There is a Cuban proverb: Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.
For those who have not studied the issues and ramifications of convening a Convention of States, the Cuban refrain should ring bells of concern. The left has brought forth this issue numerous times. Most memorable was the effort by liberal economics professor Rexford Tugwell (1891-1979), a Franklin Delano Roosevelt Brain Trust member, American communist and internationalist known for pushing for controlled economies. Tugwell helped draft a model socialist constitution for the United States, and he hoped to bring this about via a constitutional convention between 1945-1948. A novel was even written featuring Tugwell as president of the United States, succeeding FDR.
More recently, a Harvard conference was convened in 2011 to plan for a constitutional convention attracting tea party conservatives. The fact that notoriously liberal Harvard Law School initiated this event should give us enough concern before we jump into those troubled waters.
This conference was hosted by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, not a constitutionalist conservative, but a populist liberal who also supported Sen. Barack Obama for president in 2008. Another moderator was Richard Parker, a former member of the 1960s radicals known as Students for a Democratic Society. A constitutional convention has also been promoted by liberal California Gov. Jerry Brown.
Propelled by Mark Levins book, The Liberty Amendments, a Mount Vernon Assembly was convened in December 2013 in which nearly 100 state legislators representing 32 states came together to discuss the planning of a Convention of States in 2014. A Convention of States, as we have mentioned, is nothing but a constitutional convention with a euphemistic and more appealing title. As to the timing now, which is the main reason calls for a convention are being made, is that Republicans control a majority of state legislatures. Still, we should also give pause.
Constitutional conventions have been urged since the 1970s repeatedly based on a variety of issues, from a balanced budget to anti-flag burning -- mostly conservative initiatives. Who knows when it will be that enough states will sign up to seal the deal?
Moreover, there is no unanimity as to what consensual stands will be taken between Republican moderates and tea party factions. Who knows what side of the issues the moderate Republicans will take? Can GOP representatives in the guise of reliable Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for example, be trusted by conservatives with such a sacred trust -- a new or revised Constitution for the United States of America? There is enough unreliability to give us pause before we jump into the increasingly murkier waters.
Do we naively believe for one moment that the representatives of both parties, addicted as they are to big government, can be trusted to abide by a new constitution better than the one that our Founding Fathers bequeathed to us?
Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is associate editor-in-chief and a world affairs editor of Surgical Neurology International and author of Cuba in Revolution -- Escape From a Lost Paradise.