Jeff Davis is a retired radio-TV journalist living in Gainesville, GA. Active in
civic and political affairs, he is past president of the Georgia Jaycees and former campaign chairman of the Georgia
Republican party. He volunteers as chairman of the Georgia Heritage Council.
He is a collateral descendant of President Jefferson Davis and a member of SCV Camp 1404 in Gainesville and National
Chairman of Public Relations and Media for SCV.
Steve Scroggins is a volunteer contributor to the Georgia
Heritage Council who lives in Macon. He is the deranged creative force behind the
X-Files parody and satire feature.
The Perils of Democracy, Part 3
Threats to the Republic: Economic and Political continued -
Commentary by J. A. Davis & Steve Scroggins
As noted in Part 2,
some Americans consider other articles of the Bill of Rights as outdated or inconvenient as the Second Amendment.
There are proponents (mostly politicians, bureaucrats and political factions) suggesting revisions of the First, Fourth
and Fifth Amendments, regarding speech and personal safety,
including government intrusion---all in the name of "security" against perceived foreign and domestic threats, fighting
crime, restricting religious expression or curbing dissent.
The Tenth Amendment, which is virtually ignored these days by the Congress and the
courts, is also an inconvenient reminder (and potential obstacle) that some would prefer to repeal and discard.
If America was a democracy, the above dangerous changes would already be made
if a majority favored them. Fortunately, we are a Republic and still observe at least some of the pretenses to
an operating Constitution.
Article Five of the Constitution provides only two ways to legally
amend the Constitution. One of them we've never used, the national Convention (con con) approach, since 1787.
Messing around with the Constitution is dangerous. Columnist Phyllis
Schlafly aptly called Constitutional Conventions "
playing Russian Roulette with the Constitution." We have
never (since the first) held a Con Con. Doing so would open the entire document to complete replacement or revision
into who knows what form. There is no legal way with a con con to limit revisions to a specific set of issues.
Don Feder, in his commentary entitled,
How to Defeat the Left's Supreme Assault,
suggests that the U.S. Supreme court has already established a "permanent constitutional convention." This
judicial coup d'etat is discussed more at length below.
"The Supreme Court has reconstituted itself as a permanent constitutional convention, amending the Constitution at
will to suit the ideology of the majority." --Don Feder, FrontPageMag.com 7/6/05
The alternative amendment method provided in the Constitution (Article V) is to
adopt specific Amendments by ratification of three fourths of the states (after proposal by 2/3 majorities
of both Houses of Congress). That process is dangerous as well and that's why the Founders made it difficult
to make changes. They understood runaway passions and the need for sober deliberation.
Look what has happened with the addition of the illegal (not properly ratified)
Fourteenth Amendment, and
the change in our balanced power distribution by the passage of the
Seventeenth Amendment, which places
the election of U. S. Senators in the very largest populated cities in each state, virtually eliminating the
people of the vast majority of the geography in the state, and more importantly, stripping the needed and necessary
powers of the state legislatures and giving them instead to the big city political machines and moneyed special interests.
The income taxes Lincoln pushed through Congress during the War
for Southern Independence were not legal and were overturned after the war. The income tax was proposed in the
Sixteenth Amendment supposedly to enable tariff reform
and maintain required revenue.
Those who supported ratification of the
legalizing (?? -- was it legal?
??) the income tax could not have imagined the volume
and complexity of today's federal tax code. In 1913, it was proposed as a low flat percentage payable by only the
very wealthy. Only incomes greater than
$3,000 per year had to file and pay the one percent tax; the average worker made $520 per year. Now, we can clearly
see that the Sixteenth Amendment enabled modern
The poor judgment of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) is self-evident.
It was repealed by the 21st Amendment. But at least wisdom prevailed on that issue; we're still saddled with
the fallout from the 14th, 16th and 17th Amendments. These will be addressed in more detail later; for now, suffice it
to say that history proves that constitutional amendments are dangerous despite their slow and deliberate
nature. A Con Con could completely pervert or erase the Constitution and do so in a relative instant--- like the
bang ending a game of Russian Roulette.
Runaway partisan passions and long-term frustration threaten our form of
government and its defining charter with a con con. Combine that with threats to our economic
foundation---made worse by irresponsibly excessive taxation, debt and deficit spending--- and we may have the
"perfect storm" that threatens to tip America into a violent crisis.
With looming economic chaos, as has already been shown in Europe, we're in for a
rough ride. So far, proposed American solutions seem to be "more government" meaning more spending and borrowing,
much of which is headed down the
same rat hole of corruption by the business elite and politicians of both parties that cater to the wishes of
special interests with the taxpaying public ignored or trampled ---other measures are simply delaying the painful
reckoning with past folly. FDR's "new deal" in the 1930s only made economic problems worse and delayed recovery. The bailouts of
2009 will only make matters worse.
The Founders wisely provided for us various measures to fire those who
oppress or threaten us and to check their power-grabs. Unfortunately, crisis distracts normally vigilant patriots
and provides cover for power-grabbers. Desperation and fear from a world wide crisis enable tyrants
and usurpers to grab unauthorized powers, powers they never surrender when the crisis passes.
Lincoln's abuses are well documented.
expanded government broadly during World War I. FDR greatly expanded government powers during the Great Depression and
even more during World War II. But following the crisis, the central government didn't recede to its pre-crisis levels.
The Declaration of Independence declares it our right and duty to alter or abolish
governments that fail to protect our God-given rights including property rights--the ownership of our labor. We did
just that in the first
American Revolution and we came pretty close in the Second one---a struggle postponed to a later date. The old saw
that the price of Liberty is eternal vigilance suggests that the struggle to get---and keep--- liberty never ends.
Our current government is clearly way outside its original bounds. What do we do about it?
"The principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may
be at another time and in another form." ---Jefferson Davis
"Though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, yet
they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally and recall the people. They fix, too, for the
people the principles of their political creed." ---Thomas Jefferson
The Principles of consent [of the governed] and Constitutional self
government are worthy of our efforts to reassert. A successful rally of the people requires that more Americans
understand the difference between a limited constitutional republic and democracy, that they understand the
founding principles that the Framers articulated in forging our Constitution.
We hope there will be more reassertion to come, once enough come to the point they say "we
ain't going to take it any more." The reprise will encompass more than Dixie; the contest will include thinking,
discerning, patriotic Americans in every state and every ethnicity.
"The American people, North and South, went into the Civil War as citizens of their respective states; they came
out as subjects... And what they thus lost they have never gotten back." -- H. L. Mencken
"The consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will
be the certain precursor of that ruin of all that has proceeded it."
--Robert E. Lee, letter to Lord Acton December 15, 1866
The War for Southern Independence has been called the Second American Revolution
as the Southern states attempted to maintain a true federal constitutional republic but lost to the centralizers, consolidationists
and empire-lust of yankee industrialists. Divided sovereignty and the checks and balances of states rights (including secession
and nullification) were lost. The
core principle of
decentralization was crushed. Some suggest that "Reconstruction" lasted well into the 20th century and
completed the process of overthrowing the Constitution.
Rather than calling it "Reconstruction continued," author and columnist Joseph
Sobran called it "the Silent Revolution." Sobran suggests that the incremental loss of liberty has gone too
far---that Americans lack the energy, knowledge and character to restore the Liberty Lost.
Stating that the Constitution is "elastic" or "living"
is in effect a revolution, a
judicial coup d'etat.
Joseph Sobran, in his essay entitled
"The Silent Revolution,"
expressed it this way:
The most successful revolutions aren't those that are celebrated with parades
and banners, drums and trumpets, cannons and fireworks. The really successful revolutions are those that
occur quietly, unnoticed, uncommemorated.
We don't celebrate the day the United States Constitution was destroyed; it didn't
happen on a specific date, and most Americans still don't realize it happened at all. We don't say the
Constitution has ceased to exist; we merely say that it's a "living document." But it amounts to the same thing.
Economic dependence on government, by way of FDR's Social Security and LBJ's
War on Poverty (and other attacks on the Constitution), gives reason for extreme concern and
Joseph Sobran is not very
optimistic that such dependence can be overcome:
"Can the real Constitution be restored? Probably not. Too many Americans depend
on government money under programs the Constitution doesn't authorize, and money talks with an eloquence
Shakespeare could only envy. Ignorant people don't understand The Federalist Papers, but they understand
government checks with their names on them." --Joseph Sobran
"When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will
herald the end of the republic." --Benjamin Franklin
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the
animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands
which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!"
It is debateable whether it was the crushing of the
the ill-advised Constitutional amendments or
the federal judiciary and the concept of a "living Constitution" (or the combination) that destroyed our Constitution.
Author Thomas J. DiLorenzo in his essay entitled,
Constitutional Futility, laments
that while divided sovereignty and the states rights of secession and nullification were lost in 1865, the
Sixteenth Amendment in 1913, the Federal Reserve and the Seventeenth Amendment were the "final nails" in the coffin
of states rights and the federal republic as articulated in the Constitution.
Will enough Americans come to understand what they've lost and have the
fortitude to reassert the founding principles? An essential first step is for patriots to arm themselves with
knowledge of the founding principles
and to pass on to others the essential truth that democracy and socialism are
not compatible with Liberty and that the Constitution limits what the central government may rightfully do.
Marx wrote that "Democracy is the road to socialism." History proves that
socialism is the road to tyranny and self-destruction. Even if it's "The Tyranny of Good Intentions,"
it's still tyranny and no less destructive of Liberty.
When the time comes, will you have the courage to stand up and be counted as
a patriot seeking to restore the Constitution to practice? Are you willing to start preparing now, arming with
"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be
their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." --James Madison
"Democracy is the road to socialism." --Karl Marx
"In 1987, 45 percent of adult respondents to one survey answered that
the phrase 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' was in the Constitution (in
fact, it's a quote from Karl Marx)." --Jonah Goldberg, in
The will of the uninformed
In Part 1 and
Part 2 and this installment, we have established that various
crises have provided cover for power-grabbers in the past and have enabled severe damage to our Constitution. We
that we seem to be poised on the brink of another great crisis that could do further damage, or alter our
Constitution beyond recognition.
Arming ourselves with knowledge is the first step we've advocated. But we
must also look inward and evaluate our own motives and failures. The Founders acknowledged that the form of
government they created was only suited to a moral and virtuous people. A moral person does not want others to
steal on his behalf, nor for government to take what others earn and give it to him.
Are we, the American people, worthy enough to restore and maintain the
liberties we've lost? We'll consider that question in Part 4.
"To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a
chimerical idea." ---James Madison
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It
is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." -- John Adams
"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the
Bible." --George Washington
"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can
be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail
in exclusion of religious principle." --George Washington
Contact: Telephone 770 297-4788 P-6, 2363 North Cliff Colony Drive Gainesvlle,