Have We Become Too Lazy to Save Ourselves?

Too Tired to Try?

When I think about Mark Levin’s forthcoming book entitled The Liberty Amendments (sure to be a bestseller,) I become a bit frustrated.  Among conservatives, what I hear most often in thoughts expressed about the book is either that his proposal is simply too hard, or that it’s too dangerous a prospect to seek to amend the constitution through the convention process detailed in Article V of the constitution.  What I perceive among conservatives is a collective sigh and shrug, in admission of slinking retreat from the battlefield.  I understand that frustration, and I know too well why so many conservatives feel like surrendering, so thoroughly exhausted from fighting what seems a losing battle. On the other hand, I must ask my brethren if it’s wise to relent so easily.  After all, if we’re serious about saving the country, it’s going to have a cost in dollars, sweat, and sadly, perhaps some blood.  If you have any illusions about it, you’re not really in this fight.  What conservatives should recognize is that Levin’s approach may be all that can avoid civil conflict, and that avoidance will lead to subjugation or civil war. Some may think it is impossible or even suicidal to amend the constitution by the convention process, but we mustn’t let fatigue, fear or sloth stop us.

Although the book has not yet been released, Levin has discussed the broad concepts involved on his daily radio talk-show.  He’s even made the first chapter available for download on his website.  Some callers seem enthusiastic, but there is another group of callers who seem somewhat confused, or even to be overwhelmed with misinformation with respect to “opening up the constitution” either to gross re-write or outright replacement.  While amendments that are broad are certainly possible, what must be understood is that under Article V, any such amendments would need to be ratified by thirty-eight of fifty states before being adopted as part of our constitution.  With that sort of broad-based approval being required, it’s hard to imagine something tyrannical or fundamentally anti-American gaining traction.  Impossible?  Strictly, no, but with millions upon millions of watchful Americans, it’s hard to conceive of the process being hijacked in such a manner.  While it is easy to understand such fears, it’s not very likely that due cause for them would materialize.

Instead, most fears I’ve heard expressed on the subject are born of a general fatigue and frustration, inasmuch as most Americans so-concerned do not believe anything fruitful would be obtained from such a process, or that such a process would ever be permitted to come to pass by the political powers running Washington DC.  My fellow conservatives point to the basic sloth and lack of political study or engagement of most of their fellow citizens as evidence for the cause of a presumed failure-to-launch for such a movement.  It’s hard to disagree with this pessimistic view of the efficacy of any such effort given the obvious problem we have in this country when one considers even voting turn-out in national elections: Most people don’t want to be troubled with politics, and will simply obey whatever laws are passed by whichever politicians manage to pass them, irrespective of their effects.

One of the reasons for doubt among so many conservatives is an intense understanding of how hard it has become to penetrate the veil of pop-culture distractions behind which most Americans live their daily lives.  It has been a lament of my own for years past counting that too many Americans are more concerned about trivial, inconsequential matters like television shows or sporting events.  Many Americans reorganize their lives around such things, but despite having the intellectual capacity to comprehend all the statistics of sports, or to track the endless permutations of reality television, most Americans simply can’t be bothered with the work of self-government.   How often do I read such laments in the comments on this site?

The trouble then may be us.  We are obviously too interested in the direction of our country, if judged by the standards of so many of our countrymen.  What we must ask is if there is any way to capture and hold their attention for such a monumental task.  Such an undertaking would not be likely accomplished in a span less than a decade, because we would first be required to put in place state legislators in sufficient numbers who would carry this forward.  The simple truth is that for any of this to happen, we must put it into action.  We, who have continued to struggle as the country’s economic beasts of burden, dragging the nation along despite more outrageous loads being heaped upon us must finally decide whether we will be crushed under this cargo or instead unload it by a conscious effort to do away with it.

I no longer argue with leftists.  I find that they are as intransigent in their opinions as any brick wall, but what I have discovered is that there exists a vast swath of America’s population that simply doesn’t care.  For now.  As the country begins to devolve and ultimately dissolve, the statists will become increasingly desperate to hold it together, and this will lead them to inflict more and more outrageous measures.  As they do, the American people will begin to wake up, and we will need to be there, ready to welcome them into the fold.  Nothing drives political involvement like self-interest.  Why do the Democrats concoct phony wars on women, wars on minorities, and wars on the environment?  It is all aimed at capturing votes through a perceived self-interest.  Knowing this, we must be prepared to gather such of our people as we can in order to gather steam as the opportunity presents.

As Levin has explained, there is no need to fear the Article V amendment convention he proposes.  George Mason insisted upon it as the last peaceful recourse against a despotic Congress.  When the two parties now openly collude, Mason’s gift to us may yet be the salvation of our nation if we have the requisite diligence to pursue it. It would be simple to walk away and await our doom, accepting what may come with grim resolve, but I must ask my fellow conservatives if that is the fate we will accept.  If it is true as seems to be the case that the Republicans now collude in the growing despotism of an ever-larger, entrenched surveillance and welfare state, commanding and controlling our lives, Levin’s approach may be our sole remaining peaceful opportunity.  I don’t know if the sloth born of complacency will stop us from saving the country, but it shouldn’t stop conservatives from trying.  It may be all that remains in the kit.  We can take the country back, and the wisdom of our founders provided us one last method. I’d urge readers to consider Levin’s book with the diligence it deserves, equal at least to his supreme diligence in writing it.

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  • JohnInFlorida

    I’ve pre-purchased and am eagerly awaiting the release of The Liberty Amendments.

    As we move closer and closer to total federal control, I have some shred of hope in the awakening of more and more Americans from their devotion to the “pop-culture distractions” you’ve described. If/when that occurs then something like the Article V avenue of change stands a chance of gaining some traction.

    My former e-mail signature of “Repeal the 17th, enforce the 10th and may God bless the Republic” may require an addition to include “activate Article V”.

  • the unit

    I would say the only amendment to set forth and ratify would be that any citizen (or resident as Seattle prefers) from the highest official to the lowliest person who disregards the Constitution of the United States of America will be hung at the earliest moment, yesterday will be soon enough. And applies of course to amendments made in accordance with Article V.

    Folks argue about what the Founding Founders (not Founding Fathers of course) meant. The risks they took leads me to think the above is what they meant.

  • Chris Ayers

    I’m not sure how I feel about a rewrite of the Constitution…personally I think that it is fine the way it is. What I would like to see is government actually follow the constitution…the actual words…not some biased court interpretation of them. If they have questions about interpretation pull out the dictionary for cryin out loud. At least the dictionary isn’t biased. And for Christ’s sake please leave us to our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

      Chris, nobody is advocating re-writing the constitution. Article V doesn’t really permit that. What it permits is an Amending Convention. Theoretically, one could write enough amendments to effectively scrap the whole thing, but I don’t think that would occur.Whatever they produced would need to be ratified by 38 states. I can’t imagine a scenario in which 38 states would approve a complete set of amendments that would effectively re-write the whole constitution.

  • https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/the-constitution-vattel-and-natural-born-citizen-what-our-framers-knew/ The Blue Tail Gadfly

    It looks like we have a choice to make, either listen to Mark Levin or James Madison.

    ““You wish to know my sentiments on the project of another general Convention as suggested by New York. I shall give them to you with great frankness . . .” -James Madison

    http://www.familytales.org/dbDisplay.php?id=ltr_mad1627

    As for me, I will heed the chief architect of the Constitution warnings over Mark Levin’s opinions any day.

    If Madison’s letter didn’t convince anyone, I suggest reading all the information at the following site with more warnings of the real extreme dangers of a Con Con before jumping on the Mark Levin Bandwagon.

    http://www.eagleforum.org/topics/concon/

    Please make special note of the the 20 questions about a Con Con.

    http://www.eagleforum.org/alert/2011/pdf/20Questions.pdf

    What Mark Levin is proposing will only further split the Conservative Base. I, and I am not alone, will not vote for any politician who advocates for this dangerous Trojan Horse propaganda.

    If we can’t get a simple majority to elect honest principled conservatives, how are we ever going to get a 3/4 majority to only pass what we want?

    Doesn’t make any sense. And that is without getting into the Amendments themselves that are being proposed.

    -BTG
    .

    • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

      BTG,

      Here is the problem I see with your criticism of Levin’s approach: It amounts to doing nothing. What you’re suggesting is to shrug our shoulders and do nothing, in the false hope that if we do not risk the amending convention process, we will at least preserve the constitution we now have. There is a singular and inescapable flaw with this argument: The constitution is being amended by judicial and executive fiat each and every day. At the current rate that the underlying principles, letter, and intent of the constitution are being undermined, there is a day approaching when what is written on that scrap of parchment will be ineffective as a practical limit on the growth and overreach of government power. Is this not true today? What could come out of an amending convention that is not already being foisted on us by fiat in Washington DC? What do you fear? Greater tyranny? A repeal of the 2nd Amendment? What? Do you think every worthless turd in DC isn’t already dreaming up ways to do this without amending anything?

      The central question here isn’t whether we can effect change, but whether that change will be accepted by those in DC. Can they hijack the process? Sure… More than they do now? Can they corrupt the process and use it against us? Sure. More than they do now?

      You see, what your criticisms admit is that what must be done to make any of this work is to educate our fellow citizens and convince them to see things our way. Is it any better to pretend restraint of their immoderate wishes in amending the constitution would be any more difficult than the job of restraining them in ordinary processes?

      Surely you do not believe that on our current course, any of this can end without violence? What additional risk then exists in trying our last approach to reform? That we will more quickly disintegrate? So much the better, in my view. If the choice be one between the slow decay of our constitutional system punctuated by occasional gargantuan retrenchments of liberty, or one final cataclysmic upheaval, I would prefer the latter.

      Let us imagine a convention in which an amendment repealing the second was proposed and sent to the states for ratification? Do you think we cannot raise thirteen states against it?

      If not, we might just as well get it on.

      Thanks for the thoughtful and well-constructed reply, though I disagree with it in the main.

      Mark

      • InsaniaFactusMirus

        ” There is a singular and inescapable flaw with this argument: The constitution is being amended by judicial and executive fiat each and every day”.

        “Fiat”- that is the problem.

        With little understanding of the Constitution itself; whether Judicial, Executive or Legislative AND a citizenry woefully ignorant of their rights and willing to believe anything with a PH.d by it’s name or an authoritative connotation to it’s credentials…

        When they (authority figures) haven’t a clear understanding of the Constitutional process…how do you propose a ConCon, when not only these fundamental requirements are needed (relied on) as our fundamental basis in which to operate, but serve as guide (rules) in which to navigate uncharted waters?

        All one needs to do is look at B.O.P.A. (Balance of Powers Act).
        It wrongly presents the federal government as a party to the U.S. Constitution, when WE THE PEOPLE created the federal government when we ordained and established The Constitution.

        http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/the-balance-of-powers-act-how-people-are-destroyed-for-lack-of-knowledge/

        There ARE NO RULES. NOT ONE.

        Which is needed to accomplish what ones such as Levin proposes. It is CHAOS that would cement our destruction as a Republican form of government.

        What you and others discount is the Founders brilliance…

        The process is made to be slow, giving citizens time to reflect ( become aware) of their liberties being usurped.

        • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

          IFM,

          I agree with your general sentiment, as much as I agree generally with BTG’s, but even in your proposition, I see a problem. The constitution is not a compact among we the people, or ought not be, but instead a contract in partnership among the several states. The constitution provides the general framework, but the states are supposed to be, within our federal system, the real bulwark against despotism. As I mentioned in my response to BTG, one of the things that has done the most damage to the states as an effective restraint on the federal government’s power was the 17th, but I think one could argue also the 16th. To me, those two amendments did more to aggregate despotic powers in DC than all the other things that have been done in the last century, in part because I believe these two amendments directly or indirectly enabled the growth of the federal government.

          We the people created none of it, unless we count the several states as our direct instruments, but even states are generally representative rather than directly democratic(and that is a good thing.)

          The federal government is the child of the states, properly, the constitution being their marriage license and thus the source of the Fed’s legitimacy. The problem is that the states have been deprived of management of the federal government, and truth be told, I suspect that were we simply to undo the 16th and 17th amendments, most of our problems would ultimately be undone with them. At present, rather than states acting as a restraint on government spending, they have largely joined the binge. From my point of view, stopping the federal government is really so simple as restoring the states to their rightful place in the relationship: That of parents over children.

          It is far easier to prevail upon my state rep or senator to do or not do a thing than it is to have similar influence over people, even good ones, who must leave the state to cast their votes on my alleged behalf.

          Thanks!

          Mark

      • https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/the-constitution-vattel-and-natural-born-citizen-what-our-framers-knew/ The Blue Tail Gadfly

        Hello Mark

        If my approach is to do nothing, which I assure you it is not, then is it safe to say your approach is to do ANYTHING, even if it means throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

        Your whole argument, which is based on excerpts of an unreleased book, collapses on itself.

        If the federal government is not obeying the supreme law of the land now, why would they after some silly amendments are passed?

        What makes these shiny new “Liberty” Amendments so special?

        The late and honorable Judge Robert H. Bork referred to this course of action as “conservatives reaching for bromides to palliate their sufferings”

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/14/turning-to-constitution-in-times-of-stress/#ixzz2YnL8nvOH

        Since you brought up the Second Amendment, I will use that for my analogy. What you are advocating for is no different than those who always push for new gun laws instead of enforcing the existing ones first. All the tools were strategically embedded within the Constitution to handle these situations, it only takes the will of the people with the grace of God to see it through.

        The Article V Conventions are to address possible fundamental flaws in the Constitution, not to make politicians and bureaucrats obey the existing laws. That duty ultimately falls upon the Citizenry to replace dishonest politicians with honest principled ones. No constitution, nor any amount of new laws can save us from ourselves. Our government is a reflection of it’s people, change society and you will change the government.

        “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies.” ~ John Adams, Letter to Zabdiel Adams (June 21, 1776)

        “The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men.” ~Alexander Hamilton The Federalist Papers Federalist No. 21, 1787

        You asked me what I fear, I fear people tampering with the Constitution and all it’s checks and balances where it becomes unrecognizable and defunct. Unlike you, I still believe the Constitution binds the governments hands and that is why the Establishment seeks to change it instead of simply continuing to ignore it.

        Now I ask you, what do you have to fear from working within the intended framework of the Constitution?

        -BTG

        “The General Government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments; and these will have the same disposition towards the General Government. The people, by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other, as the instrument of redress…the state governments will in all possible contingencies afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority. Projects of usurpation cannot be marked under pretences so likely to escape the penetration of select bodies of men as of the people at large. The Legislatures will discover better means of information. They can iscover the danger at a distance…they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community. They can readily communicate with each other in the different states; and unite their common forces for the protection of their common liberty.” ~Alexander Hamilton The Federalist Papers Federalist No. 28

        • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

          BTG,

          I concede your general argument, but it’s less that I would DO anything than to be willing to consider it. Your point about Levin’s to-be-released book is correct, inasmuch as it is impossible to know its details as yet.

          All of this is why I fear that violence will ultimately prevail.
          I suspect one of Levin’s amendments will be to repeal the 17th, if I’m any judge of that which he’s discussed to date. I would be entirely in favor of that, as I think that in the main, it’s one of the most destructive amendments with respect to our federal system. This leads me to a point I will address specifically with another poster.

          Thanks!

          Mark

  • the unit

    Supposedly, according to Wiki, every state except Hawaii has applied for Art. V C.C., over 700 of said applications, and most in 20th. Century. Seems to be no official record as to number or as to topic. I wonder if any was ever to repeal the 17th Amendment? Perhaps searching the state records of all “57” states might tell me. No graphic smiley, so just LOL.

  • the unit

    “Judicial and executive fiat” for sure. What about legislative fiat? The U.S. Senate approves a treaty subjugating our country to international and U.N. demands. OK they didn’t legislate it, but accepting the agreement made by the executive makes it “the supreme Law of the Land.” And there is always one or more up waiting for the right time and place, and no deadlines to meet.
    I’ve lost count of how many conservatives over the last 20 years I’ve heard say that Article VI makes treaties equal to the Constitution of the United States of America. Low information citizens know no bounds as to party or independents alike.
    To me that’s rule by “fiat.” No man made law, agreement, or rule supersedes or is equal to The Constitution of The United States of America…the one we used to have.

  • the unit
  • the unit

    Reading this Levin interview…he says the states should convene a convention to call for amendments whether the congress calls for it or not. Ok, where, who pays for it? Constitution, which they all ignore, says they do call for it, and the Federalist Papers says so as well. But who makes them ? The executive, and Dept. of Justice? The SCOTUS says they don’t take up decisions on political debates, only what is passed law. If they do it’ll end up another tax or they’ll say Article V is just a unenforceable mandate.
    However if the force be with us…it might as at other times cause action. What action I not sure with the electorate we got now.