Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Consent, law, and ethics.

Age of consent, age of culpability.. lots of law on consent.. but this is not about law, this is about ethics, something that rarely rears its head in law anymore.

Consent... if one cannot give consent, how can any thing be consentual? If one cannot revoke consent, is there consent? If contractual consent is offered, say in a living will, but cannot be revoked due to incapacitation of the 'consenting' member, is it still consent?

What point does the creation or revocation of consent truly exist? Is it consent to say 'I do'? Is there consent given when a person says 'I allow this?'? At what point does consent begin and end?

Is a lack of a negative response consent? I cannot see that it could be, for if so, a vegetable gives consent for being cut. If there is a lack of the capability to remove stated consent, does consent remain?

In any any consentual agreement, there must be, and is, the option to remove consent to the agreement. This may, in civil law, have forfeiture clauses to restrict the end of that agreement. If consent is withdrawn to the contract, those forfeitures occur.

But how is it consenting if one cannot remove one's consent? Say the cases of law, for instance. If one has a 'civil' regulation put upon one, without one's agreeing to it, is that consentual? Is it consentual, equally, for a person to agree to a law without the knowledge of what the law contains?

Is it consent to be governed if the agreement to the law is made by another, on your behalf, without your knowledge? At what point does consent begin and end?

If you can 'consent' to a law through a third party without your knowledge, and you lack the ability to revoke that consent to the law, is that consent?

If you can 'consent' to pay taxes, without the ability to revoke that requirement for payment due to nonperformance, is that truly consent?

Do we consent to be governed simply by our inaction? Is that consent? Do we consent to be goverened by civil contract, but lack the means to break such a contract, is that consentual?

There is much about consent that is ethically dodgy, particularly when one applies consent to an action, or an inaction, or a lack of capability of action, or a lack of capability for revocation.

If the states had the power to engage in the creation of a union, how can they not remove that consent, and have it remain consentual? If they can involve a third party, a body of persons over whom they have sway, and the body itself gives them their power, it can be said to be consentual, but can the people then revoke that consent to be governed?

If we as a people choose to consent to government, is it not part and parcel of that consent the ability, and right, to revoke that consent to be goverened, by moving away from the government and renouncing ties to it? If one cannot revoke consent, is it consentual?

If by revocation of consent, the consent can be enforced upon you, is that consent? If it is a representational consent, can we not claim to misrepresentation, and thus revocation? What is consent, really? Do we consent to be goverened, not by agreement, but by passivity?

I contend that the lack of action against an action cannot be construed as consent, nor can the inability to revoke that consent be construed as consent. Further, consentual actions must allow a procedure for termination of that consent, else they cannot be considered consentual.

Civil law, by nature, is a debate of consent. It determines the nature of contracts and agreements, and binds the parties to the action to the force of law. Civil actions, as well, often contain explicit severance clauses, due to malicious action, termination without fault, and termination due to ends of contract period.

But in every case, there must be an affirmative action of consent, the signature of that contract. Consent can be given, in a civil measure, for the future. This consent cannot be withdrawn save for the termination of the contract or the fulfillment of specific terms of the contract. That consent lives on in the contract itself, as the contract becomes a party to the consent. It does, however, if one is smart, have a termination clause, or severance clause.

But in consent between people, say if a wife says to the husband, 'You have consent forever', then they have a fight, she can sever that consent, so long as she is capable of communication. if with a person who assigns that consent, but cannot revoke it, can we truly be said to be in a situation of consent?

The American people, themselves, are in a coma, in some ways. They are fearful of withdrawing consent to the government. They are badly represented in the House, and less represented in the Senate, and the President and Judiciary themselves are failing upon matters of contractual law, as well as the understanding of the terms of the contract, as it was implemented.

If we cannot revoke consent to a law, or revoke the law itself, and the law has no explicit means for revocation of that consent, is it still rule by consent? If our representative, having legal power over our future, as a power of attorney, or power of representation in the congress or senate, fails to represent us, is there not in most civil contracts a severance from actions contrary to the public good, and often penalties enacted for that severance by fault?

if that contract can be unilaterally altered, without consultation of the parties affected by the contract, is that consent? If the contract is enforced upon another, without the direct agreement, without a severance clause, by power of attorney, is that consent?

So where do we truly stand?

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