Training to “execute” a principles-based legal system, as opposed to the perverted legislation so prevalent today, is the way in which free people can maintain constitutional order. It does so not by addition, but through elimination.
The famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo was allegedly asked about the process he used to sculpt the masterpiece marble statue of the Biblical hero David. In response, Michelangelo said that the sculpture was already complete within the marble block. All he had to do was chisel away everything that was not David, the superfluous material.
In a similar fashion, sharpening a blade is a matter of shaving off unneeded metal from the edge. Japanese swords of the samurai tradition are world renowned for being both beautiful and highly functional. One aspect that makes samurai swords treasured works of art is the way in which they are polished to a mirror finish.
This too is accomplished by way of meticulously grinding away excess material using increasingly fine sharpening stones. This polishing also highlights each sword’s uniqueness by bringing the temper line between the hard metal of the cutting edge with the more flexible metal of the spine into relief.
These two examples illustrate how the “stripping away” principle allows for a more nuanced appreciation of diversity and detail.
The same principles apply toward The End of Gun Control. Rather than trying to argue about hunting, crime rates, statistics, permits, court opinions, or even self-defense, the necessity of having a population organized, armed, and disciplined to execute the law is foundational to constitutional order and, as such, is the key issue to focus upon.
A principles-based approach can dispense with those other issues as distractions.
The objective, or The Great Object as a tangent from Patrick Henry’s famous phrase, is the security of a free state. A free state is where each individual is secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects. In other words: property.
Property is the foundation of legal order and the organizing principle of government. Securing life, liberty, and property is the sole purpose for establishing government. The only question is to address how to efficiently and sustainably secure property, and how to pay for the service of providing security to the citizenry’s property.
Of this, the Constitution for the United States is clear. All legislative authority is vested in the Congress, representing the people (in the House) and the free and independent member states (in the Senate). Congress passes legislation to the President, who is responsible for signing that legislation into law and then ‘taking care’ that the laws be faithfully executed.
However, it is the people themselves, organized locally as militia, that actually execute the laws of the Union (Art 1, Sec 8, Cl 15). This organizational structure ensures popular self-governance and acts as a final check on legislative authority, verifying that all laws passed comply with the terms of the operating charter.
In the same way, that dust settles on a sculpture or rust accrues on a metal blade, over time, and unchecked, political structures naturally become corrupt. People become complacent and allow others, namely the political caste, to use the powers entrusted to government offices, as instruments of plunder.
Rather than protecting people and their property, government actors violate the very thing they were entrusted to secure. In this way, government becomes the very antithesis of what it was ostensibly instituted to provide and, as a result, its legitimacy erodes.
It is natural for a great deal of cynicism to arise when the foundations of justice become so perversely absurd. Yet, simultaneously, the errors of state also offer opportunities for deeper contemplation. Inquisitive people can use the failings of government to ask questions about its proper scope and sphere.
When people ask themselves how things could be so screwed up, there is the chance to deconstruct the problem. This is exactly what the great economist Murray Rothbard did in his seminal Anatomy of the State.
Once you understand the difference between a free state and a monopoly state, restoring the principles of self-government becomes a matter of removing the aberrations that have undermined the administration of justice, which happens to be the whole purpose of for instituting government in the first place.
The immediate need is elimination, not transformation, or adding anything to the current political configuration. Sharpening the blade of political-economy means shaving off what does not serve.