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Do We Really Consent to Be Governed?

• fee.org by Robert Higgs

hat gives some people the right to rule others? At least since John Locke's time, the most common and seemingly compelling answer has been "the consent of the governed."

Political legitimacy presents a multitude of difficulties when we move from the realm of theoretical abstraction to that of practical realization.

When the North American revolutionaries set out to justify their secession from the British Empire, they declared, among other things: "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed." This sounds good, especially if one doesn't think about it very hard or very long, but the harder and longer one thinks about it, the more problematic it becomes.

Political Legitimacy 

One question after another comes to mind. Must every person consent? If not, how many must, and what options do those who do not consent have? What form must the consent take—verbal, written, explicit, implicit?

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

Yes. We really consent to be governed. How do we consent? Here's how.

A friend reminded me that California doesn't recognize the common law. Common law is law between and among the people, not legal law of the Government, not legal law that tells us all the things we legally can do and can’t do in our lives. My friend is right on, and so is California, along with other States that don't recognize common law.

What does common law have to do with it? Common law is above legal law. Consider the 6th and 7th Amendments where we can take any man/woman to court, in jury trial, for any infraction they have done against us, or for ANYTHING WE MIGHT CALL AN INFRACTION EVEN THOUGH IT WOULDN’T BE CONSIDERED SO NORMALLY.

A jury trial is a trial between the people. It is a trial that is outside of legal law if we want it to be. It is a common law trial. The law encyclopedia, Corpus Juris Secundum, says in volume 25, section 344, that Federal District courts are courts of record. A court of record power among the people. It proceeds under common law, not statute or code law, not LEGAL law. The tribunal is independent of the magistrate.

What in the world is the tribunal? The tribunal is the group of PEOPLE that takes part in the trial. It is the accuser, the one being accused, and the jury who are the judges. It is NOT the magistrate, the legal judge who we normally think of as being the judge. It isn’t any legal entity like a cop, a State or Federal official. It doesn’t have anything to do with an AGREEMENT of representation between any people.

The magistrate, who we normally think of as the judge, isn’t any more than a referee in the trial, to make sure proceedings are carried out in an orderly process. Because of this, the State doesn’t have anything to do with a common law trial, doesn’t recognize it, so to speak. Yet it stands stronger than any legal law.

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

Here’s the important part in how we consent to being governed? We remain ignorant about the basic, simple, structure of law. This structure is that we can overcome all statute law if it is the will of the people, directly, in jury form – common law - by accusing and taking to court the human being, man/woman along with the statute itself, who is/are harming us by enforcing the statute law on us in our lives. Google and Youtube search “Karl Lentz common law.”


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