Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 17, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

THE SIXTH AMENDMENT....Steven Den Beste ponders the relative importance of the First and Second Amendments:

Whether or not you think that our right to own firearms is a fundamental part of what maintains our freedom of speech and press and assembly, there can be no question that it is our First Amendment rights which give us the strongest ability to directly influence our government. Any given citizen only has one vote, but a persuasive speaker may influence many votes. And it is noteworthy that any autocracy always cracks down on free speech, free press, free assembly and private ownership of firearms in the early stages of establishing a police state.

Certainly there are no freedoms that Americans cherish more than those in the First and Second Amendments.

Nope. He's certainly right that the First Amendment freedoms are more crucial to our national character than the right to bear arms, but what tyrannies really crack down on first is free speech followed (or preceded) by the right to a fair trial.

That would be the Sixth Amendment, and no matter how fond you are of your guns, I hope that everyone recognizes that the right to a speedy and public trial is far more fundamental to freedom and liberty than gun ownership. Any country that has both a free press and a fair court system is probably going to muddle along pretty well regardless of their gun laws, but countries without either of those Iraq, just to pull an example out of a hat is a tyranny regardless of whether everyone owns an AK-47 and knows how to use it.

Kevin Drum 11:17 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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