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Beware Article V! Understanding the Risk of a Constitutional Convention!

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3/4th of the state legislatures are going to pass those. Give me a break. If you have so little faith in the system - Article V is part of the same Constitution some here seem to worship - why do you advocate its preservation?

[F]orce can only settle questions of power, not of right. - Clyde N. Wilson

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Article V Convention

Before Ron Paul announced his candidacy for president in 2007, greatly intensifying the liberty movement, I was involved in discussions with a diverse group of people from across the political spectrum who were aware of and concerned about the growing disregard for constitutional restraints.

One of the people I spoke to frequently was Joel Hirschhorn, author of Delusional Democracy. By 2007, he had joined with some other people and formed something called "Friends of the Article V Convention", which is here: foavc.org.

Just like some on the right like Mark Levin who are now supporting this idea, Joel and his group have many reasons why they believe an Article V constitutional convention would be helpful. [Related Daily Paul Thread about Mark Levin]

Alexander Hamilton describes Article V in Federalist Paper #85.

Eisenhower made the following comments about the convention:

"Through their state legislatures and without regard to the federal government, the people can demand a convention to propose amendments that can and will reverse any trends they see as fatal to true representative government."

Personally, I have some problems with the convention that I have seen echoed from others. Here are my top six:

(1) In the original constitutional convention, the stated goal was only to amend the articles of confederation but instead we got a whole new document. It could happen again.

(2) Since the government is not even abiding by the current constitution, what would amending it or creating a new one accomplish?

(3) What is the enforcement mechanism since the states do not have their own military forces like they did when article V was written?

(4) Dr. Paul has often claimed that the culture must change and people's thinking must change for there to be liberty. If we had a convention right now, would it be libertarian? If that were true and that is where the country is at, why didn't they elect Dr. Paul in overwhelming numbers?

(5) Our current constitution has issues but the largest problem is that it is not followed. This at the very least allows us to claim the government is not following the constitution. What if we end up with a constitution that justifies and legalizes the tyrannical institutions and actions we see now?

(6) The state governments are hardly better than fedgov and they've sold out all their real authority. How would a bunch of fed wanna-be politicians in state offices somehow magically end up working for the people in a convention when they're against the people now?

What do you think about this issue? Should we have an article V convention or is this madness?

Levin has it right, opponents are stupid or status quoists

I appreciate the mention of me, my book and the group Friends of the Article V Convention. I am thrilled that someone with such high media status and credibility like Mark Levin has come in strong support of using the constitutional method of fixing our very sick nation. To oppose using what the Founders gave for good reason means that you are either stupid, lack critical thinking skills, or have a personal interest in protecting the current corrupt, dysfunctional and ever worsening federal government. Levin is absolutely correct; we need to use the Article V convention option to fix the structural, systemic core problems with the current system that is so perverted and corrupted by the two party plutocracy. True conservatives and all others who genuinely respect our Constitution and who recognize that elections no longer can fix things should passionately support using the Convention option. I have published countless articles trying to educate Americans about this option, but still, as evidence by many posts on this and other websites, far too many people fear a convention when they really should fear sticking with the status quo controlled by the rich and powerful elites on the right and left who fear a convention for the reforms it could create that Congress would never propose. Check out foavc.org and my articles (Joel S. Hirschhorn).

You get delusional prosperity in a delusional democracy


How totally and completely awesome that you've been a DP member for over five years and I had no clue! I couldn't have possibly found anyone better to respond to my comment than you obviously!

Read my new article

If you can think for yourself, read my new article "God Bless Mark Levin" at http://www.nolanchart.com/article10382-god-bless-mark-levin....

You get delusional prosperity in a delusional democracy


Most importantly, as I and others have repeatedly said for years, Levin has come to the conclusion that rather fear an amendment convention Americans should more fear sticking with the current corrupt, dysfunctional government system that has brought the US down into what I called a delusional democracy.

I've watched the two parties and the money power that backs them take over every single genuine grassroots movement. They already own everything from the town/city level on up.

Where do the honorable representatives to the convention come from?

How will the con reps be any better than any other politician?

Why won't the two parties and the plutocracy just buy/coopt the convention? I believe it would happen and as evidence I present the Tea Party movement and Occupy Wall Street.

How am I wrong about this? I'd like to be wrong, but I can't take somebody's word for it. I need to see a process before me that proves that only honorable people will attend the convention. Show me how that is possible and I'll support this with all my passion.

I see a nation of 440 million people and 40+ million are not citizens or here legally. Of the remaining 400 million, how many understand and live the philosophy of liberty? What is the true nature of this body politic? Would people 100 years ago put up with what we have now?

We'll end up with a constitution that declares a national religion and guarantees everyone a job, judging by the beliefs of most Americans today.

I don't trust democracy and I don't trust plutocracy. I trust the small number of individuals who are well informed and liberty minded. They represent never more than an absolute max of 10% of our elected officials at every level. 10% of the voting population perhaps. How does a marginalized 10% of the population insure that all the delegates to the convention are of their thinking? They don't. And if they did, it would be Tampa all over again.

Meanwhile, the government has been left to interpret its own chains and that has failed quite miserably. The constitution does not say what the supreme court has decided it says. That is the real problem.

This system we have now totally sucks and is getting worse by the day. If I were delusional about that, I'd not have been here for many years. As a historian I am aware that it could be a whole lot worse.

A clue

I'd read more from the following site if terms were nailed down instead of terms being counterfeit.



"The Founding Fathers of our nation recognized the importance of providing this means by which the citizens of our country could initiate amendments to change and/or clarify the Constitution; the fundamental document which they intended to be not only the blueprint for our federal system but also "the supreme Law of the Land"."

If "Founding Fathers" include Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Adams, or James Madison as so called "Federalists," then the term Federalist means "to consolidate all power into one power".

If "Founding Fathers" include those people who worked to maintain a Democratic (not mob rule, this term means "all are equal according to any law), Federated (not meaning "to consolidate all power into one power, rather the meaning of federation or confederation is to voluntarily associate for mutual defensive purposes) Republic, such as Daniel Shays, Luther Martin, Patrick Henry, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, and later James Madison, then the two groups of "Founding Fathers" are certainly not one group of "Founding Fathers" since one group was working to Monopolize, to seize POWER by any means, and the other group offered a tried and true method of creating and maintaining Free Market Government or a Democratic Federated Republic form of voluntary government.

It is clearly understandable as to which side any person places themselves as the Monopolists invariably set themselves up as Masters over Slaves and the Democratic Federated Republic proponents offer a voluntary association. It does not get any clearer than that in actual reality.

The concept of a Con Con Con Job has already happened.

Here is the sad story:


A clue as to which side anyone is on (Monopoly or Free Market Government) is exactly what the individual does work to get.

Get power over their targeted victims.

Offer a voluntary association which includes a method of combining defensive power so as to deter those who work to create and maintain the number 1 goal above.

If those who currently pay into a National Debt (Hamilton's baby) produce their own money (stop using "Federal" Reserve Notes), then the Hamilton types (Monopolists) will send a Cult of Personality such as Washington to crush those competitors daring to compete in Legal Money Markets, as was done by Washington as Hamilton sent the Strong Man to invade the former Republic of Pennsylvania, with a conscripted Army of slaves, to crush those who dared to make their own competitive money in the form of whiskey.

Anyone daring to question the order to use only one POWER (of money, or of criminal force) may be silenced such as was done by John Adams with those Alien Acts called the Alien and Sedition Acts which are Acts that are Alien to Free people.

Madison realized his error in Monopolizing all the competitive, constitutionally limited, Republics (which worked so well as a Free Market Government under The Articles of Confederation) into ONE MONOPOLY CRIME POWER, after the Alien and Sedition Acts, and then Madison joined forces with Jefferson to work toward a return to voluntary government.

That is well documented here:


A Con Con that is not a Con Job can certainly be a step toward breaking up the Monopoly Power and move toward voluntary government if those who are doing such things are doing such things instead of those people doing the opposite thing.

Here are a few examples of going in the direction of involuntary, consolidated, monopoly, criminal, government:


To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

The Declaration of Independence is shared, voluntarily, by those who
understand the duties of free people required to be free, such as the moral necessity of severing connections to criminals who falsely claim to be authorities.

Those who falsely claim to be authorities are those whose authority requires fraud, extortion, kidnapping, and murder done by them to be legal for them to perpetrate, and illegal for anyone else to perpetrate the same crimes they do and the same crimes that they pay themselves so well for doing, while they hand the victims the bills.

Here is another tidbit (no longer an doubt as to the criminality of the false authorities):


Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

Any questions?

End the FED
End the IRS
Bring the Troops Home (start in the mirror)
Do so by July 4th 2014, start now, finish early.

If all 4 goals can be reached, they can be reached in many competitive ways including a Constitutional Convention whereby the intention is to return to a voluntary association of Constitutionally Limited Republics (50 or more) into one STRICTLY defensive force, or Federation of Republics, then why not do so sooner rather than too late?


I will address your concerns

1) The situation then was completely different. The difference was the national government at the time. The states basically accepted the new constitution, the only betrayal was the Articles Congress dissolved itself perhaps a bit preemptively. The federal government today being so powerful, I doubt it would relent to a new government that formed according to the wishes of a coalition of states. In other words, the Article V convention assumes the supremacy and dominance of the federal government. Whereas the Articles Government was easily dissolvable, the current government will hardly respond to any national convention in this way.

2) The government is abiding the current constitution, just according to its own interpretation of it. Electoral politics have proven ineffective in reversing this interpretation. Constitutional amendments could being a process of reversing that interpretation by: 1 - making certain things too explicit to be misinterpreted and 2 - by restructuring things to make electoral politics more capable of restoring the proper interpretation.

3) The enforcement mechanism is that right now we accept the current interpretation because there is no other constitutionally endogenous means of interpretation. I support nullification, but the establishment does not. The establishment is forced by vagueries and traditional interpretation to live with the way things are. But making other things explicit, it will demolish both that which is vague and that which is traditional. For example, the idea of allowing a Congressional (or state legislatures) veto of Supreme Court rulings. This accepts the current system of judicial review, but then provides an electoral means to change the outcome of the interpretation process.

4)Marxists claim that knowledge is historical, rationalists claim that history is the product of ideas. I contend that it's a little bit of both. If people were angels, we wouldn't need government, but at the same time we could live just fine with total government. If people were smart enough to elect Ron Paul, then constitutional interpretation wouldn't matter. The states could exist as, at best, a loose confederation. In the meantime, the constitution is what protects us from a state of war which is in the case of our present day, nothing but us being subject to an outright fascism. Part of why people don't vote for Ron Paul is because everything from education to media to our financial system and the source of our credit and jobs is tied into the federal power that has been created since the progressive era. Many of us can transcend material constrain and live according to ideas. That's why there are any Paul voters. But many simply will not while they're still subject to the culture of Leviathan. Meaningful political shifts might make a difference. Limiting federal spending might stave off some of these national entitlements, which would affect that nationalist culture.

5)I don't know. What if we end up in that situation? There'd be civil discord, and martial law. How long would that last? If we're heading there anyway, then what's the point? We might as well face it. However, it's not as if the current constitution is helping us all that much. The 2nd amendment does prohibit Congress from mitigating the right to bear arms, but it doesn't guarantee the possession thereof. It all depends who's on the court really.

This is the toughest question philosophically. If the constitution is a true social compact, then we more or less abide it within the philosophical bounds listed by the declaration (not binding, just, in essence). If the constitution is this illegitimate thing we never signed, well, then why are we following it now. I tend to think of it as a football that gets passed back and forth by competing factions and it has little to do with the philosophy of liberty per se. In the context of that ball game, I say we try to amend it.

My ultimate argument against you is that if the bad guys have that much power, why haven't they amended it already? Why hasn't Congress just proposed an amendment and the states accepted it? The argument against a convention is this argument that our liberty is best protected by a permanent stasis. I would agree with the utility of that argument, except that with things like Obamacare and the NSA I foresee the stalemate essentially progressing closer to tyranny regardless. So I feel like, as the strategic losers here, risks are more beneficial to us than to our adversaries.

6) State governments can be pretty bad, but they also can be pretty good. Tom Woods' 3x5 cards of approved opinion MUST be upheld in the national congress. The media will pick up on and demolish anyone who does deviate. On the local level, people can get away with deviating.

Yes, it's susceptible to corruption, but local politics are also free from the opinion police in a way national politics aren't. Again, we're losing, so the risks benefit us.

Why would they need to?

My ultimate argument against you is that if the bad guys have that much power, why haven't they amended it already?

Bad ultimate argument and you know it because you stated the very reason this is the case earlier in your comment. The Supreme Court has decided that the commerce clause enables the FedGov to have unlimited power. It has also done nothing about "Constitution Free Zones" and "Free Speech Zones". It has interpreted the whole Bill of Rights wrongly in a way the increases rather than restrains the power of FedGov. Who needs an amendment when the court can decide that FedGov can do whatever it wants without said amendment?

6a) When a state government goes bad

an individual can move out of its jurisdiction to a freer state or location. I, for example, moved to another school district after a federal judge decided to destroy the one I was living in.
Similarly, the system was originally set up so that if the federal government went bad the state government could nullify bad federal law or leave the union. It was the last non-violent resort for a state to block an overreaching federal government. That option has got to be there to keep the federal government honest. Since Lincoln determined secession was not an option, government had no reason to remain honest.

[F]orce can only settle questions of power, not of right. - Clyde N. Wilson


That was an extremely informative and thoughtful reply. Thank you for the time you put into that!

Curious on your view of this

Curious on your view of this video.


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I disagree with her

First of all, with all of the attention and resources of the progressive machine aimed at Wisconsin - it being the only game in town so to speak - the people and Governor still prevailed in passing common sense policies.

Second, people don't get that it doesn't matter what the convention proposes. 3/4 of the states must ratify each amendment separately. The convention is called by 2/3 of the states, so there will be a general mandate. People will go into it with at least some guidance.

It's not as if there's a 'break glass in case you want to rewrite constitution' button. This isn't a convention to redo the constitution.

Again, 2/3 of the states call for it. The convention then proposes a series of amendments. Each amendment is individually ratified by each state legislature. If 3/4 ratify, that specific amendment passes.

Congress can already, by 2/3 vote, propose an amendment to the states. They can propose a thousand crazy amendments.

The difference between this convention and Congress is that congresspeople are scrutinized in the national media. If they have unapproved opinions, they are called nut jobs and run out. State legislatures can more easily get away with 'nut job' ideas like subjecting supreme court rulings to a congressional veto. Also, do you think Congress will ever propose term limits for its members?

The idea is that whatever amendments might be needed - and so we assume that our constitution suffers some flaws (such as unaccountable judicial review) - if Congress won't pass and the people want them, then there must be something specifically wrong with Congress preventing it. The term limits thing is a great example, but another example is the 17th amendment. The Senate would hate to be able to be recalled from office by the legislature. Budget balancing - this prevents Congress from all its lucrative special interest deals. State legislatures aren't in on those deals, so they have less reason to be against a balanced federal budget. This is the purpose of the convention.

The only danger of the convention is that you might argue that Congress people worry about reelection, so they might not propose a very unpopular amendment. Delegates to a convention can be paid off, and with no reelection to worry about, disappear into the woodwork. Okay, but any amendment still requires 3/4 of the states to ratify it. I just can't see this being a problem, whereas I do see the idea of waiting for Congress to propose an amendment as being a problem. Who knows, maybe the threat of a convention will cause congress to propose amendments preemptively? That's an advantage we haven't spoken of.

If anything, the only danger from a convention comes from publicity. In other words, bad people already conspiring to engage in a coup could use a convention as a smoke screen to temporarily confuse the public. On the heels of a convention to 'propose amendments' to the constitution, they could announce a new government. They could pretend that the convention grants them some kind of legitimacy. This would not be legally accurate, and would be transparent.

If that's the plan, then I think we're dealing with bigger problems than a few rogue amendments that would never be ratified.

Any proposal to replace the entire constitution

would require the ratification of each state desiring to become a part of the new union. That is how the Articles of Confederation were replaced. Rhode Island and North Carolina were independent countries for about a year before they ratified the constitution.
The vote of any other state would not have any legitimacy in yours.

[F]orce can only settle questions of power, not of right. - Clyde N. Wilson


The original AOC required unanimous vote of all 13 States to amend. The new convention simply bypassed that provision by declaring the AOC dead (the Congress of the Confederacy promptly obeyed and laid down) and then declaring they needed only 2/3 of States to proclaim a new government. Using this device, The other States were left orphaned and eventually were pressured into ratifying the new Con. nice trick, huh?

we ignore the ones we have

perhaps a convention that spells it out would reignite energy into the problem

but i don't trust anyone who calls for a convention without a specific goal in mind.

Levin on Hannity today

This is going to be pushed.
I heard Hannity today having Levin on about it.

We need to educate people on what it really means.

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