Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Regulate" Means "Facilitate"

Things Wikipedia Taught Me, part whatever: In an article on tribal sovereignity, I stumbled over this assertion:
"Regulate, historically means facilitate. Therefore, the Congress of these United States was to be the facilitator of commerce between the states and the tribes."

It's backed by this cite:
"Black’s Law Dictionary, regulate meant that Congress should in principle assist with Commerce disputes between the States, but did not grant Congress the power of law to inflict criminal penalties, Article 2 of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 by Thomas Jefferson."

H'mmm, "A well-facilitated militia," then? In-ter-est-ing. So, if McDonald goes our way and there were also to be a proper understanding of the meaning of "militia," probably requiring the Supremes to ring in, does that mean all the able-bodied males of military age, at least, will have their militia aspirations facilitated by Congress?

Toss them eggs in the chicken-counter! Don't hold your breath. Still, one can dream.

On a sobering note, same article cites the reason I think Andrew Jackson was a sonva-B (albeit a tough one), Worcester v. Georgia. YMMV. --But there's plenty of jurisdictions now where, prejudice-wise, you'd be way better off bein' Cherokee than a gun-owner. MA, for instance, which is where this wander started. Bear it in mind.


Justin Buist said...

"H'mmm, "A well-facilitated militia," then? In-ter-est-ing."

I tend to re-phrase it well-functioning when illustrating what the word 'regulate' meant back in those days.

I'm not sure when "regulate" became a synonym for "strangled to death by the government" but it's what most people think of when they see the word.

Removing any and all regulators from propane and natural gas lines might illustrate that the word has more than one meaning.

Turk Turon said...

"A well-facilitated militia.."?

I want my, I want my, I want my M-16.

(Actually, I want an M-4, but it lacks a syllable!)

Borepatch said...

Interesting. The Massachusetts Constitution seems not to recognize an individual right to keep and bear arms (Article XVII specifies "for the common defense").

McDonald is pretty danged important for those of us trapped behind enemy lines.

Mark Alger said...

I was always given to understand that the meaning -- in 18th Cent usage -- of the phrase "well-regulated" was "operating as designed" and nothing more or less.


Stranger said...

Well - regulators was in common use for those who strangled to death those deemed guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors from at least 1830.

The "Montana Regulators" were what most circa 1863/64 Bannack residents called the group that gave the Henry Plummer gang "'lass rope neckties."

"Er led piznin' fer em as dint keer ter danct on ar." (Direct quote.)

Before that, you will find frequent references to "the regulators" as a synonym for the many committees of vigilance during gold rush California, generally for cases where the miners courts did not suffice.

And Turk has almost gotten original meaning - except facilitated has a strong hint of government subsidy. Something neither Plato nor the Founders seem to have had in mind. In both cases citizens are to supply their own arms.

But should the militia be called out, I think I will stick to my M1, and hope for a plentiful supply of 30/06 ammo. Since I don't feel very sporting about the situation, I might feed it Bronze Points.


Anonymous said...

One problem with the English language is that words change over time. For example, the word “gay” has had two major shifts in my lifetime. The 2nd Amendment was written in the language of the day and it often requires going back to the definitions in one of first issues of the Oxford English Dictionary to understand what was said.

"Regulated" is one of those words that has changed dramatically from the time that the Bill of Rights was adopted. One archaic definition of “regulated” is smooth or practiced; a ballerina's movements might be called well regulated. It takes training and practice to correctly load and accurately fire a muzzle loading rifle. I maintain the correct definition of “Well-Regulated” is proficient rather than subject to bureaucratic whim & fancy. People of the day despised bureaucrats, regarded them as little more than thieves and it would be ludicrous to imagine that after throwing out one tyranny, they would set up another.

“Militia” is another word that's largely dropped out of common usage. In its' most common form, the term "militia" was that group of people able to defend the community. In past times, the people who show up to help assist at disasters would be called militia rather than volunteers.

I'm no constitutional lawyer but I'm guessing that if the 2nd Amendment were translated into contemporary vernacular, it might read something like this;

"Since a proficient population of shooters is needed to defend a free state, the government shall not make any laws which abridge the rights of law abiding citizens to keep, transport and use arms of any sort, for any reason.”

An interesting sidelight is that, at the time the Bill of Rights was adopted, American citizens could keep and use all the arms of the day. It was common for businesses to build their own warships and operate as privateers; not unlike modern bounty hunters. In modern terms, this would be like someone owning a Perry class frigate and all the missiles and weaponry that goes with it.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

In modern terms, this would be like someone owning a Perry class frigate and all the missiles and weaponry that goes with it.



Anonymous said...

regulated=>well functioning, disciplined as one "regulated" the point of impact/point of aim of a rifle or regulated a double barrel gun.

Regulated=/=covered in red tape.

Shootin' Buddy

ZerCool said...

Actually, "militia" is already defined in statute. Arms & The Law actually posted a bit about it nearly five years ago, I did a similar blog entry around the time of the Heller arguments.

10 USC 311 is the place to look. :)

Ken said...

Randy Barnett makes a closely related argument with respect to regulated, offering the definition "to make regular" in Restoring the Lost Constitution. Barnett also offers a solution for Anonymous@7:44 pm March 11's note about the changing meaning of words. That's what "original public meaning" originalism is all about; the Constitution shall be interpreted according to the public meaning of the words in the document at the time of its drafting and ratification.

It's a fun book: Barnett argues, and offers a fair bit of evidence, that the original public meaning of "commerce," for instance, was trade alone, and understood to be distinct from agriculture, fishing, mining, or manufactures.

Anonymous said...

Interesting indeed.