Thanks for publishing Judge Andrew P. Napolitano’s excellent piece underscoring that the rights of individuals trump the rights of the state — and more specifically, the right of individuals to defend themselves from the oppression of an unjust state (“The right to shoot tyrants, not deer,” Commentary, Friday).
Self-defense is indeed required not only against criminal violence but also against tyranny — the state’s denial of the citizenry’s sovereignty. It needs to be emphasized in the discussion that liberty of the press and the right of self-expression, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, should take care of that. Indeed, a properly functioning free press should investigate and report any wrongdoing by the government before the government takes catastrophic measures of any sort.
But what if the press does not fulfill its role? This is exactly what is happening nowadays with the media being more of a lapdog of the government than a watchdog.
It is not understood that all democracies have in their constitutions a right to free expression. The problem is that when the press becomes a lackey of government, protection against tyranny is lost. On the other hand, the United States recognizes the right to bear arms. Even if the First Amendment is compromised, the Second will persist. This is a worthy feature of American exceptionalism.
It is the intellectual’s viewpoint to believe that free expression and a free press will secure our liberty from government. It is the common man’s stance that when all else fails, the ultimate protection is one’s own ability to defend oneself, one’s family and one’s property. It is this population that knows better than to rely on free speech alone when the intellectuals begin to threaten their freedom.