Restore the Federal Constitution
By Rodney Dodsworth – April 9, 2016
A common remedy among conservatives for the ills of our nation is to just enforce the constitution we have. Elect enough Tea Party conservatives and freedom will be restored. If only the solution was that simple.
From the moment of our independence, the first question as posited by Mercy Warren was “what government consistent with the Declaration of Independence can be designed by men too proud for monarchy, too poor for nobility, and it is to be feared, too selfish and avaricious for a virtuous republic?”
Republicanism was in our blood. Despite the efforts of the British Crown all of the states had evolved from quasi-republican colonies. There was no other choice. The challenge was how to secure republican liberty in a society composed of normal, often selfish people.
For Mercy Warren, the answer was found entirely in religion and virtue. To throw the checks of conscience aside, to let avarice and ambition rule, was to doom America to degeneracy and certain failure.
A decade later, the Framers refused to give up on republican government. Being practical and political men, many of whom served in the confederation congress, they rejected Mercy Warren’s reliance on religion and virtue, the “weaker springs of the human character.” In fits and starts and close calls during the summer of 1787 they developed and relied on the structure of their design to channel and direct ambition and avarice so that they would serve rather than destroy free government.
In addition to a horizontal division of power between the three fundamental functions of any government, the Framers’ keystone was the vertical separation of power in which national authority, sparingly doled out in enumerated powers, with the remainder left among the states, was enforced by a senate of the states. They did not rely on what James Madison termed “parchment barriers” alone, such as a Bill of Rights to secure liberty. With power so well divided, so chopped up as never before, they justifiably trusted the natural inclination of men to pursue their interests would prevent the accumulation of tyrannical power. Enforcement of what was to become the 10th Amendment wouldn’t rely on the goodwill of self-interested and popularly derived politicians, nor Scotus. Security of state powers relied on the states themselves.
The Framers’ reliance on federalism, of state participation in government, can be seen in the manner the constitution was ratified, in the Article V process, the electoral college and especially the senate, whose members were appointed by and responsible to state legislatures.
Central to understanding why the 17th Amendment must be repealed is recognition that the extensive powers granted to the new government were designed with the assumption that the states would forever participate in it, that no less than thirteen distinct republican legislatures would continually cast watchful eyes over every proceeding of congress, the president and courts. It is why the states agreed to relinquish specific powers in Article I and submit to the Constitution and its pursuant laws as supreme law of the land.
From this gift to mankind in a new system of confederal republican government, one that relied on both the consent of the people and distinct member republics, liberty could prosper.
History, both ancient and our own since 1913 illustrate the instability of democratic republics. Our 103-year experiment in representative democracy is a failure. For practical purposes, Article I § 1, which established the American Republic has been repealed. Legislative power is in the hands of the executive and scotus. Unless this concentration of power is reversed, we are doomed to accelerating anarchy, then by calls for a strongman to “do something,” followed by bare-knuckled tyrannical force.
To restore the republican freedom we long had under a federal Constitution, the 17th Amendment must go. And since reform will not emerge from those who profit so well from our corrupt system, there is no alternative to an Article V state amendment convention.