Civil society is premised upon the individual right of citizens to choose their representatives at all levels of government. The contract between the people and their elected representatives is; those elected to office will represent the needs of their constituents, secure their unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property, and constrain themselves by working within the legitimate framework of the federal or state Constitution.
It begs the question do free elections equate to freedom?
Conceptually, the framework established around free elections and a representative government creates a political system where the governed freely elect their representatives; where those elected have a fiduciary and legal responsibility to act within a specific set of parameters and constraints. The social contract established by free elections requires both parties to the contract to fulfill their obligations. Therefore, elected representatives are legally and morally bound by the social contract instituted as free people. That social contract is known as the Constitution.
Elections do not provide representatives authority to arbitrarily determine the legitimate role of government; therefore representatives cannot modify the social contract established between themselves and the citizens. The Constitution established the legitimate role of government, therefore to faithfully execute the social contract representatives are bound to honor it. Just as the Supreme Court may rule on the constitutionality of an issue, the Supreme Court cannot amend or change the states original understanding of the Constitution. Only an amendment ratified by 3/4ths of the states can modify the Constitution.
Precedence, by legislative fiat or judicial ruling, cannot alter the Constitution nor legally bound the citizen to adhere to it if the object acted upon is not within the parameters and constraints of the social contract; in other words not within the legitimate role of government. However, what recourse does the citizen have when elected representatives act outside the parameters and constraints established by the social contract. Is the social contract null and void when elected officials collectively enact legislation violating the social contract with those that elected them? Indeed, if citizens expect their representatives to be bound by the enumerated powers delegated by the states to the federal government, have the representatives violated the basic premise of the social contract?
Contrast the social contract with a contract between a citizen and a lending institution. The citizen wants to borrow money to purchase a house. The terms and conditions of the contract between the lender and the citizen is written, read by all parties, and finally agreed to by all parties. There are terms and conditions that the lender and the citizen must fulfill. The contract establishes the amount of money to borrow, the structure of the loan, the terms for repayment, and the interest rate the citizen will pay to the lender. Years after the contract is signed, the funds are borrowed and the house is purchased, the lender arbitrarily decides to change the interest rate from 5.5% to 8%. Clearly, this violates the original terms of the contract. In its most basic form this is lawlessness on the lenders behalf. The borrower’s recourse is to not pay the additional interest, seek legal remedies, or wait for the lender to enforce the interest rate change by legal remedy.
Likewise, when elected representatives violate the terms of the social contract between themselves and the citizens, what recourse does the citizen have at that point? Generally, representatives cannot be recalled. Representatives can be voted out of office in the next election cycle, however, in between now and then legislative fiat may result in loss of private property, individual rights, or liberties guaranteed to be protected under the Constitution. In its most basic form it too is lawlessness. And, lawlessness begets lawlessness. Representatives acting outside constraints of the Constitution, where power was not delegated by the states creates a dominion of one body over another body. In this case Congress is the body exercising dominion over the body of citizens. Those representing the citizens are now masters over their electors.
The people of the each independent severed state ratified the Constitution, not the people as one mass across all thirteen colonies. The terms and conditions of ratification were those in place when the Constitution was originally written and ratified. The understanding of the states as to the terms and conditions of their contractual obligation as well as those of the federal government were firm and resolute as of 1789. The Constitution established the terms and conditions of the social contract accordingly, and those terms and conditions could not be modified; by legislative fiat, legal precedence, or any other means except for an amendment. The Constitution did not delegate powers to the federal government to be the final or exclusive arbitrator. If these powers were delegated to the federal government, then the government has the discretion to interpret the Constitution however they want and, furthermore, they remove the constraints placed upon them by the Constitution rendering the federal government essentially one with unlimited powers creating the fertile ground for abuse, despotism, and tyranny.
I contend we do not have freedom if free elections result in representatives acting without authority delegated by the States to the federal government as originally intended in the Constitution. Our freedoms, rights, liberty, and property are restricted or confiscated by acts of Congress. Our judicial system does not enforce the Constitution according to original understanding by the states at the time of ratification, nor does the judicial system retain the power to negate state laws as that power was never delegated by the states in the Constitution. States and the people do not defend their powers and rights as established by the ninth and tenth amendments.
Our election process has eroded into a process that places representatives in a position of dominion over the citizens. Representatives ignore the people, bribe other representatives with the peoples’ money, and redistribute property as they deem appropriate. Congress and the judiciary are entities created by the social contract, constraints placed upon those serving in either branch, and does not authorize representatives or judges to define or modify those constraints. Congress acting beyond their legitimate role is an illegitimate government. Congress acting without constraint creates an atmosphere rife with immoral behavior, essentially allowing representatives to pursue their ambition and fulfill their avarice licentiously.
Two remedies exist to restrain a Congress acting illegitimately. First, an amendment can be passed and ratified to further restrict the Congress, however that may be difficult or time consuming to implement. Secondly, the states can declare the law null and void. States created and ratified the Constitution. The states are sovereign and can declare federal acts null and void if they encroach upon state powers. The tenth amendment clearly states that those powers delegated to the federal government are limited according to Article I Section 8, and those powers prohibited to the states are those according to Article I, Section 10, and all other powers are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
We are free to cast votes in elections, however citizens are not truly free as those elected to Congress violate their Constitutional oath whenever the Congress acts outside the constraints of the enumerated powers; thus they erode our liberties, violate our individual rights, and/or confiscate our property.
It begs the question, is the entire social contract null and void under these conditions?