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Social Compact Theory, Consent of the Governed, and the Right of Free Association – February 11, 2011 Posted in: Chairman’s Corner
Social Compact theory says that we find someone that we like, and we may decide to hang out with them. Let’s call that person a “spouse”. Anytime the two people in that voluntary association decide that it’s in their best interest to go their separate ways, they may. We shall call that act, “a divorce”. Let’s expand on that system a few degrees. Let’s suppose that those two people decide to hang out with each other, and then those two people find other people that they like, and decide to hang out with them. Let’s call that group of like-minded people “a community”. Anytime someone in that community feels that this voluntary association is no longer in their best interest, they can simply move away and divorce themselves from that community.
Let’s take it up a few notches. Communities find other like minded communities and form a social compact with them. These are called Counties. Anytime one of the Communities in that County feels that the free association with that County is no longer in their best interest, they may dissolve that social compact that binds them, sort of like a divorce. The same social compact theory applies to all of our voluntary associations.
By free association, we choose a spouse, a Community, a County, a State, and even a Federal Government. At anytime we feel that this voluntary association is no longer in our best interest, it is our right to divorce ourselves from it. This is what the Declaration of Independence proved. It’s easy to divorce ourselves from our Spouse, but what about the rest? Sure, we can move away from the Community and divorce ourselves from them, but can we, as individuals, divorce ourselves from the County? If we move out of that County, must we automatically associate with another County? Is there somewhere that is not a County? Somewhere that is not a State? A Nation?
Anyone that has read history understands the deep thought that went into our Constitution. It took 13 years to write. It was not something that was just scribbled down on a cocktail napkin and then implemented. The founders looked back at systems of governance throughout the history of time and found one common denominator for reasons why those systems failed. What they discovered was that in every single one of the previous systems, the Government failed to respect this right of free association. The founders thought that the right to free association was so important to the continued existence of our nation, that they put it in the 1st Amendment. It is this idea of free association that inspired Thomas Jefferson to use the phrase “consent of the governed”. He understood that the concept of “consent of the governed” was the only mechanism that could allow free association. Since a person could not move to someplace that was not in a County, or a State, or a Nation, and in order to respect the right of free association, “Consent of the Governed” would ensure that tyranny of the majority does not happen.
If the Community all of a sudden, required that Player A and Player B chop firewood for the entire community, the Community would first have to have the consent of Player A and Player B. Just having the consent of Players C through Z is not enough. Consent of the governed said that before Player A and Player B could be compelled to chop firewood for everyone else in the community, Player A and Player B would have to agree to do this. Of course, in a Democracy, Players C through Z could simply vote to make Players A and B chop their firewood for them. But in our system of governance, and within the confines of Consent of the Governed, it is only possible if Player A and Player B agree to do it.
For several decades now, Communities, Counties, State Legislatures, and the Federal Government have been violating the basic human right of free association. They have passed a multitude of ordinances, statutes, and laws that do not have the consent of the governed. We call these “victimless crimes”.
When the Constitution was written, it gave our Judicial Branch jurisdiction in 4 areas of law. They were Common Law, Maritime Law, Laws of Equity, and Admiralty Law. If you do a little research into these jurisdictions, you will discover that none of these jurisdictions allow a court to prosecute you for victimless crimes, such as seatbelt laws, no smoking laws, County Health Department violations, or for failue to chop firewood for others. Common Law jurisdiction cannot compel you into any type action, such as the requirement to put on a seatbelt, or chop firewood. Maritime law is basically business law, or contract law. Did you sign a contract to do something? Laws of Equity jurisdiction is when there is a dispute over the value of something, such as when you backed out of your driveway and ran over my mailbox. I can take you to court in the Laws of Equity jurisdiction and seek a remedy. Admiralty Law is basically Martial Law. During times of war, the Admiral can send his fleet into a harbor and use his guns to maintain peace and order. The Law is whatever the Admiral says it is.
So,….none of these jurisdictions allow the Judicial Branch of Government to prosecute you for victimless crimes. The Judicial Branch of Government, like the rest authorized in our Constitution was well thought out, and every power that was given to the Judicial Branch was given to them for a reason, and every limitation imposed on them, likewise was for a very good reason. The REASON the Constitution limited the Judicial Branch to the jurisdictions of Common Law, Laws of Equity, Maritime Law and Admiralty law, was because these limitations would ensure that the concepts of Consent of the Governed, and the right to free association be preserved forever. These jurisdictions could not be used to prosecute Player A and Player B for not chopping firewood for everyone. These jurisdictions were put into place to ensure that Democracy does not take a foothold on the Continent. Remember, democracy is nothing more than three wolves and a duck voting on what’s for supper.
Consent of the Governed, the right of free association, our Constitution and the jurisdictions authorized in it, prevented the wolves from voting the duck onto their dinner plate. They prevented a majority of people in the community (or county, or State, or Nation), from voting the others into their servitude. No longer would majority vote be used to make someone chop your firewood, make them give you money, or make you stop doing things they disapprove of (victimless crimes). In general, the right of free association and the concept of Consent of the Governed protected your freedom as an individual.
Help us preserve these rights against those that would vote you into their servitude. Help us preserve the concepts of free association, the consent of the governed, and Constitutional governance. The Libertarian Party is the only political party that holds the principles of Consent of the Governed and Right of Association in such high esteem. As a matter of fact, we’re called the “Party of Principle” for a reason,….and we are unwavering in our defense of those principles.