Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Thing the John Birch Society Got Right

While the John Birch Society has long been discredited for its paranoia and oppressive approaches to society at large, there is one area that they got right.

At least one of the founding members of the JBS, Clarence Minion, advocated for a constitutional amendment referred to as The Bricker Amendment, named after Senator John W. Bricker, who sponsored the amendment.

The proposed amendment dealt with U.S. sovereignty issues[1] with respect to treaties made with foreign countries, specifically prohibiting any treaty that violated the constitution and/or subordinated U.S. law and policies to an outside entity, as the Trans-Pacific Partnership would do.

If the Bricker Amendment had been adopted, the concern about fast-tracking the TPP would never have materialized.[2] We’ve learned from fast-tracking NAFTA that entering into treaties, even trade agreements leads to a usurpation of national sovereignty.

Considering the scope and reach of the current Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement being discussed in Congress, this amendment may be exactly what we need in this modern era of Free Trade.

Some provisions rumored to be included in the TPP is the ability for foreign corporations to be able to sue over lost profits due to local laws that, say, prohibit dumping pollution into streams and rivers, thus increasing costs for that corporation.

The Bricker Amendment would prohibit any President or Congress from considering any treaty that would supersede the Constitution of the United States, particularly in areas of trade, as the TPP would most certainly do.

Of course, it’s difficult to determine exactly what the TPP details are, due to the secrecy of the document. Even members of congress don’t know what’s in the treaty, and that alone should be enough to dismiss the proposal out of hand.

It’s strange to suggest that an idea born from the paranoia of the John Birch Society would come to the aid of ordinary people who would otherwise have nothing whatsoever to do with anything connected to these Rabid-Right Wingnuts, but there you have it.

[1] http://www.antiwar.com/essays/bricker.html
[2] http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Bricker_Amendment?rec=1398