Liberty Defense League Timothy Baldwin Romans 13

 
You Are Here: Articles Thursday, April 16, 2015

by Tim Baldwin

On August 12, 2014, Voices of Montana, which is Montana’s only statewide radio show, had John Birch Society employee, Robert Brown, on the show as a guest to denounce the use of Article V, United States Constitution. Article V is the provision wherein the States may convene for the purpose of proposing amendments, which if any are proposed by the delegates, the States would deliberate on the proposals in special sessions and then vote on whether to ratify the amendments or not. The host of the radio show and Brown had one goal in mind: STOP Article V! In addition to much misinformation Brown spread about America’s history and the constitutional revelations of scholars like Rob Natelson, JBS, through Brown, admitted that they do not believe in the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

I called the show to discuss the topic because when I heard Brown’s and the host’s comments, I knew I had to give the listeners a different view of the issue. I heard Brown state that Article V permits—or at least could result in a “runaway” convention (which he presumes would be awful). That is, the delegates to the convention though sent for there for specific purposes (see, history of State applications for Article V convention  called for limited/specific purposes, not a “general convention” to create new constitution) could ignore all rules of the States’ applications calling for a convention and the Constitution (“…proposing Amendments, which…shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution…”) and would be able to propose an entirely new constitution for ratification, which if a certain number of States ratified (the percentage of which could be recreated by the delegates in convention), all the States would be bound by the new constitution.

Brown completely misstated the facts and our history on this issue in many aspects and offered no evidence to support his conjecture. Rather, Brown spread fear to the listeners to obtain his goal of stopping the States from using Article V.

First, Brown’s position that Article V permits a “runaway” is completely erroneous. Article V clearly states that amendments can only be proposed to amend “this constitution,” not to create a new constitution. Any act of creating a new constitution is an act of secession from the current union and some may say, an act of revolution. Given JBS’ supposed support of the right to secede and revolution (correct?), Brown may not want to admit that proposing a new constitution is an exercise of the people’s right to secede or revolt (and as President Lincoln said in his First Inaugural Address, a convention is the only proper method of secession since our 1787 secession/constitution was proposed in a convention of the States collectively, not individually as happened in the 1860s) because JBS would have to retract their decades of statements supporting this right.

Regardless, if Brown holds that the Constitution does not permit secession or creating a new union under the auspices of Article V, this means that JBS believes that Article V does not permit a “runaway,” and thus any attempt of the convention delegates to create a new constitution would be unconstitutional and thus would be met with resistance by the federal government (because the federal government would LOSE much power if that happened) and the States that obviously sent their delegates to the convention for a specific purpose.

Second, Brown declared that if the delegates used the principles of the Declaration of Independence to propose a new constitution, this would be bad (i.e. unconstitutional? or without right? Brown doesn’t say). In my comments, I said, assuming that Article V permits (i.e. constitutional) or alternatively results in a “runaway” (i.e. unconstitutional) and the delegates proposed a new constitution, the people have a right to form a new union or government as the Declaration of Independence declares. As I have showed before, the 1787 proposal for a new constitution was act of secession from the Articles of Confederation. Thus, the States that did not accede to the new constitution/union would have remained under the Articles of Confederation. The States that ratified the new constitution seceded from the union and created a new union. Of course, in our case today, there is NO WAY all 50 States would ratify a new constitution.

Brown doesn’t seem to care about these very real facts. He simply used my statements to reassert his opposition to Article V, saying, see, when the delegates convene under Article V, they will use the Declaration of Independence to propose a new constitution! Brown’s response can mean only two things:

1) JBS does not believe Article V permits the people using the principles of the Declaration of Independence to form a new constitution where the States convene under Article V. This, by necessity, means Article V does not permit a runaway convention and any such attempt is unconstitutional. As such, JBS is willfully lying about Article V; or

2) JBS does not believe that the people have the rights declared in the Declaration of Independence, which is why they oppose Article V. Given that JBS insists that Article V permits a runaway convention and such a “runaway” would be constitutional under Article V, this necessarily means that JBS opposes the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

JBS touts itself as being defenders of the people’s right to self-govern. Clearly, with Article V, JBS would have the people not practice the principles of self-government under either the Constitution or the principles in the Declaration of Independence. JBS would rather people believe lies about Article V and keep the people entrenched in a government they will never control the way the Constitution and our society have been revealed through experience.

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