A call to conservatives / constitutionalists / libertarians / classical liberals
It is clear — and yes, I’m willing to debate any person from the right’s opinion complex — that DC is invested in DC solely, that the federal government, and both parties who comprise it (with few very obvious exceptions: the GOP establishment, for example, will simply not back conservative candidates, even though it is conservative lawmakers, and those running for such positions, who are working overtly and unapologetically to try to reverse course on a tyrannical centralized concentration of power), are invested in their own self interests, first as incumbent politicians, second as power brokers, third as special pleaders for their various cronies and clients, and fourth as managerial technocrats willing to trade turns with Democrats managing an unwieldy and unconstitutional Leviathan whose various legislative and regulatory tentacles have strangled the states, reducing them to largely impotent appendages of federal power.
We’ve discussed here briefly Mark Levin’s book, the Liberty Amendments (a book I strongly recommend you purchase, if you haven’t already) in which Levin posits use of Article 5, amendment 2: essentially, a constitutional provision that acknowledges the rights of the states to circumvent the federal government and call an amendments convention (which is completely different from a Constitutional convention) using state legislatures to appoint delegates for the purposes of proposing fixes to federal overreach and neuter some of the powers federal lawmakers and the federal judiciary have secured for themselves and cling to as a means of institutional survival, power, and civic and social control over an increasingly marginalized electorate who can’t hope to reform DC nor in any way act as a democratic check on bureaucratic activity that has become, in general terms, nothing more than Executive branch legislating.
Not surprisingly, many on the right — particularly those who have become invested in one way or another with the continued control over the GOP by establishment insiders, be it out of a misguided and now demonstrably unsuccessful attempt to embrace pragmatism (the “art of the possible” being one such shorthand for such a positioning) in order to make headway against the left, or out of some sort of capitulation to the false idea that “realism” demands they recognize that the US is, forever and always now, a New Deal country, one that demands governmental intervention into all areas of our lives — reject Levin’s foregrounding of a constitutional remedy to an ever more power centralized government as “unpractical” or “unworkable,” which was precisely the position many colonists took to the proposition of a war for independence.
But the why of this impracticability or unworkability, when it is broached at all, simply points to the fact that previous attempts to use the provision have never worked, an argument that claims for the status quo a state of permanence in needn’t take on, and presents the trajectory of the nation into the socialist Utopia Obama and the progressives have spent near a century working toward as a kind a foregone conclusion, a trajectory one needn’t accept as fixed and fated. Hence the GOP establishment’s unspoken (and yet quite obvious) strategy of losing more slowly — and the rebuke by those of us who refuse to accept such a fatalistic worldview, knowing as we do that the US carved from a history of worldwide despotism, tyranny, and monarchy, a system of government that had never before been tried.
All of which brings me to the point of this post. What I’d like to do — using a kind of crowd sourcing method of gathering information — is to put together a step-by-step guide for the citizen wishing to get involved in a movement to re-establish constitutional limits on the federal government, return power to the states and localities, and blunt the 1-vote finality of a SCOTUS ruling becoming forever enshrined as the law of the land (even against the broad interests of the electorate, and relying on an encroachment into social jurisdictions where the Court does not belong). It is one thing to say that the remedy to a cloistered DC ruling class is to circumvent them at the state level; but it is quite another to begin to understand, from the most basic steps to the more advanced procedural hurdles, just how to go about doing it.
Clearly, one thing citizens can do is contact their district reps and ask them whether or not they are for a constitutional movement to curtail a DC-centric government by way of using the power of the collective state legislatures. Those who do should be supported; those who hedge or who say they cannot support such a position should be opposed. And — as much as I hate pledges — in this instance support for a particular candidate should be tied specifically to this willingness (or not) to use the constitutional provision provided us to take on the very federal overreach that has taken away from the states the power it once held over a federal government they themselves gave life to.
But this is merely a first step — or perhaps even an ancillary first step — toward drawing a blueprint for how to begin this process of having state delegations working to amend the Constitution in ways that can reverse our 100-years + drift (if you take into account Marbury) from fidelity to the Constitution as written and intended.
What I hope to do, as an addendum to Levin’s book on the Mason-proposed provision of Article 5 (which was included in the Constitution as a way to combat centralized tyranny without civil war or violence, and without which the Constitution may not have passed), is draw that blueprint for getting this done, step by step, from the simplest step (registering to vote) to the more wonkish and procedural niceties that need to be mastered and understood should we wish the project to gain national traction.
To that end, I’m putting out this call: some of you have doubtless dealt with bureaucratic hurdles or intentionally-placed obstructions to limit the effects of activism (particularly on the conservative / TEA Party side). Others of you have experience with state and local government that provides you with insights into how to negotiate the various roadblocks in order to secure for ourselves a clear, consistent, and simpe path toward electing and securing local legislative majorities in the states, voting in only those who pledge to support an effort at a states convention.
Leftwing activist groups have been able to pull these kinds of things off in the past. So what we need is a kind of ACORN-like blueprint for undoing the damage of ACORN-like community activism campaigns, which are ubiquitously interested in securing federal funding, or some favorable political concession, for some special pleader or other.
I envision this “blueprint” — or maybe better, a step-by-step guide — as an invaluable resource for those who embrace the Article 5, section 2 gift granted us by the framers as a way to combat entrenched federal power without having to convince that power to vote against their own personal and professional political interests.
For this we’ll need the expertise of activists, wonks, researchers (to provide lists of contact information for state reps), and experts at crafting a simple, singular expression of our goals and purpose — as well as coming up with a rhetorical strategy for pushing the movement that anticipates the likely responses from opponents of such a strategy, both on the GOP side and on the left, both of which cater to entrenched statism and status quo pragmatism that operates against the interests of we, the people, even as it pretends it is our sole protector against predation, the compassionate and noble political shield against a cold, uncaring world of battling self-interests that militate against an egalitarian end game (watched over by a benevolent class of rulers whose kindness and beneficence cannot be questioned).
As Senate Democrats move to try to get the “McConnell Rule” into law — a move that would splinter the constitutional check on spending and obviate the need for a people’s House (the Senate is already, as currently constructed, redundant, given that the popular election of Senators circumvents the framer’s intent, namely, to give state legislatures a voice in the Senate by way of state chosen representatives open to recall) — it is imperative that we move to outflank them from the grass roots.
To do this, I believe Levin has highlighted a destination that could, if successfully occupied, work as a way to return power to the states and localities — to we, the people. Now what we need is a detailed roadmap that teaches us how to reach that particular destination, especially useful for those who wish to get involved but have no real idea (and limited time to research it) about how best to take this idea about a movement and turn it into a working, grass roots operation intended to make the idea manifest in detailed, step-by-step increments.
Or, if you prefer, what I’m proposing we develop is a Dummy’s Guide to Electing, Influencing, and Securing State Legislatures Willing to Work in the Best Interests of the States and their Sovereignty.
Unfortunately, my own reach through this blog is limited (not least because many of the “pragmatic” GOPers have made it so, alternately vilifying me and ignoring me, or using backchannel whisper campaigns to impugn my character). So I ask that you, as readers, somehow pass this idea along to five other people, and have them do the same, until we can collectively come up with a kind of simple outline for how to begin the daunting and long task of rehabilitating the republic and re-establishing a constitutional system based around the idea of equality before a stable rule of law.
Thanks. And please, pass it on.