And yeah, that does need fixin’.

Countries like to claim that they are constituted “with the consent of” their populations.

This is generally nonsense.

While many countries today have constitutions that were adopted by referendum within living memory, few of them were adopted recently enough that a majority of living citizens could have voted for them and none that I can think of require regular re-adoption.

(There’s a good, but not great, synopsis of the constitutional status of each country at the CIA World Factbook.)

So it’s demonstrably false to claim that even a majority, much less all, of any country’s citizens consented to their governments.

And the situation is even worse for the “major” democracies.

The United States’ constitution was adopted hundreds of years before any living citizen was even born, as were the constitutions of many of the states.

Australia’s was adopted over a hundred years ago.

France and Germany’s constitutions were both adopted 70 years ago, in the chaotic aftermath of World War II so those referenda would be suspect anyway.

Canada only kinda has a constitution, and the United Kingdom doesn’t even have one at all.

(This is only a selection; check the CIA World Factbook page if I left out your favorite.)

So much for “consent of the governed”.

This wouldn’t even have counted as consent in the pre-#metoo era, when “implied consent” was a thing; in these days of “affirmative consent”, it should be obvious to anyone that none of these governments have anything like a reasonable basis for claiming consent.

So what would political consent look like?

An absolute minimum would be that a majority of living citizens must have voted in favor of their current constitution.

That’s a really low-bar, but not one that the vast majority of countries can even pretend to pass.

None of them even pretend to try.

To do that, every election would need to start with the same question:

Should [country] continue to operate under its current constitution?

In multi-tiered countries like the United States, that would have to be expanded to:

Should [state] continue to operate under its current constitution?
Should [state] continue as a member of [country] under its current constitution?

Every ballot needs to start with those questions, and they would have to get a majority every time, for that country to claim to exist with the consent of the citizens.

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