There's a destructive campaign underway to encourage government confiscation of patents from pharmaceutical…
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Image of the Day: Private Pharma Investment Dwarfs Federal NIH Funding

There's a destructive campaign underway to encourage government confiscation of patents from pharmaceutical innovators and dictate the price for Remdesivir and other drugs.  That's a terrible and counterproductive policy under any circumstance, but particularly now that private drug innovators are already hacking away at the coronavirus.  In that vein, this helpful image illustrates the vast disparity between private investment and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding that some seem to think justifies patent confiscation, price controls or other big-government schemes:

 

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="964"] Private Investment Dwarfs NIH Funding[/caption]…[more]

June 01, 2020 • 10:24 AM

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You Can Try To Repeal The Second Amendment, But You Can't Repeal History Print
By David Harsanyi
Friday, March 30 2018
Unlike contemporary liberal columnists who'd like to revise the Constitution, the founders were well aware that the fleeting emotions of the population could corrode rights.

This week, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote an op-ed in The New York Times that advocated a position most liberal pundits and activists have been incrementally working toward for a long time: repealing the Second Amendment. And while many liberal columnists argued that Stevens had only given fodder to gun advocates  because his position is unfeasible right now  not one whose piece I read argued that Stevens was wrong on the merits. Not one claimed that American citizens do, in fact, have an inherent individual right to protect themselves with firearms.

Whether repeal of the Second Amendment is feasible or not, historical revisionism is meant to mangle its meaning into irrelevancy. Stevens claims that his conception of gun rights is "uniformly understood" yet offers no legal precedent to back up the contention. Stevens claims that the Second Amendment's explicit mention of the right of "the people" does not create an "individual right," despite the inconvenient fact that other times the term is mentioned, in the Fourth, Ninth and 10th Amendments, the amendments have been found to protect the individual rights of the people.

Now, I'm not a legal scholar, but the idea, as the former justice argues, that the founders wanted no limits on the ability of federal (or even state) government to take weapons from law-abiding citizens conflicts with the historical record. Never once in the founding debate did a lawmaker rise to argue that gun ownership should be limited. Most state constitutions already featured language to protect that right. A number of states demanded that the national constitution include such a provision.

The debate over the Second Amendment centered on a dispute over who should control the militia: the federal or state governments. Everyone understood that a militia consisted of free individuals who would almost always grab their own firearms  the ones they used in their everyday existence  to engage in concerted efforts to protect themselves, their community or their country (sometimes from their own government).

This might surprise some, but the Minute Men did not return their muskets after Lexington.

In the writings and speeches of the American founders, the threat of disarmament was always a casus belli, which makes sense for practical and ideological reasons. None of the natural rights codified in the Constitution  none, not freedom of speech, press or religion, or the ability to vote or demand due process  had a longer or deeper history in English common law and tradition than the right to defend oneself.

Guns were so prevalent, in fact, that some framers noted that a tyrant would never take the nation because the general public out-armed the state. Noah Webster reasoned: "The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops ..." His only mistake was trusting that the whole body of the people would always uphold the Constitution.

Even during the 19th century, not a single case challenged the notion that the Second Amendment is anything but an individual right. Again, it was so self-evident that when it was brought, it was merely a way to juxtapose American liberty with tyranny elsewhere. In 1823, in a letter to John Adams, William H. Sumner noted that if the population of the United States were "like that of Europe, chiefly consisted of an unarmed peasantry," it would be conquerable. "Here," he went on, "every house is a castle, and every man a soldier." Adams, who had argued that self-defense was "the primary canon of the law of nature" when defending British soldiers after the Boston Massacre, concurred that an armed citizenry would not be susceptible to despotism.

When Jacob Howard, the Michigan senator who helped introduce the 14th Amendment to (attempt) to ensure that blacks in the South had protected Constitutional rights, he specifically noted "the right to bear arms" as a right to insure. The right to self-defense surely terrified the racists of the South more than the other.

The collective theory is modern invention. Even the photo of a musket and an AR-15 juxtaposed above Stevens' column to illustrate the antiquatedness of gun rights in the modern age misjudges history. Just as the First Amendment protects modern communication, and just as the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, the Second Amendment extends to guns that were not in existence at the time of the founding. Unlike contemporary liberal columnists who'd like to revise the Constitution, the founders were well aware that the fleeting emotions of the population could corrode rights.

If you think the Second Amendment is antiquated, that's fine. Repeal it. The history of the Second Amendment, though, doesn't change to comport with your contemporary positions.


David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the forthcoming "First Freedom: A Ride through America's Enduring History with the Gun, From the Revolution to Today." 
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Question of the Week   
The largest-ever helicopter evacuation took place during which of the following conflicts?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"Law enforcement is a vital response to any riotous uprising. Indeed, I believe the failure to enforce the laws without apology from the start of the upheaval last week has fueled its ferocity. It would be naive to claim that much of the violence, which is being incited and coordinated by radical groups, might not have happened anyway -- these groups are always on a hair-trigger, pouncing on any opportunity…[more]
 
 
—Andrew C. McCarthy, Legal Commentator, Terrorism Expert and Former Federal Prosecutor
— Andrew C. McCarthy, Legal Commentator, Terrorism Expert and Former Federal Prosecutor
 
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Until this week, the U.S. House has required Members to be physically present to vote. Due to coronavirus, "proxy voting," allowing Members to cast votes for absent colleagues, is now being used. Should "proxy voting" be allowed to continue?