Timothy N. Baldwin, JD.
October 12, 2013
I have written before about the ethical flaws of the “no lesser of two evils” advocates (see here.) But the Article V debate is revealing a whole new level of contradiction and even hypocrisy in those who oppose Article V. I address that topic in this article (as well as making an important announcement at the end).
As fate would have it, I began advocating using Article V (an amendment convention) to limit federal power just before I learned Mark Levin was releasing his block-buster book, The Liberty Amendments. The debate heated up quickly. On NewsWithViews alone, numerous authors have denounced using the Constitution (Article V) to fix the problems with federal jurisprudence. Some have responded personally to my articles, which I have since rebutted (see here).
Many, if not most, of the opponents to using Article V are the same people who oppose voting for the “lesser evil. ”They argue, “I will not vote for someone I believe to be ‘evil’ for the sake of preventing the greater evil from becoming elected.” They say, “I am not contributing to the success of the ‘greater evil’; I am only voting my conscience.” When people accuse them of helping the “greater evil” get elected, they respond, “you cannot blame me for the greater evil candidate getting elected; I voted for the constitution!”
Effectively, they hold that each person’s voting decision has no relation to how others vote, disregards what realistic expectations are in elections, and rests solely on individual conscience. The underlying philosophy of this no-lesser-evil position is, of course, a “principle over pragmatism” approach. Well, let us compare that philosophy in light of the recent Article V discussions.
Every argument I have seen in opponents of Article V rests in two facts:
1- people in America are too dumb to improve our political condition through a constitutional amendment, and
2- the(conspiratorial) “powers that be” will control the amendment convention and ratification processes and circumvent the States’ attempt to limit federal power.
I have not seen one anti-Article V argument based in a principle.
Not one person has argued that amending the Constitution to limit federal power is evil, for indeed, they would be condemning the Constitution and the Founders.So, they are FORCED to argue pragmatics (to get what they want) because the principle (i.e. the Constitution) is sound.Put more precisely, the principle (as it relates to using Article V) is the purest a “constitutionalist” can expect or hope for. To use the Constitution (i.e. Article V) to fix political problems is the ONLY way constitutionalists propose to fix these problems!
Turning from their “true God” (of principles) and kneeling at the altar of a “false god” (of pragmatics), these Article V opponents argue that even if they (i.e. their State) supported Article V with good intentions, other States or politicians could (speculatively stated) undermine their benign efforts and turn them into a “greater evil” during or after the convention for proposing amendments. Indeed, nothing more can be said of having to amend the Constitution due to unwanted circumstances than it is a necessary or lesser evil, just as the Federalist said about having to ratify the Constitution itself.
Stated shortly, anti-Article V advocates fear that their “lesser evil” actions will be turned into “greater evil” consequences, and so they refuse to participate on those grounds. Unlike their approach to voting, they see their decision to use Article V as creating the source of the greater evil. They refuse to exercise principle-base remedies knowing that the “greater evil” comes not from them but from those who prefer socialism over republicanism and nationalism over federalism.
By necessity of their own rationale concerning Article V, they believe that their (and their States’) subjective intent has nothing to do with the political decision. Unlike their approach to voting, their individual conscience has nothing to do with what is right or wrong. It has nothing to do with the purpose of Article V. It has nothing to do with “originalism” or correct constitutional interpretation. It has nothing to do with typical mantras like, “we don’t need a majority; just a tireless minority,” etc. Pure and simple, anti-Article V advocates think that the “greater evil” consequences outweigh their subjective intentions and hopeful desires.
This rationale highlights their philosophical contradictions and hypocrisy and begs some important questions, which include,
Why do these anti-Article V advocates focus on the pragmatics of Article
V but ignore pragmaticsof voting?
• How can these people distinguish voting as a purely individual action from Article V as a purely collective action?
• How can they distinguish their reason for opposing Article V with the reason people vote for “lesser evils” (i.e. to prevent greater damage from ensuing)?
• How is it that not voting for the “lesser evil” has no negative consequence to the Constitution (at least not to the point of someone being blamed for their no-lesser-evil vote) but Article V most certainly will?
These people miss the reality that politics is politics, regardless of whether the matter is voting or amending the Constitution. It is all subject to the proven scientific method of discovering truth. It all takes into consideration consequences, collective action and the balancing of interests.
It appears to me, these anti-Article V advocates are burning liberty’s candle at both ends: they would prevent the States from amending the Constitution to limit federal power butat the same timenot help better candidates (or as they preferably call them, “lesser evils”) get elected to hold off the greater evils from corrupting the Constitution further. They think they are doing liberty a service, when in reality they are hastening its death. You cannot have it both ways! You cannot, on one hand, work against Article V based on the grounds of pragmatics and then work against voting for “lesser evil” candidates based on the grounds of principle.
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So, the challenge is out for those in the “liberty movement” who oppose Article V to explain how they can dogmatically claim that voting is an individual decision that must not consider the decisions of others; yet claim that Article V is a collective decision that must consider the decisions of others.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Liberty Defense League is hosting an Article V educational seminar with constitutional scholar, Rob Natelson, on October 21, 2013 at 7 pm (Mountain Time) in Kalispell, MT. Get your tickets now for only $5! Go to www.stateconventionsolution.com for more. This is a MUST-ATTEND event!
If you appreciate Tim’s work, please visit him at www.libertydefenseleague.com. There you can “like” him on Facebook, sign up for his articles, donate to his work, and more.
© 2013 Timothy N. Baldwin, JD - All Rights Reserved
Timothy Baldwin, born in 1979, is an attorney licensed to practice law in Montana (and formerly Florida) and handles a variety of cases, including constitutional, criminal, and civil. Baldwin graduated from the University of West Florida in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in English and Political Science. In 2004, Baldwin graduated from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, AL with a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree. From there, Baldwin became an Assistant State Attorney in Florida. For 2 1/2 years, Baldwin prosecuted criminal actions and tried nearly 60 jury trials. In 2006, Baldwin started his private law practice and has maintained it since.
Baldwin is a published author, public speaker and student of political philosophy. Baldwin is the author of Freedom For A Change, Romans 13-The True Meaning of Submission, and To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns–all of which are available for purchase through libertydefenseleague.com. Baldwin has also authored hundreds of political articles relative to liberty in the United States of America. Baldwin has been the guest of scores of radio shows and public events and continues to exposit principles which the people in America will need to determine its direction for the future.
Web site: libertydefenseleague.com