A Counter Argument Against a Convention of States

Editor’s Note: We at FreedomOutpost.com believe in healthy debate on issues. In the past we have allowed a debate over a Parental Rights Amendment to the Constitution between Publius Huldah and Michael Farris, which can be read here, here and here. In that spirit, we have also allowed articles from a variety of views on the call for a Convention of States, popularized by Mark Levin. Publius Huldah took Levin to task on the issue. Some of our contributors have voiced their own opinions, which you can read here, here and here. I think debate is healthy and I believe all involved are patriots. Debate has occurred throughout our history and it is a good thing for us to sharpen one another in this effort. I hope that all future dialogue on this issue , whether in dialogue or in the comments section, will be met with critical thinking and documentation, rather than opponents resorting to name calling, using logical fallicies or something less constructive. May God guide our thoughts as we think on these things.

Recently John DeMayo published an article titled, “Convention of States: A Gift from our Founders, A Line in the Sand.” John is a respected writer and patriot. His article merits a response.

Consider John’s remark:

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As another option, we have other Americans calling for “nullification,” an idea I applaud, but one which I believe will lead inevitably to armed confrontation with Washington. Do opponents of an Article 5 amendment convention believe for one minute that the Federal government will tolerate state nullification of federal statutes without reprisals?

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This paragraph confuses “armed confrontation” with “reprisals.” Reprisals may not be so bad. Indeed reprisals were the fuel to beat back the powers of Bull Conner.

John’s real argument is based on fear of the federal government. Missing is the spirit of “give me liberty or give me death.”

When one has The Constitution and The Declaration on one’s side, one can take the moral high ground. As the US forces in the Iraqi War noted, “the road to Baghdad was unimpeded.”

When one has a political campaign seeking to legalize what is already the law of the land, one has the high ground.

But returning to The Constitution has more offerings. The Republicans are soulless and, for their own hapless sakes, should be prodded to respect the enumerated powers of The Constitution. No Republican does. All Senate weepublicans voted for the so-called “Balanced Budget Amendment.” Not even Ted Cruz apparently objected.

It will take a new and much bigger game plan to win this. Being the party of “democrat light” is ridiculous.

Thus far I’ve suggested that respect for The Constitution’s
enumerated powers – and not a convention of the states — will take the moral and legal high ground and give the hapless Republican a banner worth rallying around.

We will need articulate opposition to the 16th Amendment and of course Roe v. Wade.

But courtesy of our first black president, we have the stage to fit the Republican Party with a spine.

By comparing Obama’s disrespect of a wealth producer’s unalienable right to enjoy the fruits of his own labor on the one hand, to a black man’s right to enjoy the fruit of his own labor on the other, Obama’s blackness and statism can be a platform inviting his political takedown. Obama’s political strength can quickly be his political weakness.

Add Obama’s disrespect for the right to life of both pre-born and born babies and people can see Obama for the evil that he incarnates. Nothing can deflate Obama’s political standing more than comparing Obama to a white antebellum Southern slavemaster.

Obama’s statism thus invites the deconstruction of Obama. Obama can be made to be seen as an oreo: Black on the outside, but embodying the worst of antebellum whites on the inside.

And depending on Obama’s “reprisals,” the comparison between Obama and Bull Connor can suddenly become viable.

Thus I find John’s endorsement of a Convention of States to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

John writes,

The opposition to a Convention of States would have Americans believe that the process cannot be entrusted to our state legislatures or the US Congress. 

A Convention of the States is opposed by Publius Huldah because in this political environment, where those ignorant or scornful of The Constitution are running the show, only something worse than The Constitution will surely emerge. A Convention of the States, in this political environment, is far more fatal and irresponsible than giving the keys to a Senator Kennedy to drive Mary Jo Kopechne home.

Publius notes:

If the delegates at such a convention come up with a new Constitution –that new Constitution would have its own new method of ratification. [That would be the new Constitution’s counterpoint to our existing Article VII.] That new method of ratification can be anything the delegates want. It can be majority vote in Congress! It can be approval by the President! Whatever they want.

John writes,

State legislative representatives live, raise families, worship and see their constituents every day.

But couldn’t the same be said for Teddy? And isn’t the real issue the failure of Congress to adhere to The Constitution’s enumerated powers?

Only after The Constitution has failed and when the government is run by adults should sane men consider a Convention of States.

Yet in our political environment, The Constitution is hardly considered, hardly given opportunity, hardly legal. Besides a lot of debt, what have we got to lose?

It is also unfortunate that John made hay of Publius’ anonymity. It would have been more respectful to Publius to quote her instead of invoking such a red herring.

Publius is tireless in her scholarship. Further scholarship is not a cheap shot, something “designed to impress intellectuals.” Publius’ scholarship strikes me as quite the opposite. Years ago, Publius and I had a sharply divided hermeneutical debate. Yet her scholarly posture and easy-going spirit facilitated a recovery of our relationship.

John’s thinking – a mere sampling of which is noted above – is quite bad. Restraint compels me to not uncover more flaws.

I have respected much of what John DeMayo has written. But this is not his best work.

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