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I Am the Governed and I Withdraw My Consent

Image by John R Perry from Pixabay

As we all navigate through the COVID pandemic and the hardships that it has brought to humanity, I’ve realized that I spend a great deal of time watching these events unfold—like lockdown, forced masking, vaccine mandates, travel restrictions, and the vast loss of liberty—without being able to do much about it. It leaves one feeling helpless as you watch your neighbors fold and acquiesce to restrictions on liberty that were, just a few years ago, unthinkable in America.

How it happened or why is unimportant. The fact is, those of us more concerned about the loss of liberty are outnumbered by those who are more concerned about a virus with a 99% recovery rate. It’s inexplicable but there are still more people who are willing to sacrifice their children’s education, their freedom to work, and their ability to breathe, for measures that don’t reduce viral spread. Lockdowns kill. The virus is spreading in homes, not schools or parks or restaurants, but we’re pretending like we don’t know this and are relying on old theories and draconian measures. There are few of us who don’t know someone negatively affected by not being able to get their usual health care for cancer or therapy for children with disabilities. That list of people, at least for me, is much greater than the people I know who have been negatively affected by COVID.

I’ve talked my teen daughter off a ledge by putting it this way: People like to play games, especially deadly ones. Right now, the game is COVID panic and fear. This game will go on as long as it takes for a majority of people to get sick of it and stop playing. We’re currently only the first of many who are unwilling to have our freedoms curtailed. We’re ahead of the curve. How far ahead remains to be seen but there is a line out there that Americans won’t cross. When we come to it, we will all know it and this game will come to a sudden end. I hope it’s not a violent one.

In the meantime, there is very little we can do to alleviate our discomfort. But I’ve decided that, philosophically speaking, the only thing to do is withdraw my consent. Whatever the government will impose upon me is not anything I can stop, but I can make them force me to do it. I can make it as uncomfortable for them as possible. I don’t give permission for the government to forcibly muzzle my face. I don’t consent to any mandatory vaccine. And if it comes to that, they’ll have to hold me down while I scream my opposition to it—causing a big, uncomfortable scene. Whatever they force upon me that conflicts with my inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness won’t be done with my silent consent.

It means I won’t fly on a plane while federal mask mandates are in effect. I won’t vote in their rigged elections or repeat the lie that says our system isn’t vulnerable to tampering and fraud. I won’t spread the propaganda that masking people to protect others from a virus is any more effective than stringing garlic around our necks to keep us safe from vampires. I will not wear a mask to make anyone feel better. The only way I will wear one is by force. And I’ll make sure whoever does the forcing knows it’s against my will. I will drive if I need to travel. I will dine in restaurants and support businesses suffering from lockdown restrictions. I will avoid playing this stupid game as much as humanly possible.

Removing my consent does two important things:

  1. It illustrates the illegitimacy of any government that has to rely on force and illegal mandates to impose its will upon people. This type of government is an illusion. It is criminal. It operates against the rights of man and of nature. I’m not going to lend it legitimacy by obeying these illegal “laws” that no legislature has debated.
  2. It absolves me from taking part in forcing evil on others.

There is a vicious lie out there that says encouraging your neighbor to violate the rights of others is virtuous. That it is for the “common good” that we remove rights from some in order to benefit others. But that’s a pernicious lie that undermines our very basic belief in the rights of the individual over the state. As long as one person is forced to act against his conscience and is deprived of unalienable rights, the government has lost its moral authority to govern. I believe this is the only principled stand we can take as we wait on the rest of America to catch on to the abuse of civil rights that is being perpetrated on them.

Our Declaration of Independence tells us that our rights are given to us by the Creator and that government’s only lawful function and purpose is to secure those rights. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

This government no longer has my consent. 

Tom Mullen wrote a brilliant editorial on the concept for the Foundation for Economic Education.

Here’s a useful rule of thumb. If it takes nine judges dozens of pages of legalese to explain how the Constitution grants a power in question to the federal government, then we should assume the power isn’t there. If there is any question at all, an amendment to the Constitution should be offered to determine if the people really do consent. That goes for all previous rulings by SCOTUS on constitutionality. If we really believe in consent of the governed, why not be sure?

Most of what the federal government currently does wouldn’t pass the test. That probably scares the heck out of a lot of people, but it really shouldn’t. It would simply allow blue states to govern themselves in much bluer fashion and red states to do so in much redder fashion. That’s by no means a perfect solution, but it would be highly preferable to the imminent civil unrest—or worse—Americans currently face as a result of letting the federal government do whatever it wants.

Neither state nor federal actors have attempted to find out if they have the consent of the governed, having bypassed the only legitimate voice of the people in the state legislatures with “emergency powers.” Not one mask mandate was passed by the representatives of the people, but instead, were decreed from the governors’ mansions under the guise of a “state of emergency.” On the contrary, Wisconsin’s legislators repealed the governor’s mask mandate showing us that the governed in Wisconsin at least don’t consent to forced masking. Our American governors do not have unlimited power to declare such things. Neither does the president of the United States have the power to declare what you wear on your face. The idea that some of us think they do is a staggering blow to civics education in this country.

We haven’t even gotten to the part where the SCOTUS must weigh in and determine whether all the executive orders are legal or not. It’s a long road ahead to even get there, but Mullen’s point is well-reasoned. The Constitution isn’t some difficult document to understand. It was written in plain English. There is nothing in it that allows our government to take control of our lives for this period of time in an unending “state of emergency” with no end in sight. Yet, they have done it. This leaves the people in an uncomfortable position of choosing either civil disobedience or servitude. I have decided that I’m not a slave. How about you?