Informed students of history have noticed the obvious connection between the radicals who engineered and directed the bloody French Revolution and the rise of communism. Communist leaders such as Vladimir Lenin even acknowledged the connection, praising the radicals of the French Revolution.
Because of this, it is not surprising that Jacobin magazine, which describes itself as “a leading voice of the American Left, offering a socialist perspective on politics, economics, and culture,” (emphasis added) is named after one of the radical clubs that engineered and directed the French Revolution in 1789. Lest one forget, among the goals of the Jacobins such as Maximillian Robespierre and Georges Danton (in addition to murdering their political opponents on the guillotine) was to totally uproot French society.
Critical to this goal was the adoption of a new constitution, so much so that the revolutionaries even changed from the Christian-based calendar that marks history since the birth of Jesus Christ to a calendar marking time from the adoption of their leftist constitution.
Meagan Day, a writer for the Jacobin magazine, and Bhaskar Sunkara, the editor, co-authored an opinion piece calling the U.S. Constitution an “outdated relic” and lamenting how supposedly difficult it is to alter its contents. In its place they explicitly called for “a new political system that truly represents Americans. Our ideal should be a strong federal government powered by a proportionally elected unicameral [one-house] legislature.”
Recognizing that achieving such an ambitious goal will be extremely difficult, the two proud socialists advocated “intermediary steps” such as “establishing federal control over elections [and] developing a simpler way to amend the Constitution through national referendum.”
Few people have ever even heard of the socialist Jacobin magazine, so this radical proposal had a tiny audience — tiny that is, until the New York Times decided the opinion piece was so good that it needed to be reprinted within its pages. This should serve as a warning to all Americans who treasure the freedoms protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Dislike of the Constitution — the authors express displeasure that our “American government is structured by an 18th-century text that is almost impossible to change” — is now considered mainstream enough to be included in the New York Times!
There are several problems with the two socialists’ short op-ed.
First, as Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, arguing that we are given certain rights by God Himself and that to make these rights secure, “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” In other words, the very purpose of government is to protect our God-given rights, and it is given powers to do that. Only those powers to accomplish that are just powers. Jefferson did not believe that the purpose of government was to take property from the person who earned it and give it to another person who did not earn it. He did not believe that democracy — the rule of the majority — should trump liberty.
And Jefferson was not alone in this view. George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and all the Founders agreed with the proposition that government is created to protect life, liberty, and property, rather than to allow the majority to take away our rights.
The modern Jacobins understand this quite well, actually. They even cite James Madison from Federalist, No. 10, who favored a republic, which the Constitution established, rather than a democracy. “Democracies,” Madison wrote, “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention,” which, as the Jacobin authors note, are “incompatible” with property rights.
Make no mistake. This is the issue. Socialists such as Day and Sunkara want to replace the U.S. Constitution because it protects our rights to life, liberty, and property.
The problem, as they see it, is that the present Constitution is just too difficult to change. However, the Framers provided a way to alter the Constitution, with Article V of the Constitution, and the document has been changed 27 times since its adoption in 1789. In other words, an amendment has been adopted, on average, less than every five years since its inception. Even if you throw out the first 10 amendments, adopted together as “the Bill of Rights,” that is still an amendment about every eight years.
This desire by avowed socialists such as Day and Sunkara to follow their Jacobin ancestors and scrap the Constitution, to replace it with one more of their own radical socialist liking, should give pause to those who want to see a Constitutional Convention in our day in order to rein in an out-of-control federal government. Supporters of the “Convention of States” idea include many conservatives who naively believe that they would be the only delegates present at such a convention.
The reality is that the convention would also include those such as Day and Sunkara who want to alter our form of government from a federal republic to a unitary social democracy. In fact, they might even be in the majority!
Does anyone believe that California, the state that elected Jerry Brown as governor, and includes the likes of Nancy Pelosi, would send a Madison and a Hamilton to the convention?
As former Chief Justice Warren Burger said, it is probable that a constitutional convention could not be limited to one issue or a small number of issues. The reality is that a constitutional convention could simply write a new constitution — a constitution that would create a socialist democracy for America, stripping us of many of the liberties enshrined in our present Constitution.
As the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, the 21st century is not a good century in which to write a Constitution.
Why? Because Jacobin socialists such as Day and Sankura were very explicit in their goals, declaring: “The Constitution has long been venerated by conservative business elites … on the grounds that it hands them the power to fend off attempts to redistribute wealth and create new social guarantees in the interest of working people. There’s a reason we’re the only developed country without guarantees such as universal health care and paid maternity leave.” (Emphasis added.)
That reason, they argue, is that the Constitution of the United States blocks their socialist goals. Is a Constitutional Convention worth risking if they and similar travelers may have the final say, considering the chance that an entirely new document could emerge from such a convention?
I think not.