Remedial Practical Civics 100, Lesson 4: “A hunting we will go!”

Lesson 1: Sausage-making

Lesson 2: Constitutionality

Lesson 3: Let’s party


Good morning, class. I’m frustrated.

Lately it’s over the “bump-fire” stock — apparently non- — issue, but that’s just a symptom.

Let’s look at that symptom:

There is a proposed rule that would “make” bump-fire stocks (“bump-stock-type devices;” BSTD) machineguns. This is rationalized through an outright lie:

[S]uch devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.

That’s a lie worthy of of the Billy Jeff Democrat administration. Screw objective, physical reality. This one comes to us via the “I’m pro-RKBA” Republican Trump administration.

Hey, “stroke of the pen” worked for Trump’s old friend Clinton.

[No, Bobbie, the other Clinton. The “it depends on what is is,” not “what happened?” one.]

You know, the same Republicans who are pushing for “extreme risk protective orders” (ERPO) — lately propagandized as “red flag” orders, as if the authorities will deign to notice “red flags” before mass deaths — with maybe a little ex post facto due process, if the unsuspecting ERPO victim can get a lawyer and schedule a hearing after the rights violation and before the two week deadline runs out.

The same Republicans who let concealed carry reciprocity die.

Who passed Fix NICS with all its troubling language that can make anyone a prohibited person. Except, seemingly, actual prohibited persons.

A Zelman Partisans poll shows most people aren’t even bothering to comment on the proposed rule, mostly because they believe it to be pointless, a foregone conclusion. Of those that do attempt to comment, a substantial number report their comments never become visible.

And many folks just don’t give a damn.

That would explain why sites like The Gun Feed aren’t bothering to cover it, not even the little problems with vanishing comments.

I bow to the wiser majority. I shall cease to give a flying fuck.

I will however invest heavily in popcorn for the coming civil war hunting season.

Speaking rather generally,lawful gun owners have been almost notoriously faithful to the rule of law. They petition government. Attend legislative hearings. Write to their Imperial Wetlands representatives and senators. Letters to the editor. Vote.

When illegal and unconstitutional restrictions — against them, not the criminals committing the atrocities that precipitate dumbass laws — pass, they again look the law and file lawsuits and beg the courts to take their meds and make a sane ruling in favor of the Constitution they swore to uphold.

Yeah, right. Funny thing: I know of only one Supreme Court decision which directly addressed what arms (in the hands of citizens) are protected the Second Amendment; MILLER, which found that those arms are ” “of the kind in common use at the time.” (HELLER actually sidestepped that issue.) So the one class of arms absolutely guaranteed to be left unregulated — as certified by SCOTUS fiat — are weapons suitable for military use.

Except when they aren’t.

The legislators abandoned law. The rulemakers blatantly lie. The courts are full of crossdressing, moronic oathbreakers. Sure, Justice Thomas assures us the Supreme Court won’t touch the Second Amendment, but the post-Heller record demonstrates that simply means they won’t touch a Second Amendment case, leaving infringements standing.

They’ve left no “rule of law” for — previously lawful — gun owners, who counted on that very thing.

What we have are mala prohibita fiats

[No, not the effin’ car company: fiatan arbitrary decree or pronouncement, especially by a person or group of persons having absolute authority to enforce it.]

Aaaand… apparently I have to explain this, too.

Laws essentially belong to one of two classes. Malum prohibitum laws which are simply those things which are illegal because someone said so, and for no other reason. “Illegal because I said so.” A law making the mere possession — not use or abuse — of a firearm with arbitrary cosmetic features is malum prohibitum, bad simply because some frickin’ moron or high school student asshole said so, not because one actually hurt anyone with said “assault weapon.”

Malum en se laws are things that are illegal because they are bad in and of themselves. Murder — killing a person other than in defense — is usually considered a Bad Thing, although the Nazis thought highly of it. As do those who propose laws whose enforcement potentially includes death.

[No, Brytni; I’m not talking about the death penalty. I’m talking about every law on the books. Take an “assault weapon” ban, for example. (Yes, there’s a reason I keep talking about guns here.)]

Say Massachusetts arbitrarily bans “assault weapons,” without even legislative action — which they did. Say Joe Blow doesn’t turn his in. Police show up to take it (and they know because Mass licenses every lawful gun owner and registers lawful firearms… until they conveniently decided they’re unlawful).

Joe tells the cops to fribble off.

Cops decline to fribble, and bust down his door.

Joe resists, possibly with that “assault weapon.”

Cops kill him. And likely his little dog, too.

At some point, the cops can impose lethal force to enforce any law, no matter how minor. Think “bench warrant” for too many parking tickets; they can kill you if you resist. And go home safely at the end of their shift, while you go to the morgue.

Tough shit if they even think — mistakenly — that you were resisting, like the man accidentally swatted, and killed for coming to the door.

You’re just as dead, and they’re just as safely at home afterwards.

To the cops, there is no difference between malum prohibitum and malum en se. You needn’t have hurt anyone. Ever notice how they’ll even kill suicidal people?

Back to the main thread of thought: Bureaucrats invent new victimless “crime;” maybe it’s guns, maybe your Care Bear is suddenly a symbol of child pornography.


Digression: You want to know how bad things have gotten? I just made that up — flat out invented, off the top of my head — the Care Bear-kiddie porn link. Then searched it. Maybe 30 seconds. Near the top of the results page. If you can imagine it, the authorities have made it suspicious, “probable cause” to assume your guilt… and kill you if you resist.

Think about that.


Congress blows you off when you object; maybe a staffer even uses your contact as an opportunity to practice a little ID theft. Or maybe Congressman Creep will blow you off with a letter totally unrelated to your concern. The powers that be don’t care. We’re just someone for the Coastal Elites to shit on. Even the EPA is cool with that.

But I suspect you’d go to prison for dumping human excrement on NYC.

The courts? We covered that. They aren’t stopping unconstitutional laws.

The police? Covered: If you even survive that encounter, the courts will uphold your “resisting arrest” (for resisting an unlawful act) charge.

Going back to our original example: Bump-fire stocks. Inanimate, passive bits of plastic. Training wheels for folks who have trouble learning how to squeeze a trigger. Perfectly legal.

Until the President told his Attorney General — omnipotent deus malum prohibitum — to call them machineguns, turning thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people into instant felons. Commenting on the rule is a sick joke. If your comment makes it in, they’ll ignore it. Again.

There is no rule of law on which the people of America can rely. That leaves… what exactly?

[Yes, Delaney? Civil war? Good!

WRONG.]

I know a lot of people are talking up civil war for the when/if of firearms confiscation. South Carolina has a bill -giggle- that proposes secession if the feds start grabbing guns. Please review your notes from lesson 3 to remind yourself why state action is no better than federal, for all the same reasons. It’s the same bunch. The South Carolina bill, at best, is a distraction, a sop thrown to the people to make them think there’s something “states’ rights” can do to protect them…

…from the same bunch. It’s a fake.

Who did their homework on the Whiskey Rebellion, the Civil War, the Bonus Marchers, and the Battle of Athens? Anyone? Bueller?

[Yes, John. I realize there’s no one named Bueller in class. That’s a movie reference which you probably don’t get because it predates smart phones.]

Anyway…

Shay’s Rebellion: Taxation without representation, enforcement of a repealed law, objections. Rebels barely organized. Freaking National Army sent to suppress. Scratch one embryonic revolution.

Civil War: Regardless of what you learned in Flower Ambrosia Smythe’s Revised Social Justice American History class down the hall, it wasn’t about slavery. Lincoln offered to take the slavery issue off the table if the Southern States would agree not to secede; they declined because tariffs and discriminatory laws were the real problem. Look it up.

But this rebellion was organized… becuase it was a matter of states’ power, not individual citizens, who were suckered in on both sides by propaganda. But it wasn’t organized soon enough to properly equip the South and they lost to the more heavily industrialized — and armed — Union. Scratch another revolution.

Bonus Marchers: Desperation, not organization. No resources but to cry for relief. Basically they were asking for the rule of law…

…and were slaughtered for annoying the powers-that-be. Scratch another revolution.

The Battle of Athens is where things get interesting.

Totally corrupt local government. Armed citizens back from the war can’t get relief through the rule of law (sound familiar?). They organize — easy, since they know and trust one another — which for once is possible because they’re working on the small, local level.

Scratch one local, corrupt government.

And not a one of those examples would apply in what I see coming, if they finish shoving the rule of law into the trash compactor.

Looking at the seemingly inevitable semiautomatic firearms ban masquerading as a “bump-stock ban,” (call it the BS semiauto ban) we will have a rather different situation.

Scenario: The Left and its media has been working hard to convince the country that gun owners are a “small” minority. Laughably, the lowest sorta-semi-kinda-realistic estimate puts the number at a mere 55,000,000. Let’s roll with that, just for said laughs. (Bearing in mind that it is a joke, since it’s based on voluntary ownership disclosures to strangers in a country where ownership is demonized and the threat of confiscation is ever-present — right Justice Stevens?)

The BS semiauto ban goes into effect. A minimum of tens of millions of heavily armed people are suddenly felons. They can’t count on Athenians popular support because they’ve been demonized for decades. They aren’t organized because they’ve been keeping a low profile. They aren’t concentrated in one small town.

Digression that isn’t: When the “3 strikes and you’re out” laws became popular, a lot of cops opposed them because of the risk of low level felons seeing no partcular reason to surrender peacefully if they got caught one more time. Georgia began prepping a max security prison just for 3-strikers, and called for volunteers to man from their correctional officers across the state. Most COs looked at the situation — hundreds of permanently imprisoned felons with no hope of getting out ever for “good behavior,” and said, “No, thanks.”

In our hopefully hypothetical scenario, you just reduced at least 40,000,000 people to that same desperate status malum prohibitum. Some might give up immediately. Some might fold when faced with force.

But if just 1% of that 40,000,000 said, “Fuck it, I’m taking some assholes out with me,” you’ve got 400,000 heavily armed noncompliant sons of bitches (HANSOBs) out for blood.

Whose blood? For starters, the ones they see as immediately responsible for the mass violation of their rights. Then the idiot celebrities, media hairsprayheads, and ignorant useful idiots [yes, Emma, David, Delaney] who pushed it.

Then they’ll look around and think, “I’ve got nothing left to lose now. How ’bout that mother-effer in the Zoning Department who made me tear down my deck after I spent ten grand on it?”

Or county weasels spending millions of dollars on an unapproved spaceport. Or the principal who threw your kid out of school because he got beat up.

Maybe that neighbor who always mows his grass at 11PM on Sunday night. And sprays his clippings on your manicured yard.

Make your own list. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, as the lady informed us.

In 2016, per the last complete FBI UCR, we had 11,004 murders. Committed by somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 people, mostly (@ 64%) felons. 80-88% of the weapons were stolen.

[Kyle, you’re blanching, yet not surprised. I’m guessing that this isn’t quite the first time the possibilities occurred to you, at least.]

In 2020, on the present course, we’ll see an additional minimum of four hundred thousand freshly minted victimless malum prohibitum felons with a grudge and something better than stolen .22 revolvers.

Show of hands, class. How many of you realized that — up until now — it’s been legal for people to own registered machineguns, mortars, artillery, tanks, and even fighter aircraft? And that people do?

Sure, they’re considered militarily obsolete. Explain that to the bureaucratic and political targets of opportunity who pissed off those owners, as they’re taking fire.

Marvin Heemeyer demolished much of a town with a grudge and an home-armored bulldozer. He specifically targeted the mayor and the town hall. He worked alone. One guy.

Multiply by 400,000. Or 40,000,000.

Maybe even 120,000,000 fresh felons. With nothing left to lose. Go, Janice!

No. We wouldn’t have a civil war. The victim disarming cowards should be so lucky. That would controlled, coordinated, focused. The goal would be restoring a constitutional republic. (The reality might well differ. Civil war is not something I recommend.)

What you “repeal the Second Amendment and take all the guns” types are doing is declaring an open hunting season.

On yourselves.

After decadesof law abiding gunowners playing your game, accepting “compromises” which amount to nothing but “we’ll only fuck you now, but next time we leave off the lube,” getting the shaft — with the NRA providing the grease…

[Sit down. You’ve used “NRA” as some sort of shorthand for “all gun owners” for years. It’s what your media uses to focus hatred. The actual NRA only represents — at most — 9% of gun owners. 5% tops is more likely, and most of those don’t realize that the NRA is your ally in disarmament. Look. It. Up.]

Honest gun owners are tired of compromising themselves into criminals. Of losing allegedly constitutionally protected rights to an “interest of the state” that appears nowhere in said constitution; invented out whole cloth by the courts… which conveniently are part of the same government.

Just a wild guess, but I would not be surprised, when you inadvertently declare our own little Purge, if several hardcore gun owners — with nothing left to lose — come knocking at the doors of Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox: You know, the NRA guys who pushed for a bureaucratic ban on BS semiauto in the first place.

Tonight, you get to choose your homework assignments. The options are:

1. Think about what you’ve wrought, and the consequences. Especially to yourselves. Consider your own little email/phone call campaign to tell your Moms and socialist politicians to reconsider this course of action. Fill sand bags, just in case.

2. Revel in what you’ve wrought. Start sharpening blades and stuffing magazines… Oh. Right. You’re the helpless disarmed-by-choice. Sucks to be you. Maybe you should buy ballistic vests. And sand bags. Stuff those plastic backpacks with books!

[Moi, Sara? I don’t have a dog in this fight. I tend towards the libertarian attitude that one should not initiate force — Don’t start shit, but be prepared to end it. Permanently. — and I have no desire to go hunting. For the most part, the folks I’ve pissed off are unarmed, confused millenials who think making kids who didn’t do it wear plastic backpacks is as bad as stealing property from millions of gun owners who didn’t it. And reporters and politicians who can’t tell the difference between nonexistent “assault weapons” and assault rifles, and think pieces of inert plastic are machine guns.

Sure, they may say they want me dead, but what are they going to do about it, with no tools?

Nor a need, as thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of others are likely to take out the trash. I prep for natural disasters, so I’m good on food, water, shelter, sanitation, and communications for a while.

I plan to hunker down with several pounds of popcorn and defensive tools and enjoy “The Statist-Hunting Show.”]

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Remedial Practical Civics 100, Lesson 3: “Let’s Party”

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 4



OK, class. We’ve covered what “law” in America is supposed to be. And the hard reality. Watching the news lately, it appears some os gigantus stultus examples among you have failed the first two lessons. But don’t pack your self-inflicted, clear plastic backpacks just yet.

This, and the next lesson are mandatory.

To passing life’s final exam.

So let’s party. Or not.

The subject is…

[Tarr, either a Tide Pod or a condom. One may kill you. Both will.]

The subject is political parties in America.

Assuming some of you got around to reading the Constitution, you have have noticed that there is no mention of political parties. OK; probably not, but now prompted you may realize that lack.

Please?

In fact, there should never have been political parties. Given a strict set of guidelines in the form of a constitution, a republic has no need of parties. The founders generally disapproved of the notion.

But rather quickly, politicians recognized that aligning themselves with easily recognizable slogans and simplistic policies saved time in explaining their own policies and positions to dubious voters.

Voters, busily trying to make a living, took the party shortcut of assuming that someone in Party A, which espouses predigested positions, will hold those positions. Thus, one needn’t take time out from subsistence farming to study the issues that one is expecting a paid professional to study for you.

Ladies, how many of you gave up your virginity to some guy who whispered sweet nothings, then dumped you when he got what he wanted? Congratulations. You understand the perils of parties.

The next problem with parties is party line voting. One party can band together to pass a law over the wishes of non-aligned legislators, or minority (that is, a party one person smaller than the majority party. One. This might not be a problem so long as they stick to the game rules in the Constitution, but what if they don’t?

Let’s pretend we get a President of one party, and his party has control of Congress. They pass a set of laws making legal immigration harder, and making it tougher for immigrants to becomes citizens. Toss in arresting and deporting undesirable — “illegal” — immigrants. Oh, hell. And say they put special emphasis on immigrants from shithole countries…

{“Trump is Hitler!”}

Shut up, Abdullah. This has nothing to with Trump. I’m talking about the first political party in American — the Federalists — and their Alien and Sedition Acts. In 1798. Take off your shoes and start counting; that was two-hundred nineteen years before President Trump.

What? You thought this was something new? Guess who repealed those acts: the Democratic-Republican Party.

You think the immigration part was bad? Look up the details on going to prison for “fake news” and criticizing the government.

Stop crying, David. These “Democratic Republican” weren’t the same party as the Republicans… who opposed slavery, and stuff like that. Confused? Don’t you wish the school had a real American History class?

{“Mr. Bussjaeger, I still don’t understand what these parties have to with raves.”}

-stares-

[ -whimpers quietly- Melisande, report to the school nurse and tell him I recommend a blood tox screen, as I suspect your piercings are lead and cadmium contaminated Chinese imports.]

{“What?”}

[Or possibly you just need to loosen that corset and get some oxygen to the brain. Get out. You have my permission to return when you can demonstrate rational thought.]

The only similarity is that fervent party members tend to be raving lunatics.

In the early days, parties came and went, and morphed. But by the mid-19th century we were stuck with today’s Democrat and Republican Parties. And that’s what screwed us.

I want each of you to do some self-study of the history of American parties. It’s complicated, and we simply don’t have time to more than hit the high points here. Start by looking up the parties I’ve already mentioned.

Those high points…

Big parties mean big fund raising. Big bucks. Thus, those with big bucks control big parties…

David, if you breathe “NRA,” I will assign you a twenty page writing assignment of the comparative spending of the NRA and NSSF versus PETA.

Big bucks and control of DC is power. Authoritarian personalities like to keep the power they’ve grabbed.

So we have ballot access laws that make it difficult to impossible for third parties to challenge the Democrats and Republicans. Convenient, eh? Once in power, you write laws — a true example of “bipartisanship” — to eliminate the competition.

In some states, it’s virtually impossible for a third party to get on the ballot unless they already got on the ballot. No, I didn’t not misspeak. Parse it out. Quietly.

That’s why we have politicians running as Republicans, for instance, who claim to be libertarians. Pretending to be Republicans (or sometimes Democrats) was the only practical way to get on the ballot.

Funny though… How do you trust a politician who openly lies about who he is just to get elected?

[Debbie, put your hand down. That was a rhetorical question.]

Of course, we also get “Libertarians” like anti-RKBA Johnson, who simply couldn’t hack it in the big party pond, and opted to be big frog in little L pond. -sigh-

Of course, once a party has been tasting power for a century and a half to nearly two centuries, maintaining power is a habit stronger than heroin. And they exercise that power to the benefit of favored cronies and “donors” instead of the Constitution they swore to uphold.

At this point, an informed class should be raising hands and clamoring, “Checks and balances!”

At which point I would laugh at the naivety.

Let’s say we have a President of one party in the White House. That’s one branch of government. Congress should be a check on his power, but both houses are held by the same party. That’s the second branch of checks and balances.

Right there, it makes it easy for that party to impose unconstitutional laws…

[Hands down, and be quiet. You should realize by now I’m not talking about the current Republican-controlled swamp.]

This is 1937 FDR DC. New Deal. The Constitution Shredder. And Incinerator. And composter.

Fiat money. Seizures of private property and money. Graft and bribery for “recovery” programs on a scale not seen since.

Enter the pinnacle of the third branch of government, The Supreme Court. They threatened to find New Deal deals unconstitutional. FDR threatened to appoint more SC justices to tip the… balance back in his favor. Lest their bit of power be diluted, the Supreme cross-dressers backed down. Check. And mate.

Think it couldn’t happen? The makeup of the Supreme Court is not set by the Constitution; the number of justices is set by mutable statutory law.

The Supremes might rule that such a change is unconstitutional in that it eliminates a “check and balance.” Or not.

Right now — present day — we have Republican control of the Executive and Legislative branches. They could pass such a law. The current Supreme Court bench is majority — theoretically — “conservative” (i.e.- Republican). The majority might chosose to cement that hold on the bench.

But if Democratic dreams of taking the White House and Congress come true in 2020, the “conservative” court might rule against the exact same Democrat proposal. Or they might simply fold again, as they did during the Depression.

“Supreme Court precedent?” I’m glad you mentioned that. Yes, the size of the Court has been changed through new laws. And it was accepted by the Court. You — thinking that precedent means something — could suppose that the Court would be bound by just one more law changing the size.

You’d be wrong. There is no binding precedent on the Supreme Court, or Little Emma and David would have been told be quiet and stop demanding unconstitutional laws.

When you go home, I want you to also research two SCOTUS decisions: Dred Scott and Miller. The TL;DR is that one ruled that all free men have a right to be armed. The other clarified that the government can regulate some firearms, but only those that are not suitable for military use. For instance, short-barrelled shotguns can be regulated because a lying lawyer convinced the Supremes that the Army never used those, therefore they were unsuitable for military use.

But now we have the NFA, GCA, and FOPA that effectively forbid military machineguns to honest, law abiding civilians. Maybe you like that, but it runs directly counter to a century and a half of Supreme Court precedent. Because justice’s personal biases and agendas… took precedence of precedent.

So much for the checks and balances of the branches of government. Back to parties.

In the sense that political parties with competing agendas might operate as checks upon one another, they could be a good thing. Personally, I subscribe to the notion “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session,” and cheer when the media reports a deadlocked, do-nothing Congress.

But the reality is that the Democrat and Republican parties hardly compete, other than to see who can restrict liberty fastest.

The Democrats scream for gun control, notably evil “bump-fire stocks.”

The Republicans say, “Hold my beer,” and give us an insane rulemaking proposal to make passive plastic stocks machineguns, and to make everyone owning one — twice defined by Democrat administrations as not only not machineguns, but not even guns — a machinegun-owning felon.

Democrat Pelosi calls that a fine start on the slippery slope to more gun control, while Republican Ryan shrugs and says, “Cool. Anything else we can do for you?”

You really want to know how much difference there is between the two heads of the Hydra Party? Look up the “Progressive Party” (Teddie Roosevelt’s “Bull Moose Party”), with special emphasis on how the Dems and Reps traded platforms.

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.
― Emma Goldman

β€œThe argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies… is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”
― Carroll Quigley

The checks and balances of federal government are, at best, an illusion. At worst, a deception. States, being republican governments with the same “two-party” system share the — as viewed by an honest citizen — flaws.

Our next lesson will address other checks.

Thus ends today’s lesson.

If you skip the rest of your homework, at least do this but of research in preparation the next class:

  • Whiskey Rebellion: causes, participants on both sides, and outcome
  • Civil War: ditto
  • Bonus Marchers: yep
  • Battle of Athens: you got it

Remedial Civics 100 for Public School Victims, Lesson 2

Lesson 1

Lesson 3


Lesson 4



I’ll begin by telling you something your parents should have told when your were two years old:

Sometimes you can’t have what you want, no matter how much you want it; no matter how many of your friends also want it.

This being Civics 100, I’ll be addressing unconstitutional laws.

-sigh- “u-n-c-o-n-s-t-i-t-u-t-i-o-n-a-l” As in, “not allowed by the US Constitution.” It was one of your reading assignments. No, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is the Declaration of Independence, which you also should have read. You volunteered for this class.

Harrumph.

[Billy, what are you doing with a bucket of ice in my class? Get that out of here.

“Ice Bucket Challenge…”? All right, get the bucket out of here and bring me a paper tomorrow explaining whether or not the Challenge is a chain letter…

Look. It. Up. “c-h-a-i-n, l-e-t-t-e-r”

…whether or not it’s a chain letter, and how accepting the bucket challenge financially benefits ALS groups. It’ll count towards your Economics grade.

How many words? As many as it takes to demonstrate some comprehension of the subjects.

-glares at class- Anyone else looking for extra credit?]

Who can define “democracy” Billy?

The American system of government where the people vote and decide on stuff.

Wrong. Fortunately, that’s what this class is meant to get straight in your heads. If you’d said “a generic system of government,” you’d have been right…

[Billy, stop crying. You’re 17 years old, not two. Get used to being told when you’re wrong.]

Anyway. Billy, definition is generic. There are several variants and modifications of “democracy.” The Athenians, who originated the formal implementation of the idea, limited the vote to eligible citizens, and denied the vote to large classes of people, including foreigners, women, people under the age of 20, and anyone who didn’t own land. That’s the original, pure-quill democracy. Like it?

America uses a variant. Our current system of government was designed as a constitutional republic.

Starting with “republic:” That means we elect representatives to vote on things for us, instead of having a direct vote by the eligible citizens. And yes, we also limit eligibility; you have to be 18 years-old, and not a felon. You have to be a citizen. In the past, blacks and women were excluded, but we fixed that.

Anyone want an extra credit project on whether direct vote state “initiatives” or “propositions” meet the Constitutional requirement that states provide a republican form of government? No? Maybe later.

“Constitutional” is the part you kids seem to be having trouble with lately. Yes, I’m talking about the way CNN and the mainstream media are manipulating you into supporting gun control laws that violate the Second Amendment.

“Con-sti-tu-tion-al, Re-pub-lic.” That means we vote — through or elected representatives — within the framework of the constitution that established the national government…

John? Good question! The Articles of Confederation created an alliance — a “confederation” of fully independent states. With the Constitutional Convention, a new federation of states under one government was formed. One may easily argue that the Fourth of July, 1776, is not our nation’s birthday. One can also argue that the Constitutional Convention was an illegal coup under the then-effective Articles. Anyone want to do a paper on that?

Stripped to basics: the Constitution is the states agreeing to federation, and assigning certain powers and duties to the shiny new central government. That’s what the feds get to do. And no more. The Constitution is a contract between ratifying states. And remember that when people throw the term “social contract” at you.

I say, “no more,” because we have the original Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was a contract amendment, likewise agreed to by the contract signatories — the states. Smart folks realized that simply assigning the central government powers and duties wasn’t enough, because said government might decide to grab a little more power, claiming to require it to perform assigned duties.

So these smart people amended the contract to specifically limit the government, to prevent them doing just that.

[No, miss. “Separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution, Samantha…

Don’t call me “miss.” I’m a boy. And my name is Fabio.

Samantha, you’ve got what look to be 38 Double-D tits, and it’s unlikely there’s a penis in your panties. Show me a chromosome test with a normal XY allosome pair, or I’ll continue to call you a girl.

I identify as a boy.

Refusal to accept reality is one generalized definition of insanity; that’s why gender dysphoria is listed in the DSM as a psychiatric disorder. You’re excused from the class, with an “incomplete.” If you can’t figure out whether or not you have a penis, you aren’t going to be capable of understanding Constitutional reality. Bye.]

To address Miss Samantha’s claim, “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution; the phrase comes from a Jefferson letter. Regrettably, even those smart people didn’t think even the federal government would be freaking stupid enough to meddle in religion, so they didn’t hit that as explicitly as they might’ve.

It did occur to them to forbid the government doing things like restricting free speech, recognizing religions (which is the unfortunately vague part), restricting private ownership of weapons, violating privacy, and much more.

[No, Dexter. The Second Amendment is not a collective state right. Look up HELLER and MCDONALD. Nor does it allow limits based on vague public safety. Special assignment, son: turn in a paper next Monday. Define “infringe.” and since I see it coming, the common usage of “regulate” in 18th century America (hint: look up “Regulator clock”). Further, examine the separate uses of the words “people” and “person” versus “state.” Specifically explain each usage — or lack thereof — in the first, second, fourth, fifth, ninth, and tenth amendments. Show and understanding, in particular, of the separate usage of both in the Tenth Amendment.

Why, yes. As a matter of fact I do have a prepared list of extra credit assignments. I’m used to these foolish arguments popping up from the uninformed.]

Show of hands: Who read the Constitution? Hmm, could’ve been worse.

Who read the Bill of Rights? No? Then you didn’t read the Constitution. That’s part of the states’ contract.

[Who reads fine print all the time, Emma? You, I hope. Otherwise you’re liable to sell your immortal soul next time you buy an app for your smart phone. Yes, it happened. Look that up, too.]

So… You want to ban “assault weapons.” You can’t. Not constitutionally. Vote in all the referendums you like. Hassle your state reps. But in the constitutional framework, that is excluded from what government is allowed to screw up.

[Thanks, David. I knew someone would bring up “states rights.” But I noticed you were one who didn’t read the whole Constitution. States do retain rights, see Amendments 9 and 10. But the Second Amendment — ratified by the states — delegated the protection of a preexisting right to keep and bear arms… weapons, even “assault weapons — to the central government. States specifically gave up the right to restrict their citizens’ right to weaponry.]

OK, who wants to tell me the Constitution is a “living document” subject to reinterpretation as society evolves? No?

Good. You’re beginning to catch on.

Imagine you bought a car. You owe $500 a month for five years. Three years in, the contract holder tells you that you have to pay $800 a month because times change and his expenses have gone up.

Five years in, he tells you you can’t have your unencumbered car title, because sales have been off, and he needs you to keep paying for a few more years to maintain his profit margin.

Of course, that isn’t fair. Or legal. It violates the written contract. Same with you constitutionally-challenged children trying to rewrite the laws to take away the lawful property of millions of innocent people. Guns, I mean.

Now your car dealer could have come to you to renegotiate a contract, and maybe you’d be stupid enough to sign the new deal screwing you over with no benefit to yourself. More likely, you’d demand something in return, or no deal. Maybe free quarterly preventative maintenance.

Likewise, the Constitution has a provision for “renegotiation:” Article 5. The thing most of you didn’t read.

So you want to ban guns. All you have to do is get at least two-thirds of both the House and Senate to go along with it. (Review lecture 1 for how to get a bill passed.) Then you have to get the legislators of at least three-quarters of all states (See lecture 1 again), to pass it.

The other legal way to do this is to get three-quarters of the state legislatures (Lecture 1, yet again) to go along with a Constitutional Convention. That’s tricky because a Constitutional Convention isn’t limited to addressing the one thing — like firearms bans — that you want. Everything is on the table. Abortion, raising the voting age to 55, mandatory five years of minimum wage military service for 18 year-olds, reinstituting outright slavery. Everything. Anything. No matter how despicable or distasteful even to you.

Ready to take your chances?

Yes, that means the changes you want are hard. It’s supposed to be hard. The fine folks who drafted the Constitution thought they’d done a decent job. The states got something they could agree to. Job done.

But they realized that it wasn’t perfect unto the end of time. So they incorporated a process for future changes. But, again, they made it difficult because they’d done their best…

[What’s that, Soon? Slavery? How terrible the Constitution was? I thought you raised you hand about reading the thing.

One, slavery is evil. Two, the majority of participants at the Constitutional Convention thought so, too. Three, enough delegates would go along with the whole thing if it flat outlawed slavery (as many wished). So they reached a compromise.

Read Article 1, Section 9. They settled on phasing slavery out in a fashion that allowed those dependent on the institution time to cover their asses. Slavery was going to end. They saw it as inevitable. Later, in the 19th century, technological advancements were going to make slavery not only evil, but economically destructive to the slavers.

Who wants extra credit for a paper on the causes of the American Civil War of Northern Aggression, or whatever you want to call it, versus those Union demands that were dropped in an attempt to avoid war? You’ll have to examine the cotton gin versus economics of keeping slave workers.

No?

Suddenly, a constitution written by rich, white guys who planned the abolition of slavery doesn’t look so bad, does it? Maybe they were smarter than class-skipping children who eat Pods.]

We’re digressing…

[Look. It. Up. Use that phone for something other than Snapchat.]

We’ve wandered. I’ve explained that we are not an unlimited, direct democracy where the ignorant can vote themselves bread and circuses… [Look it up; Juvenal… not “juvenile.”]. The Constitution is meant to protect all rights, no matter how much you want to violate them. You have to work within the system, overthrow it, or ignore it. Choose your poison.

In the end, slavery was banned through a constitutional process, not withstanding an intervening war in which slavery was nothing more but a subject for propaganda on both sides. The constitutionality of secession, and suppression of secession, is a topic for a seminar in itself.

You want to “ban” gun violence. Will you work within the system, overthrow it, or ignore it?

And what will your opposition choose, depending on your choices?

Class dismissed.