Monday, 4 January 2021

The Consent of the Governed

  The second paragraph in the Declaration of Independence reads in part:  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed,...."

     The last part says that men raise up governments to secure certain rights granted mankind by God, and that government derives it's "just" power from the consent of the people it governs.  To me this is the foundational statement of democracy.  At the same time, "consent" implies the active engagement of the governed. In order to be engaged, people have to first care and second, be informed.  The lack of engagement and knowledge on the part of many Americans explains why President Obama, gets away with class warfare and blatant lies.  The Republic today is in deep trouble because we have allowed it become so.  We may not have given our active consent but not withdrawing our consent is an action itself.  That we have done nothing should come as no surprise.

     Roughly 48% of Americans pay no taxes and about one in five are on the public dole.  It seems obvious that if one does not have to pay taxes, or is cared for from cradle to grave or both, that person has no interest in making waves.  He or she is going to vote for the hand that sustains him or her.  All the while the hand that sustains them is devising new ways to make them more and more dependent, thus creating a guaranteed voting block.  

     The taxpaying other 50% is comprised of conservatives and independents.  This group should have a vested interest in protecting the Republic, by paying attention and adding or withdrawing their consent, which happens most effectively at the voting booth.  This group is no more involved than the first and again it's not surprising.  Americans never seem to act unless something affects us directly.  We can think of things that cause us to act like Pearl Harbor or the destruction of the World Trade Center.  So it would seem that Americans, for the most part only act out of passion.  The same hand that is manipulating the welfare crowd is manipulating the rest of us at the same time.  They want to keep us dispassionate by any means.  The last thing they want is for us to become concerned and then act as a result. 

     The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, goes on to say:  "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

     In total, the second paragraph in essence says men (and women of course) have certain rights given of God, and they may elect to raise up a government to protect these rights.  That government is given its power by the people that established it and exists only to guarantee the rights of the people that formed it. It goes on to say when a government begins to ignore the only reasons for its existence, that the people have a right and an obligation to abolish it in favor of a government that exists to serve the people.  

     That part of the Declaration of Independence is as relevant today as when it was written.  We have a government that exists solely to perpetuate itself, and leaders that think it is the role of the government to dictate to the governed what they may or may not do and what is and what is not good for them.  The American government of 2012 is a far cry from the American government of 1790, when our Constitution was finally ratified.  We will likely never convert those that have been on public assistance for four generations so the question become how do we instill the need to act in the other half of the nation.  I do not have the answer to that because it took America many, many years to arrive at this point.  I can say with relative certainty that we won't change anything by writing to one another here or in other conservative venues.  That is not to say that we should stop but it does say that we are preaching to the proverbial choir when we do so.  We have to find ways to reach out to those that need to hear and understand the message and we need to have the patience to stay with it.

One blow to states rights was the ratification of the 17th amendment.  Up until it was ratified in 1913, Senators were appointed by the state legislatures.  That meant the states could recall them if they didn't like how they were being represented.  

The other thing that I have observed is how the Federal government uses tax dollars as extortion in getting states to behave.  The Federal taxes collected are so high that there is no room for states to tax further, at least in a way that would provide adequate funding.  The Fed collects taxes, passed by the Congress, and then redistributes the dollars to the states as we all know.  So if the states don't play ball the way the central government wants, tax dollars are withheld.

The way our Federal Government behaves reminds me of the behavior of the royalty in France, just prior to the French revolution.  They are arrogant and out of touch with the American people.  Their behavior indicates they consider us to be lacking intelligence and treats us like feudal serfs.  I agree that one day there will be a spillover resulting in violence if we don't do something differently.  I don't think it will be as a result of those of us who are rational getting fed up.  I think it will come, as it has in Greece, when the government can no longer afford the welfare checks.  I think the violence will come from those on the public dole when the Federal money dries up.

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