A Constitutional Convention: American Suicide

Nelson Hultberg

September 27, 2017

The enemies of freedom today (both liberal and conservative) are closer than ever to realizing their dream of forming a Constitutional Convention to pass crucial amendments to our present Constitution and restructure it for the modern world. The desire to get rid of the Founders’ Constitution has been a fanatical goal of political collectivists for the past 53 years when “in 1964 the Ford Foundation funded and orchestrated – via the CSDI (Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions) – the drafting of a new constitution for America.” [1]

The danger involved here has its roots in the two basic methods to change the Constitution given to us by the Founders in Article V. One is to form joint resolutions in Congress for amendments and present them to the individual states’ legislatures to accept or reject. This is the process by which all 27 amendments have been passed throughout our history. It is deliberate and sound and has served us well. But the second means to change our Constitution is not so sound. In fact it is downright dangerous. It provides for the formation of a Convention of States (COS) to be called to propose and pass amendments whenever two-thirds of the several states desire such a convention.

It is this second method, the COS, that looms ominously before us today. On surface it would seem to be a beneficial procedure to control government in Washington. But if formed, it will be nothing of the kind. Because of the ideological corruption of our citizens over this past century, a COS formed today would almost surely decide to dismantle our present Constitution and give us a totally new document, one geared to accommodate the tenor of the times, which is pervasive collectivism instead of individualism.

A New Constitution

It is this writer’s belief that if a COS is formed, it would be the final nail in freedom’s coffin. We would lose America totally to authoritarian government domestically and our nation’s sovereignty to Orwellian globalism. We would be presented, not with just a new amendment or two (such as a Balanced Budget mandate and Term Limits), but with a radically altered Constitution that changes our entire way of life. A thousand year Dark Ages would descend upon us.

Is this alarmism and hyperbole? Not at all. The nature of humans (especially those who think of themselves as intellectually indispensible) will drive the delegates of any COS to rewrite the rules that govern their actions and duties so as to have more leeway in forming a more perfect alteration of the Constitution as it now stands. They will then rewrite the Constitution itself. It will be a runaway affair, and contrary to what the COS promoters tell us, there will be nothing that the state legislatures will be able to do about it. The Constitutional delegates are not under any obligation to do the will of the state legislators. The Constitution does not mandate this, Congress will not support this, and the courts will not enforce such an obligation. (More on this shortly.)

The COS delegates will consider themselves to be representatives of “the people” of the various states, which will translate in their minds into a perceived responsibility to act in the best interests of the nation and the future as they see it, which they will feel obligated to do. This sentiment will drive the delegates just as it drives our representatives and senators we presently send to Washington to govern the nation. They feel they are obligated to act in the best interests of the nation and the future as they see it.

An Increase of Government Activism

Because of these inherent traits of human nature, any COS gathering to pass amendments to the Constitution will result in egoism and hubris mixed with the guiding ideology of modernity to increase the role of government in our lives, not restrict it.

The alleged goals of COS enthusiasts (a Balanced Budget mandate and Term Limits) are geared only toward making government more financially responsible and less prone to entrenching political careerism. They don’t really do anything to reverse the paramount problem of modern times – the disease of “government activism” throughout our society. And unfortunately this is what would spur the delegates to provide for a radically altered Constitution that could allow for more government activism. Why? Because this is the ideology that animates the overwhelming majority of Americans today.

This powerful cerebral drive among humans is being ignored by conservatives and libertarians favoring a Constitutional Convention. Philosophical COLLECTIVISM governs our intellectual class, where philosophical INDIVIDUALISM governed the intellects of the founding era. A huge difference. Also the Judeo-Christian ethos prevailed in the founding era. Today secularism dominates. National sovereignty was crucial to the Founders. Today national sovereignty is viewed as dangerous and evil. These powerful ideological views will push the delegates of any COS gathering toward dismantling what they perceive as the “antiquated Constitution” of Jefferson, Madison and Adams.

Ideology rules history! It is a commanding force inside all intellectuals’ brains that pushes them toward statist aggrandizement when fallacious, and toward freedom when true. False ideology, however, dominates today via the use of relentless sophistry from our professors in the colleges, galvanized by the irrational philosophical visions of past thinkers such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, Auguste Comte, and Karl Marx. [See Nelson Hultberg, The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values.]

The delegates to the COS will adhere to various beliefs from capitalist to statist and from constitutional originalists to “living document” advocacy. Unfortunately far too many will be statists and “living document” advocates. The false rationale of mega-statism has, for the past eight decades, been indoctrinated into 80% of our intellectuals during their college years. How many of them would be prevalent at any COS gathering? Far too many to ever risk such a gathering. It is a mistaken belief that individuals in life vote their conscience. On the contrary, they vote their ideology. And the ideology of socialism prevails today under the guise of social welfarism, not free-enterprise Americanism.

It is this dramatic ideological difference between the founding era and that of today that will doom the future of America if we attempt to form a COS to amend the Constitution. All the values the Founders believed in – limited government, equality of rights, objective law, free enterprise, self-reliance, etc. – are considered to be archaic in today’s world. Our reigning intellectuals believe in flexible government, arbitrary law, legal conveyance of privileges, bureaucratic interventionism, corporatism, and state welfare. Any governing vision that results from a COS gathering would be a far cry from that of the Founders.

Nothing would prevent the delegates from shutting out the media and working in secret as the Founders did in 1787. Their justification would be that this would forge a smoother path to “meaningful” alteration. Also as with the Founders, nothing would prevent the convention delegates from revising their instructions from their state legislatures once they have been convened. They would see themselves as heroic New Founders of the New States of America. Worst of all nothing would prevent them from eliminating the governing views of the Founders’ era, which most of today’s intellectuals see as “naïve and outdated” in need of reform. They would dive into such reform with a nefarious gusto. They would not give us a stronger Republic. They would banish “republicanism” from our system altogether.

Chief Justice Warren Burger’s View

In a letter to Phyllis Schlafly in 1983, Chief Justice Burger wrote that:

“[T]here is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention. The convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda. Congress might try to limit the convention to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the convention would obey. After a convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the convention if we don’t like its agenda. The meeting in 1787 ignored the limit placed by the confederation Congress ‘for the sole and express purpose.’

“With George Washington as chairman, they were able to deliberate in total secrecy, with no press coverage and no leaks. A constitutional Convention today would be a free-for-all for special interest groups….

“Our 1787 Constitution was referred to by several of its authors as a ‘miracle.’ Whatever gain might be hoped for from a new Constitutional Convention could not be worth the risks involved. A new convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn, with no assurance that focus would be on the subjects needing attention. I have discouraged the idea of a Constitutional Convention, and I am glad to see states rescinding their previous resolutions requesting a convention… Whatever may need repair on our Constitution can be dealt with by specific amendments.” [2]

The constitutional legalist, Jackie Patru, concurs dramatically with Burger in “Unbridled Powers of Delegates in a Constitutional Convention.” She tells us that all members of a COS would lawfully be able to act on their own regardless of how their state legislators instruct them. The courts have ruled that:

“The members of a Constitutional Convention are the direct representatives of the people and, as such, they may exercise all sovereign powers that are vested in the people of the state. They derive their powers, not from the legislature, but from the people: and, hence, their power may not in any respect be limited or restrained by the legislature. Under this view, it is a Legislative Body of the Highest Order, and may not only frame, but may also enact and promulgate…” [3]

Patru goes on to say in another article:

“In 1787 the founders had convinced the people a Conference of States should be held for the purpose of ‘making some changes’ in the Articles of Confederation. The delegates to the Conference in Philadelphia were under strict instructions from their respective states and the Congress to meet ‘for the sole and express purpose’ of revising the Articles of Confederation. As we know, they did much more than that. They threw out the Articles of Confederation and drafted a new constitution.

“The 55 men present at that conference locked the doors – and even nailed the windows shut – to the public and the press, and proceeded to draft an entirely new document which replaced the Articles of Confederation.” [4]

Human nature being a constant, today’s COS delegates would act in similar fashion to the Founders of 1787. The difference, however, would be that Marxist collectivism animates their brains, not Lockean individualism.

And they are dangerously close to accomplishing their COS dream. At last count, 27 of the needed 34 state legislatures had called for a Convention of States to pass a Balanced Budget amendment. In addition ten more states have bills pending calling for a Constitutional Convention. [5]

Too many conservatives today have been bamboozled into believing that such a Constitutional Convention can be a magic gathering to save America with a Balanced Budget mandate and Term Limits. But these two issues do not address the major flaw of modern government and the political activists who structure it, which is their loss of faith in leaving the capitalist marketplace alone for men, women, and local communities to operate freely and voluntarily. Coercive COLLECTIVISM dominates both liberal and conservative minds today, and this is what would drive the overwhelming majority of COS delegates to bring about wholesale changes in our Constitution.

The Collectivists’ Proposed New Constitution

Thus we now confront the vision to remake America that socialist liberals and naïve conservatives have been pushing for the past 53 years since the Ford Foundation launched its drive for a new Constitution in 1964.

“This model constitution,” writes Patru, “drawing upon the efforts of more than 100 people, took ten years to write. The 40th draft was published in a book titled The Emerging Constitution, by Rexford G. Tugwell (Harper & Row, 1974). The project cost [$25 million] and produced the Proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America.” [6]

This proposed new Constitution would radically change America from a Republic to an authoritarian dictatorship. As Patru points out, the states would be replaced with ten regions, our elected representatives would be replaced with appointed bureaucratic overseers for each region, and individual rights would be replaced with privileges granted by the United Nations. [7]

If a Convention of States gathering should take place today, this proposed new Constitution would be very much on the minds of many of the delegates. It acts as a guide to what can be accomplished by Fabian mentalities if they persist over the years. They can banish free enterprise and individual rights from America. They can open up government to a much more expansive affair. They can realize their perverted hopes of leveling down the populace of the country. They can realize their vision of pervasive egalitarianism.

Limited government would be subtly asphyxiated and replaced with arbitrary government beholden to world governing bodies such as the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Organization of American States (OAS), etc. This is the ideology of modernity; it rules 80% of intellectuals in our society. The rule of this ideology over any COS gathering would be as sure as smog settling over a town that creates too many factories.

The Most Frightening Aspect

Here is the most frightening aspect, however, of today’s COS movement. If America suffers a dollar collapse and plunges into an economic Depression during this upcoming decade (a distinct possibility), the populace would be very much in the mood to support a radical retooling of our political system. When times are tough, advocates of limited government become much more tolerant of dictatorial governing policies.

There is no greater peril to America today than the economic crisis looming over the horizon that would bring about the collectivist dream of purging the Founders’ Constitution from the land. The concept of a free country would be lost to mankind for centuries. A hideous society would be thrust upon us and our progeny. A Convention of States to amend the Constitution would provide freedom’s enemies with a means to destroy everything we hold dear in America.

A Constitutional Convention must be opposed vigorously by all patriots. Collectivists never relent. We must be equally tough. We are defending truth and justice. They are promoting fallacy and tyranny. It is the classic battle of good and evil, and it affects all of our lives. The era we live in today is becoming one of the most epochal in history. We must oppose all efforts to organize a Constitutional Convention; it would be a dreadful dagger into the heart of limited government and our cherished freedoms.

Notes

  1.  Jackie Patru, “The Effort to Dismantle Our Constitution,” http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/concon/effort2dismantle.htm
  2.  Chief Justice Warren Burger, “Chief Justice Burger on the Danger of a Constitutional Convention,” http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/concon/burger.htm
  3. Jackie Patru, “Unbridled Powers of Delegates in a Constitutional Convention,”
    http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/concon/corpus.htm

    16 C.J.S 9
    Mississippi (1892) Sproule v. Fredericks; 11 So. 472.
    Iowa (1883) Koehler v. Hill; 14 N.W. 738.
    West Virginia (1873)  Loomis v. Jackson;  6 W. Va. 613.
    Oklahoma (1907) Frantz v. Autry;  91 p. 193.
    Texas (1912)  Cox v. Robison;  150 S.W. 1149.
  4.  Patru, “The Effort to Dismantle Our Constitution,” op.cit.
  5.  Ashley Balcerzak, “The Constitutional Convention 2016,” Slate,  http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/01/_liberals_and_conservatives_are_teaming_up_to_call_a_new_constitutional.html
  6. Patru, “The Effort to Dismantle Our Constitution,” op.cit.
  7.  Ibid.

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