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George Rebane: A case for the right of revolution

George Rebane | Other Voices

In his June 21 column Mr. Dick Sciaroni limits the Second Amendment, arguing that in our nation’s founding and the establishment of its republican government, “it defies reason that (the founders’) focus would include condoning a revolt against that very government.”

Were Mr Sciaroni to expand his historical studies, he would quickly discover that it was exactly that focus which inspired, nay demanded, the inclusion of the “right and duty of the people to alter or abolish a government that acts against their common interest and/or threatens the safety of the people without cause.”

The founders were learned men and students of Aquinas, Locke, Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Samuel Johnson, et al, who taught the “Right of Revolution” against governments gone rogue.

Our nation’s birth came about through the exercise of that right against its then government gone rogue.

History is replete with numerous justified revolutions against governments turning against their people.

Our founders were very aware of that and enshrined their sentiments in our Declaration of Independence — “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce (the citizenry) under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.”

Our Constitution contemplates and provides for two distinct ways to change our government — an orderly process through amendments and constitutional conventions; failing that, then through armed revolt with the means provided the citizenry through the Second Amendment.

The founders were neither hubristic nor naïfs when they gave us “a republic if (we) can keep it.” They were sufficiently wise and humble to know that they had not created the perfect government incapable of going rogue, so they provided us, under law, with the ultimate means of redress.

George Rebane lives in Nevada City.

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