18 thoughts on “Another American Revolution

    1. Edward M. Grant

      Indeed. George V was too busy disarming the British people; when he first sat on the throne any Briton could buy any gun they wanted no questions asked, when he last sat on it, the British Army was about to have to ask the NRA to send guns so they’d have enough to fight off a German invasion.

    1. Gregg

      Interesting question. I suspect the answer is “no” because the states get to ratify – it’s not done by popular vote. So Wyoming is as powerful as New York.

      And, let California marinate in their self-inflicted misery for a few more years and perhaps they would vote wisely.

      1. f1b0nacc1

        I rather doubt that it will only take a few more years for CA to learn their lesson, if in fact they ever learn. Look at Detroit, which has fallen much, much further, and STILL holds to the same path…

    2. Larry J

      The original constitutional convention met in secret so the various factions had the opportunity to compromise. Today, such a thing would be impossible. Who would attend as voting members of a modern convention? Lawyers? Politicians? Academics? I don’t know of too many modern Madisons running around.

      Once assembled, the entire constitution would be open for modification. Sorry, but that’s just too dangerous.

        1. Larry J

          Ratification of controversial amendments and bad ideas is difficult but history has shown it possible. One hundred years ago yesterday, the 16th amendmen was ratified. It was sold as a tax on the rich. Sound familiar? We also had direct election of senators and prohibition as examples of bad ideas being ratified. In today’s political environment, would a constitution listing “positive rights” (like the EU’s laundry list of individual services to be provided by the state) win widespread support? Based on the last election, I’d say it would.

          Third, the definition of individual rights, as enshrined in the EU constitution, is deeply problematic. The U.S. Bill of Rights, with one exception, is a list of the rights of individuals against the state, not a list of claims by individuals on services to be provided by the state. The one exception is the right to a trial by jury. In contrast, the EU constitution includes a list of rights to services provided by the state. The list, for example, includes rights to education, a free placement service, paid maternity leave, social security benefits and social services, housing assistance, preventive health care, services of general economic interest, and high levels of environmental and consumer protection.

          Such rights, in effect claims on the state, represent the most important potential tension in the European Union. On the one hand, the proposed constitution states that the “free movement of persons, goods, services and capital, and freedom of establishment shall be guaranteed within and by the Union … [and] any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited.” On the other hand, any citizen of the Union seems to have a claim on a wide range of social services wherever he or she chooses to reside. That will either lead to a massive movement of people to member states with a higher level of social services or the harmonization of these services among the member states.

          1. McGehee

            Prohibition was repealed — and the argument that direct election of Senators was a bad idea has yet to be won.

            Furthermore, individual amendments containing bad ideas are one thing. A whole new constitution full to the brim with them is another matter. Each state’s legislature need only find one bad idea in it to oppose, and it will reject the whole thing.

          2. Daver

            Prohibition hasn’t been repealed. Prohibition of alcohol has been partially repealed. Maybe we could start there.

          3. Larry J

            You’re assuming they’d play by the rules and stick to the current procedures for ratifying amendments. I have no such faith in their intentions.

            Imagine the most devious, underhanded thing you can, then double it.

          4. Daver

            It’s too hard to pass amendments, a simple majority should suffice. Majority rule, right? And the votes should be weighted, so that senators and representatives get the total number of votes from their states or their districts.

  1. Thomas Matula

    The problem with a Constitutional Convention is that you never know what would be result so be careful what you wish for.

    Remember, the first one started with the simple goal of creating what we would call today a free trade zone and ended creating a Republic.

    So who knows what a new one would look like, or what rights would remain.

  2. Bilwick

    “Liberals” are the New Tories. All someone like Thomas Frank has done is update the Diving Right of Kings to make it more democracy-friendly.

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