Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Need for a Convention of the States

The following article was written by Dennis Lund and originally published on The American Thinker.

Our freedom was won at the cost of blood by men desirous of liberty unconstrained by tyrannical authority, and responding to unacceptable tyranny from a malevolent king.

Once liberty was gained, the choice was made to decentralize power so as to not fall under the will of a single or limited power. Men like Madison, Jefferson, Washington, and others never envisioned that the nation would descend into what it has now become. (One man did: Alexis De Tocqueville.)
The Founding Fathers recognized the experiment embarked upon suffered imperfections, as well as contradictions, such as between liberties and permitting the tyranny of slavery. They had no immediate solution for the latter, but placed into the Constitution wording to allow for modifications, which ultimately resolved the former.
One solution addressing inherent imperfections is Article Five of the Constitution, which reads in part:
“The Congress … on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution”
The call for an Article V Convention has been requested over 350 times, as well as by every state excepting Hawaii. This method played a key role in the 17th Amendment (popular election of Senators) and has been attempted for various individual causes: right to life, a balanced budget, and campaign financing (anti Citizens United).
One call being made today by an organization called “Convention of the States” is having a high level of success in seeking limitations of federal powers, as originally intended.
Has the nation deteriorated to the point necessitating this action?
To address that question we revert back to the fears expressed by Tocqueville, including; tyranny established by the electorate, led by those who accede to voter demands regardless of the Constitutionality of those demands.
It is worth looking closer at his words:
“Above (an innumerable crowd of similar and equal men) arises an immense and tutelary power that alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyment and of looking after their fate. It is absolute, detailed, regular, far-sighted and mild. It would resemble paternal power if, like it, it had as a goal to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary it seeks only to fix them irrevocably in childhood; it likes the citizens to enjoy themselves, provided that they think only about enjoying themselves. It works willingly for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent for it and the sole arbiter; it attends to their security, provides for their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, settles their estates, divides their inheritances, how can it not remove entirely from them the trouble to think and the difficulty of living?”
For those who ascribe to a theory of a benevolent central authority, such a situation represents the attainment of self-defined ‘equality’. It is they that define needs; those under their authority are required to accept limitations upon individual wants for the good of the collective.
Such an ‘equality’ can only be achieved by force, be it the point of a gun or the force of law, but is that not two sides of the same coin?

The essence of a dominant federal power is to define to the ‘innumerable crowd of similar and equal men’ that which is sufficient to maintain a level of mediocrity. Success is diminished, accomplishment is downplayed and victimization is raised to new levels with false cries of ‘unfairness’ being tolerated as well as encouraged.
 Mediocrity is not a goal, it is admission of unwillingness to strive to be better.
The men of the Revolutionary War risked their lives and livelihood, supported by their wives and loved ones, did not run such risks to leave for future generations a life ensnared by ‘equality’ of outcome. They strived so that others might rise above humble beginnings.
 Today our nation’s leaders have lost sight of this goal, as evidenced by their encouragement of mediocrity. Today we march further toward centralized federal power. Accepting this represents a capitulation as well as defeat of individuality.