The Consent Of The Governed – The Myth Of Consent – Larken Rose

The Myth of Consent
In the modem world, slavery is almost universally condemned. But the relationship of a
perceived “authority” to his subject is very much the relationship of a slave master
(owner) to a slave (property). Not wanting to admit that, and not wanting to condone
what amounts to slavery, those who believe in “authority” are trained to memorize and
repeat blatantly inaccurate rhetoric designed to hide the true nature of the situation. One
example of this is the phrase “consent of the governed.”

There are two basic ways in which people can interact: by mutual agreement, or by one
person using threats or violence to force his will upon another. The first can be labeled
“consent”– both sides willingly and voluntarily agreeing to what is to be done. The
second can be labeled “governing” – one person controlling another. Since these two –
consent and governing – are opposites, the concept of “consent of the governed” is a
contradiction. If there is mutual consent, it is not “government”; if there is governing,
there is no consent. Some will claim that a majority; or the people as a whole, have given
their consent to be ruled, even if many individuals have not. But such an argument turns
the concept of consent on its head. No one, individually or as a group, can give consent
for something to be done to someone else. That is simply not what “consent” means. It
defies logic to say, “I give my consent for you to be robbed.” Yet that is the basis of the
cult of “democracy”: the notion that a majority can give consent on behalf of a minority,
That is not “consent of the governed”; it is forcible control of the governed, with the
“consent” of a third party.
Even if someone were silly enough to actually tell someone else, “I agree to let you
forcibly control me,” the moment the controller must force the “controllee” to do
something, there is obviously no longer “consent.” Prior to that moment, there is no
“governing” – only voluntary cooperation. Expressing the concept more precisely
exposes its inherent schizophrenia: “I agree to let you force things upon me, whether I
agree to them or not.”
But in reality, no one ever agrees to let those in “government” do whatever they want. So,
in order to fabricate “consent” where there is none, believers in “authority” add another,
even more bizarre, step to the mythology: the notion of “implied consent.” The claim is
that, by merely living in a town, or a state, or a country, one is “agreeing” to abide by
whatever rules happen to be issued by the people who claim to have the right to rule that
town, state, or country. The idea is that if someone does not like the rules, he is free to
leave the town, state, or country altogether, and if he chooses not to leave, that constitutes
giving his consent to be controlled by the rulers of that jurisdiction.
Though it is constantly parroted as gospel, the idea defies common sense. It makes no
more sense than a carjacker stopping a driver on a Sunday and telling him, “By driving a
car in this neighborhood on Sunday, you are agreeing to give me your car.” One person
obviously cannot decide what counts as someone else “agreeing” to something. An
agreement is when two or more people communicate a mutual willingness to enter into
some arrangement. Simply being born somewhere is not agreeing to anything, nor is
living in one’s own house when some king or politician has declared it to be within the
realm he rules. It is one thing for someone to say, “If you want to ride in my car, you may
not smoke,” or “You can come into my house only if you take your shoes off.” It is quite
another to try to tell other people what they can do on their own property. Whoever has
the right to make the rules for a particular place is, by definition, the owner of that place.
That is the basis of the idea of private property: that there can be an “owner” who has the
exclusive right to decide what is done with and on that property. The owner of a house
has the right to keep others out of it and, by extension, the right to tell visitors what they
can and cannot do as long as they are in the house.
And that sheds some light on the underlying assumption behind the idea of implied
consent. To tell someone that his only valid choices are either to leave the “country” or to
abide by whatever commands the politicians issue logically implies that everything in the
“country” is the property of the politicians. If a person can spend year after year paying
for his home, or even building it himself, and his choices are still to either obey the
politicians or get out, that means that his house and the time and effort he invested in the
house are the property of the politicians. And for one person’s time and effort to rightfully
belong to another is the definition of slavery. That is exactly what the “implied consent”
theory means: that every “country” is a huge slave plantation, and that everything and
everyone there is the property of the politicians. And, of course, the master does not need
the consent of his slave.
The believers in “government” never explain how it is that a few politicians could have
acquired the right to unilaterally claim exclusive ownership of thousands of square miles
of land, where other people were already living, as their territory, to rule and exploit as
they see fit. It would be no different from a lunatic saying, “I hereby declare North
America to be my rightful domain, so anyone living here has to do whatever I say, If you
don’t like it, you can leave.”
There is also a practical problem with the “obey or get out” attitude, which is that getting
out would only relocate the individual to some other giant slave plantation, a different
“country.” The end result is that everyone on earth is a slave, with the only choice being
which master to live under. This completely rules out actual freedom. More to the point,
that is not what “consent” means.
The belief that politicians own everything is demonstrated even more dramatically in the
concept of immigration “laws.” The idea that a human being needs permission from
politicians to set foot anywhere in an entire country – the notion that it can be a “crime”
for someone to step across an invisible line between one authoritarian jurisdiction into
another – implies that the entire country is the property of the ruling class. If a citizen is
not allowed to hire an “illegal alien,” is not allowed to trade with him, is not even
allowed to invite an “illegal” into his own home, then that individual citizen owns
nothing, and the politicians own everything.
Not only is the theory of “implied consent” logically flawed, but it also obviously does
not describe reality. Any “government” that had the consent of its subjects would not
need, and would not have, “law” enforcers. Enforcement happens only if someone does
not consent to something. Anyone with their eyes open can see that “government,” on a
regular basis, does things to a lot of people against their will. To be aware of the myriad
of tax collectors, beat cops, inspectors and regulators, border guards, narcotics agents,
prosecutors, judges, soldiers, and all the other mercenaries of the state, and to still claim
that “government” does what it does with the consent of the “governed,” is utterly
ridiculous. Each individual, if he is at all honest with himself, knows that those in power
do not care whether he consents to abide by their “laws.” The politicians’ orders will be
carried out, by brute force if necessary, with or without any individual’s consent.

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