I recently viewed several commercials produced by the National Rifle Association (NRA) such as the one above where an individual gives an allegedly more personal account as to the importance of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.
I thought the above commercial was an excellent example of not only why the the Second Amendment is important and should be guarded, but also because it more than alluded to the deeper fundamental connection to self-ownership.
What is self-ownership?
Without a lot of philosophical posturing, self-ownership is exactly what it says: you own yourself.
We each own, control and are responsible for our physical body, mental capacity and spiritual being.
If you are anti-slavery, then you believe in self-ownership. As such, your ownership can never be separated from yourself.
The ideal of self-ownership is the fundamental basis from which the idea of nonaggression and property rights emanate. In turn, this spawns the deductive development and underpinnings of libertarianism in its purest form. This continuity stemming from your very being to everything in the outside world is what makes Anarcho-Libertarianism the most fascinating, consistent and comprehensive socioeconomic political philosophy yet discovered. But I digress.
What is interesting to note about these commercials and in particular the above, is that it is not whether the Second Amendment supports the individual right to bear arms (that’s probably a given!), but rather the reason why we have the Second Amendment. Owning your body necessarily implies that you should always have the right to defend it with a force commensurate or greater to that of an aggressor.
If this were not the case, then self-ownership of one’s mind, body and soul would mean nothing. If your body is not defensible as a natural right by your existence, by you alone as your own person, then you really don’t own it.
Although I am generally a supporter of the NRA and most certainly the broadest interpretation of the Second Amendment, it seems more important that people understand why there is a Second Amendment; and, not whether it was intended to include only pistols, but not assault rifles or only for the military use, etc. To be caught in the resultant diatribe, is to miss the point entirely. This series of ads better hits the mark as to why we have the Second Amendment and from where it is derived.
If we understand the more basic human right that the framers were most likely trying to protect, irrespective of grammatical or interpretive nuances, then we have a better answer as to why the Second Amendment should be more broadly interpreted and closely guarded. Allowing individuals to unequivocally bear arms as each deems fit is inherent to self-ownership.
So the ultimate message: “I am freedom’s safest place” …could not be any truer. Real freedom is inseparable from self-ownership.
Note: The views expressed are solely the opinion of the author.
Conceptual source: Murray N. Rothbard, Hans Hermann-Hoppe and Ludwig von Mises
Media source: National Rifle Association (NRA)