The author's argument is weak in some places, such as taking it for granted that the Second Amendment means what she says it does. If you're reading this but have never read Heller, you really should. The whole case hinged on specifically this question: what does the Second Amendment actually mean? As Justice Scalia wrote:

    The two sides in this case have set out very different interpretations of the Amendment. Petitioners and today’s dissenting Justices believe that it protects only the right to possess and carry a firearm in connection with militia service. See Brief for Petitioners 11–12; post, at 1 (Stevens, J., dissenting). Respondent argues that it protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. See Brief for Respondent 2–4.

The opinion then goes into the weeds of statutory interpretation, which is about as arcane as things can get in the law. But that's the point: it is really complicated, and if some of the best jurists in our country couldn't come to an agreement on how this should work (the case was 5-4), it's not something that should just be hand-waived away. I also think she's too quick to dismiss the issue of defense against tyranny or whatever. This is something people think about. It can be debated whether this is reasonable, but

But what I do think the WaPo author gets absolutely right is her point that it really comes down to what we mean when we talk about "freedom." This is a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, but as with any other buzzword, it can really be a smoke screen, a motte and bailey. I don't remember if I posted this to Hubski when I wrote it, but I did a piece on Medium talking about the ambiguity of terms, and how this has become increasingly weaponized.

This is what the conversation should look like.


IIRC Hobbes political philosophy effectively boiled down to: the government's job is to keep its citizens alive. Would like to think this would be worth mentioning in an article fancying the idea of freedom as "different strokes for different folks" on the topic of preventing homocide.

posted by johnnyFive: 219 days ago