Government, in the [Declaration of Independence's] explanation, exists to protect rights, and rather than subjects enjoying rights with the consent of the government, the government itself rules only by the consent of the governed. And when the government fails to live up to its duties, and the people no longer consent to it, it becomes illegitimate and subject to replacement by something the people like better.
As Dan Himmelfarb noted in The Yale Law Journal 25 years ago, not much contemporary attention is paid to this. I'm sufficiently cynical to think that the lack of attention isn't an accident, but rather a consequence of not wanting to address the questions that the declaration's second sentence raises, which bode poorly for our ruling class.
Does our government now have, as its principal function, the protection of people's rights?…
So is a new American revolution in order?
Spoiler alert: Reynolds cautions restraint, even as he notes a recent poll showing that just 21 percent of Americans think the goverment has the consent of the governed. Still, he says,
it might be a good thing for our ruling class to spend a little time pondering the Declaration of Indepence, and its principles. There is more to government than graft. May they recognize that in time.