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The mental capacity of a person to make reasonable contracts, is the only criterion, by which to determine his legal capacity to make obligatory contracts. And his mental capacity to make reasonable contracts is certainly not to be determined by the fact that he is, or is not, twenty-one years of age.
And yet we have what purports, or professes, or is claimed, to be a contract—the Constitution—made eighty years ago, by men who are now all dead, and who never had any power to bind us, but which (it is claimed) has nevertheless bound three generations of men, consisting of many millions, and which (it is claimed) will be binding upon all the millions that are to come; but which nobody ever signed, sealed, delivered, witnessed, or acknowledged; and which few persons, compared with the whole number that are claimed to be bound by it, have ever read, or even seen, or ever will read, or see.
No man can delegate,… any right of arbitrary dominion over a 3rd person; for that would imply a right in the 1st person, not only to make the 3rd person his slave, but also a right to dispose of him as a slave to still other persons. Any contract to do this is necessarily a criminal one…To call such a contract a constitution does not at all lessen its criminality, or add to its validity.
The field is a halfway house, halfway between the detail of those intimately known places and the ignorance of a landscape view … The essence of a field is that the cultural accommodates the natural there. The human being makes room for and makes use of those organisms that are not him. In that way the field is a poem to symbiosis, and a human contract with the natural.
The sanction of force stands behind the medley of personal orders and regulations of Martial Law. The sanction of the people’s consent stands behind the hierarchy of laws. In one situation, the population is regimented into acquiescence. In the other, the population voluntarily establishes a contract with Parliament.