Principle #3: Legitimate Governments Derive their Powers From the Consent of the Governed
The quintessential American ideal of a government of the people, by the people, for the people; the founding idea that the only form of legitimate government is one that derives it's powers from the consent of the governed, has been co-opted by the socialist ideologies who have reinterpreted "consent of the governed" to mean that nations have a collective right to "self-determination." They misuse this concept to suggest that any form of government a people "choose" is legitimate so far as it came as a result of the "will of the people." (It's important to note that among some who make this conclusion even the concept of the "will of the people" is sometimes extended to revolutions of mob rule.) In this way the conflate the principle of government of the people, by the people, and for the people -- consent of the governed -- with the principle of self-determination.
Self-determination is an Individual Natural Right not a Collective Bargain
There is a common attitude in American politics today that the United States arrogantly projects it's influence and military power around the world in imperialistic ways. Many politicians say that this projection, and our attempts to establish free republican forms of government in foreign nations, interferes with the "self-determination" of other countries. There are many deceptions in this view of American aims but I'd like to focus on the use of "self-determination" to refer to the collective.
Self-determination is a principle of truth when it is rightly applied to a "self." Self-determination is a natural right related to the pursuit of personal happiness based on the dictates of ones conscience. To understand how this principle may be expressive in the collective national construct, we need to review the first three foundational principles of free republics.
1) God is the author of liberty.
2) Governments are instituted among men to secure the natural rights of every citizen.
3) Legitimate governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed.
When individuals endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights pre-existent to any form of civil government, determine to come together and form a free government for the the securing of the natural rights of every citizen, they exercise a legitimate collective determination. America's opposition to oppressive forms of government is a statement of our belief that governments do not hold any legitimate power to deprive their citizens of self-determination or any other unalienable right.
The ideas of cultural relativism have gained ground in the secular progressive ideologies of the western left who now apply these illogical concepts to oppressive governments saying, "what is right for us may not be right for them." Obviously flawed, this thinking is legitimatizing governments who commit gross crimes against the natural rights of their citizens and convicting America of conquest and imperialism. This is a subversive distortion of the American founding principle of the "Consent of the Governed." In this reasoning the principle of the "consent of the governed" is thwarted completely.
“...The origin of all civil government, justly established, must be a voluntary compact, between the rulers and the ruled; and must be liable to such limitations, as are necessary for the security of the absolute rights of the latter; for what original title can any man or set of men have, to govern others, except their own consent? To usurp dominion over a people, in their own despite, or to grasp at a more extensive power than they are willing to entrust, is to violate that law of nature, which gives every man a right to his personal liberty; and can, therefore, confer no obligation to obedience.” (“The Farmer Refuted: or, a more comprehensive and impartial View of Dispute between Great Britain and the Colonies,” by Alexander Hamilton, Feb 25, 1775)
THERE IS NO NATURAL COLLECTIVE RIGHT TO CHOOSE CAPTIVITY
This principle was perfectly articulated by George Mason in the "Virginia Declaration of Rights." (1725-1792)
“That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” (“Virginia Declaration of Rights,” George Mason, 1725-1792)
Our founding fathers clearly articulated the truth that the ONLY form of just and legitimate government is one which receives it’s power from the consent of the governed, AND MAINTAINS THOSE LIBERTIES that will secure such rights in perpetuity (from generation to generation).
The cultural relativism that is so applied to attack America's international aims to spread freedom and democracy where possible or strategically necessary, is the very same ideology that seeks to subvert the American system through the democratic process. So far as they are able they will transform our Constitutional form of government, the mandate of which is for the securing of individual liberty in perpetuity, into a system that will deprive it's citizens of self-determination. They will do this while claiming they are exercising the principles of our founding, through the consent of the governed, to form a legitimate collective determination.
When you find yourself being swayed by the false premise that nations should be free to choose captivity through democratic means, that even Americans are free to choose to transform our government into a socialist government, so long as we achieve this change through democratic means, remember that neither governments, nor the will of the people hold any legitimate authority to deprive their fellow citizens or future generations of their God given natural rights! By extension it is the duty of all men to seek for and uphold those forms of government best suited to secure those rights; and critical to free government is the principle of the "consent of the governed" which must be preserved in perpetuity for such a government to remain legitimate.