MSNBC’s Chris Matthews expressed shock and dismay that some actually believed that their constitutional rights preceded the Constitution, and came from God.
Here’s the video of Matthews’ disbelief:
What did he say?
Matthews tried to paint the traditional view of the source of our constitutional rights as extremist and radical on his show Thursday night.
“Well, you know what the Republicans say in their platform? That the right to bear arms precedes the Constitution!” he exclaimed.
“It’s a God-given, sort of theological right,” he continued, “they treat this like religion, Governor, I don’t know how to explain it.”
“It’s a religious essential notion to them that everybody should have any kind of gun they want!” he continued. “A bazooka, a tank, they never put a limit on it, ever!”
Is he right?
No. He’s not.
The Declaration of Independence and other writings by the founders make it painfully clear that this was a reasonable and widespread view of the source of our rights. Others have argued that if our rights do not inhere in an unmoving principle, and are only “granted” by government, that they are hardly essential, and could be changed or dissolved at a whim by a capricious government.
Is this an MSNBC thing?
It appears so. Chuck Todd made similar comments and was excoriated on social media for the criticism of a view that has been mainstream for hundreds of years.