December 15, 2003

Common Consense


"A French bastard (William the Conqueror) landing with an armed banditti, and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original. It certainly hath no divinity in it. However, it is needless to spend much time in exposing the folly of hereditary right, if there are any so weak as to believe it, let them promiscuously worship the ass and lion, and welcome. I shall neither copy their humility, nor disturb their devotion."--Tom Paine's 'Common Sense'

Mr. Paine believed in the Consent of the Governed. And evidently, he was no great fan of French bastards. I feel your pain, Tom.

A blog named for Jefferson's famous Declaratory phrase must, of course, examine what is meant by 'consent', what comprises 'governance', and determine the identity of those being 'Governed'. And so we shall...but not today. Today, I merely wish to make Sally Hemmings jokes. If that offends you, well, as Jefferson said to Ms. Hemming's offspring "Hey, kids; lighten up!"

You're right; Hamilton WAS funnier.

Regardless of the rumors, Miss Hemmings had no consent in her own governance. Slavery is tyranny in its most distilled form, except for genocide; the slave 'owners' at least usually sought to keep their 'property' alive. For all its malignant evil, slavery was a stark wrong. Our challenges today are far more amorphous, a Smurf word meaning "Beware the Ruth Bader-Meinhoff Gang of Five!".

It must be admitted that we are, on the whole, much more free, informed, healthy, wealthy and scientifically knowledgeble than at any time in history.

Perhaps that is why one hears so much piffley criticism; only when one is not chained to a galley can one focus on searing indignities such as 'inappropriate looking' or freeing Willie at a cost of millions. I assure you that the hungering millions of yesteryear would have zero time and less sympathy for any People for the Animal Treatment of Ethics (PATE') campaign. Especially one which placed both the egg and the chicken, not to mention chicken-coop Feng Shui issues, before the needs of hungry people.

Consent, and consensuality, are all the rage today. (Ironically however, the phrase 'all the rage' has gone out of style.)

That's why we provide college students classes such as "Orgy 101: Is Inviting Less than a Dozen 'Non-Inclusive'?. But then we insist that the participants sign a form acknowledging consent at each stage of intimacy, until the love-nest is so papered-over that it resembles the False Affidavit Wing of the Clinton Library after a 'Miss Arkansas' contest at the Little Rock Hilton. Marriage may be 'just a piece of paper', but swinging requires its own Dewey Decimal system.

After your institution of higher learning has helped you express your consensuality, it will, of course, provide you with any necessary medical services on a confidential basis.

That means they won't tell your parents, who pay your tuition in their own little-minded, repressed bourgeois way. Because they might actually withhold their consent. And their tuition check.

Which would violate the Geneva Conventions, UN Resolutions 242 & 345, The Code of Hammurabi...and might even prevent the Dean of Law from taking his Spring Break vacation with his teaching assistant. And that would have a 'disparate impact' on his Constitutional Right to Consensuality, violate the 'Livin' La Vida In Loco Parentis' Clause of his frequent-flyer miles fine print, causing major self-esteem issues with the resultant lawsuits...and forcing me to use several other latin words and legal phrases.

Trust me, parents; you don't want that. Let it go. Write the check.

And now you understand 'Consent', Mom & Dad.

Oh; and don't forget to sign it.

Posted by Noel at December 15, 2003 04:29 AM
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