Well, that's certainly a lot of posts.
What are we talking about? I'm confused about this...
Well, my intention was "Why don't the states' rights advocates just use the option plainly given in Article V", but I think maybe I titled it and introduced it in a way that's state-centered. I intended it to be states vs federal, rather than states vs people. There is an important difference between the two, because who takes which side depends on the case.
During the early era, with the debate over ratifying the new Constitution, the Federalists were on one side (strong federal government) and the states, standing up for their people, on the other (state freedom). It's stability against liberty. In the Civil War era, however, it's different. The federal government and the people were on the same side (with the federal authority stepping in to protect civil rights), and the states on the other.
Conservatives can take their empty rural states and turn them into Pakistan for all I care: The only thing left to do about them is to cut all their subsidies and let them reap the full consequences (dystopia and starvation) of their retarded conservatism. Federal power means primitive, backwards, authoritarian social conservatives meddling in the civilized parts of the country (the Coasts), and that's intolerable. Devolved power means keeping the puritan nutters off us. A Constitutional convention removing most of the powers of the Federal Government would be a very good idea.
But well, as you mentioned later, sometimes the federal government stood for the people. Desegregation, equal proportioned legislative districts, and incorporation of the Bill of Rights were done because the nation applied its authority on its constituents. So while a localized government has its benefits, so does having a federal government with it.
Interestingly, we repealed Prohibition through a Convention.
To be accurate, the Congress did pass repeal of prohibition. It picked state ratification conventions instead of state legislatures; it's not quite the same as a constitutional convention.
But you do bring up interesting points in that post on how federal government can regulate commerce.
When I said "states should rise up" I'm not saying it has to be a violent revolution or anything. It's plainly in the Constitution that the states can seize power and make amendments at any time if they would just unite for once. It doesn't require having better federal officials, because you don't need their consent. It's not that it needs fancy steps; it's really just inaction getting in the way.
What you're suggesting is that US should no longer be United States, but be a unitary state. It's fine, but just remember that without a Senate and some sense of state identity, it's no longer a federal republic, and there's no reason for any territory to become a state. And personally, I don't think a unitary state will work that well with a nation with this much population, land size, and international power.
Savage, regarding your idea of a Constitutional Convention removing federal powers; Not going to happen. Simply because a lot of the state legislature's folks go on to a federal position. It is simply not in their favor to take away their own potential power. (Really, as it currently stands, state positions are like the training bicycle.)
That said, actually organizing and getting their state governments to comply are easier said than done since many (most?) states are too financially dependant on the Federal Government to go against it so blatantly. That and the state leaderships are also politically dependent on the national parties for support....
I would question that. IMO, those points base themselves on the assumption of federal-state relationship as they currently stand. But Article V isn't bound by such assumption.
- Keep in mind, states acting via constitutional convention doesn't mean the Congress is obsolete. The Congress can still pass amendments and have a federal role. And remember, all of the officials are statespersons sent from some states.
- States are only financially dependent on the federal government they created. If the states mobilize, they can shape the federal government too, and its financial flow. They can also change the system so that the states have more control over commerce if they wanted (whether that's a good idea is another story).
I'm not necessarily saying we should
dismantle federal power. I'm just pointing out that it doesn't have to be this way.
edited 18th Dec '11 2:56:50 PM by abstractematics