It's a given, in these United States; they even teach it in government schools. This society is supposed to be one operating under an organization that governs by consent. The words appear in the Declaration of Independence; after asserting that humans have an absolute, natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the authors note that governments are instituted to "secure" those rights (and not for any other purpose!) "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
So if the governed do not give their consent to be governed, no government has any just powers; its powers, if any, become UNjust, tyrannical. The Declaration continues by saying that if and when that happens, the people have an absolute right to "alter or abolish" it. I love that second option, don't you?
So in this country, as in every possible free country, if a government exists at all, it is to exist for that strictly limited purpose only, and then only by the "consent of the governed". What exactly does that "consent" mean?
Unfortunately, the Decalaration does not elaborate or define the word. However, from the context (that of throwing off a government that had grown beyond that size and scope) we are entitled to interpret it very strictly: if you and I personally do not consent to be governed, then it is not entitled to govern us. Nor, of course, do we then have any right to expect it to do us any service.
Explicit, Personal & Voluntary
"Consent" is not something that can be assumed. Nobody has a right to suppose you or I consent to be robbed, just because we are so scared by the touch of the robber's knife at our throat, that we voice no protest. Consent, to be valid, has to be given freely and positively, by each and every individual.
That principle is recognized in cases of rape. The rapist may offer the defense that his victim made no protest; not good enough! Quite rightly, he has to show that she had consented to his advances. I don't go along with those FemiNazis who insist that "date rape" occurs unless the girl audibly consents to the removal of each and every garment in turn; that's absurd. But in principle, yes, the onus is on the guy to prove that the gal gave her consent, by clear, customary word or action. And so it is with government and governed. If you're not giving personal consent to government to govern you, you're being raped.
How is such explicit, voluntary consent to be given and recognized? - if they say anything at all to that, government people usually say that it's given in the voting booth. I think they are dead wrong, but let's look at the figures anyway. Last year in the general elections only 49% voted!
Worse: that was 49% of those registered to vote, and only about four fifths of eligible adults bothered to register. So that 49% is actually 39%.
Worse yet: those eligible to vote make up only three quarters of the people that government claims the right to govern; all under 18, for example, are excluded from the voting process despite being subject to a slew of terribly damaging laws and even taxes. So that 39% is actually about 29%.
Finally of that 29% of all the people, in 1996 less than half - about 13% of the whole - actually voted for the present occupant of the White House, who exercises a vast range of governance over all of us. So even if we assume that participation in the democratic process is equivalent to "consent" (and it is not) some 87% of Americans have NOT given their consent to be governed!
In addition, unreported by the major media, people all over the country are quietly withdrawing the consent that they never gave but which was arrogantly assumed by the governing classes. The IRS admits that over ten million people "ought" to file its miserable tax forms but do not do so. Thousands of those who did file, perfumed their tax returns with stink chemicals or other expressions of disgust at the entire process. Some filed hundreds of false returns, using perhaps the names of their favorite politicians, so as to monkeywrench the system. Every year, a massive underground economy is booming and prospering as people find ways to do business "off the books" in cash.
Others are discovering that privacy and property can be retained only by using "offshore" facilities. Much of that can be found on the Internet; e-mail me on email@example.com for some pointers.
Some are resisting with violence; in utter frustration and rage at the mindless arrogance of government bureaucrats a Newbury man, four years ago, went berserk in his Town Hall with a fusilade of shots, killing three innocent clerks and then himself. In Texas as I write, a group is risking the same fate as the Waco victims because they dared to challenge the annexation of that State in 1845 and call for a referendum for Texans about secession. The media, as usual, are calling all that "ridiculous" without letting us hear the reasoning offered. Washington was exactly right: "Government is not reason.... it is force."
Then, all over the country militia movements are becoming active again, re-starting their proper, Constitutional role to provide the people with a means of armed, organized resistance to government operating without consent. And privately, books are circulating, to outline ways to hit back at government violently but without causing injury or loss of life.
And the only political party enjoying high sustained growth is the only one that offers peacefully to overturn the established order, returning power to individual people: the Libertarians. Membership has doubled since 1995 and other growth indicators have doubled in EACH of the last 3 years.
In these and many other ways, it's clear that the worm is turning: that We the People have had it up to here, and beyond. Our consent has been withdrawn.
|© Copyright Jim Davies 1999|
Jim Davies lives in New Hampshire,
and enjoys contemplating which way is up.
The above is Edition # 204
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