Close the Door to Socialism, by Rita Dunaway

That’s NOT What He Meant, Big Brother, by Bill Sheridan
March 22, 2019
Against the Dead Consensus
March 22, 2019

By Rita Dunaway, The Stream, March 20, 2019

Rita DunawayThe topic of socialism is hot, and that’s alarming. Students of history know socialist experiments end in a hot mess. How could socialist policies even be possible in our Republic, with our Constitution?

Because the brilliant system set forth in our Constitution has been undermined. Conservatives fuss about federal officials ignoring the Constitution. The real problem is that they reinterpret it. How can they do that? Because they’re relativists.

Twisting the Constitution

We see it in every aspect of our society today. From the disastrous idea that morals are relative, to the bald-faced lie that one’s sex is a matter of personal choice, our culture doubles down on its quest to live as if the boundaries of truth didn’t exist. It’s no wonder that politicians and judges find ways to break free of political and legal “bondage” — a.k.a. the rule of law.

From the disastrous idea that morals are relative, to the bald-faced lie that one’s sex is a matter of personal choice, our culture doubles down on its quest to live as if the boundaries of  truth didn’t exist.

It’s been happening for decades. Congress wants to create a utopia by giving the people what they want — more stuff. The more stuff Congress gives, the fuller the campaign coffers. The fuller the campaign coffers, the easier it is for politicians to keep their jobs. The more politicians keep their jobs, the more stuff they give out.

There is one major roadblock to this scheme. It’s the Constitution. As we all learn in school, it gives the Congress only specific, enumerated powers. Try as they might, federal officials have yet to find in that venerable document any power to run the nation’s education system, force people to buy health insurance, tell farmers how much wheat they can grow or provide everyone a guaranteed income.

Twisted Language

And so, like the rest of society, federal officials apply the balm of relativism to the sore of legal limits. They say that what the Constitution means today differs what it meant when it was written. They say that meaning is “organic,” or malleable. These officials twist the language to make it mean what they want it to mean.

They interpret the “General Welfare Clause” as allowing Congress to tax and spend for any idea it thinks is good for our “welfare.” But we know that isn’t what it meant when it was written. It meant that Congress could tax and spend to exercise its named powers for the benefit of the “general” population, rather than specific regions.

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Likewise, we know that Congress’ power to regulate commerce among the states is the same type of power that Congress has to regulate commerce with other nations. That doesn’t include telling farmers what crops they can grow. But by accepting an “interpretation” that defies the truth about language and history, our courts have unlocked for Congress enormous powers the Constitution denies it.

Having been unlocked, these powers can now be harnessed to achieve socialist goals. The only solution is to lock them back up, permanently. And the only way to do that is for the states to use their power to propose constitutional amendments that reinforce and clarify limits in specific, modern-day language.

The states can do this through the Constitution’s Article V. In fact, the effort is well underway with the Convention of States Project. It’s a nationwide, grassroots effort to convene the states to propose constitutional amendments that will limit the scope and power of Washington. (I serve as the project’s national legislative strategist.) It’s the only way to truly protect our great nation from those who don’t know better than to champion socialist policies.

The Conniving Teenage Congress

We talk about Congress like it’s a defiant toddler screaming “No!” to the Constitution. The truth is, it’s more like a conniving teenager with a team of high-powered lawyers, making a complicated case that it’s actually obeying the Constitution. And because most Americans are busy paying the mortgage, shopping for groceries and dealing with literal toddlers and teenagers, most of us decide this is not a battle we can fight.

With the socialist frenzy nearing a fever-pitch, we can no longer afford to shrug our shoulders. It’s time to stand and fight for our constitutional Republic, using the tools the Constitution provides.


Rita Dunaway is a constitutional attorney, the author of the soon-to-be-released book, Restoring America’s Soul: Advancing Timeless Conservative Principles in a Wayward Culture, and co-host of the weekly radio program, “Crossroads: Where Faith and Culture Meet.” She serves as National Legislative Strategist for the Convention of States Project.

Prior to joining the Convention of States Project, Rita spent approximately 10 years as Staff Counsel for The Rutherford Institute, where she worked to protect the civil liberties of Americans across the nation.  She has authored numerous briefs for the United States Supreme Court and the federal appellate courts.

As an allied attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom and a volunteer for two Virginia-based conservative policy organizations, Rita has enjoyed being involved in the public policy process for several years and regularly testifies before legislative committees at the Virginia General Assembly.

Rita’s commentaries are published weekly in The Daily News Record in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and have also appeared online at and The Blaze.

As a Presidential scholar at West Virginia University, Rita earned dual bachelor degrees in 1998, graduating summa cum laude from both the Journalism and Political Science departments.  She then continued her education as a Benedum Scholar at Washington and Lee University School of Law, from which she graduated cum laude in 2001.

Rita is a member of the Virginia State Bar and lives in the Shenandoah Valley with her husband, Scott and their two children