Please read my prior essay “In Search of Mr. Jefferson’s Liberty” first.
[The same list of references and accreditation are applicable to this essay.]
“In Search of Mr. Jefferson’s Liberty” ended with a contention that “consent” defines our personal status in relation to government and liberty. This essay explores the meaning and consequence of “consent”.
Our US Declaration of Independence says: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” Consent plays a critical role in defining social and political order.
Both the North Carolina Constitution of 1776 and our current Constitution of 1971 rely on “consent” as their source for authority: “The people of this State shall not be taxed or made subject to the payment of any impost or duty without the consent of themselves or their representatives in the General Assembly, freely given.”
Webster’s dictionary of 1828 defines consent as (1) A yielding of the mind or will to that which is proposed, (2) To yield what one has the power, the right, or the disposition to withhold, or refuse to grant. We use this word where power, rights, and claims are concerned. Consent often amounts to permission.
The philosophical appeal of consent theory is that it captures our nature as autonomous moral beings. Consent is an essential element in the delivery of justice under maxims of common law; e.g. “No man has the right to force an obligation on another with impunity.” Consent denies that force or coercion, conquest or de facto power as such, can place upon us any moral obligation.
Most of the abuses and usurpations of government can be traced to consent, often acquired by dubious means. The most insidious of the “dubious means” is the presumption that “free acceptance of benefits” grants an implied consent.
A legal contract is established whenever a benefit is accepted from government. Once you enter into a contract for defined benefit (protection and/or payment from the public treasury) you have ‘consented’ to be bound by the legislative jurisdiction and civil statutes of the state.
Citizens surrender unalienable rights in exchange for the privilege to exercise a limited political liberty, e.g. voting, jury duty, public office. “Rights … affirmed in the Constitution … (are) restricted … to the extent that they have been voluntarily surrendered by the citizenship to agencies of the government“. [City of Dallas v Mitchell (1922)]
The ‘vehicles of entrapment’ are the abundance of seemingly innocuous government ‘application’ forms: Taxpayer ID; Registration of births, marriages and land deeds; Social Security (FICA); Medicare.
Consent transforms property from Private to Public. A warranty deed is a conditional title in “fee simple”; a contract of feudal obligation. The term “real estate” means land recognized and regulated in government statutes. It became “real” in the jurisdiction of government, converted from ‘private’ to ‘public’ status, through consent implied by the act of registering a deed.
Eradication of all private property ownership was accomplished by reducing the status at law of the individual (via pauperization – FICA), and by eliminating lawful money from circulation (FDR 1933). Ownership is converted to ‘user’, and property subject to ‘rent’. Citizen-paupers receive benefits in the form of charity through entitlement programs which are ‘gifts from the public treasury’.
Once individual Americans lacked standing and could not alienate title with lawful money, all property purchased with worthless notes (Federal Reserve) was no longer held by right, but by privilege, subject to taxation and regulation. Since the New Deal, government has maintained a “creditor” relationship with regard to its “debtor” citizens.
Consent transforms liberty from Rights to Privileges. In a similar fashion to the conversion of property, all rights become conditional upon an agreement to receive benefits. The resulting privileges are subject to statute and regulation. This transformation is the reason that law enforcement and lawyers are able to say: “no rights are absolute”.
A right to travel is converted into a regulated privilege to drive a vehicle. Building permits are required for improvement on property not under mortgage or lien. Privilege licenses are necessary for business transactions between individuals. Carry permits are mandated for concealed weapons despite a 2nd Amendment protection that “shall not be infringed”.
Consent transforms life from Sovereign to Slave. When a private person becomes a citizen, s/he becomes a corporate officer of the government. Life itself is treated as indentured servitude, an asset of the state. This has dire consequences which manifest in such legislative obscenities as the income tax and the recent healthcare “tax on your life” (Obamacare).
Consent converts a “private person” into a corporate officer of the government; an entity subject to legislative jurisdiction and regulation.
Transformation is not a new phenomenon in America, it has accompanied our evolution from common law into statutory civil law. Progressive government in the 20th and 21st centuries merely accelerated positive law and affirmative legislation which has its roots in the early 19th century.
Property, liberty and life itself are held conditional to the needs of society. In granting consent, rights become subordinate first to society and then to the tyranny of a majority via democratic legislative process. Over time, rights disappear and privileges become arbitrary.
Jefferson’s world was one of absolutes: a sovereign God; a sovereign man created in God’s image; absolute and unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property. Religion provided moral guidance for interactions among men and common law provided the means to address “harm” and “damage”.
Rightful Liberty stands in bold contrast to the social philosophy of governments and their citizen-slaves. The fundamental purpose of government, to protect rights, is invalidated by the actions that accomplish social control. Consent has alienated the very rights that government was established to protect and defend.
“Abraham Lincoln did not cause the death of so many people from a mere love of slaughter, but only to bring about a state of consent that could not otherwise be secured for the government he had undertaken to administer.” ~ L. Spooner
What does this mean for our efforts to restore society and government to the principles of our country’s founding?
In the state of nature we had the power to do whatever it took to preserve our lives, our natural rights, and our property. We also had the right to punish those who violated the law of nature: this stemmed directly from the law of self-preservation.
Once consent to be governed has been granted, one cannot exercise absolute and unalienable rights. One can only ask permission to use qualified and conditional privileges that mock the memory of Rightful Liberty.
When social restrictions become intolerable, as they always will, there is no real recourse within a system enabled by your consent.
You cannot ‘elect’ a solution to the problems of social control and restricted liberty via polls when the root cause is your own consent …
• to democracy (tyranny of the majority)
• to socialism (needs of the many outweigh those of the individual)
• to bribery (purchase of votes through benefits from the treasury)
• to usury (theft of wealth through inflation of fiat currency)
• TO BE GOVERNED
You must withdraw consent and return to Rightful Liberty.