Consent of the Governed?

One of the basic premises of our system of government is that the citizens give their consent to be governed.

What does that mean? At what point does “governed” become “ruled?” If The People agree to be governed, does that mean they give their blanket consent to being “ruled,” no matter how oppressive or intrusive that “rule” is? Does “consenting to be governed” mean consenting to a government that operates under the restrictions placed on it by The Constitution (as the framers of the Constitution intended), or does it mean that consent is granted to the government for all actions and laws, whether or not they infringe the rights of the citizenry? Remember that all powers granted to the government must be EXPLICITLY granted in the Constitution. If a power is not explicitly granted, then that power remains with The People, or the individual States (see the 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution).

The government takes for granted that our consent is at least implied, and they assume that our consent extends to every action they may take, no matter how outrageous or intrusive that action is.

Does, for example, the citizens’ implied consent for the government to engage in treaties, as allowed in the Constitution, thereby grant blanket consent for the government to invade foreign countries when there is no imminent danger to our own, which can hardly come under the term “common defense?”

One of the very few powers granted to the government by the Constitution is that of regulating interstate commerce. Since it is implied that The People consent to have the government perform this function, does it necessarily follow that we also consent to the government giving handouts to huge, multi-billion dollar corporations? Does “regulating” interstate commerce extend to funding companies so that they can engage in commerce. Such an action by the government puts the citizens in debt for generations to come, and effectively enslaves the entire population to the advantage of “private corporations.” Nowhere in the Constitution is this authority explicitly granted to the government. The government will always read the Constitution with a view most generous to themselves.

Likewise, the government has twisted the meaning of the interstate commerce clause so that it allows them to regulate ANYTHING that has EVER been in interstate commerce. Since there are few things that people buy that were actually made in their home state, that means that the federal government feels that it has the authority to regulate those items. It gets even worse, because if any of the raw materials used in the manufacture of that product came from another state, then the government has taken it upon itself to regulate the sale of the end product to the end user, because at some point, some component or material used in that product was transported or sold across state lines.

One thing upon which we can always count is that NO government ever voluntarily works to reduce its power. Likewise, no individual politician ever willingly gives up any of his power. Quite the opposite: both relentlessly and tirelessly work to expand the depth and reach of their power, ignoring the limits placed on them by the Constitution, rather, using those items explicitly listed in the Constitution, not as the limits they were intended to be, but rather as the starting point of their power grab.

Since the government can not be depended on to put constitutional limits upon itself, what limits can be depended on to restrict the government’s encroachments on the liberty and freedom of the citizens? Since there is no “Constitutional test” applied to bills introduced in congress, the only functioning limit on the power of congress lies with the Supreme Court. But what kind of limit is that, really? For a law to get tested at the Supreme Court, someone (a citizen) must have been arrested for ‘violating’ a law, gone to court and lost. Then, he must have had the money to appeal to the State Court of Appeals, and lost. And then, he must have had the money to appeal to the US Court of Appeals, and lost. And have still more money to keep going. The vast majority of people have no financial means to withstand this lengthy and costly onslaught. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to get to the Supreme Court that must be paid out of packet by someone. If the victim of this oppression doesn’t have the financial ability to continue the appeals process, then he simply must give up and submit to the guilty verdict, no matter how unconstitutional and oppressive the law under which he was sentenced might be. Furthermore, if he appeals one or two levels up and repeatedly loses those appeals and runs out of money so that he cannot continue his appeals further up the chain, then the law is effectively strengthened, further entrenching oppression. (This is why sawed-off shotguns are an NFA item today! See US v. Miller) Or, it’s always possible that the Supreme Court will simply refuse to hear the case. The rules were changed early last century. The new rules allow the Supreme Court to pick and choose which cases they want to hear.

So, in many cases, there are laws that are actually unConstitutional and unjust, but which stand simply because nobody has managed to successfully get them to the Supreme Court. So, are the citizens expected to consent to unjust laws passed by power hungry politicians? If the courts are no safety valve, what is?

What of the 1st Amendment? Well, it still functions wonderfully, at least as far as the government allows it to. Just try to get a political article printed in your local paper’s editorial pages. Count how many local news shows have news stories critical of any major government policy or activity. Since more and more news outlets are owned by only a few media conglomerates, and each radio and TV station is licensed by the government, all the government has to do is make a few phone calls and threaten to revoke a license or two, and the media falls right back in line.

What if the citizens were allowed actual unlimited discourse in the media? People might begin to realize that we all have much more in common than the government wants us to believe. The government spends a lot of time and effort trying to tell us that we are all so different from each other that we need the government to mediate those differences to prevent injustice to any group. In reality, we all have quite a bit in common, mainly that we all are suffering injustice at the hands of the very government that claims to protect us. The government doesn’t want this to become known. They go to great lengths to point out all of the differences between groups of people, even when those differences are imaginary. The government gets all sorts of articles in the newspapers insinuating that certain groups aren’t worthy of respect, dignity, or deserving of any rights. All the government has to do when it wants to ‘regulate’ a certain group is put out press releases about how odd or strange a particular group is, and how it therefore presents a danger to themselves and society at large.

There are a few prime examples: There was a small family that lived in the woods of Idaho. Their religious beliefs were not quite mainstream. They owned guns, and hunted often for food, since they were not well off financially. They also wanted nothing more than to be left alone. Therefore, the federal government, in the form of an undercover BATF agent, baited the father of the family by offering to pay him to cut the barrel off of a shotgun. The BATF agent even provided the shotgun AND the saw!! For this, his hillside home was raided, but the family refused to come out. So, the FBI, feeling that it just HAD to make a statement, did what the federal government does best: it killed the mother. An FBI sniper (Lon Horiuchi) shot the mother while she was standing in a window holding her baby. The father’s name was Randy Weaver.

The FBI repeatedly made a big issue of the Weaver family’s religious beliefs, as if that was justification for anything the government did. The government also constantly repeated the factoid that the Weavers owned guns, as if THAT justified anything. What possible purpose could be served by having the FBI constantly tell us what the Weaver’s religious beliefs were? And THAT assumes that the FBI was even telling the truth – and anyone who believes anything the FBI says without double and triple checking their statements is incredibly gullible.

Several years later, there was a group of over 100 men, women, and children that lived in Texas. Their religious beliefs were not quite mainstream. Many of them worked in the nearby town. They owned guns. Most of all, they wanted to be left alone. The obvious and predictable result was that the BATF performed a military assault with over 100 agents in full battle dress carrying submachine guns. A prolonged standoff resulted, along with an equally prolonged propaganda campaign by the federal government about how strange those religious beliefs were, and how they had guns. The US Attorney General at the time, Janet Reno, got on TV and claimed that the FBI was broadcasting pleas for the people inside to come out. In the government’s report on this, the FBI says that anytime someone tried to come out, the FBI launched a grenade at them. The National Guard from TWO states was involved, as was the 10th Mountain Div. During the initial raid, the FBI claimed that they let anyone leave who wanted. However, one person who lived at the house, Mike Schroeder, was shot in the back as he was coming home from work by a government sniper. The government report on the initial raid says that during the first few minutes of the assault, the residents “FIRED BACK.” Not “fired first.” The government said that they initiated this assault “to protect the children” because there were guns in the house, and non-mainstream religious beliefs being taught. Oddly enough, a good percentage of the children were killed by the government.

Both instances are prime examples of the “divide and conquer” tactics employed by the government. A government spokesman gets on TV, looks every citizen in the eye, and tells them “They were not like you. They were different. They were strange.” At that point, every citizen was supposed to bow down and say “yes massa. You know best.” We weren’t supposed to care about those people because the government tried to make us believe that they weren’t like us! The government simply wanted our consent!

The government tells us that we are all members of different groups, and that the other groups are ‘different,’ and we therefore shouldn’t care about them, be willing to stand up for them, or even like them. They will find some miserable example of a human who happens to belong to one of the groups, and parade them on all of the media outlets. Show everyone that they shouldn’t like anyone in that group.

The truth is, we don’t HAVE to like anyone in a particular group. We don’t have to agree with what they believe or what they say. But, as long as they are doing no actual harm to anyone else, it is nobody else’s business what they do or say. You don’t have to agree with their politics. You don’t have to believe their religion is true. You don’t have to like their music, or the way they dress. But, as long as they don’t try to force their beliefs on you, or do you any other harm, you have to respect their right to be who they are. On top of that, you have to be willing to defend their right to be who they are. If you claim to enjoy liberty and defend people’s rights, you have to be willing to defend the rights of people you may not like.

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Martin Niemoller

(maybe the reason ‘they’ came for anyone at all is because there were no gun owners around willing to put their foot down)

Did Randy Weaver consent to be governed? Did those families in Texas consent to be governed? Does the rest of the population consent to these actions, performed in their name, by the federal government? That was the whole purpose of the propaganda campaign: to gain the public’s consent.

What IS government? It is a body that the people grant some limited authorities to. The powers granted to them are powers that would have been done by the citizens, but the people found it expedient to have a proxy act for them in some cases (mostly foreign affairs, mediating conflicts between states, a post office, and a few (very few) other areas). Since those powers are granted to the government by and from the people, those powers can not be greater than those powers would have been had they been retained by the people.

We, as citizens have the right to self defense. If someone attacks us, we can use any force necessary to defend ourselves and our families. We do not, however, have the right to break in someone else’s door and attack them because we fear that they MIGHT someday attack us. We also do not have the right to hire a sniper to shoot the wife of someone we don’t like. We also would not have the right to invade a private house under the pretense that the children were being taught a “different” religion than that which we approved.

The propaganda was intended to get us to say “yeah, I would have done the same thing as the government.” Since the government does not have the legal authority to do anything which we could not do individually or collectively, that is the ONLY way they can justify their actions. That would have been giving our “consent.”

We, as a people, can refuse to ignore assaults on people’s liberty; we can stand together and withhold consent; THAT is what the government is scared of. If we withdraw our consent for illegal actions by the government, and refuse to obey unConstitutional laws, the only recourse left to the government is for them to make use of the ever-more militarized police.

When it comes down to a sheer matter of numbers, they know they are VASTLY outnumbered.

THAT is why they want our consent. It is the only thing that allows their continued hold on the power they have consolidated in the government. And governments NEVER willingly give up power.

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2 Responses to Consent of the Governed?

  1. Jim Spence says:

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  2. federal gun laws is a popular topic, have seen a lot of federal gun laws articles in my recent studies, think Consent of the Governed? | Random Thoughts on Music, Family, and Life is a great one. Thanks!

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