Posted: February 21st, 2010 by Militant Libertarian
Still on display in the National Archives and revered as one of the most important documents in U.S. history, the Declaration of Independence tells us that a just government requires “the consent of the governed.” But aRasmussen poll released Thursday shows that only 21 percent of Americans believe the U.S. government has the consent of the governed.
Among the “Political Class,” which Rasmussen defines as people who implicitly trust the government and political leaders, 63 percent think that the government has the consent of the governed, but among voters it defines as mainstream, only 6 percent believe it.
The 1776 Declaration of Independence from British rule, the first document to establish the United States as political entities, says in part:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Rasmussen found that 78 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independent voters, and 44 percent of Democrats believe the government does not have the necessary consent.
People were split not only along party lines but along income levels as well. Those making the most money were more likely to say the government has the consent of the governed, while the poorest voters were least likely to believe it.
Moreover, 71 percent of all voters now believe that the federal government is a special interest group, and 70 percent think that government and big business collude to harm consumers and investors.
In his new book, In Search of Self-Governance, Scott Rasmussen observes that the American people are “united in the belief that our political system is broken, that politicians are corrupt, and that neither major political party has the answers.” He adds that “the gap between Americans who want to govern themselves and the politicians who want to rule over them may be as big today as the gap between the colonies and England during the 18th century.” — Rasmussen Reports
This is a golden opportunity for the liberty movement. We know we have the answers for today, just as our ideological forefathers had the answers for 1776. The challenge ahead of us is to communicate our principles to our fellow Americans and show them how liberty and freedom will restore the economy and improve their lives.
The telephone poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted February 15 and 16 and has a margin of error of ±3 percentage points.
(P.S. Gardner Goldsmith says that Thomas Jefferson made a huge mistake when editing the Declaration of Independence. If you’re into alternate history fiction, L. Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach explores what America might have looked like had Jefferson not made this particular edit to the Declaration. Gard also explores what “consent of the governed” actually means.)