"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384
I think the founders would be both amazed and discouraged with where we are today.
If you spend much time reading the debates from the founding era, there is one thing that they all agreed on; that any government where men were involved was an accident waiting to happen. Yes, they all made mistakes. What is interesting with Adams and Jefferson is that they started out as great friends and co-patriots, then became bitter political enemies, and then in their twilight years, patched things up. They both died on the same day within hours of each other, July 4th, 1826.
The one idea they did get right was the distribution of power, and not just at the federal level, but at the state and local levels as well. Our main problem today is we have drifted away from the original design, and the federal government has usurped authority it was never meant to have.
The reason for quoting the founders is because most people have no clue what the founding generation intended when they created our system of government. Their words are much more eloquent than mine, and I find they can explain it much better than I can.
We face the same dangers in our day as they did in theirs.
It is a disservice to our society to think otherwise. The point Adams was trying to make is that he is ultimately responsible for his own safety. "Perhaps" in this sentence means "I doubt I could give it up even if I wanted to." His point is that the Right to self defense is unalienable, i.e. not something that can be relinquished or transfered to someone else.
You miss Jefferson's point. It is not that we can be sure of who the criminals are. The point he is trying to make is you don't solve the violence problem by disarming the good guys, all you do is take away their ability to defend themselves from violent criminals.
And that is why gun-control is so immoral.
Right up until the 1960's the only gun-control laws on the books were a bunch of "Jim Crow" laws that were enacted in the south to prevent black folks from owning firearms. If gun-control works, why do the cities with the strictest gun-control also have the largest number of gun related homicides?
First of all, Rights are not granted by the Constitution or by the government. Rights are retained by The People and enumerated in the Bill of Rights in order to underscore the fact that the government that is created by the Constitution exists to ensure the Rights of The People are protected.
The Declaration of Independence says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that amoung these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness..."
An unalienable right is a right that is incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another.
Are you saying that no one has an absolute right to their Life? I find it interesting that the people who say there are no absolute rights use that statement to justity infringing on the rights of their fellow citizens.
The government has no authority to limit free speach because someone might yell "Fire" in a crowded theater. Nor does the government have the authority to prevent me from using my hands because I might make a fist and strike someone.
There were three different studies performed before, during and after the last so-called "assault weapons" ban, and they all came to the same conclusion; that the ban had no measurable effect on crime.