November 18th, 2014 // 9:49 am @ Oliver DeMille
(The Only Way We’ll Ever Get America Back on Track)
Months ago I wrote an article about competing views on holding a Constitutional Convention to help get America back on track. I listed some of the pros and cons of both views, and asked readers for their thoughts.
I was surprised by two things: 1) the huge number of responses to my article, and 2) the extremely strong emotions people shared about how we must avoid a Convention at all costs, and, alternatively, how without a Convention America is truly doomed.
I knew people felt strongly about both sides of this issue, but I didn’t realize just how passionately many people feel it.
I got hardly any responses that were lukewarm. Everything was ice-cold hatred of the very topic of a Convention, or boiling-hot support of its absolute necessity. The most interesting thing about this is that pretty much everyone who responded—from both sides—is deeply committed to freedom, to the principles of the Constitution, and to the vital importance of America’s future freedom.
I mentioned in my original article on this topic that I had my own opinion. I read each response carefully and with an open mind to see if anything swayed my views. After reading them all, I remain committed to my original viewpoint. And I’m ready to share it.
For those who are adamantly supportive of either side, my thoughts are likely to be frustrating. I see the value of both views. I think a Convention is either a wonderful idea or a terrible idea, and we won’t truly know which until after it is held (if it ever happens, that is). Thus, we should either not hold it at all, or we should hold it but be sure there is a real chance of it doing the right things.
This view isn’t very helpful if your focus is on whether or not to have a Convention. But there is a method to my viewpoint. There is a bigger reality at play here, and too often the people supporting or opposing a Convention don’t realize just how important it is. Let me explain.
One respondent wrote: “Our form of government was made for a moral people…. We need the people to change, not the Constitution!”
Powerful words. I would add two words to make this even more poignant: “Our form of government was made for a moral and wise people…. We need the people to change, not the Constitution!”
This is dead right. Those who oppose a Convention use this to make the case that “Since many of our people and leaders lack morality and wisdom, a Convention will simply throw away the best thing we have going for us—the Constitution.”
In contrast, supporters of a Convention use this same idea to argue: “Our lack of moral and wise people and leaders is causing us to reject more and more of the Constitution with each passing year. If current trends continue, we won’t even be following the Constitution within a few years—not even the little bit we are following now. A Convention is the only chance of fixing this.
“Yes, it might backfire and we’ll lose our freedoms, but without a Convention we’re definitely losing them—and nobody realizes it enough to stop it. At least with a Convention we have a chance to turn things around, and if we don’t, if it makes things worse, at least everyone will know it—openly and immediately.”
Both views have real merit.
But there is a solution. It will work if we have a Convention, and it will work if we don’t have a Convention.
It isn’t easy, but it is possible. It can happen. It will be difficult, but without it we will lose our freedoms—regardless of whether or not we have a Convention.
What is the solution? We need at least 3% of the populace to really understand the Constitution. That’s approximately the percentage of people who actively participated in the American founding. Today we need at least 3% to deeply, truly understand the Constitution and the principles of freedom—at the level Madison and Jefferson and the Americans of their generation understood them.
If that doesn’t happen, a Convention won’t help. Likewise, if it doesn’t happen, avoiding a Convention won’t help either.
We are losing our freedoms. Quickly. Consistently. And much of it is happening in secret, in policies, laws, and programs the public doesn’t bother to read and understand.
How can we get 3% of the populace to understand the Constitution? Honestly, this is really very simple. There are five books I know of that teach what is needed. A person who reads, studies, and really understands any of the five will know enough to be part of the 3%. The five are:
- Madison, et al., The Federalist Papers
- Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap
- DeMille, We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident
- Skousen, The Making of America
- DeMille, The U.S. Constitution and the 196 Indispensable Principles of Freedom
Of course, reading more than one of them, or even all of them, is better. But really knowing the principles taught in any one of them will make a person part of the 3%. And when 3% or more of the people really know the Constitution, we’ll have enough critical mass to truly influence a return to its principles.
Of course, there are many other good books on freedom. What these five books have in common is that each one provides a comprehensive overview of the freedom principles needed to get our nation back on the right path. And after you read 1-5 of these, read LeaderShift by Orrin Woodward and myself. This book specifically outlines what we need to do to change our governmental structure right now—either through a Convention if one is ever held, or without a Convention by influencing elections and policy.
Whether readers agree or disagree with the principles in these books isn’t the point. What we need is 3% of the people who are seriously thinking and talking about how to apply these principles of freedom in our time. Right now. So, agree or disagree, but get focused on the principles of freedom!
The Only Way We’ll Ever Get America Back on Track
Freedom matters. We are losing it. The loss is rapid and the pace of our national decline is increasing. And there is really only one solution. In the whole history of the world, the regular people have only been free when they have demanded it. Governments don’t just hand it out. Elite classes don’t just gift it to the masses.
In all of history, the only times the people have been free are when they simply insisted on it. And this has only happened—only happened!—when at least 3% of the population really understood the principles of freedom.
That’s it. Period.
If 3% doesn’t understand, we’ll lose our freedoms.
Can a Convention help? Only if at least 3% of the people truly understand the principles of freedom. Can opposing a Convention help? Only if at least 3% truly understand the principles of freedom.
This is true.
This is real.
This is incredibly urgent.
One final thought. A lot more than 3% of the people deeply love freedom. We all need to do whatever we can to help more of them truly understand the principles of freedom. Whether or not we succeed in this endeavor will determine whether our children and grandchildren are free…or not.
Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.
Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah