by Art Thompson
In recent months we have seen a flurry of activity for and against a variety of schemes purportedly intended to rectify the problem of government abuse and its disinclination to abide by the Constitution.
These schemes have included, but are not limited to, a constitutional convention, or con-con, and a continental congress. One fails to see how any one of these initiatives could change the situation when all one has to do to ascertain this is ask two questions:
- If the powers that be are already not following the Constitution, what makes anyone think that they would follow a new one?
- Given the current political climate, who do you think would be elected delegates to either one of these events?
If we have a government of the people, then it means that the people will have to be involved in the process. All of the people. In a Republic, this means that it is done through the representative process, electing people to represent us at either a convention, congress, or in a legislature.
Who controls the elective process in this country? Generally, it is the Secretary of State of the various states. They decide what and who gets on the ballot. Arguably, this opens up a can of worms, a discussion on this limited by space here, but points to the problem of concentrated power in this area.
Does anyone think that the people who are pushing for either a con-con or a continental congress have the clout or the will to amass a campaign to hold an event with the types of people we had in the original conventions, such as Washington, Madison, Franklin, etc?
We are witnessing several online initiatives over the Internet beguiling good people into supporting some rather strange bedfellows along with a con-con purportedly to provide solutions to rectify the present abuses of the Constitution. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and several members of the Council on Foreign Relations are all being touted as conservatives concerned about the Constitution. Yet their history shows that while appearing to promote less government, after their rise to power in positions of authority they gave us exactly the opposite.
This should be no surprise if one reads everything that Newt Gingrich recommends, for instance. Students of politics for several years may recall that Gingrich recommended the writings of Alvin Toffler, specifically Toffler’s book The Third Wave, to members of Congress in the 1990s.
In the final chapter of “The Third Wave,” Toffler begins with a letter to our “Founding Parents,” his term for the Founding Fathers. I quote:
For the system of government you fashioned, including the very principles on which you based it, is increasingly obsolete, and hence increasingly, if inadvertently, oppressive and dangerous to our welfare. It must be radically changed and a new system of government invented – a democracy for the twenty-first century…
For this wisdom, above all, I thank Mr. Jefferson, who helped create the system that served us so well for so long, and that now must, in its turn, die and be replaced.
Pray tell me the difference between a book Gingrich recommends and the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski, in his book Between Two Ages, wherein he states:
In a word, America is undergoing a new revolution, whose distinguishing feature is that it simultaneously maximizes America’s potential as it unmasks its obsolescence.
This is after Brzezinski stated:
That is why Marxism represents a further vital and creative stage in the maturing of man’s universal vision. Marxism is simultaneously a victory of the external, active man over the inner, passive man and a victory of reason over belief.
Why bring Brzezinski into the equation? Simply because he served as McCain’s foreign policy advisor during McCain’s earlier bid for the presidency, while Brzezinski’s two sons each served this past election campaign season in the same position for both candidates: McCain and Obama.
The point is that within the Republican Party as well as the Democratic Party there are those who whisper sweet nothings in speeches but whose writings reveal much as to their real goal. This is the atmosphere that we see in regards to con-cons and congresses.
Even if good people were elected to such events, we see several dangerous aspects that many have not thoroughly examined, in addition to the two questions raised above:
- If a good document or initiative came out of the events, what would be the role of the courts? (They have overturned the will of the people and the rule of law many times and gotten away with it quite handily.)
- Given that the power rests in those who wish to destroy our Constitution now, what machinations would they pull to thwart any move to improve our Law? (There are several cases where the government could declare emergencies to retain power.)
And we could go on.
Instead of spending a great deal of time, energy, and money on trying to forge a new document, how about spending the same effort educating our fellow citizens about the wonderful Constitution we already have?
If enough people understood the original intent and underpinnings of our Constitution, it would be the beginning of an informed electorate voting for sound changes in Congress and the administration. If they are not so educated, no scheme to bring about a better system will work.
Isaiah 5:13: Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge…
If the people are knowledgeable, they will be free, if not, they will be slaves.
Jefferson said it this way in a letter to William Charles Jarvis in 1820:
I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of the abuses of Constitutional power.
Art Thompson is CEO of The John Birch Society.