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Yet Another Anon

When there is reason to believe that national security is at threat I think this has to take priority over civil liberties, particularily when the police, military or security services have strong reasons to believe that someone or a group of people are a threat either because of what their nature means they might do, what they are apparently planning to do or what they have done. I would like far more stringent measures introduced than either the US or UK have introduced or planned to do so - I would like to see internment of all those thought to be dangerous and restoration of Capital Punishment (Which John McCain supports to some extent).

However the above comparison is not a comparison of like positions - for example I would disagree with John McCain and David Cameron over gun laws - in the US they could do with more regulation on this for reasons of public safety, in the UK this has gone far too far.

Over some issues some apparent similarities amount on the US side not to a belief that those things should be done or not be done in themselves, but rather that states should be left to decide for themselves on them - states after all are pretty much countries in themselves having seperate governments and in the National Guards even semi-Federally autonomous military organisations, different ages of consent from state to state, different gun laws from state to state.

Taxes are different, spending is different and in different situations policy is different and with different people it is different.

Rational Conservative

How can any sensible person support the second amendment. If you read the text, for one it says 'a well regulated' militia which indicates that gun laws should not be as free as are desired by some gun-nuts in America. Secondly a Militia is a collective organisation called upon at will to defend a state, this does not include an individuals right to bear arms. Since the American states are no longer under the attck from large standing armies there is no need for a militia hence no need for the second amendment.

The 2nd Amendment is merely a throw-back to revolutionary times, In britain if we held the same ludicrous 'cult of constituion' whereby a document is untouchable merely because of its age, we would be still enforcing the entirety of the magna carta. It is good to know that the US didn't write its constituion in the middle ages rather than the enlightenment, they would probably still be enforcing the right of serfdoma and torture (oh wait they do support torture!!)

Britian has a history of PROGRESSION and hence makes it a far more rational place to live in for the thinking conservative.

Joanna

"Progression" sounds far more like "progressivism," to this conservative. Are you sure you don't belong in the Labour Party, Rational Conservative?

True, that was one of the causes of the American Revolution. Britain had moved from the idea of natural law which fueled Britain's first rebellion in the 1640s to the idea of "King in Parliament" which in essence declared that there were no checks on Parliament itself. Americans held to the older, "medieval" idea that even the king was bound by law, and that an unjust law was no law at all. Personally, I prefer "retrogression," if it upholds human liberty and human dignity better than its opposite.

As to the Constitution--have you actually read it? Somehow American democracy has managed to muddle along with this moldy old document for several hundred years now with a vibrant political culture. Customs gain force over time, and a document that has done an excellent job of keeping the government in-line with American principles for several hundred years will naturally gain a lot of force. And so it should.

And the issue of guns? I haven't heard that the British are terribly happy about the UK's crime rate. Personally, I see the issue of guns as being one that allows Americans to take responsibility for their own safety. I like Virginia's approach: you can carry a weapon visibly (deer are always a problem, and there might be a wholesale revolt if the South couldn't hunt), but you need a license to carry a concealed weapon.

My favorite gun story was told me by my driving teacher, a sweet-looking, blond southern belle who's also an expert marks(wo?)man. She and her husband live in rural Virginia many miles from the nearest police station. They heard an intruder one night and got on the phone with the Sheriff, whom they knew personally. His reply? "I'm coming, but I won't be there for a while. You've got guns--use them!" It's amazing how motivating a rifle can be. The intruder left with remarkable speed.

From my perspective, the problem is that not _enough_ law-abiding citizens carry guns.

P.S. In 2005, DC and Maryland, both, I believe, with heavy gun restrictions, came first and second respectively in rates of murder and non-negligent manslaughter.

Rational Conservative

I have read the constitution and believe that having a constitution inscribed in stone is a bad idea, the British de facto constituion is a much better system allowing for significant interpretation, without the need for a rather biased supreme court.

As for any acusation of being in any way a member of the labour party, I can tell you quite proudly that I am a member of the conservative party. I think if Labour heard my hard-line fiscal conservativism and my hawkish stance on foreign policy not to mention my cultural conservatism such as my views on the Lords and monarchy make me very much a conservative (in Britain) I would be laughed out of a labour conference.

As a historian I feel myself duty bound to analyse historic reasons behind some archaic and what i believe to be backwards looking principles. I don't believe the American system of government is anything special or deserves the belief in its own propoganda of freedom (something rather lacking in the present united states). America has become a nation that can't criticise itself for fear of being labelled annti-american, as has happened to a lecturer freind of mine simply because he criticised Bush, to em that does not show much freedom of speech. America's record on freedom of course has always been patchy, having to remember that the USA was the last nation bar Brasil to still have slavery, even autocratic, despotic Russia managed to achieve this little bit of freedom!

Nor does Aerica have a monopoly on democracy or the belief it that it in someway invented democracy. To me American democracy is a pretense, 2 equally similar parties jockying for position in shallow races of personality. Unfortunately that is what Britain is becoming.

So maybe I am wrong to criticise the constituion per se as admittedly its first principles of freedom are greatly to be admired shame they are nto put into practice.

As for the second amendment however I can still not see how reasonable people can beleive that almost unrestricted acess to firearms for the sake of a badly interpretted section of a 250 year old document cannot yield any conclusion but madness.

On the crime rate, I believe that the last thing we wish for is to have American style school shootings and gun-crime. 60 deaths to 11,000!, evnen taking into account population differences this does not put america in a good light. A nation that seems to put everyone in jail and execute without much evidence in many states should it seems be the safest in the world of course, but unfortunately its not. You can keep your American style judicial laws which act against rationality and reason.

Malcolm Dunn

Rational Conservative,I wonder if your history is as bad as your spelling. It would be an interesting discussion to have with a pre 1917 Russian serf as to the benfits of serfdom over slavery would it not?.
The sentence about putting 'everyone in jail and execute without much evidence' does you no credit. I suppose you think 'Deliverance' was a documentary of life in the USA!!!

Joanna

My goodness! That was a rather lengthy rant (I have nothing against rants, by the way--I've been guilty of them myself, but they tend to be more difficult to answer because of their lack of facts).

Let me make at least a token try:

1) Constitution set in stone. This is obviously a real difference in political theory. By the by--a bit of a misnomer, as it can and has been amended. But Americans see no reason to fix something that is working reasonably well. This also fits with the observable fact that a law tends to gain more weight with age, just as habits become customs, and customs can often have a weight similar to law. (I hope I'm being coherent, but I have my doubts:)).

2) I never had any doubt that you voted with the Conservative Party; my point was that the premises of progressivism and the cult of newness tend to be associated with more...hm...in the U.S. we'd use the word liberal...with more progressive causes. Before you get upset with me over the "cult of newness" bit, let me point out a few phrases: "a throw-back," "backwards looking principles," "Britian has a history of PROGRESSION and hence makes it a far more rational place to live in for the thinking conservative." The fact that you are using new/old as synonyms for right/wrong indicates you tend to think like a progressive.

2) The reason for the 2nd Amendment was because the people who wrote the Constitution didn't trust the _government_, not because they were providing for foreign defense. Certainly, early presidents wanted to rely on militia (most notably Jefferson), which was a notable disaster, but that wasn't why the right to bear arms was put into the Constitution. You could argue that a militia couldn't win against the government today--but is that a reason to hand down to our children a culture of dependency? To give up that right is--right or wrong--to reinforce the belief that it is the government, rather than transcendent principles, that determine whether something is right or wrong. Does that seem far fetched? It isn't, actually. The states most dedicated to gun rights also tend to be the ones most dedicated to personal freedom (and states' rights--i.e. Texas).

There is also the distinction between federal v. state. It's unarguable that the states have rights this way that the Federal government has not.


P.S. : no sensible person can support the 2nd Amendment? Given the fact that so many people in the U.S. do, the law of averages indicates some of them _are_ sensible people. Therefore, your statement being self-evidently inaccurate, it would have been better to say, "given my premises/principles, the 2nd Amendment seems obviously wrongheaded. Why is it people support this view? Probably, having answered that question, you will disagree either with their worldview or their facts, at which point you will have arrived at the true disagreement in a much more constructive manner.

Ok, I know I didn't address half the things you mentioned, but I have work to do. I'll try to finish later:)

Joanna

My goodness! That was a rather lengthy rant (I have nothing against rants, by the way--I've been guilty of them myself, but they tend to be more difficult to answer because of their lack of facts).

Let me make at least a token try:

1) Constitution set in stone. This is obviously a real difference in political theory. By the by--a bit of a misnomer, as it can and has been amended. But Americans see no reason to fix something that is working reasonably well. This also fits with the observable fact that a law tends to gain more weight with age, just as habits become customs, and customs can often have a weight similar to law. (I hope I'm being coherent, but I have my doubts:)).

2) I never had any doubt that you voted with the Conservative Party; my point was that the premises of progressivism and the cult of newness tend to be associated with more...hm...in the U.S. we'd use the word liberal...with more progressive causes. Before you get upset with me over the "cult of newness" bit, let me point out a few phrases: "a throw-back," "backwards looking principles," "Britian has a history of PROGRESSION and hence makes it a far more rational place to live in for the thinking conservative." The fact that you are using new/old as synonyms for right/wrong indicates you tend to think like a progressive.

2) The reason for the 2nd Amendment was because the people who wrote the Constitution didn't trust the _government_, not because they were providing for foreign defense. Certainly, early presidents wanted to rely on militia (most notably Jefferson), which was a notable disaster, but that wasn't why the right to bear arms was put into the Constitution. You could argue that a militia couldn't win against the government today--but is that a reason to hand down to our children a culture of dependency? To give up that right is--right or wrong--to reinforce the belief that it is the government, rather than transcendent principles, that determine whether something is right or wrong. Does that seem far fetched? It isn't, actually. The states most dedicated to gun rights also tend to be the ones most dedicated to personal freedom (and states' rights--i.e. Texas).

There is also the distinction between federal v. state. It's unarguable that the states have rights this way that the Federal government has not.


P.S. : no sensible person can support the 2nd Amendment? Given the fact that so many people in the U.S. do, the law of averages indicates some of them _are_ sensible people. Therefore, your statement being self-evidently inaccurate, it would have been better to say, "given my premises/principles, the 2nd Amendment seems obviously wrongheaded. Why is it people support this view? Probably, having answered that question, you will disagree either with their worldview or their facts, at which point you will have arrived at the true disagreement in a much more constructive manner.

Ok, I know I didn't address half the things you mentioned, but I have work to do. I'll try to finish later:)

Joanna

Hmm...sorry. Under point 2 I was going to add that, no, the correlation between states with looser gun laws and greater civil liberties in general is supposed to be just that--correlation, not causation.

Rational Conservative

pre 1917 serf!, serfdom was eliminated in 1861. Russian peasants had gone a long way in terms of benefits and treatment. Many serf holders were actually very pro-reform. The stolypin land reforms and the action of revolutionary groups as well as significant representation in parliament and through peasant councils had meant the government found it hard to opress anyone. I would also like to have a chat with an african American in the pre 1960's south who was engaged in the civil rights movement?

As for my spelling I am sorry that I type loosely for a mere commenting section of a website, i am more at home to writing. I had no idea that you were marking an essay. If you wish to be so pedantic perhaps make better arguments???

Rational Conservative

Joanna wrote'The reason for the 2nd Amendment was because the people who wrote the Constitution didn't trust the government'

I persume therefore that you don't trust the governemnt? if you believe in upholding this archaic law for these principles it might be the most sensible thing you've said.

Malcolm Dunn

Rational Conservative, if I wanted to be pedantic I could say say the none of the agrarian reforms in Russia were enactd before 1863 the same year as Lincoln gave his Gettysberg address. However if you really know anything about the subject you would be aware that millions of Serfs were left landless by these reforms and had the choice of going to work for their landlords or starving.
To equate their plight with those of black people in the southern state in the pre 1960's is as ludicrous as your comment on executions.

Kevin Sampson

“You can keep your American style judicial laws which act against rationality and reason.” - Rational Conservative

I prefer that to what awaits you in Britain:

'Sharia law in UK is 'unavoidable'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7232661.stm

Cllr Lyndon Elias

A world without a nation that put men on the moon, can fight two world wars across different oceans, at the same time and win, would not be missed, eventually.
The Panama canal would go bust!
The Brooklyn Broadcasting Co. would have to look for its English language feeds from e.g. India, Pakistan and Australia.
And the good news is: we'd still have Texas!

coach purses

If you want to sing a song. Make it simple to last your whole life long. Don't worry that it's not good enough For anyone else to hear.Just sing, sing a song!

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