To fully comprehend what is currently going on with the Article V convention movement, one must understand that those who are really behind promoting an Article V convention are using reasonably sophisticated techniques to get their audience to go along with their position. It is also important to understand that their motive is something different than what their uninformed minions say it is. They do not really want to get the feds under control.
Historical Perspective of the Article V Movement
This effort was initiated in the 1960’s by the Ford Foundation. Initially, tens of millions of dollars were dumped into the project. [i] By now there has been, no doubt, hundreds of millions of dollars expended on the project.
This was part of a larger ongoing attempt by some, through the largest tax-exempt foundations, to reshape society, government, and the world in their image. [ii] They created non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), mostly tax-exempt themselves, to do their bidding and spread their message.
Their Adapt-and-Overcome Strategy
One has to admire the determination, patience, and tenacity of these schemers. They have continued the effort to have Congress “call” an Article V convention for over fifty years. With each failed attempt they have retreated, regrouped, developed a new plan, and slowly and methodically implemented that plan.
When the public rejected the movement’s proposal of an open convention in the 1970’s, they came back in the 1980’s proposing a limited convention. When that attempt failed, they came back proposing a “limited” convention via a “convention of states.” That failed, so now they are back proposing a “limited” convention, which is “controlled by the states” or the delegates over which the states have control.
Changes in the Current Campaign for an Article V Convention
Now, as in prior efforts, they march behind the banner of a Balance Budget Amendment, which apparently attracts the attention of many Americans. But now they have a variety of other amendments to satisfy the “sweet tooth” of about any American hoping for relief from governmental oppression. Between the four or five factions of this movement, there are at least eighty proposed amendments.
This time they are calling in their “professors” and, as another sweetener, they have added to this decade’s attack their “conservative” talking heads from Mark Levine to Glenn Beck. Some were known neo-cons, but others they actually brought out of the closet.
This is the equivalent of the Progressives marching out their “Hollywood” friends. Their celebrity presence and charisma is supposed to make everyone heady and to swoon over any suggestion they make, no matter how unbounded by logic it is.
The Delphi Technique: Framing the Issue for Our Defeat
They use a series of distractions to divert the attention of “We the People.”
The primary method is from the Delphi technique, which can also be called “framing the issue.” They attempt to get everyone talking about some issue or issues that are not germane to the real issue but which are close enough so as to act as a lure to the unwary.
First, they identify the wrong problem. In this case it is that “the federal government does not follow the Constitution.” That is certainly an assertion everyone accepts. But, we informed people know that this is a mere symptom of the real problem. The real problem is “We the People” are not doing our patriotic and moral duty of holding our “public servants” accountable for not following the Constitution.
They picked this “problem” because it lets “We the People” off the hook. After all, it is not our fault; it is the politicians’ fault. Their problem is a lot easier to accept emotionally than is the reality which puts the blame clearly on us. Behind door number one: “Helpless Victim;” behind door number two: “Idiot that shot himself in the foot.” Which door would you rather choose?
If it is not a problem of our creation, then perhaps we do not have a personal obligation to fix it. A collective guilt is no guilt and a collective duty is no duty.
Then, they interject the issues which are not germane to the real problem, or in this case, the problem they have identified. In the case of the Article V Convention, there are two issues they use as distractions.
First are the mechanics of the convention itself. Who calls it, who makes the rules for it, who determines the qualification for delegates, who determines the number of delegates, who determines whether the votes are one per state or proportioned by population, who decides if the votes are a simple majority or a supermajority, can it be limited to a single amendment, topic or subject, and the list goes on.
Both sides can discuss and debate these issues all day long without affecting an outcome i.e., persuading an average person they are right. It does not matter how objective the facts are or how compelling the research is because the average person does not have the legal or historical background to determine who is right and the average person does not have the inclination to research the issue for themselves. The average person therefore uses some surrogate for the truth to determine their decision if they even follow the argument at all.
We know that people who do not themselves have the capacity to make a judgment on an issue defer to one of two surrogates.
First, they follow the person or organization they most trust. This is where Hannity, Levin and the national Tea Party Patriots come in. They provide the credibility that the Article V proponents do not have.
Secondly, they go for the result they most like, (which is not necessarily the one most likely to occur). This brings us back to the helpless victim with no mess to clean up, or the idiot with the self-inflicted wound and a bloody floor to clean up.
The second diversionary issue they want us to talk about is the amendments they are proposing. Between all the factions of the pro-Article V folks, there are at least eighty proposed amendments. Again, we “experts” can debate them all day long without affecting an outcome i.e., persuading an average person who is right. Again, they are stuck with some surrogate for the truth.
Why do I say these issues are diversions? Because the outcome of these two issues, no matter what the outcomes are, will not affect the solution to the problem the Article V folks have identified (let alone the root problem we have identified.)
Their problem is that the feds do not obey the Constitution. Their solution is to amend the Constitution.
Their solution is perfect for the average person because it really requires nothing from them. They can go back to their compliancy and apathy. The problem was not their fault and someone else has the solution covered.
Bringing the Issue Back into Focus for the Masses
But there is a logical disconnect. How will amending the Constitution get politicians who have not honored their oath to protect the Constitution and have been violating the current Constitution for over one hundred years?
By debating all the irrelevant issues of how the convention will be operated and what amendments should be made, they divert everyone’s attention from this very apparent (once we look at it) logical disconnect. The average person becomes more and more confused and they are driven to surrogates for a resolution of the confusion. In this scenario, we do not win the debate; by default the Article V promoters win.
The key is for us to concede, for purposes of debate, that all the mechanisms of the convention are as the Article V promoters say they will be. They will get all of their proposed amendments passed with the language they want, the convention will be chaired by the archangel Michael and the delegates will all be angels, conservative angels. The amendments will then be ratified in record time, and the newly-amended Constitution will be presented to the federal government with a “holy glow” about it. This is their best possible scenario.
Then ask the question:
“How will presenting an amended Constitution to the federal government cause them to, all of a sudden, start obeying it, when they have been violating their sacred oath to support the Constitution for over one hundred years?”
They cannot answer this question, and will inevitably fall back on “Well, we have to do something. You just want to sit by and do nothing.” We’ve seen them retreat to this tactic repeatedly when the fallacy of their position is exposed.
Doing something for the sake of doing something is like drilling holes in the hull of the Titanic to let the water out. You might very well end up in a worse situation.
At this point, any of the confusion surrounding the mechanics of the convention, or the amendments, goes against the promoters of an Article V Convention, not us. At this point, the people no longer have to rely on talking heads such as Levin, Hannity, and Kobach, and the range of their effectiveness dwindles to include only their most ardent fans.
The Real Solution
Another fallacy of theirs: the only cure is their cure. In fact, their solution is no solution at all, an it grotesquely perpetuates the problem. It empowers the scoundrels, and enables the cowards. If the Constitution isn’t the problem, then amending it is not the solution.
If the states stopped taking federal dollars, given unconstitutionally, it would go a long way toward restoring balance in the republic.
“We the People” will never get the federal government under control alone. The system the Framers set up to control the feds was “We the People” in conjunction with the states.
Of course, the states are complicit with the feds in walking on our Liberty. They have been “pimping” out our Rights and liberties the feds for “federal dollars” since before they went along with the 1903 Dick Act which ultimately took away the states’ Second Amendment duty to maintain state militias.
We must regain control of the states before we can get control of the feds. To do this, I suggest we work to pass a state constitutional amendment(s) to give the citizens the right of referendum, initiative, and recall on every public office from dog catcher to Governor. Then, the next time one of the bums lies to us or violates his / her oath to protect the Constitution we can vote the bum out of office. The mere threat of having to answer directly to the people will put the fear of God into most of them. Power to the People!
For the sake of Liberty,
Richard D. Fry
Founder, November Patriots
General Counsel, Patriot Coalition