Is This As Good As It Gets?

Some thoughts on the framers, the Constitution, and the 2nd Amendment

Greg Proffit

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Photo by Dylan Hunter on Unsplash

It occurs to me that the United States of America originated from a few basic ideas championed and pitched by a handful of white men two-thirds through the Eighteenth Century. Their notions of political philosophy informed their notions of value, which concepts had themselves been shaped by their readings in the fields of philosophy, religion (ethics), and politics. They stood on the intellectual shoulders of Enlightenment thinkers, who stood on the shoulders of their forebears — to whom they were indebted for advancements in philosophy and the world of ideas.

I doubt the framers thought of themselves and their work product, the US Constitution, as the capstone of intellectual achievement — even if restricted to attainments in political philosophy. Some were dissatisfied with Constitutional compromises that eliminated or restricted pet issues and ideals, concessions that nonetheless served the “greater good.” Being pragmatic, they most likely thought they had done as well as possible with the “light” they had, given the social and political realities of their time in history.

It seems reasonable to suspect the framer’s expected knowledge and intelligence would continue to grow and progress. They even baked in mechanisms for amending their work as the need arose. This alone shows their attitude towards the Constitution they created — that it was to be a “work in progress.”

We are one-quarter through the Twenty-First Century, at a remove of nearly 250 years from the framer’s work. What have we learned about that work and ourselves that could benefit from further adjustments?

Maybe the fundamental first question to answer is this: Is this as good as it gets?

Can the framer’s scheme be improved? For some readers, these questions amount to treasonous heresy. Believer’s in American Exceptionalism guided by a Divine Hand of Providence wouldn’t entertain the thought that America and her Constitutional system might be improved.

Let’s consider whether it is reasonable to believe that in 250 years, we have more information on the objective nature of reality and the human experience than the framers. I think we do. With…

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Greg Proffit

Communication Studies & Sociology scholar on God, Language, Love, Literature, Living, Music, Politics, Psychology, etc. —325+ stories. greg@gregproffit.com