What An Article V Convention Might Mean

While I was speaking at the John Birch Society (JBS) annual meeting in August, the issue of an Article V Convention came up. Because their views on this topic are different than many other conservatives, I asked if they would write up their analysis of what calling such a convention might mean for the country. I offered to publish them here on this substack, so that many would have an opportunity to consider a different point of view on this important topic.

As an aside, one thing I learned from attending this meeting is that the organization is named after the first person identified as killed in the Korean war. This is an organization founded to (among other things) resist communism. According to Wikipedia,

The John Birch Society from its start opposed collectivism as a “cancer” and, by extension, communism and big government.[5]: 11 [23] The organization and its founder, Robert Welch, promoted Americanism as “the philosophical antithesis of communism.”[24] It contended that the United States is a republic, not a democracy, and argued that states’ rights should supersede those of the federal government.[25] Welch infused constitutionalist and classical liberal principles, in addition to his conspiracy theories (emphasis mine – note how these “theories” aren’t specifically named), into the JBS’s ideology and rhetoric.[26] In 1983, Congressman Larry McDonald, then the society’s newly appointed chairman, characterized the JBS as belonging to the Old Right rather than the New Right.[27]

The society opposes “one world government“, the United Nations,[28] the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and other free trade agreements. It argues the U.S. Constitution has been devalued in favor of political and economic globalization. It has cited the existence of the former Security and Prosperity Partnership as evidence of a push towards a North American Union.[29][30] The JBS has sought to reduce immigration.

The JBS supports auditing and eventually dismantling the Federal Reserve System.[31] The JBS holds that the United States Constitution gives only Congress the ability to coin money, and does not permit it to delegate this power, or to transform the dollar into a fiat currency not backed by gold or silver.

I gently suggest that, in the interests of intellectual integrity (if nothing else) that it is worth approaching todays JBS with an open mind, as I have. The organization has been repeatedly maligned (as in the quote above) as conspiracy theorists. However, from what I can tell, the organization has actually been at the vanguard of political perspectives that many now accept as mainstream. In hindsight, it is clear that the JBS has successfully opened the Overton window of acceptable political discourse. After what I have personally experienced since January 2020, I now have a lot of empathy for those who have taken controversial stands based on independent thought and analysis, and who have been attacked and stereotyped by corporate media.

In my opinion, it is time to recognize that the JBS have been American thought leaders for many decades now. Like all of us out on the bleeding edge, they have not been right about everything. That is a risk that comes with leading rather than following. But at a minimum I believe that their opinion and insights on US Constitutional matters deserve to be considered with an open mind. With his historic speech of September 01, even Joe Biden now claims to be a constitutionalist and a nationalist. Whether his comments were sincere or not, it is clear that constitutionalism and nationalism have become accepted mainstream US political positions.

To provide context for this discussion

Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to call a Convention of States to propose amendments. It takes 34 states to call the convention and 38 to ratify any amendments that are proposed.

Article V, in its entirety reads:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

As always, please read the article below carefully before commenting. I know the author spent a lot of time carefully crafting his analysis, and the positions held by the John Birch Society are not taken lightly.

Then let’s discuss.

Read the Whole Article

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