Forum: Misquoting Jefferson
In a recent letter to Forum, Phillip Peffley writes that a previous contributor had misled readers about Thomas Jefferson’s views on the 2nd Amendment. But who is misleading whom?
Phillip uses two “quotes” that even he admits were either “attributed to” Jefferson or “alleged to have been used” by him. Some fact checking discovered that one of the quotes was unproven and not found in the Jefferson Cyclopedia, while the other was not only something he did not say but rather something he labeled as a false idea! Peffley finishes his comments by saying that James Madison wrote the 2nd Amendment.
Madison was a principal author of that amendment, but that does not mean that he would have meant it to be interpreted the same way as radical gun-rights activists do today. Proof that the Framers did not believe in the infallibility of the Constitution lies in the fact that they created a way to amend it when it would become necessary. So, yes, they did think that everything in the Constitution should be reconsidered from time to time.
In fact, the 2nd Amendment is just that — an addition to the original document. The Constitution is the greatest framework for government ever conceived and is admired, envied and copied by much of the rest of the world.
But it is, and was meant to be, a living document that could adapt to a changing world. And that includes a 21st century world of assault weapons that could not be envisioned in the 18th century.
Wages of war
A World War II veteran wrote recently that he was shocked by the number of combat soldiers who are committing suicide these days compared with the numbers of WW II soldiers who did so.
WW II was a great cause, fought with strong belief and purpose, that was won in four years because we had a commander-in-chief who was a Navy veteran and fully understood that the main objective of war is to destroy the enemy before it destroys us.
Nonetheless, my V-mail list included the names of 38 combat soldiers, three of whom committed suicide within two years of their return to civilian life.
As for today, we are entering our 12th year in Afghanistan and Iraq with an all-volunteer army and the National Guard, which should never be deployed in war zones overseas. That is not its mission. We have an inexperienced commander-in-chief who is more interested in political correctness than in the welfare of the troops.
I wish to thank the veteran who wrote the letter for his service in WW II. Sir, that was the most widespread war in world history, and you will always be remembered as our greatest generation and America’s crowning glory. God bless you.