Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Signature Gathering Beginning for Sovereignty Amendment

Word comes that supporters of a "Sovereignty Amendment" to the Ohio Constitution is beginning.

The Ohio Sovereignty Amendment is part of a broader national state sovereignty movement which seeks to introduce bills, resolutions and constitutional amendments purporting to assert state rights against the Federal government.

As of now, the Ohio effort looks doomed. From the looks of the website of the sponsor, the People's Constitution Coalition of Ohio (PCCOH) it does not look like they have the financial backing necessary to pay for signature gatherers which is indispensable. Someone will roll in here and say that they have committed grassroots support and they can gather the signatures with an all volunteer effort. They can't. As they say, the target is around 700,000 to get the 400 some odd valid signatures needed. Many have tried to do that all volunteer. And have failed.

The PCCOH promises to continue work even if they don't get the amendment on the ballot this go round. If they are able to maintain the grassroots energy they, and their arguments, will be around for some time.

We will explore the Amendment and the arguments underlying it in coming posts. Here's the overview. First, most of the amendment would be unconstitutional. The amendment seeks to have Ohio dictate to the Federal government the limits on the latter's power. It will shock you to learn that states can't actually do that.

The Sovereignits (that will do until something thinks of something shorter) would reply that the only reason people would think their amendment is unconstitutional is that the Federal government has so overstepped its historical limits as to make it look unconstitutional.

Which gets us to the second major point: nearly everything they say is wrong. Not just wrong because I disagree, but demonstrably, objectively wrong. And not merely a little off, but in most cases what they say is the perfect opposite of the truth. They deal in countertruth, in antitruth, in things true only in Bizzaro.

So why bother writing a few posts about a fringe of a fringe organization with delusional ideas and no chance of success? A couple of reasons. First off, it will be fun.

Second, while it is easy to write off the Soveriegnites as ignorant rubes, they actually have developed a fairly detailed theory of governance and that theory gets at some of the most basic debates about government and power. Taking on the sovereignty amendment means taking on basic assumptions made by the likes of the Tea Parties and other anti-government activists. Which isn't a bad thing to spend time doing.

Finally, while their ideas are wrong, it would be dangerous to let them gain currency. It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that the last time ideas like these were broadly accepted, Ft. Sumter was attacked. Not to say that's where we are headed, but let's also not just sit back and let folks like this run the debate.