In October of 2017, I published what I intended as a more detailed examination of all three of the main clauses of the First Amendment: the "establishment" clause, the "free exercise" clause, and the "abridgement" clause (encompassing freedom of speech, the press, and assembly. Life got in the way, however, and only the first part of the column, on the "establishment" clause, ever appeared. Since then, however, and largely as a result of the continuing assault of the Trump Administration and other parts of the American fascist community on First Amendment liberties, I have returned to the subject of the First Amendment, and have written the other two parts -- "free exercise" and "abridgement" -- that I neglected back in October of last year. In the interest of continuity, I am re-publ
This "Skeptic's Collection" column was first published in October of 2014. But in light of the recent mass shootings in, e.g., Las Vegas, NV, Sutherland Springs, TX, and Parkland, FL, it seems appropriate to reprint it now, especially given that the bravery, eloquence, and conscience of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the latter city seem to have eventuated -- at least so we may hope -- a kind of moral conversion of the public debate on gun control. This column may well also be published as an essay in the Be-Zine, the other e-periodical for which I write. That is quite all right. To quote Mao Zedong: "Let a hundred flowers bloom". I want to add my modest impetus to the newly "woke" consciousness regarding the Second Amendment.
A well-regulated militia,
The late William F. Buckley once said “A conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'” Buckley was a member of that generation of conservatives, along with Russell Kirk, James J. Kilpatrick, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Mary Ann Glendon, and William Rusher – and very much unlike so many of today’s conservatives -- who were thoughtful, learned, witty, urbane, and well-schooled in nuanced rhetoric. For that reason, I would recommend that leftists and progressives heed the wisdom in Buckley’s maxim, and, likewise yelling “Stop!”, similarly stand athwart their own almost-unanimous consensus about the supposed inconsistency in prohibiting people with suspected terrorist proclivities from boarding planes while nevertheless allowing them to purchase firearms. For the cont