In his letter, “Even the Constitution isn’t absolute,” The Advocate, April, 29, Michael Hale hoists himself on his own “myopic” petard.
The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution stand as testament to the Founders’ fear of government crushing individual liberty. As a condition to gain ratification for this new “supreme law of the land,” these traitors to the British crown insisted our founding document include an enumeration of “essential liberties” upon which the government (i.e. the executive, legislative and judicial branches) may not encroach, violate, abridge, prohibit nor infringe.
It’s not complicated. Natural rights don’t just “sound absolute,” they are absolute. Government is expressly denied the authority to create “preventive law.” What seems to confuse Hale is that government is authorized to establish penalties for those who actually do abuse these natural rights.
Freedom of speech is absolute (i.e. “Congress may make no law … abridging the freedom of speech …”). However, government is authorized to proscribe penalties for those who actually do abuse their freedom of speech and create a riot by “falsely yelling ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater.”
Hale asserts that the government should grant itself permission to negate the Bill of Rights’ clearly enumerated restraints on government’s intrusion into individual liberty. How convoluted is that? One can hardly blame him, however, since Congress, the president and even the U.S. Supreme Court often invent self-serving justifications for attacks on our natural rights.
Columnist Harry Binswanger returns us to reason with the following quote:
“(T)he government may not descend to the evil of preventive law. The government cannot treat men as guilty until they have proven themselves to be, for the moment, innocent. No law can require the individual to prove that he won’t violate another’s rights, in the absence of evidence that he is going to.
“But this is precisely what gun control laws do. Gun control laws use force against the individual in the absence of any specific evidence that he is about to commit a crime. They say to the rational, responsible gun owner: You may not have or carry a gun because others have used them irrationally or irresponsibly.
“Statistics about how often gun-related crimes occur in the population is no evidence against you. That’s collectivist thinking. It has no right to initiate force against the innocent. The choices made by others are irrelevant to the choices that you will make. Laws prohibiting or regulating guns across the board represent the evil of preventive law and should be abolished.”