photo credit: Samcwill
Few individuals would try to argue that the collective political genius and individual virtue and integrity of our "representatives" rivals that of our founding generation. And yet, for various reasons, there exists a movement to call for another constitutional convention. Ostensibly promoted as an effort fix some problems and patch some holes in the current Constitution, this idea would instead spell absolute disaster for what little is left of our withering Republic.
As was the case with the convention that brought us the Constitution we now enjoy (if only as a historical wonder), any future convention would not be restrained in any fashion by Congressional limitation or similar statutory restriction. Likewise, no state may legally limit its scope or authority. In essence, a convention immediately becomes a runaway legislative train where delegates possess more authority than Congress, and its proposal—if accepted by the states—becomes the (new) supreme law of the land. The previous agreement between the states is dissolved—as were the Articles of Confederation—and former bonds of the Union are of necessity broken.
One might argue that if the delegates of such a convention proposed a new constitution that drastically restricted individual rights or far more greatly empowered the federal government, the states could simply reject its ratification and maintain the status quo. While feasible, recent political activity suggests otherwise. Our current Constitution, flawed in some parts though it may be, is quite restrictive on the federal government. Yet while such restrictions exist on paper, the government has nonetheless massively expanded its size, power, and intervention. Leaving aside other introductions of government power in such a convention, let’s assume that the convention would simply enshrine into constitutional law the things the federal government has already decided to do: take over the state national guards, create several departments, produce limitless fiat currency, wage warfare and expand empire on the decision of the executive, deny habeas corpus to individuals, etc.. Were the convention only to do this, it would be a political nightmare for liberty. For if the government does what it does now with the current Constitution in place, what tyrannical leaps and bounds will it further make once the new Constitution sanctions into law the things it already tries to get away with?
Just as current legislative atrocities slide right through Congress when the climate is right, any actions of the new convention would likely be glorified by a convincing media choir, explained as fundamentally necessary by an apologetic political elite, and reluctantly accepted by cowardly state legislatures. Despite the recent surge in tenth amendment resolutions, few states have proven themselves willing to stand up for the individual liberty of their citizens and demonstrate effective restraint upon a centralized government. Lacking such a backbone, it may be easily assumed that the result produced from any future convention would ultimately be accepted, when (in)appropriate force is applied.
There already exists a method by which constitutional flaws may be corrected, and that is through amendment. Any talk of a convention as a solution to our political problems in the federal government must be rejected and outed for what it really is: the perfect opportunity for corrupt politicians, conspiring power-mongers, and Hamiltonian protegés to implement their framework for a tyrannical government that respects neither individual liberty nor restraint on government power.