2nd Amendment

Will New Mom Cardi B Raise an Insurrectionist Army Against Government Tyranny?

Probably not, but the new mom does support the "insurrectionist" theory of Second Amendment rights as a bulwark against tyranny.


New mom Cardi B, star of the cover story in the first issue of the redesigned Rolling Stone, doesn't generally worry about old-fashioned bourgeois respectability. As described in that story, "she's an ex-stripper with butt injections who's after your money; she's a possible former member of the Bloods…and says today that she still carries a knife."

She's apparently willing to step outside ideological respectability as well. Cardi B, the first female solo hip hop artist to earn two number-one Billboard singles, says this to reporter Vanessa Grigoriadis:

Rolling Stone

"God forbid, the government tries to take us over, and we can't defend ourselves because we don't have no weapons." She adds, "How do you think American colonizers went to Africa and it was so easy for them to get those people? Because they had guns. No matter what weapon you have, you can't beat a gun." She shrugs. "They have weapons like nuclear bombs that we don't have. So imagine us not having any weapons at all."

Even many defenders of gun rights find it less than politically expedient to emphasize the Second Amendment's value in resisting government's depredations, though it was one of the major reasons we have it in the first place. Still, Vox gave space to gun rights scholar David Kopel back in 2016 to preemptively explain why Cardi B isn't being as outrageous as some might think.

As Kopel explains, "The Second Amendment does not create a right of revolution against tyranny. That inherent right is universal." He points out that even the United Nations acknowledges this in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But by barring the government from disarming the people, the Second Amendment does "reinforce the rule of law and anti-tyranny structure of the US Constitution." And the "well-regulated militia" described in it was imagined as one of those bulwarks:

Explaining the proposed Second Amendment, Madison's ally Tench Coxe, a delegate to the Continental Congress for Pennsylvania, wrote: "As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." Madison thanked Coxe for the newspaper essay.

More recently, Kopel notes, even as proper a liberal as future vice president Hubert Humphrey wrote in 1960: "Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be very carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible." One of the tyrannies Humphrey recognized was the "local tyranny in the Jim Crow system of the South."

Cardi B throwing her hands up over government's nuclear bombs brings to mind an old gag from the Church of the SubGenius: While the Powers That Be possess hundreds of nuclear weapons, the SubGenii have only three. Still, may Cardi imbue her family with the spirit of that declaration—that it's never a good idea to cede all authority to powerful people who claim rights that they deny you.

Cardi B previously spoke out against taxation as well and inspired this Reason TV video from Remy: