I’d like to include a conversation, between myself and someone who I don’t know personally and will indicate simply as “question”, about this subject.
Question: Social contract is a lie. Did you agree to live this? I didn’t.
Answer: You referenced consent, but didn’t really add much to the conversation. You gain benefits from the social order. Not every person will be pleased with any given form of government, including an anarchist system, and say “but I didn’t consent to this!” You didn’t consent to being born, yet here you are. Am I to believe that your rights were somehow infringed because your parents had sex and carried you to term without your permission? It’s a ridiculous assertion. Under our government you have the necessary freedoms to try and effect your fellow, co-equal sovereigns and influence them to create a more individualistic and free society. I’m all in favor of involving as much free choice and consent into government and society as possible, but I have yet to be convinced that an anarchist system would be able to produce as free or well-ordered society.
Question: Did you consent to be governed/ruled under this supposed social contract?
Answer: I will reiterate that no single individual’s, or even group of individuals’, consent to the current system of governance is relevant to whether or not the government has a legitimate source of power from which to act. The current government existed before you or I or any other person. It was created and consented to by our ancestors who, by force, maintained control over lands which became subject to their authority as a civil society and common body politic. You and I were born into this territory and subject to the natural authority of our parents, who subjected themselves voluntarily, in the first instance, to the social contract and gave their consent, as a majority, to form a government. Seeing as you were subject and dependent upon the laws and society created by your ancestors, what claim can you make that the government has no authority? You live in the territory controlled by this society and it’s government, do you not? What right do you have to use that shared territory for personal gain and yet exempt yourself from the authority of that society which controls it? The only legitimate argument which can be made that taxation is theft is when government acts beyond it’s Constitutional scope, the Constitution being the fundamental law and frame of legitimate government, to which our ancestors agreed to mutual obligation and governance. In such circumstances it can be said that the government has no authority.
Question: So am I sovereign or am I subject to be ruled over? Since my consent doesn’t mean anything?
Answer: You are co-sovereign with every other American. You have no rights which are not shared by every other person within the territory of the US. You have a mutual obligation to obey the laws which have been enacted by the consent of the governed, established by the majority of persons who live within any given state, as long as the rights which were reserved to you by the social contract, in the first instance e.g. the Constitution, are not contravened. Your consent has meaning in your right to free speech, right to petition the government for redress of grievances, right to assemble, right to vote, right to due process, right to bear arms, etc. etc.
I would appreciate any feedback and critiques of my arguments.