None other than Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf, came up with the concept of “the big lie.” The idea is that if you’re going to lie, make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually people will believe it. The big lie about the United States Constitution is that it is the result of a “runaway convention” in 1787.
This lie has been embraced by the opponents of Article V, as they argue that an Amendment Convention called under Article V could “run away” and destroy the Constitution. For over 30 years this lie has been used by the right wing John Birch Society, along with the Eagle Forum. The irony is that these people claim to revere the Constitution, some believing it to be divinely inspired. But how can you revere, and honor, a document you believe was the result of a flagrant and deceitful violation of existing law?
In any event, this lie has been effectively exposed by two leading constitutional scholars, Rob Natelson of the Independence Institute, and Mike Farris, who recently withdrew from the Convention of States Project. In an article in The Hill, Natelson makes short work of the big lie. Please click on his piece if you want a concise and definitive rebuke of the runaway nonsense.
At WND.com Rita Dunaway reviews a more substantial work by Mike Farris in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, titled Defying Conventional Wisdom: The Constitution Was Not the Product of a Runaway Convention. This is an in depth, authoritative analysis of all the original historical documents from all thirteen States. Farris proves his point beyond a reasonable doubt. He’s done the entire Article V movement a great favor. This is legal and historical scholarship of the highest order, and we are all in Mike’s debt.
The principal previous authors of a scholarly work on the subject, Ackerman and Katyal, in the 1995 University of Chicago Law Review, are destroyed by Farris. Unlike the Birchers, the reason they want to call the Constitution the product of a runaway is in order to disparage it. If it’s somehow illegitimate, it can be more easily ignored.
Fred Lucas in the Daily Signal has done a little work on Article V, and written it up. If Lucas wants to write about Article V, he should acquire more than a superficial knowledge.
Eventually, a serious reporter for a serious publication is going to look into all this, it seems to me. That’s the way it’s seemed to me for three years. But that was before we were having a Convention of States.