Consent? Of The Governed

Over the course of the past year, I have changed my mind about many things, political in nature, that are still surprising to me. 

Before I explore any of those particular changes over the next couple of days, I am obliged to state that I do not believe that any political system can provide the cure to what really ails mankind. I believe there is, at root, an underlying spiritual problem producing all the bad fruit that renders the enactment of governments necessary.

One of my favorite Christian thinkers, St. Augustine, famously said, ”Love, and do as you please.” 

One of my favorite secular thinkers, Henry David Thoreau said, ”Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man?”

I believe they are saying the same thing. There is no law against the law of Love, for none is necessary. A nation comprised of the practitioners of love would be a nation whose cup would overflow with both liberty and charity.

However, we do not live in such a nation. We fail at love ourselves, and are surrounded by other co-equal failures. We therefore appeal to a government for protection of some of our rights, while we relinquish others.

We comfort ourselves by assigning the submission of our liberties high sounding phrases like ”social contract’, and ”Constitutional Federal Republic”, and ”consent of the governed”, but as citizens, we have reserved no ”safe word” for those times that usurpation of individual liberties exceeds the boundaries of our consent.

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