An “It’s Earlier Than You Think” News Sandwich

About 100 state legislators met at Mount Vernon last weekend to discuss the possibility of having an Article V Convention for Amending the Constitution. According to Garret Humbertson at Red Millennial (HT Bosch Fawstin), there has been interest among state legislators in having a convention for some time. But if you’re like me, you’ve heard about this procedure only recently, thanks to Mark Levin’s latest book, The Liberty Amendments. Levin and others have come to the conclusion–with which I agree–that Washington has become so corrupt, so statist in its basic orientation, that the only practical, nonviolent means of steering the country away from totalitarianism is a convention initiated by the state legislatures. Apparently an application for a convention must be passed by 34 state legislatures. With legislative representatives from 32 states traveling to meet at Mount Vernon over the weekend, it sounds like such a convention might soon become a reality.

It’s great to see so many people fed up with our out-of-control government; and it’s especially good to see them wanting to take practical action to fix the problem. I wonder, however, whether most of those involved are intellectually armed to the extent necessary to do what really needs to be done. For example, the article at Red Millennial names “term limits” and a “balanced budget amendment” as two issues around which they hope to form a bipartisan consensus. Term limits may be the right way to go, especially given the pervasiveness of cronyism among the career politicians. But term limits are merely procedural. A balanced budget amendment may help curb our government’s excessive spending; but it may also just encourage politicians to increase taxes to fund that spending.

I look at it this way: The assembled legislators say their goal is to propose amendments that can attract bipartisan support. Practically, they have to do this, because they need 34 state legislatures to apply to have the convention, and then they need 38 legislatures to pass the amendments for them to become effective. This means that the amendments resulting from such a convention, were such a convention to be held today, would likely be a lot worse than any amendments held as ideals by today’s best politicians. And what sort of amendments would those be?

Yaron Brook and Steve Simpson of ARI just published a revealing article over at The Daily Caller discussing Mike Lee’s views on income inequality. Lee, who I had thought was one of the most promising politicians in Washington, turns out to think about the income inequality issue much as our president does. Here is Mike Lee, first quoted and then interpreted by Brook and Simpson:

“For all America’s reputation for individualism and competition, our nation has from the beginning been built on a foundation of community and cooperation.” Our political system is distinctive, according to Lee, not because it recognizes that we are independent individuals, but because it assumes that we are all dependent on one another.

Even though Lee says he opposes government enforced charity and cooperation, Brook and Simpson continue, “if you concede that wealth, success, and prosperity come from ‘community and cooperation’ rather than individual initiative, why shouldn’t government force us to ‘give back’?” Read the entire article here.

If Mike Lee is one of today’s best politicians, and even he holds views incompatible with a consistent defense of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then it is too soon for a convention to amend the constitution–particularly a “bipartisan” convention–to do much good.

The good news is that the proper ideas are starting to be heard and have an influence. The Daily Caller piece by Brook and Simpson is an example (I encourage everyone reading this to go over there and comment on the piece, in order to help it have the most impact). Brook also spoke to The New York Meeting last night on income inequality, and I gather there were several politicians in attendance including, if I heard Brook correctly, Senator Ron Johnson. Brook will also be speaking on the same topic this evening in Washington, D.C.

Until our politicians can address issues like income inequality as Brook does, no amendments they propose will be able to inoculate us against totalitarianism. Let’s hope that Brook’s and others’ efforts to educate politicians and the public pay off sooner rather than later.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “An “It’s Earlier Than You Think” News Sandwich

  1. Great blog! Keep up the great work!

  2. As always, the intellectual, philosophical, and moral revolution must occur first. Then, the rest is easy. Until then, all we can get is a mixture of almost good, bad, and totally evil with the trend being in the direction of evil. After all, in any compromise between good and evil, only evil wins. This is because evil has nothing to give the good and everything to gain in return.

    So yes, it is too early for the much needed political revolution. The most we can hope for politically are the small victories of slowing down the slide into oblivion and perhaps a few largely irrelevant steps to reverse the slide. Without totally understanding what is at stake, even when we win, we will lose.

    Is there some kind of dark conspiracy that can explain this. No. Those who favor evil are simply doing what comes naturally. They destroy the good simply because it is good. Those who favor the good, don’t know why the good is good and, as a consequence, can’t and won’t defend it as it must be defended. To defend from a position of faith and tradition, as is popular, is to be totally disarmed and defenseless. The slide into oblivion becomes unstopped and appears to be unstoppable.

    Man has free will and can always choose a better path. Will he do so in time? Maybe. If we do nothing, most likely not.

    Viva la Revolution – the intellectual, philosophical and moral one that is.

  3. Lou Boliou

    Cooperation is a strong evolutionary trait for Homo Sapiens. Which is to say, there is strong evidence to suggest a “hardware” bias in the physical brain (think speech center). However, as environmental factors such as philosophy or values derived unconsciously can modify the physically based tendency of a “natural” cooperation, one is capable of mutating cooperation into coercion. This seems to be a problem with most of our politicians, and why I would be very suspect of the present herd of representatives modifying our constitution.

    Now I’ll digress a bit…

    If one was to study evolutionary processes as they apply to our own evolutionary history, one would find a few inescapable facts. The individual is the unit of natural selection. The individual must be free to interact with environmental contingencies without a third part acting to favor any individual through coercion. A culture needs to reflect these simple principles — which have enormous fan-out implications. They are on a biological strata which ultimately supports a long term, steady-state culture. Ignore those principles and a culture will ultimately fail.

    Evolution takes place at the point of reproduction. It is the process of differential reproduction which determines the means by which a species moves along that biological, evolutionary path. Long-term cultural behaviors will produce changes in the human gene pool via that process. The implications are vast, and I don’t have the time or inclination to expound on those wide implications here. I could explain, for example, how the development of more symmetrical tools in our hunter/gatherer past produced a favorable differential reproduction outcome for the inventor of that better tool. This in turn lead to a bigger and better brain, along with the ability to create art. It only works if that individual hunter/gatherer is able to keep control of his finer tools, and the product of those tools.

    Cooperation is the basis of trade, and any deviation from that free exchange is a negative. Government rationally can only act as an arbiter.

    We are endowed by evolutionary processes with certain inalienable rights… Or as the late Konrad Lorenz called it “The great constructors of evolution.” It’s time to reboot! The philosophical BSD needs to be corrected! ; )

    Keep up the good work Amy!

  4. Pingback: Two Spoonfuls of Sugar to Make The Budget Deal News Go Down | News Sandwich

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