Consider that in Catholicism, there is a baptism and a confirmation for all practicing Catholics. Why? Baptism – to save the souls of the innocent. Makes perfect sense; if you believe that you have to accept Jesus in order to save your soul, the earlier you do it, the better. But then why confirmation?

Confirmation means accepting responsibility for your faith and destiny.

Most religions (e.g. Judaism) skip the baptism step, for they are born into the religion, they don’t have to join. But Bar / Bat mitzvah serves a similar purpose purpose to confirmation. One accepts the tenets of religion, consciously. Hindu Brahmans (my peeps) similarly go through the “Janeu” ceremony”. There is some amount of study and ritual acceptance.

So, even God wants explicit consent.

But not the state. If you are born into it, you are stuck with the laws of the land.

But wait, aren’t we born free and are only governed by the consent of the Governed?

But did we consent? What did we consent to? Was it an explicit consent? Is it implicit? Does voting constitute consent? What percent of the governed consented (if voting is considered the proof of consent)? What is the threshold of consent? What if less than 50% vote? What happens to consent if no one votes? I’ve said it before – who signed the social contract? I haven’t even seen it.

Of course, there are ways to get rid of laws we do no like. But it takes time, effort and money. So we essentially live in a world of implicit consent where we have to work extraordinarily hard to make changes to anything we do not consent to.

Some thinkers like Lysander Spooner don’t think that implicit consent is enough to impose laws. He wrote:

“And yet we have what purports, or professes, or is claimed, to be a contract—the Constitution—made eighty years ago, by men who are now all dead, and who never had any power to bind us, but which (it is claimed) has nevertheless bound three generations of men, consisting of many millions, and which (it is claimed) will be binding upon all the millions that are to come; but which nobody ever signed, sealed, delivered, witnessed, or acknowledged; and which few persons, compared with the whole number that are claimed to be bound by it, have ever read, or even seen, or ever will read, or see.” ― Lysander Spooner, No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority

Now not everyone will go to the extent of Lysander Spooner, but it is an interesting thought experiment to consider his arguments.

If we see the Government as an entity that exists to protect our natural rights, then there is nothing to consent – rights existed before Governments and will continue to exist after. Any laws that do not serve the natural rights, though, are suspect then.

However, if the Government exists to “Govern”, I offer you the description of the Governed by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon:

To be GOVERNED is to be kept in sight, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality. (P.-J. Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, trans. John Beverley Robinson. London: Freedom Press, 1923, p. 294)

Sounds hyperbolic, right? Only, now, with NSA, TSA, IRS et. al. I sure feel “inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded”. As a business owner, I feel “at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished”.

Did we really consent to being groped by the TSA? Did we consent to be spied on by the NSA? Did we consent to be harassed by the IRA? Does merely living in this country mean we consent to every law? Does driving on the roads mean that I am OK to be spied on by traffic cams? Does living in the country make me complicit to supporting Corporate Welfare to, say, big Pharma? At what point do we see that consent is a fairy tale?

What are we “implicitly” consenting to, what would you have changed, and how do we do it?

I know, I know, I have the option to leave, with penalties, of course.


NOTE: this article original appeared on Ricochet.com
The featured image was take by JapanBlack (CC BY 2.0 — photoshopped).