Did the Founders Blow It?

By Dennis Petrocelli, MD. April 20, 2021

I write this on the occasion of the 47th Vice President’s [1] Executive Order regarding “gun” “control” [2]. I anticipate that my readers would expect me to excoriate him and his ilk and denounce them as tyrannical, ill-informed, and a threat to our nation’s foundational principles. All of these points are true, but they aren’t going to be the focus of this piece. The current “administration” will surely pass, but the diseased thinking that underlies its plotting will persist absent strong medicine.

The diseased thinking I have in mind is, sadly, of the Founders’ creation. Perhaps my title is unfair—certainly nothing I write will stand the test of time nearly as well as their creation did. Before I take pot shots at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, let me be clear that it is the most successful framework for government ever created. Notwithstanding that achievement, I believe that we are at this point in history because of critical errors the Founders made and for which we are now paying dearly.

The first of the Founders’ oversights related to one of the greatest challenges every writer faces: communicating in such a way that their written words convey the entirety of their message and sufficiently capture the relevant context such that their message can stand alone. This is an aspirational goal that can at best be approached but never fully achieved. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights suffer in this regard because they do not capture the sacrifice of lives and fortunes in service of escape from tyranny. .....


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