Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Senator Murphy’s Demons, And the Palladium Of Liberty

If it is not a political theorem, it should be:  A politician’s courage increases in direct proportion to his distance from re-election. It is the foreshortened memory of the average voter and the abbreviated news cycle – about three days – that give heft to the theorem. Incumbent politicians know that what is tossed about today will disappear tomorrow.

Connecticut’s Junior U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is not up for reelection this election cycle. In two years, an eternity away, anything may happen. Or as T.S. Eliot put it in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock;

There will be time, there will be time      
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;   
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands 
Time for you and time for me,                    
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.           

To be sure, indecisions, visions and revisions have become more problematic in the Internet Age. Just ask Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Clinton, who sought to safeguard her privacy rights – which, the U.S. Supreme Court tells us, are to be found in the “aura of rights” surrounding the Constitution – by installing a private server as a hedge against appropriate disclosure to monitoring agencies. Transparency is all very well – for thee, but not for me. The seasoned politician prefers opacity in thought, word and deed.

It is common for Presidential nominees to receive intelligence briefings. Last May, Mr.Murphy raised concerns about Donald Trump’s accesses to customary intelligence briefings because, he told Buzz Feed, Mr. Trump “wouldn’t think twice of taking classified information and putting it out in the public realm if he thought it served his political purposes.” This although Mr. Trump is not a seasoned politician such as Mrs. Clinton who, come to think of it, did in fact put top secret information on her private server, which was not at all secure. The classified information was then hacked and shared with the world.

A public response from Mr. Murphy condemning Mrs. Clinton’s audacity might fill a thimble, maybe. Although Mr. Murphy is much in the habit of mounting political stumps at every opportunity to pump his own political prospects, he has yet to condemn Mrs. Clinton for not thinking twice – or even once -- before putting classified information out in the public realm.

Mr. Murphy’s courageous effusions have propelled him elsewhere. Last week, we are told by the Connecticut Post,  “U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy on Thursday took a deep dive into the interwoven worlds of the gun-rights movement and gunmakers, saying anti-government ‘neo-anarchist’ Republicans are aligned with a firearms industry desperate to sell more guns to a shrinking customer base.”

The overheated rhetoric – “neo-anarchist Republicans” – leaves law abiding gun owners wondering if Mr. Murphy knows what an anarchist is, or what a Republican is, or what “is” is.

Mr. Murphy’s anti-gun obsession has carried him far beyond the restraints of reason. Are workers in Connecticut’s once flourishing gun industry, some driven out of state by the boiling rhetoric of politicians on the make, neo-anarchists? Connecticut used to be known as the “provision state” because Mr. Murphy’s anarchists have provided the U.S. government since its founding with munitions and guns, not to mention frightening nuclear submarines. Is Connecticut an anarchic state? Are people who presume to quibble with government – that would be Mr. Murphy – concerning the imprescriptible rights and immunities declared in the Declaration of Independence or the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution anarchists with bombs in their teeth?

Was Judge St. George Tucker an anarchist? Known among his contemporaries as the Montesquieu of America at the time the country was founded and later appointed by President James Madison as U.S. District Judge for Virginia, Judge Tucker regarded the Second Amendment as “the palladium of liberty,” that is a bulwark guarding a natural law, a right of nature,  upon which all other rights depend: “This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self-defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

Prior to the adoption of the Second Amendment in the United States, St. George noted, the right to bear arms In England was reserved to the moneyed interests through provisions in the law that kept the lower orders in their proper places, unarmed and defenseless against their tyrannical betters. The deprivation of the right of all to bear arms for the purpose of thwarting the tyranny of aristocrats or home-bred potentates was achieved through hunting laws.

In our brave new world of regulation, our country’s new political class has discovered it is not necessary to repeal Constitutional rights they disapprove of, which would have the unsavory effect of alarming most Americans; the country’s new aristocrats may narrow the liberties safeguarded by the Bill of Rights  -- which are a restraint of tyrannical excess --  through so called “common sense” regulations, pretty much in the way England aristocrats secured for themselves, by denied through hunting laws,  a right of self-preservation FROM the lower orders.

Is Mrs. Clinton an anarchist? When current President Barack Obama disparaged the lower orders in America as “bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” it was Mrs. Clinton, then running for President in a Democratic Party primary, who rose to their defense. Mr. Obama was an “elitist” she said and as such found it impossible to understand the struggles of “hard-working Americans, white Americans."

White Americans – OMG! Now here is something that should inflate Mr. Murphy’s political sails. Is it possible that Mr. Murphy’s choice for President is a racist? Perish the thought.

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