A Constitutional Convention (Part Three)

Part One Part Two

THE THEORETICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF STATES-INITIATED AMENDMENTS

When the political circle is seen from the top, our view is one-dimensional. This limited perspective reads as a line running from left to right …… a perspective that dominated American politics throughout the twentieth century.

When the circle is viewed from the side, we again see a line. This one runs from top to bottom. It represents the perspective of those who constructed the U.S. Constitution.

These two approaches are rarely connected in our minds. But they are connected ……

Despite limitations in the founders’ understanding, it’s nevertheless instructive to view the world through their eyes. While they didn’t have access to the concept of a spatial political construct, we can still interpret where they wanted to place the constitution’s position. Their debate indicates a location mid-way between the two poles ……

As discussed in Part Two, the nation’s governance never stabilized at the constitution’s initial position. Instead, it moved steadily upward on the power axis. Rather than maintain balance between upper and lower poles, centralized institutions came to dominate ……

This movement upward on the y-axis can be attributed to a number of factors, including (1) the discovery of powerful fuels and technologies, which enabled top-down corporate structures like Standard Oil (including its descendants) and other monopolies to dominate the economy, (2) the stealth application of corporate personhood into US Supreme Court rulings during the late nineteenth century, (3) the passage of new laws, circa 1913, that concentrated power within state bureaucracies, including the Federal Reserve Act, the popular election of US Senators, and a mandatory income tax, and (4) a greatly expanded interpretation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century.

These are only a few of the markers along the country’s long power migration from a mid-axis position to a high position.

Thus, the prime task assigned to the state delegates at some future constitutional convention would be to review the impact of history’s centralizing shifts, and to remedy those which have created the greatest concentrations of power.

But a second priority would also require the delegates’ attention ……

The trend toward overly-centralized power commenced in the earliest stages of the union, even though it wasn’t detected until much later. This trend was initiated by Alexander Hamilton’s influence on the original convention, and by his subsequent actions within President Washington’s first administration.

This indicates that structural flaws were built into the founders’ original framework. Therefore, those flaws must also be considered.

In geometric terms, the “Hamiltonian trend” means that the initial mid-axis position of the original constitution might have been too high. In order for a longer-lasting balance between the upper and lower poles to be maintained, a new position lower on the axis might be required.

When viewed in two dimensions, it becomes clear that such changes would need to accommodate the beliefs of both lower quadrants. This means that an amended constitution would address the concerns of left-leaning and right-leaning positions within the circle’s lower regions.

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