By Nancy Thorner – 

When it comes to human-caused global warming, most people think there are two camps: “alarmists,” those who acknowledge it, and “deniers,” those who deny it. But this is far from true.  There are credible scientists – such as those at The Heartland Institute’s latest climate conference (ICCC-12) last month – that accede to the existence of some global warming taking place, but question to what extent man is to blame.

For instance, participants and scientists at Heartland’s conference, S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, maintain that a warmer planet will be beneficial for mankind and other species on the planet and that “corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.” Meanwhile, other reputable scientists attending ICCC-12 believe a period of cooler weather looms ahead in the not-too-distant future because of the lack of sunspots.

Now there is another camp, the “lukewarmers” as defined by Dr. Pat Michaels and Paul “Chip” Knapperberger. Both are recognized environmental climate scientists who believe that man-made global warming is real, but they refuse to buy into the politicized pseudoscience that has increasingly been used to buttress the case that global warming is also likely to be dangerous. In their book, Lukewarming: The New Climate Science That Changes Everything, Michaels and Knappenberger, refer to themselves as “lukewarmers,” and expose many myths about climate change.

In a way the lukewarming view of climate change set forth by Michaels and Knappenberger relates to the English Fairy Tale, The Story of The Three Bears. Goldilocks, in tasting the porridge that had been left to cool by the bears while they took a walk in a forest, found the Great Big Bear’s porridge too hot, the Middle-sized Bear’s porridge too cold, while the Little Wee Bear’s porridge was neither too hot or too cold.

The too-hot temperature of the Great Big Bear’s porridge is the same claim made by climate change alarmists like Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who falsely predict catastrophic occurrences unless drastic measures are taken. The lukewarming concept of climate science introduced by Michaels and Knappenberger, represents the neither too hot or too cold porridge of the Little Wee Bear – or, just the right approach.

Michaels, the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, explained all this as a featured speaker April 19 at The Heartland Institute where he talked about his book. Michaels is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. He is the author or editor of six books on climate and its impact, and he was an author of the climate “paper of the year” awarded by the Association of American Geographers in 2004.

While introducing Michaels, Heartland Institute President Joe Bast expressed with apparent delight, three happenings of note in the past 100 days:  1) The election of Donald Trump as president, whose accomplishments are acceding expectations – such as Trump cutting EPA spending by 31 percent, which was long overdue. 2) Heartland’s latest climate conference (ICCC-12) held in Washington, D.C. in March – which attracted 300 participants without a formal invitation being sent. The conference featured 40 speakers attracted 55 members of the media, most of whom heretofore had not been interested in what Heartland had to say on the topic. 3) Heartland sending some 350,000 copies of Why Scientists Disagree with Global Warming to science teachers in K-12 and colleges, as well as 400 CEOs. The message: There is no consensus on global warming. The media and some activist teachers organizations have chosen to respond with accusations that Heartland’s mailing is an attempt at brainwashing – a notion Bast thoroughly rebutted.

 Michaels Explains his Lukewarmer Thesis

Michael’s remarks, tailored to his slide presentation, showed time and again the misuse of the flawed, always too-hot climate models, and the tremendous incentives that exist for their continued misuse. So it follows that unreasonable and unnecessary climate policies have been based on the too-hot and frequently manipulated climate models. Clearly, he said, if the climate models can’t properly simulate the past, they can’t be relied upon for the future – and are a terrible basis for energy and economic policy.

Other aspects of the Michael’s Lukewarmers Camp include:

  • Life thrived on Earth through hot time and cold, mostly with much higher CO2 concentrations and warmer temperatures than we are experiencing in the current era. This enhanced CO2 allows plants to take advantage of warmer temperature. Tropical rain forests have greatly increased because of the increase in CO2.
  • Market forces compel adaptation to all kinds of change, including slight changes in climate. Even if the United States continues to burn half of its corn production, the rest of the world still is able to produce tremendous amounts of food to meet the needs of its growing population.
  • Health effects of climate change on the U.S. are negligible and are likely to remain so. Forty-six percent of all U.S. deaths directly attributable to weather events from 1993 to 2006 were caused by excessive cold; 28 percent were from excessive heat.
  • After 75 years of rapidly increasing CO2 emission, hurricanes have responded only lukewarmly. Severe weather is a characteristic of earth’s atmosphere and every day some kind of story or extreme event will (and likely will) be associated with global warming. Even if the issue of the day were global cooling, such extreme weather events could be made to fit that paradigm, too.
  • Arctic ice has declined before, even in the last century before humans had put very much CO2 into the atmosphere. The Arctic was even ice free for long stretches, both before the end of the last ice age and afterwards.  The Washington Post on November 11, 1922 reported of hitherto unheard-of temperature in the Arctic zone. The seals were finding the water too hot and great masses of ice had been replaced by moraines of earth and stones. Nevertheless, there’s always plenty of ice in the Arctic Ocean, even in the beginning of the fall when it reaches its minimum extent.
  • As for the survival of the iconic polar bear, the polar bear has weathered – and maybe even prospered – during many periods when the Arctic summer’s end was ice free.
  • The Paris Climate Treaty is an unenforceable document that requires its signatories to prepare new “determined contributions” every five years, counts all warming since the Industrial Revolution as having been caused by greenhouse gas emissions, uses the mean sensitivity of the UN climate models, and requires an immediate cessation of all carbon dioxide emissions (fossil fuels) to meet its aspirational goal of keeping future warming below 1.5 degree C. This reduction in potential warming is operationally meaningless, and would result in a lukewarm agreement meant for a lukewarm world, in which only the United States and the EU stand to be harmed.

Michaels predicted a new warming of only six-tenths to a quarter degree by the end of the 21st century.  Accordingly, it makes no sense to plan for and then take measures to prepare for an event that has only a finite chance of happening, but which would greatly reduce our standard of living and further destroy this nation’s economy.

To watch the entire presentation by Michaels, click here.




By Nancy Thorner – 

As published in the New York Times on Wednesday, April 19, 2017:

Tucker Carlson, a conservative provocateur who joined Fox News’s prime-time ranks only three months ago, has been tapped to replace Mr. O’Reilly at 8 p.m. Eastern, beginning on Monday, the network said. Mr. Carlson has become, seemingly overnight, one of the network’s most vital players, a remarkable turnaround for a pundit whose bow-tied heyday had seemed behind him.

About a week or so ago I discussed with CA political writer and humorist, Burt Prelutsky, my observations regarding Tucker Carlson’s Fox cable show.

Illinois Review readers were first introduced to Mr. Prelutsky and his one-of-a-kind writing though my review of his book, Angels on Tap, on Monday, March 27, 2017.  Angels on Tap is now a delightful, family-oriented movie with religious overtones. (Lacking yet is a distributor)

Perceived was a decided change in Tucker Carlson’s manner from the more aggressive stance he first took when his show premiered until now. But did Tucker really tone down his show, or did perhaps some of the novelty of a new Fox face lead to a false perception?

As Burt Prelutsky suggested, perhaps booking more guests would help.  By so doing Tucker wouldn’t have to waste so much time with some of his self-righteous pinheads guests. Prelutsky used Tucker’s Wednesday, April 20th show as an example. When interviewing the woman who thought there was no limit to Muslim immigrants Europe should be welcoming, Tucker kept demanding the woman answer his “core question,” belaboring the point like a dog with a bone.  As Burt wrote in his typical witty fashion:

But if people don’t care to answer, you have the option of either asking a different question or tying them down and hitting them with rubber hoses.  It felt like the segment went on for half an hour.

Food for Thought: 

  • We both perceive that Tucker is showing a tad too much fear about a war with Russia.  It makes him sound too much like a liberal.  Most people don’t want to go to war, but by standing up to naked aggression, we have less chance of a war than we had under Obama, who encouraged our enemies by never standing up to them.
  • Tucker repeatedly misses cues, as when he fails to mention Hillary’s turning over 20% of America’s uranium in exchange for a bribe to the Clinton Foundation when a guest slanders Trump for his alleged bromance with the Russian despot.
  • With Tucker taking over Bill O’Reilly’s highly prized time slot, viewers will have to decide if he’s ready for primetime.  On balance, we both feel that an hour spent with Tucker is worthwhile more often than not.

Burt Prelutsky granted me permission to share his blog post about Tucker published on Monday, April 17, 2017, demonstrating Prelutsky’s fact-filled and humorous way of writing, which defines all of what Mr. Prelutsky’s writes. .


Nobody was happier than I was when Tucker Carlson replaced Megyn Kelly on Fox.  But I am beginning to lose patience with him because he’s reminding me of the famous little girl with the curl, the one who was very good when she was good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.

The other night, (Monday, April 11, 2017) we got to see both Tuckers in the same hour.  He did a good job of ridiculing Brad Sherman  who just happens to be my congressman.  After Sherman theorized that Trump had tomahawked Syria, not for humanitarian or militarily strategic reasons or even to send a clear signal to China and North Korea, but simply to deflect claims that he’s in bed with Putin, Tucker did a splendid job of mocking him as the ignoramus I know him to be.

But Sherman, whose skin must be nearly as thick as his head, appeared unfazed.  In fact, when Tucker asked him if he didn’t agree that the pinpoint attack on the Syrian airfield was a good thing, Sherman replied: “After the chemical bombings of civilians by Assad, any president would have done the same.”

I, and I suspect the majority of Carlson’s viewers, sat in stunned silence when the host failed to point out there had in fact been a president, a member of Sherman’s own party in fact, who, even after drawing a red line in the sand, had done absolutely nothing.

But missing his cues has become something of a habit with Carlson.  A few nights earlier, when another left-wing congressman accused Donald Trump of playing footsies with Putin, Carlson failed to mention that not a single Democrat in Congress complained when Secretary of State Clinton handed over 20% of America’s uranium to Russia in exchange for a huge bribe to her family’s foundation.  As mortal sins go, most people would agree that playing footsies, even if true, would pale by comparison.

I wouldn’t want anyone to get the idea that Carlson’s case is hopeless.  After blowing it with Rep. Sherman, he made something of a comeback when he had on a New York City public defender whose client is an illegal alien who had been convicted of sexually abusing a child and deported.  As so often is the case, the schmuck snuck back in.  This time he attacked a woman on a subway.

The lawyer’s complaint was that the NYPD had informed ICE of his court date, so they’d be in a position to take him into federal custody.  She regarded this as a moral outrage because Mayor Bill De Blasio had assured everyone that New York was a sanctuary city, and that such things would never happen.

Apparently, there are those, including this public defender, who believe, as does Mayor De Blasio, that he is God.  Carlson did a good job of disabusing her of that notion.

Carlson also did a good job of refuting a lawyer who is fighting the Texas law requiring people to show a government-issued I.D. (driver’s license, passport, gun permit) in order to vote.

As Carlson pointed out, you can’t board a plane, receive welfare, hold a paying job or get a credit card, without one of these documents.  In most places, you can’t even register your kids for school if you can’t prove who you are.

But the lady ignored the facts, instead focusing on a fraudulent number — 600,000, mostly black and Hispanic — whom she insisted had lost their voting rights because of the Texas bill.

Carlson patiently explained that while it’s true that voting is a constitutional right, so is owning a gun.  And yet, there are several barriers that American citizens have to successfully hurdle, including providing a photo I.D., before they can purchase a pistol.

Instead of agreeing that it’s not unreasonable for Texas to require the same proof of identity before allowing someone to vote that is required of someone buying a six-pack of Budweiser, the loon doubled down by contending that only two cases of voter fraud had been discovered in Texas, and so those pesky ID’s are clearly unnecessary.

Heaven only knows what they’re teaching in law school these days, but, apparently, logic isn’t one of them.


By Nancy Thorner –  

The Heartland Institute on April 12 hosted “An Evening with Sen. David Leyonhjelm,” a lawmaker that distinguishes himself as the only Libertarian in the Australian Parliament – the “Rand Paul of the Senate Down Under.”  Leyonhjelm stopped at Heartland as part of his week-long tour of the United States.

In Australia, what Americans know as the Libertarian Party goes under the party name “Liberal Democrats.” While both terms may convey nasty connotations to some, not so if liberalism is referred to in its “classical” sense as a philosophy and ideology belonging to liberalism – in which primary emphasis is placed on securing the freedom of the individual, and upon the realization that a “Democrat” in Australia does not resemble America’s Democratic Party. The same applies to Australia’s main political parties: The Liberal Partyresembles conservative-leaning Republicans, while the Labor Party is most like our Democrats, and Australia’s Green Party is America’s Socialist Party.

The Liberal Democrats were founded as a political party in Australia in 2001, although Leyonhjelm didn’t join until 2005. Active in managing the Liberal Democrat Party in 2007, 2010, and 2013, it was in 2013 election that Leyonhjelm won his seat in the Senate representing New South Wales as the first member of the Australian parliament from the classical liberal or “Libertarian” Party. When Senator Leyonhjelm joined the party, its membership totaled 150 members. It now has more than 4,500. Review here the positions taken by the Libertarian Party in Australia.

Australia’s Government Allows Minority Parties to Thrive

Jim Lakely, Heartland’s director of communications, introduced Leyonhjelm and suggested he speak about the political disruption in Australia, and if it’s similar to what happened with the election of President Trump in the U.S. and Brexit in Great Britain. Leyonhjelm agreed that there has been a disruption of Australia’s major political parties but first wanted to explain the make-up of Australia’s parliamentary system of government, which differs greatly from the U.S. in that it allows minority parties to exert influence.

  • There are 76 senators – 12 from each of the six states, two from each territory. The usual term is six years. The support of the majority party never happens in the Senate. Leyonhjelm is the only elected member of the Liberal Democrat Party in the Central Parliament.
  • Government is formed in the lower House, the House of Representatives. Whoever wins the majority in the House forms the government and who governs. In the Senate the government never has majority support.
  • The House of Representatives does require the support of Senate members to pass legislation. These Senate members are referred to as “crossbench” senators.
  • Presently there are 12 crossbench legislators in the Senate. Leyonhjelm is one of them. Government needs the vote of 10 crossbench legislators to pass bills.

Senator Leyonhjelm then went on to speak about protest votes – which took place in Australia in 2012 and 2016 – and were not unlike what happened to elect Trump and with the Brexit vote in Great Britain. In 2012, a protest party won three seats in the Senate, which no longer exists because of disunity among its members. Then in 2016, another protest party formed and won four Senate seats, which accounts for the12 crossbench legislators now in the Senate. Senator Leyonhjelm is among them.

Conflict About Australian Immigration Policy

As Leyonhjelm explained, although Australia has always welcomed immigrants – and Australia has very few illegal immigrants – immigration has now become an issue in the country. As the Australian Constitution has no Bill of Rights to assure Freedom of Speech, immigration has become linked with free speech. A pending law would make it illegal to “assault” with speech anyone on the basis of their race, nationality, or color. It was in 2014 that Senator Leyonhjelm said that some cultures are incompatible with Australian society, and that could become illegal in his country.

Budget and Energy Issues Loom Large in Australia

On Australia’s budget, Senator Leyonhjelm said his country is not as close to the cliff as is the U.S. and Europe, but it will get there soon if left unchecked.

Regarding energy, Leyonhjelm laid the blame of Australia’s energy problems – including rolling blackouts in the state of South Australia – on poor government policy. A goal was set to have 23.5 percent of all energy by 2020 produced by renewable energy sources. As of now, Australia is nowhere near that target. Leyonhjelm spoke of the high and rising costs of electricity, with no one willing to build private baseline power plants because of regulation uncertainties.

His prediction: Black outs will be frequent next summer, and taxpayer money will be needed to build fossil-fuel (coal) power stations that used to be funded by the private sector. Although there is a ban on fracking in several Australian states, there is lots of coal and gas. There is also plenty of uranium – which matters not, because nuclear energy is also banned in Australia. Senator Leyonhjelm did take a stand last year against the need for a carbon tax or any other type of tax.

Senator Leyonhjelm’s Fight for Liberty in Australia

Despite being the only libertarian in the Australian Parliament, Senator Leyonhjelm described his leverage vote in the Senate as a good one from time to time. He has two promises he strives to keep: He’ll never vote to raise taxes, and he will always vote to increase liberty. While holding that pledge from the crossbench seat, he’s been able to get concessions from the government, such as:

1. Saved a rifle range in Sydney, Australia that was in danger of being shut down. Leyonhjelm was able to extend its operation for 50 years.

2. Established an inquiry into the Nanny State, believing that good laws create freedom, not a nanny state.

3. Promoted an inquiry on Red Tape. Senator Leyonhjelm, representing New South Wales, chairs the committee as the only Liberal Democrat Party member in the Senate.

4. Introduced the concept of Liberty Offsets, in keeping with his principle rule as a senator mentioned above – that he will never vote to increase taxes or for a reduction of liberty. As explained by Senator Leyonhjelm at a news conference in Canberra: “The whole idea of these negotiations has been to offset any lost freedoms by introducing new ones.”

Additional Issues Facing Australia

In regard to Australia’s GDP, scheduled to be reported in May, it will not going up. This is not a surprise to Senator Leyonhjelm, which he contributes to Australia’s immigration program and the cost related to the free services provided. Such a practice does not contribute to elevating the per capita income.

Concerning free speech issue in Australia’s High Court, the media is not permitted to report on Court hearings. Senator Leyonhjelm does have a number of private bills in the Senate regarding advancing the principle of free speech. Even though private bills aren’t usually passed, it does force government to consider them. Leyonhjelm supports removing the ban for assisted suicide, for the simple reason that we should own our own lives. If we are not free to end our lives, with assistance if necessary, then we are not free at all.

In reference to Australia’s energy and budget crisis, Senator Leyonhjeim further related how public politicians have NO appetite or the courage to cut back spending and reduce taxes. Politicians might agree on what must be done, but don’t know how to do so to get re-elected, for saying the right thing is not the same as doing it. Does this sound familiar? Notwithstanding, Australia’a budget moves closer to the cliff every year. Leyonhjeim believes the energy crisis will only be solved when more blackouts occur this summer.

Senator Leyonhjelm further believes that only a left-wing government would be able to give government a haircut – much the way only Nixon could go to China. A left-wing government could get away with it, while a right-wing government would be branded as heartless. Australia, by the way, presently has a conservative government.

As to Senator Leyonhjelm’s political life as a Libertarian in Australia, he admitted it was a lonely one. Gratitude was expressed for the support Leyonhjelm receives from Libertarians here in America, especially The Heartland Institute. Leyonhjelm also reminded attendees, only half in jest, that there is no law against contributing here in America to his party in Australia.

Personal Observations About Leyonhjelm’s Speech at The Heartland Institute

1. On the whole, Senator Leyonhjelm’s talk sounded quite reasonable as he never touched on those hot-button issues that make libertarians unacceptable to those of who hold dear our conservative Republicans values. Observe here the positions on issues set forth by the Liberal Democrats (Libertarians) in Australia. They seem to closely mirror the libertarian political philosophy here in America, down to supporting the legalization of use, cultivation, processing, possession, transport, and sale of cannabis, with protection of minors and penalties for driving while impaired.

2. I found this piece about Donald Trump written on March 20 by Senator Leyonhjelm. Perhaps Leyonhjelm was hesitant at Heartland to admit what he really thought of Trump, knowing there were likely conservative Republicans in the room?

(Watch his presentation here.)

Monday, April 10, 2017


Watkins - #2By Nancy Thorner – 

What did the American Founders actually intend for the country and does it even matter today?

William Watkins, Jr., as the featured speaker at The Heartland Institute’s Wednesday evening free series of event, spoke about his book, Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution. Watkin’s book takes a surprising and thought-provoking look at the American Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and asks what we can learn from them.

William Watkins, Jr. is a research fellow at the Independent Institute. He received his B.A. in history and German summa cum laude from Clemson University and his J.D. cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a former law clerk to Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. of the U.S, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He has served as a prosecutor and defense lawyer and has practiced in various state and federal courts. Other books include Judicial Monarchs: The Case for Restoring Popular Sovereignty in the United States, and the Independent Institute books, Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy; and Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation. 

William Watkins, Jr. introduced by Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at The Heartland Institute

William J. Watkins, in Crossroads for Liberty, rescues the Articles of Confederation from obscurity and condemnation. Watkins does not claim that the Articles constituted a perfect system, but it was a much better system than has been portrayed in history books.

For many years, the Articles of Confederation have been taught in American History class as having created too weak a central government, that it accomplished nothing, and that thankfully it was scrapped and replaced with the U.S. Constitution. Not so, according to Watkins. The Articles needed some reform, but it was a credible document before the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Watkins likewise cleared up a misconception held by many that the Revolutionary War was all about taxation, brought to a head with the Boston Tea Party. Not true, he said. The argument was about sovereignty. Where did it lie? Did it lie in the British Parliament, or would individual states be able to govern themselves. In the Declaration of Independence, King George III of England was mentioned as the recognized power of authority whose removal was necessary for local state assemblies to achieve local rule.

Articles of Confederation Empowered State Governments

As to why the Articles of Confederation were adopted in the first place, patriot leaders at the time didn’t want some far off government telling them what to do concerning local matters. The Articles of Confederation were designed to let the people of each state govern themselves, while forming an alliance to maintain their independence. Delegates couldn’t serve more than three years out of a six-year period. In this way, legislators would feel the bit of the laws they passed.

In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, Federalists like Alexander Hamilton began to express dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation, thinking it a hopelessly weak common government for the United States that needed replacement. Others, like anti-federalist Patrick Henry, strongly voiced how under the Articles of Confederation its government had put an army in the field for seven years to defeat the mighty British Empire. Said Henry: “Ditching the Articles of Confederation would only lead to an increasingly centralized government that would eventually result in weak states dictated to by a centralized government.”

Using the same reasoning as proclaimed by Patrick Henry, Watkins noted how the goals of the Articles of Confederation had been met:

  • Great Britain was defeated. Hadn’t the British Navy ruled the world?
  • Self-government and the states had been preserved.

But economic hardship did exist in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War due to the cost of achieving freedom from Great Britain – i.e. hard cash was limited, the protection of the British Navy was lost, as was the right to trade with the British West Indies. 

Ratification of Constitution Hinged on a Bill of Rights 

Federalists won the argument. Led by Federalist Alexander Hamilton, who believed a Constitution with a federal system of government could accomplish the same thing without the deficiencies in the Articles – and who further argued that because the Articles of Confederation were committed to states’ rights reform of the Articles was not possible — a Constitutional Convention was needed. Subsequently, a Constitution was written during the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia by 55 delegates to a Constitutional Convention that was called ostensibly to amend the Articles of Confederation (1781–89), the country’s first written constitution.

The new Constitution was submitted for ratification to the 13 states on September 28, 1787. It was ratified by nine states in June of 1788, as required by Article VII. The date of March 4, 1789 was set by Congress as to when the new government would begin operating, with the first elections under the Constitution held late in 1788. 

Why did four of the 13 states refuse to ratify the Constitution when first submitted to them? As Watkins explained, one of the many points of contention between Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the Constitution is that it lacked a Bill of Rights that would place specific limits on government power. Although nine states had ratified the Constitution by June of 1788, the key states of Virginia and New York would only ratify the Constitution after James Madison promised that a Bill of Rights would be added after ratification.

Two states, Rhode Island and North Carolina, refused to ratify without a Bill of Rights. In June 1789, Madison proposed a series of amendments to be debated in the first Congress. These amendments to the United States Constitution (10 of them) became known as the Bill of Rights.

Rough Sailing for the Newly Adopted Constitution of 1787

Watkins enumerated three lies that angered segments of the American population after they had been assured that certain things would not happen with the ratification of the Constitution.

1st lie

Farmers were told that the excise power in the Constitution wouldn’t be used except in unusual situations. The Whiskey Rebellion was a response to the excise tax proposed by Alexander Hamilton, who was Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury in 1791. In January 1791, President George Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton proposed a seemingly innocuous excise tax “upon spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same.” What Congress failed to predict was the vehement rejection of this tax by Americans living on the frontier of Western Pennsylvania. By 1794, the Whiskey Rebellion threatened the stability of the nascent United States and forced President Washington to personally lead the United States militia westward to stop the rebels. Learn More

2nd lie

It was the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798, signed into law by President John Adams, that when put into practice became a black mark on the Nation’s reputation. People were lied to again. In direct violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech, the Sedition Act permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed to be malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the act.

3rd lie

Alexander Hamilton’s claim that the Articles of Confederation were useless, and the only remedy was to draft a new governing document.

Anticipated Fears about 1787 Constitution Were Not Speculative in Nature 

Watkins suggested that our Constitution of 1787 is not the greatest gift of political science that the world has ever seen.

1. How can one size fit all with a nation of 50 states?

2. How can a national government be in charge of 300-plus million Americans? 

3. Shouldn’t individual states serve as laboratories of experimentation and policy making?

4. Does James Madison’s worry about the accumulation of power, which, he said “in one place is paramount to tyranny,” seem justified?

5. How can “We the People” monitor those we elect given the super-sized districts they represent? Watkins believes that the present system of limiting the House of Representatives to only 435 members is detrimental to limited government, for as the population expands those representatives become increasing disconnected to the very people they are supposed to be representing.

6. Can representative government even exist in a country of this size?

A massive shift of power happened when Senate members were elected. The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution – proposed by the 62nd Congress in 1912 – established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states. The amendment supersedes Article I, §3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures.

As Watkins stated, the Founding Father reasoned that only licentious behavior and luxury could destroy the Constitution. Some 230 years later, this long-ago fear has been realized, as the founding principles of this nation have been eroded and cast aside in the interim. 

Human nature is flawed, and, as noted by Jefferson, “the chains of the Constitution” were needed, but what can now be done? As reasoned by Watkins, we certainly cannot return to the Articles of Confederation, nor is it possible to return to the Constitution, at least not as it was first conceived by our Founding Fathers.

Watkins suggested that general education is needed so the public, and especially young people, come to realize that the Socialism spouted by Bernie Sanders, embraced without even realizing what was being offered, is an evil and unworkable system of government.  

Selected Questions and Answers

Q: Why was the American Revolution different from revolutions in other nations?

A: Our revolution was based on the Rule of Law, whether sovereignty existed with the King of England or with state assemblies, which gave us a foundation upon which to base our government. The American people perceived that things were out of kilter and had to be restored.

Q: Is an Article V Convention a realistic plan? Is this an efficient way to address some of the flaws in our Constitution?

A: Watkins didn’t think it wise to take what we have and then trust that the results will be positive. As Watkins notes in his book: “There never have been enough states requesting a convention and this is for good reason. First, no one knows whether such a convention would be limited or unlimited in its scope. If the states requested a convention to consider proposing a balanced budget amendment, would the convention be prohibited from also offering amendments on matters such as abortion or capital punishment?” Watkins adds, “A convention could result in much chaos and constitutional uncertainty.”

“On paper,” Watkins laments, “they [the states] could demand a convention, but in reality Congress holds all the cards when it comes to constitutional change.” Instead, Watkins argues that “the states need the ability to propose and consider amendments without the involvement of the national legislature or the risk associated with a convention.” 

Q: Why the need for the Bill of Rights? 

A: People and states were fearful of a new federal government having too much power. 

Watch here the YouTube video of William J. Watkins, Jr. discussing his insightful book, Crossroads for Liberty.