Convention Of The States VS. Constitutional Convention: It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering from those constitutional and foundational principles! Tune in today as we answer your questions such as Convention of the States VS. Constitutional Convention, a Runaway Convention, how to explain to a Millennial why socialism is bad, and so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!
Air Date: 07/27/2017
Guests: David Barton, and Rick Green.
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President Thomas Jefferson said, “ I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture! It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We love today here at WallBuilders, every day at WallBuilders! We’re taking on the tough issues of the day and looking at them from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian. And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state rep and national speaker and author. You can find out more about us at our websites WallBuilders.com, a wealth of information right there at the website. Great articles and all kinds of news of the day as well as great resources for you and your family.
Then also WallBuildersLive.com, that’s our radio site. You can get a list of all the stations. You can also get some of the archives over the last few weeks. If you like these Thursday programs where we dive into those foundational freedoms, answering your questions on those things, then you can get more of those programs right there on the site.
I’ve got a lot of questions today. David, a lot of folks have sent in great questions on different areas of the Constitution or history. We can get to all of them but we’ll get to as many as we can. David, are you ready?
You bet. Let’s go for it.
Is The Convention Of States A Good Or Bad Amendment
The first one comes from Paul. This one’s about Convention of States. He says, “There’s a big movement sweeping the country on this Conviction of State’s Amendment. How do you, David, and Rick, feel about the movement? Thanks! I enjoy your podcast very much, more people should listen to it.”
Hey, Paul, we definitely agree with that, more people should listen to the podcast or share it with as many folks as you can and tell the rest of our listeners to do the exact same thing!
David, great question on Convention of States! It is definitely gaining momentum. Several more states have called for the commission. I think we’re up to 12 or 13 at this point. So big movement, important movement, it has to do with amending the Constitution and the States being the ones to do that not Congress. What are your thoughts?
I’ve got some thoughts. Let me express the thoughts this way. I want to go back to when Republicans wrote their platform. I was on the national platform committee. 112-120, however many there are that did the platform.
I was on the Constitution Subcommittee, so we had folks come before us, “Here are proposals we think should go on the platform.” So you get everything under the sun. Whatever any person, or any group, or any state thinks will be part of the Republican National platform they put in there.
One of the proposals came from a group that says, “We’re hardcore constitutional folks. We want to see a restoration of the Constitution. We want to go back to what the Founders wanted. So we want to add into the platform that the Republican Party does not support any kind of a call for a convention to the states.”
That was what they wanted to consider. I responded and said, “Well, I’ve got real problems with that because Article 5 of the Constitution expressly authorizes that you can have a Convention of the States. And I have a problem with the Republican platform saying they disagree with anything in the Constitution.”
That’s like saying, “We’re for the Constitution…except one seventh of it.”
Convention Of The States VS. Constitutional Convention
“Because we support the Constitution we don’t want to use what the Constitution says we can use.” I find that to be a constitutionally problematic position, “I’m for the Constitution that’s why I refuse to use it.”No, you can’t do that.
We can back up to this argument and some call this, “A Constitutional Convention.” That we’re calling for a Constitutional Convention. Others say, “Well, we’re calling a Convention of the States.”
Well, under Article 5 it is a convention of the states. It is not a constitutional convention. A constitutional convention is the sense of what we had in 1787, “Let’s get together and write a constitution.”
Article 5 says that the states can call the convention to get together and it says they can, “propose amendments to this Constitution.” You can’t have a constitutional convention where you wipe the whole Constitution out, that’s not what happens.
At a Convention of the State, you can propose amendments to this Constitution. And so that’s the limitation. “Well, it’s going to be a runaway convention. The original Constitution Convention was only convened to change the Articles of Confederation and proved them, not to write a constitution.”
There’s all this notion of a runaway thing that you won’t be able to control it well. That’s not even right either. It’s easy to control, concerning the fact that it is a constitutional amendment proposed by the states which means that you have to have three-fourths of the States ratify it. Three-fourths of the states means thirty-eight of the states. That means the House and the Senate and 38 of the states have to ratify it. Which means it only takes one body and 13 states to stop any constitutional amendment.
So if we had a new constitution come out, I can in a heartbeat name you 13 single legislative bodies and individual states that would say, “Absolutely not. We’re not going to replace the Constitution.”
What About A Runaway Convention
Those are the same people that sent those delegates to this convention of states. So if you send them there and then they do a runaway, or whatever terminology people want to use, when it comes back to the people that actually sent them there they’re going to say, “Forget it. We’re not approving this.”
Just like parents, you get off somewhere, they don’t do what you told them to do, you’re not going to say, “Oh, don’t worry, we’ll just go ahead and approve what you did. These delegates will definitely be held accountable to the very people that sent them there.
And by the way, that was part of the original Constitutional Convention original Congresses. When delegations did not do what the people in their state sent them to do they recalled them.
A great example is Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania sent its delegates to vote for the Declaration of Independence half the delegates did not, the legislature of Pennsylvania recalled them home and sent a bunch of new delegates that would vote for the Declaration.
Which is why Founding Fathers like Benjamin Rush, he was not there in Congress on the 4th of July to vote for the Declaration but he was there on the 2nd of August to sign it.
He’s one of the more famous signers of the Declaration but he was not there to vote for it. But that’s because the state legislature said, “You didn’t do what you were sent there to do. We’re polling you guys out that voted ‘no’ and putting new guys in that will do exactly what we told them.”
So the states still have control over that. So you’re exactly right, Rick. It’s not going to be a runaway convention because the states that sent them there to do something. If they don’t do it then they can call them and bring them back home.
And really, this is no different Congress right now could propose any amendment and that amendment would go back to the states in the same way. This is a place and a time to propose amendments, it’s just that it’s the state legislators proposing it instead of the feds.
Convention Of States Allows The Government To Stay Constitutional
The benefit with this and a lot of the amendments they want to propose range from balanced budget to getting federal judges under control. Those are all conservative pro-constitutional principles that they’re working on.
What this does is it allows you to bypass, particularly, the Senate because you can’t get a constitutional amendment passed unless you can get 67 senators to vote for it. You’re not going to get 67 senators to vote for a balanced budget at this point.
Democrats want to spend like crazy. They don’t mind being 19 trillion in debt. There are several Republicans that overspend as well. What’s the chances that you can get 67 senators, Republican, Democrat, to vote for a balanced budget?
Now, what’s the chances that you can get a convention of states to vote for a balanced budget amendment? Pretty high. Even the blue states are a lot more fiscally responsible than what you have in Congress. So by letting the states propose the constitutional amendments rather than Congress you get away from that filibuster, and that cloture, and all the 60 percent that you have to have and you throw it back to the states.
It’s much easier for them to come up with reasonable positions than it is with Congress. Congress is so polarized right now that you can’t even get a Congress to agree that we should not be using public funds to fund selective private abortions. That’s a public responsibility? A public fund? Even 70 percent of Americans say we should not be publicly funding abortions with public money.
Let’s say we go to the day before birth, that we should ban abortions up to the day before? No, you’ve still got a lot Democrats saying, “No, we think it’s fine to kill babies right to the day before they’re born.” You’re not going to get 67 of the senators to agree that you should protect life from conception. You can’t even get 67 to agree that you should protect life up to the day you’re born.
So, the Convention of States allows the states to do things that the federal government should be doing that they refuse to do because they’re so polarized right now. The thing that you and I often heard was, “Man, they’re going to run away and come up a new constitution.” I’ve got news for you, the federal government’s already come up with a new constitution. Every time the Supreme Court meets they get some new ruling that is not constitutional and it radically reshapes America.
Plus you’ve got the fourth branch of the bureaucracy now that’s taking over passing federal laws at a higher rate than Congress does. What do you have to lose? Are you going to tell me it’s going to be worse than having no constitution?
We essentially act right now like we have no constitution because the courts ignore it and the bureaucracies ignore it, what’s worse than that? Let’s give it a shot.
How The Convention Of States Works
That’s a great point, David. That’s part of what switched me on this six, seven, or eight years ago. I was worried about all that stuff too. Then the light bulb finally came out, “Wait a minute, everything I’m worried about happening, the court is doing right now. The worst case scenarios are all come into place right now and at least with this scenario, we finally put the court back in its box and have a chance to get some great things done.” And even from a tactical, count the votes kind of a thing in terms of process, like you’re saying, 67 senators would never agree to do some of these things even like term limits for federal judges or getting the court under control.
But you only need twenty-six states to propose this. You’ll need half to propose it at the convention and then it goes back to all the other states. So it’s just a much better process. I’m so thankful for George Mason getting that put in the Constitution.
The good news now is this national initiative is being headed by two of the best U.S. senators we’ve had in modern history. One is Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma and Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina.
They’re two of the most constitutionally based and constitutionally knowledgeable senators we’ve had in a long time. I think you can put them up there with Senator Mike Lee and Senator Ted Cruz and others in their knowledge of the Constitution and being conservative minded.
They’re the guys who are leading the National Movement for Conventional of States. Rick, as you said pointed out, a number of other states have now come on board and issued state legislative calls for a convention of states. If you get enough states call for that then the states will send delegates.
The states have already been working to make sure they have the rules in place so that if you send it, how are you going to have the vote so it’s not going to be by how many members you send it’s going to be each state gets one vote just like it was back in the Continental Congress. Every state gets a vote as it would be in the U.S. Senate.
So if California sends 50 delegates and Louisiana sends only 1 they both get the same clout. Louisiana has the same standing as California. So they’ve been working on these rules for a good bit, trying to get them all together, how the delegates are going to do this, and how they proceed.
It’s a lot like George Washington did before the Constitutional Convention when they had the Mt. Vernon gathering and then the Annapolis Convention, which were two meetings that preceded the Constitutional Convention to work out the rules, how we do this, and what we’re going to try to do and get done. There’s been a lot of groundwork already done in this getting ready for it if we can get enough states to do it.
Getting The Government Back In Balance
So the question was, “What do we think of it?” We think it’s a really good idea. We think anytime we use the Constitution to do what the Constitution says it’s a good idea. The Constitution authorizes the states to be able to use this when the federal government refuses to act in the way the people want it. So I’m a big fan of doing what the Constitution says.
Very good point. We’ve got a quick break, thinking about even those two senators you named David. It’s always good to look at who’s really for something, who’s spending their time, their money, their effort, all of those things to try to make something happen.
And on the right side of this thing, you’ve got those two great senators you talked about, Michael Farris, Mark Levin, all of these great constitutional scholars from the conservative perspective saying, “It’s time, it’s time to do this.” This is what can help us right the ship and get the structures of our government back in the proper balance of power.
And by the way, let me point out that I have some really good friends that are on the other side of this issue. And this is not impugning anyone or saying they’re all dead wrong. I understand their fears understand their concerns and we work together on so many other issues shoulder to shoulder, side by side, they’re not enemies because they disagree.
But this is the position that you and I have taken and the reason that we’ve taken this position is because, as we pointed out, there’s nothing to lose here that we haven’t already lost.
There’s nothing still intact that we’re going to lose as a result of doing this. So that’s why for us man this is a no brainer kind of an option because all you can do is get better. It’s not going to get worse. We’re already headed that direction.
And we genuinely say to those friends, “Hey, we understand exactly how you feel because we felt the same way years ago.” But we found through our research and more reading and more of the things that have happened that we truly believe this is the right way to go. A lot of other people have joined in on that as well.
Very quick break. We’ll be right back. We’ve got more questions from other listeners so we’ll get to those when we come back. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. The year after the American War for Independence ended we began addressing the issue of Muslim terrorists in North Africa who were attacking American ships, killing, and enslaving American seamen.
Congress dispatched John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to negotiate peace. And when they asked the Muslim ambassador the reason for the unprovoked attacks. He told them that it was written in their Qur’an. That it was their right and duty to make war upon them whenever they could be found.
Sixteen years of negotiations failed and in 1801 America sent its military to crush the terrorists. When that war ended in 1805 the first American edition of the Qur’an was published, urging Americans to read the Qur’an to see for themselves that its teachings were incompatible with the safety and peace of non-Muslims.
To see the first American Qur’an and to get more information about America’s first war on Islamic terror go to WallBuilders.com.
Why The Bernie Sanders Socialist Concepts Aren’t Sustainable
Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday here at WallBuilders Live. Next question comes from Nina.
She says, “I am disturbed and disheartened by the many supporters Bernie Sanders had in the election last year. One is my 25-year-old son. I tried to make a strong case in defense of capitalism and why socialism is not sustainable. But I feel didn’t do a very good job. Can you explain the difference and why socialism is wrong and give examples of how it doesn’t work so that when we get into a discussion with those supporting it we can give a good argument.”
She continues, “His defense was, ‘Wouldn’t you get free healthcare and college?’ I debated that someone has to pay for all of this and that it is unsustainable and promotes mediocrity at best. Others are saying in Canada and France they don’t have to pay medical bills. Can you give some statistics on why this isn’t working? I appreciate your help.”
Those are great questions. David, before you dive in I would say that I strongly encourage- it’s part of why we encourage people to go to Summit Ministries, or come to Patriot Academy, and really get an understanding.
Especially those young people when they’re developing that worldview in that 16 to 25 age range. To really get an understanding of basic economics and what works and what doesn’t work. Get that understanding of what’s happened in history every time socialism has been tried it has failed. I’ll let you dive in, bro.
I would also add to that that we have a DVD that’s called, Politics Easy As Pie. That is done by Congressman Bob McEwen who’s an economist who does the best job ever of breaking this down to really simple thoughts.
He’s an economist, he makes this so easy that a kindergarten kid can understand it. But he does it in very fun ways. Right now we’re in the middle of doing our leadership training.
In the summertime, we will bring in 50 kids for two weeks and do leadership training. These are kids 18 to 25, college aged. they’re Millennials. We show them this video and this continues to be one of the highlights that they rave about. “Man, I’ve never heard this!” It’s so easy, it makes so much sense!” So that’s a great place to go, that DVD, Politics: Easy As Pie. You get a whole lot of this.
Beyond that, when you look at something like this, there are ways of going at this objectively, subjectively, inductively, deductively, you can go at it historically, you can go to constitutionally, you can go at it statistically, there’s a lot of different answers.
By the way, let me kind of lay out the problem first. Your 25-year-old son supports Bernie Sanders and here’s part of the deal we’re facing. It was January, a year ago, that the presidential campaign started off, they were in Iowa. So you go through Iowa and at that time there were 17 Republicans and six Democrats. So the primaries, the caucuses in Iowa.
What you found in Iowa was that 86 percent of the college kids in Iowa supported Bernie Sanders. “Whoa. What are their demographic- I mean, you cannot give 86 percent of Democrats supporting Bernie Sanders. You couldn’t get 86 percent of any demographic group supporting Bernie Sanders, except college aged kids.”
So when further investigation was done with the college aged kids 86 percent said, “We think socialism is a really good deal.” Then when you ask them to define socialism none of them could. They could not put a definition of socialism but they knew that was fair and just more balanced, “Everybody gets an even share and an equal share and it’s good for everybody.”
So they couldn’t define it and didn’t know what it was. Then it turns out that only 3 percent of universities in America require students to take a course in free market economics.
So kids are getting their heads filled with all these socialistic professors talking about how great this is. They don’t know what the alternative is. Proverbs 18:17 says, “One side sounds good until you hear the other.” So let somebody get up and talk about how great socialism is then let somebody get up and talk about how great free market is.
Questions To Stump A Socialist
Here’s the deal, and this is what I often tell kids when they say this, “Ok. I want you to show me one incident in history where that a socialistic nation became a free and prosperous nation for the citizens of that nation. Just show me one example. You have one hundred ninety-five nations in the world right now. If you go back to the last couple of hundred years you’re looking at hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of nations. Just find me one example where that socialism brought prosperity and freedom to a nation.”
Never. Now, you’re a little hard pressed to find even one example. So that’s one way of going at it. This all sounds good, you know? One of the jokes I make about the military stuff is- I’ve got a nephew he is an army ranger, and he is a paratrooper, etc. And in addition to his rucksack and gun, and everything else he has, he has a 53-pound parachute he has to carry.
So you throw all the stuff together you look at 100-120 pounds. And when you have to carry that as a paratrooper, Green Beret, Ranger, special forces, all those guys who do paratrooper work, that’s tough on your knees and your ankles, that’s tough on your body, that’s tough on your back, that is is tough stuff.
“So if you would make me secretary of defense I am so concerned about their safety, and their health care, and I want them to have knees that work for the rest of their life, not just for the next 10 years. Right now, parachutes are 28 feet wide and weighs 53 pounds. I’m going to mandate that parachutes can only be five feet wide because they will take you down to nine pounds. Think would take? What that would do to help their health care?”
All right, that may be true. But every one of them that jumps out of a plane with a five-foot wide parachute is going to die. So it may sound like a really great idea just doesn’t work out when you start looking for stats to prove the point.
That’s where socialism, that’s the first thing I would say is to find me historical examples where socialism has brought liberty and prosperity to a nation. Now I can show you plenty of others were there when they went from free market to government controlled socialism it took the nation into poverty and it took their freedoms away. They became less free and less prosperous, but you can’t show it the other way.
Yeah, no doubt. No doubt, the efficacy is easy to prove. It’s the heart strings that’s harder to get people past.
There’s some other stuff too. Let’s talk about that after we come back from the break.
All right, quick break. We’ll be back with more on Nina’s question about socialism and especially how do you explain to your 25-year old why it’s never worked and why capitalism is better. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
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Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our states and in the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they will exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”
Economic Issues With Socialism
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live, Foundations of Freedom Thursday, today. That’s why we have all the quotes out of the mouths of babes from the Founding Fathers. And also your question, so be sure and by the way, to [email protected]
We try to get to as many of those as we can. David, we’ve got some time left. Let’s stick with us Nina question. She had a great question about socialism and how do you explain this to the young people that bought into the whole Bernie Sanders thing. You were explaining how you can’t find you can’t name a country where socialism has worked well.
One of the problems we have with government education, not public education. Christian schools, Parochial schools, they’re public schools as well. They take kids in from all demographics, etc. Matter of fact, there’s probably a couple dozen studies out now that show that private schools have better demographic diversity than do government school.
But talking government schools, what happens is progressives of the 1920s shifted the philosophy of education. Instead of it being based on knowledge it suddenly became based on chronology.
So you had eight levels of education, you were in the first level, second level, third level, that was based on what you knew. So if you’re in the third level you might be seven years old or you might be 27 years old. It was based on what your knowledge was not what your age was.
Suddenly, the progressive said, “No, put everybody according to their age. So we put all 10-year-olds together.” Well, some 10-year-olds should be in the fifth grade and some 10-year-olds should still be in kindergarten.
So what happens is a teacher has a wide diversity of knowledge, chronology is the same, but the knowledge is not the same, and you’re supposed to be teaching knowledge. Now, how do you teach kids who have a lot of knowledge and kids who have little knowledge in the same class? What you have to do is shoot from the middle. So what you continually do in government education is working for mediocrity. Because you have to try to meet all these kids in the middle. You move the bright kids ahead a lot slower and you slow kids ahead a little bit of time but you’ve got to slow the bright kids down to do that.
So what happens is you no longer have individuality you now treat everybody in mediocrity. And that’s what socialism does. It takes the really bright, the really sharp, the really productive, and the really lazy, and it averages it all outlets puts it in the middle.
Here’s my health care problem I’ve got right now the most expensive cost for health care in America per person is not seniors, it’s not those who live to be 100 years old. The most expensive health care cost in America right now, by far, individually is for homosexuals. They cost more in the system than any other, hands down.
You’ll find that all over insurance stuff, they all admit. But see, I’m not homosexual. And I don’t have those health problems. Matter of fact, I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink, so I don’t have those health problems. As a matter of fact, I exercise a lot, I control my diet, I have very few health problems, but I’m having to pay for everybody else’s health problems.
If my health insurance reflected my lifestyle, my health insurance would be really cheap. But when I’m having to pay for everybody’s bad decisions, that’s what socialism does. It brings everything to the same level of mediocrity.
You don’t get rewarded for doing the right things and you don’t get punished for doing the wrong things. We’re all going to punish you equally and ll reward you equally, which means mediocrity.
So that’s a real problem. Again, this is explained very well in that DVD Politics: Easy As Pie. And Rick, let’s get Bob McEwen, Congressman McEwen on to explain it because he is really compelling, fun to listen to, and he has a great take on this. He’ll have even more reasons than what we gave from a different perspective.
That’s a great idea. We love having Congressman McEwen on. I always end up with some quotes from him that I can use in presentations as well. I quote him almost as much as you, David, not quite as much as you, but close.
That Politics: Easy As Pie DVD, you can get on our site right now at WallBuildersLive.com and we’ll have a link today to make it easy as you can find out more about that as well.
That’s not just for a classroom setting type deal, learn at home! It’s a great way to get educated, teach yourself, and teach your kids, and your family about these things and it’s done in an entertaining way so you can have fun while you’re learning as well.
So check it out, we have a link today at WallBuildersLive.com. Sure appreciate you listening today! You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our states and of the United States asserts that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”