Joe Biden made a very dangerous and foolish statement about Constitutional Amendments

When I saw articles such as this my blood began to boil Biden on the Second Amendment: ‘No amendment is absolute’.  The level of constitutional ignorance demonstrated by Joe Biden when he made this statement is quite staggering.  The fact that he is currently inhabiting the Oval Office and intends to govern by executive order made this statement exceedingly dangerous.

No amendment, no amendment to the Constitution is absolute,” he said. “You can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theater — recall a freedom of speech. From the very beginning, you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own. From the very beginning that the Second Amendment existed, certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons.”

That statement is made up of several complete mistruths and a couple of half truths about the Second Amendment in particular and constitutional amendments in general.  A careful examination of the transcripts from the drafting of the Bill of  Rights in House of Representatives will prove just how wrong he is.. 

This  quote from June 8 of 1789 explains the general purpose of the Bill of Rights.  As you can see the Bill of Rights was specifically drafted to protect the most important rights of the people by denying the federal government the power and authority to regulate them in any way at all.  That prohibition on the federal government was in fact absolute.

But whatever may be the form which the several States have adopted in making declarations in favor of particular rights, the great object in view is to limit and qualify the powers of Government, by excepting out of the grant of power those cases in which the Government ought not to act, or to act only in a particular mode. 

This quote from the drafting of the Bill of Rights in the Congress of the United States which was begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 1789 explains that several states demand that the Bill of Rights be added to the US Constitution to protect our most important rights by chaining the hands of the federal government

The conventions of a number of the states having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;–

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the legislatures of the several states, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said legislatures, to be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, namely,–

Articles in Addition to, and Amendment of, the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the Fifth Article of the original Constitution.

This quote from the House of Representatives, Amendments to the Constitution August 17, 1789 by Elbridge Gerry informs us that the Second Amendment was added specifically so the people could deal with the federal government if it became abusive to the rights of the people of the United States.   A standing Army was believed by the drafters of the Constitution to be very much a threat to the liberty of the people.  Defense of the United States and the individual states was to be maintained by unorganized state militias made up of the people of the states. That can only be achieved if we the people have military weapons.  When the Bill of Rights was written and ratified all weapons held by the people were military weapons.

The House again resolved itself into a committee, Mr. Boudinot in the chair, on the proposed amendments to the constitution. The third clause of the fourth proposition in the report was taken into consideration, being as follows: “A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.”

Mr. Gerry.–This declaration of rights, I take it, is intended to secure the people against the mal-administration of the Government; if we could suppose that, in all cases, the rights of the people would be attended to, the occasion for guards of this kind would be removed. Now, I am apprehensive, sir, that this clause would give an opportunity to the people in power to destroy the constitution itself. They can declare who are those religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms.

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins. This was actually done by Great Britain at the commencement of the late revolution. They used every means in their power to prevent the establishment of an effective militia to the eastward.

It has been maintained by many revisionist historians, college professors, and liberal politicians that the militia mentioned in the Second Amendment was a formal military unit, the same as the modern National Guard.  George Mason put the kibosh to that mistruth during the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1787

I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.

Richard Henry Lee echoes this in Federal Farmer 18. The National Guard would be considered by Mr. Lee and the rest of the founding fathers to be a select militia rather than one made up of all of the people.

To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it. As a farther check, it may be proper to add, that the militia of any state shall not remain in the service of the union, beyond a given period, without the express consent of the state legislature,

The creation of the modern National Guard did not begin until the passing of the Militia Act of 1903.  At that time the National Gard was created as a select militia.  That is completely different from the unorganized militia that existed here well before the formal beginning of the United States.  The modern National Guard is the exact type of select militia that was warned against by Richard Henry Lee and the rest of the founding fathers.

No article or Amendment of the US Constitution prevents the states from regulating or interfering with our rights. Every state does however have a Bill of Rights to protect the rights of the people living in the state,  I believe every state’s Bill of Rights protects the right to bear arms.  Here are the two articles of the Massachusetts Constitution that protect the right to bear arms of the inhabitants of this state.

Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

Article XVII.  The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.

If no amendment to the Constitution is absolutely then the clause protecting us from double jeopardy can be taken away from us at the whim of the federal government along with trial by jury, and due process.  Slavery could be reinstated if the Thirteenth Amendment is not absolute.  That is extremely scary.

Why we need robotics in the classroom

Autonomous mower from Left Hand Robotics, image from their website

By now, most kids are in school. Well, at least attending school in some fashion. My kids, like many, are in an online program, cobbled together by our local school by administrators that likely ask questions like “The files are IN the computer?” Like most people, we’ll find a way to manage and try to get our kids ready for their adult lives, despite the flawed setup.

When we eventually go back to school, we need to ask harder questions about how well our schools are preparing kids for future careers. One area we’re missing is how we’ll work with autonomous vehicles in the future. We see much talk about autonomous cars, but there are plenty of other areas where autonomous vehicles are quietly proliferating. Too many people focus on jobs that would be taken away. Yes, jobs are going to leave, but new ones will appear. The new jobs require humans that are used to, and can work with, autonomous vehicles as they perform their tasks.

For example, there is a lot of investment in autonomous trucks. Long haul trucks move goods across the country, and the lack of sufficient capacity became obvious when Amazon and other delivery services struggled under the weight of COVID restrictions and increased demand for home delivery. Autonomous vehicles can operate longer and safer, but they aren’t ideal for all circumstances, such as icy roads. The human driver of the future needs to understand how the vehicle works, how to maintain it, and when to take over to keep the truck safe.

Construction vehicles are another area. Currently construction is viewed as a low education job. Its not (think about the engineering that goes into road construction), and in the future it’ll require even more education. Autonomous construction vehicles are now operating in remote sites, running 40 ton excavators and doing the dirty work while humans supervise the project. Before long, construction workers will need expertise in setting up sensors, monitoring equipment, directing an army of robots to build bridges, roads, solar arrays and the other things that make our world a pleasant place to live.

Robots that are out of sight are also getting attention. Underground digging by the BADGER robots in Europe could completely change how our cities are built and enable us to bring in new services (water, sewer, internet, etc.) without requiring expensive and obtrusive digging. Dredging harbors, necessary to ensure enough water depth for container vessels, could become completely autonomous thanks to a new underwater vehicle. These robots can do the dirty work and operate around obstacles using autonomous logic, but they can’t determine what to do. That’s still for humans to perform.

The more we get our kids used to directing and working with robots, the better they will be positioned to work in the future. Technologists are quick to announce the demise of any particular field, but the future is always a hybrid first as new technology adjusts to the reality of the world. Our future with robots is no different, and our kids will work in that future better if we make our schools prepare them for it.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.