Friday, October 28, 2022

For the Record: Hypothesis


Wallenstein's siege of Stralsund, May-August 1628, by the workshop of Frans Hogenberg, 1628, via Wikipedia.

And a hypothesis below the fold:

I don't imagine it's a Thirty Years' War in North America, though on the international scale perhaps that's just what it is, between liberalism and illiberalism, a protracted and exhausting struggle for Eurasia. and our states, in the state of irritable disunity Gromet was describing in comments yesterday, individually subject to manipulation from different parties. 

I was listening to a radio discussion by former senator Russ Feingold of the Constitutional Convention project some Republicans under the leadership of Stephen Bannon have been trying to arrange, and learning why I should be more disturbed about it than I have been—Bannon has a whole bogus theory of how it will work, as soon as Republicans have captured 34 state legislatures (they have 31 going into the November elections) to call for the convention according to the procedure very unclearly described in Article V.  Then the plan is to write a new Constitution in which the federal government loses all power to involve itself with health care or education, regulation of commerce, combating climate change, etc.—essentially to restore the Articles of Confederation, as I've been telling you for years they'd like to do—and ratify it at the Convention, one vote for each state (Wyoming's less than 600,000 citizens having the exact same weight as as California's 40 million), with a two-thirds vote putting the new document into effect.

That's the part that Feingold says is totally bogus, and from a historical point of view he's certainly right, though not as right as I'd like him to be; the rules for ratifying the original Constitution were also one vote per state, but the threshold for adoption was three quarters of the states, which I think would mean 37 states, not 34, and the ratification took place not at the Convention, but over several months in the individual state legislatures, which thus were able to take their time to deliberate and debate (the Federalist Papers were part of the New York campaign). 

Under those rules, I'm sure the plan would fail—they'd never get to 37, and indeed I imagine some states would peel away during the debate period, states whose legislatures are only Republican because of vicious gerrymandering like Wisconsin and Michigan, where the delegates would lose their nerve in the face of public protest. But given the stupidity of the press and the shamelessness of the Supreme Court, I'm really imagining a convention going with Bannon's idiotic idea, and the thing really happening.

Then we'd really be the Holy Roman Empire in 1618, a hodgepodge of states and statelets not quite connected, with their independent foreign and trade policies, getting picked at by France, Russia, Big Sweden and Big Hungary, or whatever. And carbon emissions would be going bonkers too.

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