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The Consent of the Governed

 
Thomas Jefferson
User ID: 1400713
Canada
07/20/2011 12:34 PM
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The Consent of the Governed
The United States Declaration of Independence written primarily by Thomas Jefferson reads:

"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 powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

I want to emphasize this sentence:
"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"

Consent of the governed. This means to say that a government can only exist with the consent of governed and is only justified and legal when derived from people or the society over which they have power. That laws in any nation that limit freedom can hardly be with consent of the governed. Laws that prohibit ideologies, prohibit discrimination, enforce intellectual property, criminalize non-violent acts and many more things that our governments do which we have given consent to govern us. It is no business of the state to interfere with what free men and women believe in and do so long as their acts are not violent towards other individuals their freedom has no boundaries, it is only in this form that true freedom can exist. The state should not have the right to tell its people what ideologies they can believe in. The state should not have the right to tell its people that their opinion is limited, that they can not believe in for example racial differences or in certain ideologies. The state should not have the right to criminalize non-violent acts that do not form a great threat to society to where it could stop functioning. The use of any substance at an age where that person is capable of making such a decision should be permitted. The only non-violent acts that can be criminalized are ones that negatively effect society in such a way that if it were permitted it could no longer function -- think of forgery, counterfeiting, fraud, money laundering, theft etc.

I'll go into depth of each of the issues, starting with ideologies and beliefs. It is important for the free individual to be able to believe in whatever or whoever they wish to believe in, again so long as this belief does not call for violence that could therein take that same freedom from others. Ideologies that have hateful or destructive beliefs should be met in public debate in order to allow that society to learn, evolve and improve through those means. The ideologies will remain existent whether they are legal or not, punishing them does not take away their belief. Now if this belief was challenged and questioned through debate there would be a chance to change the belief. To take as example one of the most commonly known beliefs that became more and more condemned throughout the 20th century: racism. The belief that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others. This belief does not disappear by prohibiting it, you merely limit the freedom and the right to hold any opinion on any matter. Think of the Nazis that considered Jews, Poles, Gypsies, Russians and so on as subhumans. The belief did not disappear, but through social evolving and scientific discoveries it became a far less commonly held belief. Even religious beliefs should and can not be limited, and as said; hateful or destructive beliefs from religion can only be changed when met in public debate.

Second comes the criminalizing of non-violent acts. As I stated before the only non-violent acts that can be criminalized are ones that negatively effect society in such a way that if it were permitted it could no longer function -- think of forgery, counterfeiting, fraud, money laundering, theft etc. Think of how we have evolved and came about, from groups of hunter-gatherers to entire nations. Think of our establishments as nations: governments, languages, currencies, borders etc. These things can only remain existent if certain acts are criminalized, as stated; think of forgery, counterfeiting, fraud, money laundering, theft etc. These are acts that can cause a great deal of harm to the functioning of our societies. Without currencies our currently established societies will cease to function properly, think in simple terms: No gas, no electricity, no bakery, no clothes, no law enforcement and the list continues on. So in order to protect this establishment certain acts, for the greater good of many, will have to be criminalized and anyone that wishes for its society to function can not deny this.

No government has the right to tell an individual they are not permitted to use a certain drug, alcohol or any substance. It is the choice of the free individual to make these decisions for him or herself. The prohibiting of these things will not stop them and this has been shown time and time again. Think about the prohibition of alcohol in the United States in the 30s. Did they stop using alcohol? No, it actually negatively affected society because it opened doors for the mafia to abuse it and spread it by their own means. How many died because the government felt prohibiting alcohol was good for society? How many died because of violence over alcohol? Today the use of many drugs are still prohibited in many countries, has this stopped the use of them? No, it has not. People are still able to attain these substances because as basic economics teaches: where there is a need or demand, there is a service or supply. If all substances were legalized would you and I suddenly start using them tomorrow? No, only those who were already using them and could already obtain them will continue to use them. Does it increase the chance that you or I will use them in the future? Yes, but only by our own free choice. You only get what you're going for. If you do not see or care for the dangers of certain substances then it is your own free choice and the consequences will be the result of your actions -- nobody but you are to blame if your health is affected negatively.

Moving on to another aspect of non-violent crimes: intellectual property. A product of the intellect that has commercial value, including copyrighted property such as literary or artistic works, and ideational property, such as patents, appellations of origin, business methods, and industrial processes. The idiotic and almost insane idea that intellect, ideas and information are any one's property. In most countries you can be fined or even be imprisoned for sharing "intellectual property". In other words they decide who has ownership to information and it is prohibited to share it without consent of the owner. I say this is outrageous, I say that this is not something that should be consented by the governed and while I don't often use the word; I say this is evil. No individual has the exclusive rights to information and there should not be such a thing as intellectual property. The very idea is so insulting and outrageous that no free man or woman could consent his or her government to prohibit these acts. It shakes the very base of freedom. We must do away with these idiotic laws and work towards a free world with free people who can freely exchange information and ideas.

In this final paragraph I want to again emphasize the importance of the "consent of the governed". Throughout human history governments, institutions and leaders of nations have passed laws and committed acts that have caused a great deal of harm to their societies and those they govern. We have set many steps -- think of the separation of church and state in many nations and the outburst of democracy and freedom throughout the world. While keeping in mind our achievements, we should look forward to the long path ahead of us. We have shown that we can evolve, learn and improve together. However much still needs to be done, our societies would greatly benefit if we were done with this utter stupidity and childishness and allowed the prevailing of the free individual. Governments should remember that they only exist because of the consent of the governed.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1400713
Canada
07/20/2011 12:50 PM
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Re: The Consent of the Governed
bump
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1081851
United States
07/20/2011 01:09 PM
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Re: The Consent of the Governed
read : The Conscience of an Anarchist
Destroys the argument that you can consent to the current system.

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