of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s explanation of the quote.
In short, they have misquoted those correcting a common misattribution of a quote which was correctly quoted and attributed by “Hands Off My Gun”. Now that is a dandy of a trick.
From our own Virginia Kruta:
Second, they actually attempted to prove her quotations to be erroneous, but what they actually proved was something entirely different: their lack of understanding of American History. They kept sticking on the fact that many of the Founding Fathers spoke of arming the people in “well-ordered militias,” but it very quickly became clear that they failed to recognize the context. A “well-ordered militia” is simply a group of like-minded citizens who are properly trained to handle weapons. Remember that “well-ordered militia” that gave the British hell in the present day Carolinas? That was a man – an armed, private citizen – named Francis Marion, who along with a few of his neighbors, decided that he had had enough. A handful of them, without any official military training or direction, managed to dismantle the hold that British troops had on the region.
The American Revolution was carried out in large part by armed, private citizens. The Constitution was written to protect their right to remain armed, private citizens. To assume that any of the Founding Fathers advocated anything different is willfully ignorant.
To buy “Hands Off My Gun,” click here.