[Background: recently the Thames Valley police released a YouTube video, using tea as an analogy to explain sexual consent. This video received lots of publicity.

So I thought it’d be a good idea for Voluntaryists to “piggyback” on this publicity – by releasing a similar “stick figure” video, that uses similar simple analogies to explain how government violates the consent of citizens every day.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the technical skills to make such a video. So I did what I could, and wrote a script (see below). Then perhaps someone with the technical skills can use this script to make the video. Of course, in making the video, please feel free to edit the script as you see fit.]


Recently, the Thames Valley police launched a YouTube campaign comparing sexual consent to making tea. I absolutely agree with the analogy in that video.

But we shouldn’t stop there. After all, consent is not just the difference between rape and lovemaking. It’s also the difference between slavery and employment… between assault and sparring… between murder and euthanasia… between robbery and charity.

Consent is the dividing line between morally acceptable human interaction and morally unacceptable crimes. Consent is the foundation of civilized human behavior.

So let’s look at an example. Imagine you make tea for a living. You ask Jackie, “would you like a cup of tea for $5?”

If Jackie says, “yes, thank you” – then you know Jackie wants your tea, and is willing to pay $5 for it. Jackie values your tea more than $5… while you value the $5 more than the cup of tea. So you make Jackie a cup of tea, she gives you $5 for it, and everyone gets what they prefer. This is a consensual interaction – everyone is happy, and everyone wins.

But if you offer Jackie a cup of tea for $5, and Jackie says “no thanks” – then don’t make her tea. Just don’t make her tea. Don’t force Jackie to hand over her money, then push a cup of tea into her hands. Even if you gave Jackie a cup of tea, it’s still wrong to take her money by force, because she didn’t consent to the exchange.

Also, if Jackie doesn’t want tea… don’t gather a big group of your friends to pressure or intimidate her into having tea. Don’t say “these people here think you should have tea, and they outnumber you, so you must hand over $5 for a cup of tea.” That’s not how consent works. Just because Jackie is outnumbered, doesn’t mean you can override her consent, or assume consent on her behalf.

Now, why am I bringing up these examples? The reason is simple. It’s because these examples illustrate how we need to re-examine and re-think our assumptions about government. We’re told that government derives its authority from the “consent of the governed”. But does this so-called “consent of the governed” really exist?

For example, our government gives billions of our tax dollars to corporations in the form of bailouts and corporate welfare. Did you consent to that?

Our government also sent our troops to invade foreign countries (such as Iraq) that pose no threat to us. Did you consent to that?

The reality is, many of us did not consent to such government actions. The government simply took our money by force, to use for purposes we did not consent to. Which is like forcing Jackie to hand over $5 for a cup of tea she didn’t even want. There was no “consent of the governed”.

In some cases, the government justified these actions in the name of “the majority” or “democracy”. The government essentially said “this group of pro-war voters outnumber you – they form a majority – therefore we have your consent to take your money to fund our wars”. But as we’ve already seen, this is not how consent works. The majority cannot give consent for the minority.

To use an analogy about sexual consent – imagine a guy who says “more than 50% of my sexual partners were consensual – so the remaining minority that didn’t consent, I had the right to force myself onto them.” Clearly that’s not how consent works. The majority cannot give consent for the minority – only each individual can give consent for themselves.

And this is why, if we want to end government abuses (such as the ones I mentioned earlier), we need to re-examine our assumptions about “democracy” and “consent of the governed”.

This video is just a starting point. If we want to understand why so much of human history has been plagued by war and oppression – despite the fact that the vast majority of people are peaceful and non-violent – then we need to re-think everything we’ve been taught about authority and government. Google “Voluntaryism” to learn more. I also recommend reading “The Most Dangerous Superstition” by Larken Rose… or… “The Problem of Political Authority” by Michael Huemer. Both are available on Amazon.com

[Ending note: YouTube enables us to add annotations at the end of a video, that links to another related video. A good video to link to at the end of this video, would be this talk by Michael Huemer – ]