Now, before I get started, let me just explain the origin of his post's title. It comes from John R. Lott, a pro-gun nut with serious credibility issues, who claimed that Barack Obama said it to him in the mid-90's. That's right, Lott's memory is so good that he can give an exact quote of an off-hand remark a small-time politician told him over ten years ago. And this one quote is so telling that it becomes the strongest proof of Obama's intent to take away our guns, even though it's decade-old hearsay from a biased source. Yes, it's that kind of post.
And what is Painter's point? That the Whitehouse website says "The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms.” And while you or I might think that to be a fairly uncontroversial statement, Painter proceeds to write a 700-word essay about the Constitution, in order to demonstrate that the Bill of Rights wasn't "given" to us by the government or the Constitution, but by God.
That's right. A whole lotta faux constitutional scholarship and fear-mongering, due to the word "gives," which was most likely written by a low-level staffer on Obama's transition team. Yes, it's that kind of post.
Rights From Nature
As Painter explains:
The Bill of Rights is not a list of government-given rights. These rights belonged to the people before there was a federal government. A clue to where those rights come from is given in the Declaration of Independence. We get the rights from “Nature and Nature’s God.”
And it's bad enough that Painter gets into such a rabid state over that one word, but it's quite obvious that the grand principles he's staking his claim to are a big pile of dooky. Because I'm quite positive that he'd be voted off of the RedState island were he to ever apply his theory to any other part of the Bill of Rights.
For example, if these rights are given to us by God, rather than the government, then they apply to everyone; not just US citizens. Because they'd supersede the government. And that would kind of rule out the idea of sticking enemy combatants in Gitmo for eternity. Our government would have to treat everyone the same, regardless of their citizenship. Similarly, that would totally rule out the idea that the President could ever suspend any other rights in the Constitution.
And there's no way a RedStater would agree with any of that. Again, trying to make these points at RedState would get you banned after the second comment, no questions asked. Trust me, I saw that happen just recently to a guy who actually suggested that terrorists be given the right to defend themselves in court. The fiend was able to write three posts before he got "blam'd" by Moe Lane (you'll have to read the comments on my post to see that part).
Beyond that, we know that the Constitution isn't a list of rights bestowed upon us by God, because we can change the damn thing. We can add amendments and, more importantly, repeal them. And that includes the 2nd Amendment. And that implicitly means that these are man's rules; not God's. If Obama could muster the votes, he could repeal the 2nd Amendment. Hence, it's a man-made law, no matter what conservatives want to believe.
The reality is that the Constitution represents an agreement between us and the government. The government is given certain powers and agrees to certain limitations. And as long as both sides do their part, everything's kosher and we've got a working government. Otherwise, all bets are off and it's every man for himself. And Painter's god has nothing to do with it. Nor does the original intent of the Founding Fathers, even if that was their intent. It's our constitution now and we get to do any god damn thing we want with it, as long as we do so within the rules; which involve getting lots of people to agree to change the agreement.
But of course, I'm sure Painter would agree with that, were we talking about any other amendment. Conservatives never tire of telling us that the Constitution isn't a death pact and the president gets to break the damn thing if he thinks he needs to. And while that's much further into the realm of interpretation than most liberals would agree with, it clearly puts them on the side of thinking the Constitution is man-made. After all, a perfect god could never give us an imperfect constitution that needed to be broken.
Willy Nilly Principles
And so the only real problem is with the 2nd Amendment; ie, the only amendment conservatives really like. When talking about it, conservatives can wax eloquently of the need to preserve this god-given law forever. The other amendments, well, not so much. And so Painter's grand principle underlying the importance of the 2nd Amendment is entirely fraudulent and stupid. He doesn't mean a damn word of it and it was essentially moral relativism: The 2nd Amendment is more important than the other amendments. And sorry, but that's just not how the thing works.
But conservatives are always like this. For as much as they pretend to have firm beliefs grounded in principles and history, the reality is that they're just making this shit up as they go along. But they try, dammit. They try. They want to believe in higher principles. They want to believe that there is some sort of guiding theory that explains their random thoughts and beliefs. But it just doesn't work out for them that way. Because they don't believe in the Rule of Law. They can't find any sort of overall framework for their helter skelter beliefs. There is no rhyme to their reason. Everything is done on a case-by-case basis and even the 2nd Amendment can be violated if the wrong person has the gun.
And ultimately, if conservatives were to attempt to form a set of rules that could be universally applied based upon firm principles and unbreakable discipline, they wouldn't be conservatives. Being conservative only makes sense if you're the one who makes the rules and decides how they're applied. Otherwise, it's just better to do things our way.
Disclaimer: I would like to state for the record that I do not think that all pro-gun people are nuts. I was merely referring to Lott as a nut because he is one. All others are nuts on a case-by-case basis.