Members of the Republican caucus in the Ohio Legislature have decided the time is right for a Constitutional Convention (Con Con). A new resolution House Joint Resolution (HJR) 8 has just been introduced which petitions the US Congress for the calling of a Con Con. In the resolution the purpose is ostensibly to bring before Congress a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution. Indeed, the resolution is crafted with a limitation on Con Con members which only permits them to discuss a balanced budget amendment and forbids any other discussion. On its face it appears to be a noble effort.
Unfortunately, the resolution displays a gross ignorance of constitutional history, reveals a dangerous naivete regarding how a Con Con would be constituted and reveals a political tin ear regarding the current political and social thought in the United States.
Historically, the original Constitutional Convention in 1787 was called specifically to amend the Articles of Confederation, not to write a new constitution. In fact, many states were so fearful of a complete restructuring of government with a shift of power from the states to a central government that they passed resolutions requiring their delegates to discuss amendments to the Articles ONLY and specifically forbade them to discuss core changes to the Articles or to re-draft them. It is interesting to note that the first act of the Constitutional Convention was to agree to act in complete secret. The second act was to debate the restrictions from state governments regarding discussion of re-drafting the Articles and to declare the Articles of Confederation as null and void. The convention agreed in one fell swoop to ignore state restrictions and to scrap the Articles. So much for state legislative restrictions on Con Con delegates.
Practically, how do these well-meaning legislators hope to control who is chosen as delegates to any Con Con? How will these delegates be chosen? What will be the criteria for their selection? What are the requirements regarding their areas of expertise? Will they appointed by the legislature? By the Governor? By a “Blue Ribbon Panel of Experts (God help us!)?” By a plebescite? If by plebescite, then who would be eligible to vote? All registered voters, even those with no address other than a park bench or overpass as in the 2008 Ohio elections? Property owners? Welfare recipients? Temporary residents like college students? Will the mentally deficient and senile vote be as coveted as it has been in presidential politics?
With all of this in mind what will the result of any Con Con be? You can rest assured that the United States would no longer be under the Constitution of 1789. There will be a new constitution if a Con Con is called. We are neither prophets nor can we read tea leaves, tarot cards or the entrails of chickens (nor would we due to the occultic nature of the acts). We do have a eye to see and ears to hear the current political and social thought in American society.
The new government that would emerge from a Con Con would look nothing like the brilliant design we currently have. Like our bicameral legislature? Kiss it goodbye. “Experts” have been pining for a parliamentary form of government for many years, the fact the founders rejected this form notwithstanding. And that “new” parliament will have “reserved seats” for different ethnic and other “groups,” another fantasy that has been on government “experts” wish-lists for decades.
Kiss the second amendment goodbye, in favor of a “collective” right to self-defense, meaning no private ownership of firearms or other weapons. Only police and armed forces (not to mention criminals) will have guns. Kiss the much battered and abused 4th and 5th amendments goodbye. Watch for the 1st amendment to be “revised” into a meaningless jumble of verbiage which any court can feel free to misconstrue at will. The same for the rest of the Bill of Rights.
State sovereignty as guaranteed in the 9th and 10th amendments and article IV of the Constitution? An archaic idea whose time has passed in a modern world. It will be chucked in favor of wording which would allow easy melding of the United States of America with its northern and southern neighbors into a United States of North and South America as part of a regional world governance scheme under the UN.
Look for the concept of individual rights as an inalienable endowment from an omnipotent Creator who has endowed government with the power of the sword to protect those rights to be put aside as an anachronistic relic of a bygone era. It will be replaced with the ancient/modern concept of the collective right, awarded and enforced by government, not for the protection of the individual from predation by government and his fellow citizens but for the “benefit of the many” and the “common good,” euphemisms for forcible confiscation and redistribution of wealth and suppression of liberty. Or, in other words, what the founders called “tyranny.”
One doesn’t have to look further that the bank bailouts and the election of an open Marxist to the presidency to see that the United States is no longer a nation which thinks in terms of individual rights and responsibilities as it did in 1787. God is no longer the providential provider and protector of the needs, wants and safety of His people, it is now believed to be government which performs these services.
Any document crafted by committee dealing with philosophical and social issues will reflect the philosophical and social thought of the documents drafters and those who will modify and ratify that document. It is certain that any new constitution will be a reflection of the dominant philosophical views of whoever is chosen as delegates to the convention and the ratifying bodies and from our perspective the line up of potential representatives looks pretty bad.
All true conservatives want a balanced budget but not at the price of a revolutionary change in our system of government. And, if truth be told, what we will get from a con con is a new constitution without the balanced budget. In fact the new constitution will undoubtedly eliminate the article I restriction to the coinage of real money, something the federal government has been ignoring since the early 20th century and in some cases before. Thus what looks like a great idea at the front will fall victim to the law of unintended consequences and destroy the vestiges of liberty which remain.
OK, but what can I do about it?
What you can do about it is contact your state legislators and senators- TODAY! By telephone! Don’t know who your representatives are? Not a problem. Click here to go to the Ohio Legislature website. Follow the easy instructions to get their names. Once you have the name, click it to go to the representative’s or senator’s website where you can get their phone number. Pick up the phone and call. Ask to speak to the representative. Tell whoever takes the phone call politely but firmly that you want them to vote no on HJR 8. They may ask why and you can politely explain what you’ve learned here.
Remember, this is scheduled for hearings and a vote on this coming WEDNESDAY! Act fast!