The statement reads in part, “The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones…. This is particularly important for secondhand or other mobile devices that you might buy or receive as a gift, and want to activate on the wireless network that meets your needs — even if it isn’t the one on which the device was first activated. All consumers deserve that flexibility.”
I’m pleasantly surprised that President Obama supports the rights of consumers to choose which company will service their telephones and other wireless devices. I wish that he would remain consistent and support the right of the people to choose their government.
How did I make the leap from unlocking cellphones to unlocking government? It’s not as broad a jump as one may think. Suppose you were given the choice of selecting a cellphone provider and told that you can only change your phone, plan and/or policy every four years. Now, suppose that one year into your contract, you realize that you made a horrible choice, but had no way of canceling your service. You would not be happy and would be forced to wait until the end of your contract. Currently, there are ways to get out of a contract. Generally one is required to pay a cancellation fee, but it does break the contract.
Suppose again that your neighbors all decide jointly which phone, plan, and provider everyone in the area gets for the next four years, again with no manner of making a change. Once again, you’re forced to wait until the end of the term to express your opinion and hope you can sway your neighbors to choose a phone, plan, and provider that you like.
That last example is exactly what happens every few years in towns, cities, counties and States around the country. Voters go to the polls and express their opinion on which candidate, party and policies they prefer, with the plurality getting what they wanted (at the time) for a term of years. If the joint opinion of the plurality changes in the middle of the term, in most cases there is no option for recourse.
Why then should people not have a manner in which they can let it be known that they do not consent to the ideas expressed by the local (or national) government? Why must everyone be obligated to live under the policies chosen by a plurality of people as expressed on a given day?
The idea seems foreign to most people, and they would likely claim “it would never work,” or “it’s never been done before.” Both claims are, in fact, false! In Medina during the time of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, “Pagans, Jews, and Muslims shared the same roads, traded in the same markets, and drank from the same wells. They were part of different social spheres, sharing no obligations to each other except those they contracted. Legal systems were not separated by territorial boundaries, as States are today. They existed right on top of one another, shifting according to consent, not jurisdiction.” Similar overlapping governments existed in Gaelic areas during the middle ages, and to a lesser extent in the United States before the New Deal when most people received social services from fraternal organizations or mutual aid societies.
Allow me to ask again: why should people be forced to be subject to a government to which they do not consent?