A continuing series of discussions of Mark Levin’s new book,
The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic
(Discussion #2 – Follow The Links!)
To understand and properly debate Mr. Levin’s Proposal, we must thoroughly understand two things:
- The Present Danger
- The Consequences of inaction
Whatever brought you to this discussion, you are already aware that something is horribly wrong in this nation. However, to better understand the situation, I suggest you take time to review the state of our economy, the dire situation of the American worker, and have a quick look at the state of our foreign policy. Then, add a refresher on the degree of economic oppression and the increase in prosecutions and delayed prosecutions due to massive over-regulation.
As for that last point, you can find many attempts by statists to flip the perception that we are over-regulated (“Hey, we’re not Greece! Woo-hoo!”). However, the rise in regulatory monitoring services proves their efforts to be pointless. The fact is, Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy has gotten a huge boost in the last five years, and has caused the average family to relinquish more and more prosperity to the regulatory state (I’ll bet you could use $200,000 or so about now!). And the creepiness factor has increased as well, with some of those regulations being imposed by abuse of the legal tactic termed, “sue and settle,” which causes regulation activity through the courts and settlement between abusers and the government—with no ability of the affected businesses and communities to comment on the process.
Meanwhile the regulators and the armies of bureaucrats—who add nothing to the GDP—continue to grow and thrive at your expense. However, the worst aspect of over-regulation is the terrifying growth in criminalization of previously unregulated activities. The odds are increasing that you are reading this article while awaiting trial (if you haven’t already been a casualty of over-regulation). As our friends on the left keep telling us, we need to stop arresting people who are just trying to survive, man!
The Present Danger is our runaway federal government. (Run away!) I trust you to see that conclusion is unavoidable.
So let’s look briefly at the Consequences of Inaction in dealing with a runaway central government. The problems are fairly obvious to any student of history. Our friends in Europe keep trying to warn us, and they insist on reminding us of some “really big” wars from back in the past century. I know; it’s hard to believe, but it turns out that things really can—and do—spin out of control rather quickly. Yes, even something as massive and complicated as the United States Federal government.
So if you’re wondering, “What’s the worst that could happen?” should we fail to get it under control, all you need do is remember this: most of the deaths from war and oppression in the Twentieth Century were due to governments that had too much power over the citizens. Add to that the fact that civil wars involve devastation on an almost unimaginable scale. It’s enough to make you want to run away!
As I wrote last week, we are in antebellum times. The difficult task is knowing how much time we have before the slide toward war becomes unstoppable. A guide here is the timeline of events leading up to the US Civil War. Take a good look at it. Clearly we aren’t at the place in time where states are actively planning secession (the first state to secede, South Carolina, passed a resolution in 1852 declaring it was “fully justified” in withdrawing from the Federal Union—nine years before the Civil War commenced). We are not even at the time where pistols are drawn on the Senate floor (eleven years before the Civil War). But I’d say we’re past the point of an Act of Congress that is considered reprehensible by most people (as was the Fugitive Slave Act). Obamacare certainly qualifies as one of the most contemptible acts of Congress in living memory.
So we aren’t quite at the point of open hostilities—yet. But history deserves your scrutiny during this crisis, because one thing has not changed in recorded history: human nature. If comparisons to Antebellum America don’t seem apropos, you can make similar comparisons to events prior to World Wars I and II. Be as dismissive as you like (and I urge you to do your own homework here, and not copy off of my paper), but my money is on history.
I took the above time and provided several links to articles that I hope you at least scan, because the above is necessary to understand my answer to the first two important questions that have arisen since the publication of Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments. Our questions this week are:
- What happens if we try an Article Five convention of the states, and we fail to accomplish our objective?
- Why should we expect the federal government to honor these new amendments, should they pass, when they ignore so much of the Constitution now?
- An Article Five convention for proposing amendments sounds a lot like a Constitutional Convention to me? Why am I wrong?
- Smart people are telling me such a convention would become a runaway process (Run Away!), and would do irreparable damage to the Constitution. Why should I believe otherwise?
- Why should I believe states are really willing to abandon federal subsidies and support a process that puts more responsibility on their shoulders?”
1) Regarding the first: (Which was not asked here, but was asked by Jeff Goldstein at his blog) Based on what I wrote above, I believe you already have your answer. We are on a course headed generally toward war. If not actual, violent, kinetic, upheaval sorts of war, at least something that will make The Great Depression look like a holiday weekend by comparison. Free men cannot long tolerate a yoke about their neck. Here we have much in common with our friends on the left who are outraged over the NSA “wiretapping.” The Article Five process is not a clever ploy to help one political party; it is something we are honor bound to try, so that we may stave off this looming cataclysm.
This is no call to war; quite the opposite. This is recognition that the Alinskyites and Cloward/Piven-ites are relentlessly driving us toward a breaking point. A point where lives will indeed be lost, whether upon a battlefield or due to extreme conditions. Think about Detroit. Detroit matters. For your children’s sakes, look at it! As Senator Tom Coburn said recently, “I’m afraid of NOT having an amendments convention.” This is something we owe to our families; the great task that has fallen to this generation.
Failure is not an option.
2) A question about enforcement. I have pointed out in our discussions in the comments, that freshly minted Articles of Amendment in the hands of a Governor and his Legislature have a great deal of say in the enforcement process. A state government is not a vassal. Most of our states are economic powerhouses that would rank highly among other nations, if compared directly. Considering the answer to question number one is what drives this process, I’d say it is also what drives the enforcement of the outcome of the process. Nothing stops a popular uprising, so long as it is in fact, popular.
3) This question is about the type of convention. Article Five does not call for a “Constitutional Convention.” Now the guys in the back who always ask the trick questions immediately think about an amendment that erases the rest of the Constitution. Or perhaps the mythical “Unamendable Amendment.” After all, the original Constitutional Convention wasn’t supposed to create something that wiped away the Articles of Confederation, was it? (The answer to that last question is answered here by Rob Natelson, who will be mentioned again.) My answer is that the states are not going to be asked by their constituents—namely you folks, who are going to help make this process a reality—to just go flop down a request for an “anything goes” convention because we’re all bored or something. You are going to ask for a convention of the states which shall be limited to discussing and proposing amendments designed to restore the intended balance of power in the Constitution. They are going to ignore you at their peril (see the answer to question number one). Also, they cannot afford to send a clown car to the convention to jam it up with frivolous garbage at this perilous time in our nation’s history. It’s time for the adults to take charge, and it’s time for you to be strong enough and confident enough to see to it that they do.
Don’t make me come over there.
4) For the answer to question four, I direct you to Rob Natelson, who was interviewed on this topic by Mark Levin on his broadcast of August 29th, 2013. His article is titled, “The Myth of a Runaway Amendments Convention” at TheAmericanThinker. (However you should also read his followup to it at his own blog, here. I’m sorry, but I expect you all to read these. (No, actually I am not sorry. Run Away!)
5) States’ willingness to comply is the last question today. (Some of you have sort of brought this up, but I discovered that Ilya Somin, has asked it better than we have, so far.) I believe states will see the importance of restoring their sovereignty. One reason that comes to mind is the huge problem of unfunded federal mandates. States get a lot of money from the federal system. But the big states don’t get back more than their citizens put in. And they don’t get to say where that money is to go. Many times, in order to be eligible to receive that federal money, they have to first spend millions on their own. Which they do by floating bonds, many of which have defaulted. It’s a mess that smarter states have already chosen to avoid, and they are in much better financial shape for it than the states like California, which is on financial life support already. States must return to solvency by ending the federal subsidies racket.
Let me close with this link to an interview of Mark by Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame.
Let’s get this done!