Friday, February 19, 2010

Consent of the governed...

The Declaration of Independence made some pretty good points about why the United States ought to be established:

"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."

According to the people over at Rasmussen Reports, a majority of Americans aren't as willing to give their consent as they used to be. I have to believe it's because our government started doing things to us, (in the name of doing things for us), that we really never consented to at all.

Of course, when it comes right down to it, nobody that you or I know signed the Constitution, or voted to ratify it the first time around. Some of us are old enough to remember the addition of a few amendments, but some of us aren't. When it was first written, the Constitution had both minor and major flaws and omissions that needed to be worked out over the years, some fairly peaceably, some not. About 150 years ago a good part of the nation decided to withdraw their consent to be governed by the other part of the nation. It made an awful mess for the longest time. Some people from both sides never got over it. Some people from both sides still haven't.

But, for the most part, within a few years after that war ended, most people gave at least their implied consent to be governed. And the more consent we implied, the more the government governed. And they ended up governing a lot more than the Constitution says they can govern.

So that's where we are today. And I hope the people over at Rasmussen are correct. I don't know if most people will ever consent to not be governed at all, but I do hope most of us would start consenting to be governed a lot less.

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