All-American value of dissent | Firearms Lawyer

How has commentator Glenn Beck — a rather soft, cherubic looking fellow — achieved soaring ratings while alienating so many apparently decent people?

Beck got many of us reading a book about how the U.S. Constitution relates back to ancient Judaism and English common law. When we are not out participating in so-called “tea parties,” some of us in Federal Way gather to discuss “The Five Thousand Year Leap.”

Men like John Adams looked to Blackstone’s Commentaries. John Locke also guided their studies. The concept of natural law informs much of the legal and philosophical reasoning written over the course of at least 1,500 years. Natural law was also the basis of scientific reasoning allowing men like Isaac Newton to unlock the mysteries of physics. The natural law premise hinges on the way in which everything holds together in a well-ordered and unified universe.

Natural law is relevant today because many modern U.S. Supreme Court decisions revolve around whether the guarantees within the Bill of Rights are so foundational to a system of ordered liberty that they should apply to the states. Oral arguments on the landmark gun case of McDonald vs. City of Chicago will be held March 2. A decision as to whether the Second Amendment should apply to the states is expected by late June or early July.

All men and women possess a sense of justice. Even the most primitive tribesmen diligently seek justice. The sense of injustice when we or our loved ones are injured is the proof that mankind shares innate principles of justice.

History demonstrates the tendency to identify our legal interests with more complex social systems in lieu of the clan, the village or even nation-states. Nevertheless, you and I have a responsibility to resist those that would destroy our human dignity — to resist violently if need be, but only as a last resort to stop outrages like rape and murder.

Modern history demonstrates what happens when we cease acknowledging that humans possess “certain inalienable rights.” The 20th century saw waves of genocide and totalitarian brutality. Men like Thomas Jefferson looked at the right to keep and bear arms, along with other enumerated constitutional rights, as having existed from time immemorial.

The Bill of Rights provides specific protections for individual life, liberty and property. Such protections cannot be taken away because they did not come from government in the first place — they are fundamental to a well-ordered society. Glenn Beck has been calling our attention to the Founding Fathers and declaring that the truths they proclaimed are under attack.

Glenn Beck is either hated or loved. Sometimes his antics wear thin. But Beck has motivated some of us to start talking about those who died defending ancient principles. When folks gather in communities like Federal Way to discuss America’s constitutional heritage, our republic is better prepared to organize during emergencies.

Americans don’t mind dissent. It inspires us to engage in vigorous debates.


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Keith Livingston is a longtime Federal Way resident and community observer. He can be reached at keithlivingstondesign@gmail.com.
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