2015/03/01

Convention of states?

The question is often asked, what good would new amendments do? Wouldn't the powers that be just ignore them like the original?

Actually, there is substantial compliance with the Constitution for those passages that are totally unambiguous. Most of the departures have taken advantage of ambiguities in about 80 terms or clauses, some that are fairly subtle, and the first section of my proposals would go most of the way to clarifying those ambiguities and overturning wrong court precedents that support the departures. See http://constitution.org/reform/us/con_amend.htm However, as you will find in the introduction to the proposals, simply calling an Article V convention and expecting the delegates to come up with proposals, without a long process of hammering out proposed amendments by experts, on which the convention would just vote up or down without changes, would  at best be a disaster. There are fewer than 200 persons alive today with the skills to competently draft amendments, and none of them would be delegates. 

Imagine a joint meeting of the Republican and Democratic conventions trying to agree on a platform, much less on carefully crafted amendments to the Constitution. Congress, with the help of well-paid lobbyists, couldn't draft a competent health care act, and amendments, especially succinct ones,  are vastly more difficult than ordinary statutes. 

That is in large part due to the inability of people to understand the complex systems they seek to manage, with millions of convoluted feedback loops. Better to clarify the original meaning with modern language and leave it at that, except for a few obvious errors and omissions in the original document.

How an Article V convention might go terribly wrong

Can such a convention be instructed or controlled once it convenes? No. There is no enforcement process for any controls. Consider the following scenario:
  1. Convention meets in secret
  2. It proposes entire new constitution which contains no rights or restrictions on governmental powers
  3. The proposal promises large benefits to every citizen or resident of the country, such as a minimum income of $100,000 a year (which would be impossible, but most people won't know that).
  4. It declares it will go into effect when ratified by a national referendum of citizens (or perhaps even non-citizens)
  5. A majority votes for it (and if they do how will anyone overcome that?)
  6. Ruling class use the new government to solidify their control, make everyone dependent on them, suppress all dissent as "terrorism"

See:

  1. Article V convention proposals misguided
  2. Can amendments save the Constitution?
  3. 1832 Call for Article V Convention


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