Everyone has heard the cliché that history repeats itself. Knowledge of the past can help us recognize what may be brewing in the future. But history also helps us figure out where we are right now. I was reminded of this when I read this Washington Post column on the Supreme Court’s consideration of the DC handgun ban. In their efforts to determine the constitutionality of the ban, the Justices discussed historical points from Madison’s hunting habits to suppression of Scots and Catholics and the English Bill of Rights of 1689.
This was not a purely academic discussion. The Justices were trying to determine what exactly is the right of the individual and the right of the government in regards to private gun ownership. These historical points are key to clarifying what you and I are able to do here and now, this very minute.
So much for history being irrelevant.