Speak now, or forever hold your peace. And forever is a short time away when you’re 97 years old. Consider the case of two men who are 3 years (actually a little less) away from turning 100 years old, and what they have felt compelled to speak about recently.

John Paul Stevens is the retired Supreme Court Justice (1975 – 2010) who has written an op-ed in the New York Times calling for the repeal of the 2nd amendment. Here’s a quote from the article, a quote that refers to the SCOTUS case that explicitly enshrined or at least confirmed and supported an individual’s right to bear arms:

In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.

That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.

In other words, prior to D.C. v Heller, and especially the period after 1939’s U.S. v. Miller, the Supreme Court’s view of the right to bear arms was essentially a collective right, one that was based on a narrow reading of the 2nd amendment and which placed emphasis on the 2nd’s opening two clauses:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,

Never mind that – as David Harsanyi in the Federalist points out – for the Founders, the threat of disarmament of its citizenry was the real threat. And that overbearing government regulation of individual rights to bear arms is not what that the words well regulated refer to.

After D.C. v. Heller an individual’s right to bear arms became the emphasis and John Paul Stevens – a dissenting vote on that case as he says – wishes to overturn that decision by repealing the 2nd. He says it would be easy, in fact.

Ok, one can assume his mind is still fairly agile but to think that the legislative requirements to repeal an amendment to the constitution – especially the 2nd – would be “easy” seems a stretch to put it politely. Plus the left is furious at Stevens for giving the game away. We lied, we’re gunning for the 2nd!

The other 97-year old is George P. Shultz – Reagan’s long-serving Secretary of State. And he also has a really big plan to deal with climate change: the Carbon Dividend Strategy. Here are its four pillars if you will:

  • A rising carbon tax
  • Carbon dividend payments “to all Americans”
  • Rollback of environmental regulations now that the price of carbon-based fuels and products that use them would have the so-called externalities of their environmental costs included in their price
  • Border adjustments to take into account the carbon content of imports

Easy-peasy just like repealing the 2nd right!?

Senator Tom Cotton for example would love how WalMart would have to pay way more for it’s imports from carbon-luvin’ China and the senator would never engage in legislative moves that stalled any and all attempts at bringing the legislation to a vote on the floor. To mention just one senator. Never mind state governments. And industry associations. What’s the carbon content of Facebook by the way? And do they use any Russian-sourced Gas to power the turbines that create the electricity that keeps FB’s servers that hold all your personal data humming along?

And the federal bureaucracy and Congress of course would eagerly roll back all sorts of environmental regulations now that consumers could make rational decisions based on the adjusted price of the carbon content in any product and service they consume.

And it would be a piece of cake to figure out what the carbon content of every product and service in America and the World actually is. And carbon dividends would never turn into an enormous entitlement that would be perpetually underfunded because Congress keeps diverting the monies from the carbon tax to instead use in their unrolled back regulations and pork barrel spending.

Will these two nonagenarians shift the debate on climate change and gun control? They likely already have, but actually trying to make either of their ideas work may be more of a nightmare than a dream. But speak they must. And speak they did.