As soon as Mark Levin released his new book, The Liberty Amendments, I said; Let the fear mongering begin! And so it has. Debuting at #1 on the NYT Bestsellers list, the book has resonated across America and struck a chord with Constitutionalists who are fed up with what has been going on in Washington. The man has passionately poured his heart and soul into, what he believes, is the only alternative short of armed and bloody revolution, for restoring America to a constitutional republic. Advocating the mysterious provision of Article V, a state-called amendments convention, as opposed to the standard Congressional route; Levin makes the argument that not only is it essential at this time, it is precisely why the founders included the provision in the Constitution.
Now, we can mull over all the words of wisdom penned by the founders, both for and against this idea. George Mason was the strongest advocate, citing the need for public recourse, should the government become oppressive and recalcitrant, as he feared it would. There is no doubt, many believe we are at this precipice, as Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive Branch lurch further and further away from original constructs of the Constitution, and simply ignore both the people, and the Constitution. Whether it’s reigning in federal spending, limiting taxation, controlling illegal immigration, securing the voting process, or simply abiding by the letter of the Constitution itself, the government has clearly stepped way over the bounds established by the founders.
Levin’s book presents 11 proposed amendments for restoring constitutional republican government as the founders established, and does so with a great deal of consideration for what the founding fathers had to say on every detail. When you read the actual book, the idea is not radical at all, it is simply very ambitious. Can this ever come to fruition? Before the ink was dry, there were people laughing and scoffing at the notion.
Of course, I anticipated the Progressives would immediately pounce on the idea, after all, they have been so successful at tearing down the Constitutional constructs over the years, but what really amazed me was the number of so-called conservatives and libertarians who have come out of the woodwork to raise concerns and fears over such a bold proposal. We get the typical high-brow tone from those who are smarter than the rest of us by two, who fancy themselves as Constitutional experts as it were, warning us of the dangers in a “runaway convention” where our entire form of government might be changed on a whim. They envision a convention full of special interest radicals who would propose all kinds of Statist measures and gum up the entire process, or the possibility that Congress or the Supreme Court would intervene and usurp the process entirely. They rant on and on with pull quotes from mostly liberal justices, arguing against the rumblings in the 1980s over such a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment.
They will even go back and take out of context, the arguments Madison made against a second constitutional convention to obtain the Bill of Rights. He feared, and rightly so, that a second constitutional convention would completely unravel everything they had just done, and it was not necessary. The main difference there was, Congress was more than willing to take up the matter and draft a Bill of Rights, which they did. This simply did not mean that Madison was opposed to the idea of state-called conventions to amend the Constitution.
One of the most compelling aspects of Levin’s book, is the footnotes and appendix, which cite numerous Constitutional law sources, and case law, as well as the very arguments raised in the Federalist Papers, dispelling these fears one by one. I will not go into detail here, you will have to read it for yourself and do your own research as I have, but suffice it to say, much of the fear mongering is unwarranted. Yes, it is an uncertain process in some respects, and there would be some confusing and confounding aspects to such a thing. Levin even admits this is not going to be an easy battle, but he asks, “What battle is?”
As much as I support his idea and think it is time for such a move, I can clearly see where attempting to propose and have ratified, numerous Constitutional amendments at the same time, is virtually un-doable. Every proposed amendment, regardless of how much reasonable sense it makes on the surface, will be met with vehement opposition and vociferous arguments against it. Some of those arguments may have merit, and it will be difficult to get even the most popular ideas advanced to the point of ratification. However, if we step back from the ambitious proposals Levin lays out, and perhaps consider the best single amendment, I can see where the state-called convention process could work, and then establish a major precedent for other amendments to follow the same procedural course.
Much of the fear is over the uncertainty of how such a thing would work, and if you establish how it is done by actually doing one, then the other ten become a much less daunting task, in my opinion. So it doesn’t have to all happen at once, and Levin has said, this will take a long time, it is not a ‘quick fix’ or something that can be done instantaneously. He even admits it may not happen in his lifetime, and I don’t believe that is an understatement. It took Progressives nearly 100 years to unravel the Constitution, it may take 100 years to restore it. But we can’t start that process until we start that process, can we?
For all the nay-saying and fear-mongering, one thing I am not hearing is an alternative proposal. Before we shoot this horse in the head, shouldn’t we at least give some thought as to what the alternatives might be? We are on the Titanic, the ship is going down, and there are people who are claiming there aren’t enough lifeboats to carry all the passengers, so it’s best we not rush to dispatch them. They may very well have a legitimate point, but is there another option to fix this problem? I’m certainly not seeing one presented by those who are poo-pooing this idea. It seems they are content with the band continuing to play, and allowing the constitution and government to continue to sink into the abyss.
I love this country. I hate and loathe what the Federal government has become, just in the course of my own lifetime. I would like to leave this earth knowing that I did something to at least begin the process of restoring it to the greatness it once knew, for future generations. I do not understand the mindset of those who have come out in strong opposition to this idea, without anything so much as an inkling of an alternative suggestion. If this is not the solution, what IS the solution? Are we to simply resign ourselves to an ever-encroaching Federal Leviathan? Admit defeat and failure without so much as a whimper? Should we wait for cities and states to crumble in chaos and bankruptcy, and the people to suffer beyond our wildest imagination? Is that what it will take to wake people up, to get them on board with something like this? I hate to think so.
How about the idea of electing more Republicans? I mentioned earlier, in the 80s, there was talk of a state-called convention to amend, in order to adopt a balanced budget amendment. It was hooted down by the same naysayers, out of fears of runaway conventions and total rewriting of the constitution, and instead, we elected more republicans! Out of that, we got Gramm-Rudman… how’s that working out?