What Does the Right to Bear Arms Have to Do with Freedom?
I believe 99% of society’s problems could be solved by understanding basic principles of freedom. Yet, most people make freedom a lot more complicated than it has to be. That’s why I’d like to employ our friend the Easter Bunny to explain freedom in a way that even a child can understand it.
Let’s say you believe in the Easter Bunny. In fact, you greatly admire and believe all things Easter Bunny. Pastel colors are the best, baskets beat purses, and chocolate and boiled eggs are daily diet.
This belief eventually becomes so ingrained that you start believing that anyone who wears anything other than pastel colors is sinning. Having a basket on your arm becomes a mark of righteousness and anything else, a mark of depravity.
I know, this is a little silly, but humor me. Do you have a right to believe these things? Absolutely. You have a perfect right to believe, to talk about, and even peacefully persuade others to join your ideology.
You may peacefully gather with others who believe in the Easter Bunny philosophy, hold meetings, form groups, and talk about your beliefs.
All of these things are inalienable rights. By the way, “inalienable” means “unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor.” No one can take away your right to think, believe, feel, and form opinions of your own.
The Bill of Rights was added to the U.S. Constitution to enumerate some of the “inalienable rights” the Founders had identified. These include the right to have your own:
- Property (which includes your own personal space)
- Ability to come and go as you please
- To use arms to protect your other inalienable rights.
You have the right to protect any and all of your inalienable rights if they are threatened. So, let’s say someone decided you were wrong about the Easter Bunny Philosophy. Perhaps they came into your home and at knifepoint tried to make you wear a black shirt. Would they have a right to do that?
Would they have the right to coerce your employer to fire you because you believe in the Easter Bunny Philosophy?
What Rights Do You Have In Regard to Others?
What about you? Do you have a right to go into your neighbor’s home and at knifepoint force him to do any of the following?
- publicly renounce his non Easter Bunny beliefs,
- adopt the Easter Bunny Philosophy and shout it from the rooftops
- burn all of his black clothing
- Sell you all his pastel colored clothing (with or without compensation)
- Eat chocolate and boiled eggs
- Make you a chocolate Easter Bunny from all the chocolate in his house (with or without compensation)
- Hire two of your Easter Bunny Philosophy friends to work around his home business
- Resign from his current employment if he doesn’t convert to your way of thinking
- Stop talking about any beliefs he has that contradict yours.
Seems preposterous – right?
While you could ask your neighbor to do any of the things listed above, even try to persuade him to do so in a non-threatening manner, the minute you come in with force, you have violated his inalienable rights.
No one has the right to force anyone to believe, think or act a certain way. No person has the right to force another to say anything they don’t believe or want to say. They also don’t have the right to seize or destroy property or labor. Even if you offer money or other compensation, if force is implemented, rights are violated.
If you forcibly try to take inalienable rights, the other person would have a right to defend themselves. Hence the need for a “right to bear arms.” Your neighbor has the right to use whatever weapon he may have at his disposal to remove you from his premises. If his life is threatened, he would have every right to kill you in self-defense. Or he could call the police and exercise the right of delegation to get local authorities to defend him.
Even the Accused Have Rights
When the police carried you away for violating another’s rights, you would then have the right for a speedy trial by your peers. You would have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
What Rights Do Communities & Governments Have?
Now, let’s go a step further. What if your entire neighborhood converts to the Easter Bunny Philosophy and together you vote that your neighbor must do the items listed above.
In a free society, individuals cannot delegate to government any rights that they do not personally hold themselves. Always remember that government equals force. When we use government to do our dirty work, it’s the same as carrying a weapon in and threatening the individual.
Whether we threaten their lives or property (through fines, fees, confiscation, taxation or incarceration), government is force.
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington
Simple Freedom Test
We can evaluate all proposed laws, public restrictions, fines, taxes, regulations etc. by this simple test below. Using it, we can easily see whether a proposed idea or action is a violation of inalienable rights.
Does the proposed item try to control or use force (weapons, threats or government powers) to control someone’s
- Property (or personal space)
- Ability to come and go as they please
- Right to use arms to defend their other inalienable rights?
If so, it is a violation of freedom. It is morally and ethically wrong. And if you use force to violate another’s rights, beware, lest your rights be taken next.