Timothy N. Baldwin, JD.
August 30, 2014
John Birch Society,
You are confused and determined to spread your propaganda more than teaching truth. Foolishly, you would rather the States take the same course of action that led our union to Civil War; namely, nullification and unilateral secession. Any student of American history can see that your preferred and proposed course of action will lead us to that kind of war. This begs the question: do you WANT to see the destruction of the States as we saw in the 1860s?
You claim that you advance the principles of the Declaration of Independence. Yet, when it comes to the safest and most practical method (Article V) through which the States can implement that self-determination, you try to prevent them from doing what you claim they have a right to do by God and Nature. You work hard opposing Article V even though both Federalist and Anti-Federalist alike told the States to amend the Constitution when experience shows how the federal government oversteps its bounds.
Your main approach in opposing Article V is to scare people into thinking that if two-thirds of the States applied for a convention (regardless of what their stated purpose is expressed in their applications; i.e. reduce federal power) and Congress called it, the delegates would “runaway” and contradict the reason they were sent there. You claim this would then result in the States going entirely against their own applications and ratifying a new constitution—not just a constitution, but a socialist/communist constitution. You claim that there would be no rules or bounds to prevent anything from happening, as in your article, “Constitutional Convention: 10-Point Refutation” by Joe Wolverton, II (source).
All the fear mongering notwithstanding, you have utterly failed at something you claim you do well: interpret and apply the Constitution. You dogmatically insist that the Constitution is simple enough for anyone to read, understand and apply it; and on this simplicity, you proclaim that the Constitution has been utterly destroyed. In striking contrast, however, you do not teach what the Founders INTENDED Article V to be (despite evidence existing). Instead of arguing what you think Article V SHOULD mean, you respond like Pilot did to Jesus, saying, “what is truth?” (John 18:38); advance the “living constitution” approach; and proclaim that Article V has nothing but equivocal meaning and is the open door to liberty’s destruction.
Let’s break it down. There are only two possibilities when interpreting Article V’s true meaning (presuming you want to advance its true meaning).
1. Article V DOES NOT permit a “runaway,” so any attempt to “runaway” by the convention or the States would be unconstitutional and could be constitutionally prevented.
You do not advance this position at all because it would completely undermine your propaganda. So, by default, you hold and preach that Article V’s true meaning is this:
2. Article V DOES permit a “runaway.” In other words, that the States may propose a new constitution through an Article V convention is constitutional and is a matter of right for the States.
Since you actively oppose this constitutional right, this begs the question: on what authority are you denying the States this fundamental function of self-government? You are like those who opposed the States calling a convention in the 1860s to prevent a Civil War and resolve the slavery issue. Look what resulted when the States were denied or did not take the opportunity to resolve constitutional issues through peaceful convention.
More than a constitutional right, you claim the States’ right to secede from a union and create a new constitution is a NATURAL right, as proclaimed in America’s Declaration of Independence. More than a natural right, you present many articles stating that secession is the primary method by which States can free themselves from an over-controlling central government (e.g. source). You claim this about America’s history, saying, the “Declaration of Independence was essentially a secessionist document” (Ibid). You argue that when the States created the new union in 1787, they rightly reserved the right to secede from the Constitution: “When the new Constitution was proposed in 1787, some states attached conditions to their ratification of it, including, in the case of New York and Virginia, the right to leave the Union if they saw fit.” (source). You assert the States’ absolute right to secede from the Constitution, declaring, “secession is an allowable response to federal overreaching” (source). In asserting these secession principles, you point to the natural rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
Going further into your declared support for the States’ constitutional and natural right of secession, you make harsh judgments about what Abraham Lincoln did during the Civil War and preach that the federal government wrongly forced the seceding States to stay in the union. You have gone so far as to say that since the federal government did not let the States secede, the union has been held (to the Constitution) by force ever since. You said,
A new nation was in fact created by the Civil War, but it was a nation at variance with the principles of independence espoused in the Declaration. It was a union, not "conceived in liberty" but imposed by blood and conquest, rather than a by voluntary association based on shared principles and aspirations. (source)
By necessity, your position on the Civil War means that you believe the States should have been left alone in their acts of secession. Strangely, through your opposition to Article V, you are working to keep a union intact that you claim is being held together by force.
Amazingly, you never mention in your support of the southern States right of secession that some States wanted and tried to apply for an Article V convention for the purpose of resolving the slavery issue and staving off a Civil War, which Lincoln acknowledged in his First Inaugural Address. Your intentional concealment of this crucial and critical fact is shameful, knowing that peace among the States could have been preserved and the constitutional issues resolved through debate and choice in convention, rather than bloodshed and war on the field.
As you well know when you defend the southern States acts of secession, the southern States created a new constitution and union when they seceded from the Constitution, called the Confederate States of America. And you support the southern States’ right to secede even though their new union/constitution sanctioned and perpetuated the institution of slavery (see, “right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired”). Yet, you oppose the attempts of the States today who are applying for an Article V convention to expressly limit the federal government’s power.
Contrary to your open position on the right to secession based on the Declaration of Independence, one of your employees, Robert Brown, recently declared on Montana’s only statewide radio show, Voices of Montana, that if delegates to an Article V Convention used the principles of the Declaration of Independence to propose a new constitution, this would be bad! Of course, Brown was careful not to deny that the States have a right to create a new union if they choose. Rather, he scared people and assumed that any proposal for a new constitution would destroy liberty for ALL States. But this flies in the face of your support of the southern States’ right to secede even when they created a constitution that protected slavery.
If the position you hold today actually came to pass in the 1860s, one of the greatest evils that ever existed in the United States would have continued for God knows how long. Knowing this, you still support the southern States’ right to form a new constitution while you fight against the States’ desire to control federal power today. Still, assuming some States today had the intent to form a new union with a new constitution you did not like, how do you justify your support of the southern States forming a constitution—that protected slavery! Your principles are all messed up.
Furthermore, Brown never even acknowledged the fact that if a State did not accede to a proposed new constitution, that State would not be bound to it, just as was the case in 1787 with the proposed new constitution. Only those States that ratified the new constitution were bound to it. Those that did not remained under their current constitution. Brown continually misrepresents the truth on this issue by leading people to believe that ALL of the States will be bound to a new constitution ratified by whatever percentage the convention delegates proposed, even a minority of States. How outlandish!
So, since you advocate for secession (even if it means perpetuating slavery), would you not support the States’ application to call a convention for the purpose of seceding from the union? Given my private conversations with some of your top representatives who state that JBS will NEVER change its position on Article V, regardless of any circumstances, it appears that even if the States sought to secede from the union using Article V convention, you would still oppose it.
Do you so blindly overlook that Abraham Lincoln showed America in his First Inaugural Address that for the States to leave the union, they should leave the same way they entered: i.e. through a convention. You ignore this fact and choose the path of State destruction. Even Dr. Edwin Vieira said what Lincoln did, stating, “the Constitution contains a provision for amending, or even terminating, the [Constitution]: namely, Article V” (source).
Plainly, Article V is the safest and most convenient way for the States to exercise their right of self-determination peacefully. Yet you oppose that fundamental right of the States with the most vicious vigor at every opportunity. It appears you would rather the States take the same path of destruction as the States did in the 1860s and expect to instigate another Civil War. You preach that the States choose a path that would put even more power in the hands of the federal government.
Either you are very confused or have an agenda that opposes all of the principles you say you teach.
� 2014 Timothy N. Baldwin, JD - All Rights Reserved.
“Citing the Declaration of Independence (as do many of the secession
petitions filed recently on the White House’s ‘We, the People’
web page), the [secession] document [of South Carolina in 1860] declares,
‘Whenever any “form of government becomes destructive of the
ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter
or abolish it, and to institute a new government.”’”
2. “As Southern states began to consider secession in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election, political leaders undertook to craft a compromise that would save the Union and stave off war. The compromise formulae frequently included one or more constitutional amendments.” Robert G. Natelson, “Amending the Constitution By Convention: Lessons For Today From the Constitution’s First Century,” Independence Institute, IP-5-2011 (July 2011) source.
Timothy Baldwin, born in 1979, is an attorney licensed to practice law in Montana (and formerly Florida) and handles a variety of cases, including constitutional, criminal, and civil. Baldwin graduated from the University of West Florida in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in English and Political Science. In 2004, Baldwin graduated from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, AL with a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree. From there, Baldwin became an Assistant State Attorney in Florida. For 2 1/2 years, Baldwin prosecuted criminal actions and tried nearly 60 jury trials. In 2006, Baldwin started his private law practice and has maintained it since.
Baldwin is a published author, public speaker and student of political philosophy. Baldwin is the author of Freedom For A Change, Romans 13-The True Meaning of Submission, and To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns–all of which are available for purchase through libertydefenseleague.com. Baldwin has also authored hundreds of political articles relative to liberty in the United States of America. Baldwin has been the guest of scores of radio shows and public events and continues to exposit principles which the people in America will need to determine its direction for the future.
Web site: libertydefenseleague.com