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Is a Convention of States the Only Way to Reign in an Out-of-Control Government?

Convention of States

(Punditcy.com) – A movement, fueled primarily by conservative frustration and catalyzed by Mark Levin’s book the Liberty Amendments, has been gaining traction in recent months and is organizing to enlist two-thirds of the states legislatures to submit an application to Congress for a Convention of States.  Upon receipt of this application, Congress must then call a Convention of States to propose amendments to the Constitution.   The Convention of States project, created by Citizens for Self-Governance, is leading the effort to correct what has been categorized as a federal government that has abused its purpose under the Constitution.

In December of last year, nearly 100 state legislators from 32 states met in Mount Vernon, Va., to discuss the possibility of adding amendments to the Constitution through a convention of states. No constitutional amendment has ever been added this way, but the Constitution specifically allows for states to use the convention as a means to push back against the federal government.

The discussion of amendments has not been aimed at modernizing the Constitution but has been centered around reestablishing the constitutional republic laid out by the Founding Fathers. With the recent scandals plaguing the federal government, there has been a renewed disdain and belief that the government has become over-centralized and is wielding powers that it has not been granted to it by the people via the Constitution.  Power wielding that could rightly be described as soft-tyranny in that a small number of bureaucrats have been inserting themselves in nearly every aspect of our lives.   Mark Levin described in his book Liberty and Tyranny that, “Tyranny can be broadly defined as the use of power to dehumanize the individual and delegitimize his nature.”

The NSA spying  controversy an excellent example of how the government, acting independently, marginalized and dehumanized citizens that are supposed to be protected under the Constitution .  The federal government unilaterally decided that the privacy of the individual did not matter.  We are told by those in power that this was all done in the name of national security; that intercepted private communications are not read except as part of reacting to a emanate threat; that a secret court must approve surveillance; that there is meaningful Congressional and administrative oversight; that legitimate terrorist threats were thwarted by virtue of these measures: and, in fact, harm was done to our security from the program’s revelation.  All of that may or may not be so, but how are we ever to know?  The process of verifying any of those assertions would itself violate the program’s necessary secrecy.  The very fact of such a secret domestic spying program is wholly contrary to the fundamental precepts of government acting only through the will of the governed.  Regardless of the twisted reasoning used to justify collecting the private information of every U.S. citizen is Orwellian at best and, in my mind, a clear violation of the right to privacy which reduces the individual to a collection of data to be used later at solely the government’s discretion.


One also just needs to look at the rhetoric of those in government as they dehumanize and delegitimize anyone who opposes their opinion, regardless of what side they are on.   We see it as the Republicans attempt to marginalize the Tea Party.  We see it as the Administration defends policy against detractors.   All driven by the desire to retain power and illicit intense hatred of those on the other side.  In that, they have been successful.  The result has been to alienate one group from another — a divided nation.  All for a single purpose.  A divided nation distracted by issues of relatively inconsequential social issues are weak and not focused on a federal government usurping the power of the people.

There’s an old adage about cooking frogs that I am sure you have heard before: Place them in cool water, and then turn up the heat. The frogs fail to respond to gradual temperature change, and by the time the water gets near the boiling point, the frogs are unable to jump out and save themselves.   This analogy is, in a nut shell, how the American people have relinquished a significant portion of their power to a few bureaucrats in Washington D.C.  Conspiratorial in the sense that deception has been a core precept under which this balance of power has been shifted, shadowed by the government claiming to be providing for the common good.   Was deception really necessary?  I believe so — because if the people knew the water was going to be boiling hot, no one would have ever voluntarily climbed into the pot.

The re-balancing of power has been made possible by a combination of many factors, but an under-informed public, unaided by a complacent mainstream media and a broken educational system, failed to recognize and stop the delegitimization of their very nature allowing those in power to lay claim to be the saviors a “society in crisis”.   At the risk of making it sound diabolical, we have relinquished liberty to be saved from crises that were created by policy instituted by those who are saving us.  Seems incredible, but it’s true.  This “crisis society” has infiltrated every aspect of our life.  The global warming crisis,  the energy crisis, the economic crisis, the racism crisis, the inequality crisis, the war on women crisis — to name a few.  All requiring an all-powerful government to rescue us for our own good.   As a result, crony capitalist and special interests have seized the opportunity created by each and every crisis to line their pockets and get rich at the expense of the “victimized”, all the while propping up those elected officials who have allowed the money to flow.  Creating an addictive monetary incentive to maintain those “crisis” fixers in office, a vicious cycle to say the least.

The Founders understood that the greatest threat to liberty and freedom is an all-powerful central government, where the few dictate to the many.   I don’t believe that anyone could argue that the balance of power between the federal government, the states and the people has shifted away from the balance that the Founding Fathers intended.  The ungranted and unconstitutional power that the federal government has accumulated over the past 100 years has, I believe, reached a tipping point.  The water is beginning to boil.   To further the agendas prevalent in government today, it can no longer live within the bounds of the Constitution.  Embolden by perceived popular support, the politicians in Washington D.C. have accelerated their grasp for power and wealth — still under the guise of saving us from ourselves.

As such, if it is not corrected now, then it may never be and we will become a permanent slave to the state.   The Convention of States Project has categorized this accelerated power grab into four major abuses by the federal government: 1) Spending and Debt. 2) Regulatory Abuse. 3) Congressional Attack on State Sovereignty 4) Federal Takeover of the Decision-Making Process.

Each of these categories by itself is indicative of a government that has grown beyond its Constitutional bounds, but together they have reached a critical mass and the ability to reverse this course will increasingly become more difficult.  The Founders were students of world history and thoroughly understood that a limited government would provide the greatest protection of liberty.  They design a system of checks and balances to ensure that no single entity of government could exert complete control.  And everything not specifically granted to Congress for legislative control by the Constitution was to be left to the states.  It has become quite apparent that Washington, D.C. does not believe this principle, as evidenced by the numerous unbroken practices of expanding the boundaries of federal power.

Constitutional Convention
Constitutional Convention

This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue, this is not a Conservative or a Liberal issue – this is an American issue and all sides will need join together if a course-correction of a federal government that has way overstepped its bounds is to be realized. The only conclusion when one looks at the current state of the United States is that something has to change or our elected officials will continue to impose further reductions of individual rights and further dehumanize the citizens of this great country.  The Convention of States project rightly recognizes that:

“Washington, D.C., will never voluntarily relinquish meaningful power—no matter who is elected.  The only rational conclusion is this: unless some political force outside of Washington, D.C., intervenes, the federal government will continue to bankrupt this nation, embezzle the legitimate authority of the states, and destroy the liberty of the people. Rather than securing the blessings of liberty for future generations, Washington, D.C., is on a path that will enslave our children and grandchildren to the debts of the past.”

It is no secret that Americans are not happy with Washington, D.C., and polls indicate that there is also a consensus that the federal government needs to be reigned in.  I personally agree with the Constitution of States project in that the corrupted new standard for government operation in Washington D.C. has been institutionalized and cannot be undone by simply changing representatives.  So, where does that leave us?  Well, fortunately, our founders knew the federal government might one day become too large and too powerful and they specifically inserted a mechanism that gives states a lawful and orderly mechanism to restrain a runaway federal government; it’s Article V of the Constitution.
Article V of the U.S. Constitution was put in place to enforce a checks-and-balances system for the federal and state governments.

Does the American people have the resolve to restore order and power back to “we the people?”  Only time will tell, but in the next few years, as this power struggle plays out, one thing is certain — there is going to be a horrendous backlash against those that support the Article V movement.  Mark Levin stated it best in his book the Liberty Amendments,

“NO DOUBT , IN A twist of logic, the state convention process and The Liberty Amendments will be assaulted by the governing masterminds and their disciples as an extreme departure from the status quo and, therefore, heretical, as they resist ferociously all efforts to diminish their power and position.”

Levin in his book goes on to explain why he believes that the Article V process is the best option:

“History demonstrates that republics collapse when demagogues present themselves as their guardians to entice the people and cloak their true intentions. I have no illusions about the Statists’ capacity to induce confusion and spread disinformation in defense of their own ambition and aggrandizement. Indeed , the closer the approach to constitutional restoration , should that day arrive, a torrent of fuming and malevolent rage will, predictably, let loose, alleging perfidy by the true reformers.

“The state legislatures, acting collectively, have enormous power. They grasp the ultimate authority to restore the American Republic and bolster the civil society. The state convention process bypasses the intractable architects of this calamity, who have obstructed and sabotaged all other routes to constitutional adherence. It is a bottom-up, grassroots initiative that empowers the citizenry, organizing in neighborhoods and communities, and working through the state legislatures, to stem federal domination, reverse course, and escape ruin.”

“I recognize the daunting task before us. But if there are better alternatives for effectively restoring the American Republic consistent with constitutional republicanism, not abstractions or novelties, they have hitherto not been presented. Perhaps, at a minimum, this project will kindle them. Let us hope so. There is no reason to be passive witnesses to societal dissolution, at the command of governing masterminds in the federal government and their disciples. In the end, the people, upon reflection, will decide their own fate once their attention is drawn.

As President Reagan in his 1964 speech A Time for Choosing stated,

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us that we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

Our Founders told us that it is our duty to guard our liberties against all enemies.  I too believe that it is our duty to do all that can be done.  We should be inspired by the example set forth by our forefathers.  Their courage, strength and wisdom should be our resolve.  Be inspired by the genius of the Constitution and its preservation of individual liberty and individual freedom.  Only together can we restore the grand experiment of the American Republic.

Get involved: Convention of States Project

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