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« 'Toy Story 3': A tale of freedom | Main | Sen. Robert Byrd is dead »

June 28, 2010



What about V: "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

jj mollo

So what constitutes consent. If I don't vote, do I still have to pay tax? Nullification looms large in the American psyche.

Frank Warner

Consent of a nation's people is the result of free and fair elections of representatives. Even without a unanimous vote, the process should be recognized as free and fair to the overwhelming majority.

Consent on a personal level is easier to determine, but not without its own complexities. No one should be another's slave, but sometimes free people are cornered into situations only a step removed from slavery.


Supreme Executive Authority derives from a mandate from the masses, not some farcical aquatic ceremony!
- Dennis, Age 37, Arnarcho Syndicalist Commune, British Isles, Circa 500 AD

Alex VanderWoude

Personally, I prefer the Monty Python formulation as expressed by Dennis the Peasant: "Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!"


I think you really missed the point of that bit; it was an ironic-humor moment, with a lofty intellectual-sounding statement coming from an airhead bimbo character. It wasn't _meant_ to be taken seriously!


To whit: let's remember that Lotso's motivation was not actually reason, though he sold it that way. It was spite, malice and envy. That's not so uncommon in the real world.

The Incredibles: it's good to be talented and amazing.

Rat-a-touille: That hard work, determination, passion and friends can beat the odds.

Wall-E: We are what we choose to do.

pete e

The bad news: the Barbie character is presented as hopelessly square. No-one is intended to relate to her.

The good news: her mini-speech is presented as a moment where we are supposed to appreciate that she may have some depth beneath that perfect exterior. It may even suggest that squares and conservatives have some redeeming value.


Actually our God given liberty must be assured under constitutional limitations and the rule of law as a primacy over Barbie's consent of the governed. Otherwise any self-governing society will collapse under mob rule.

Without these protections well meaning legislators and bureaucrats and tyrants alike will inevitably trample the governed.

roger h

I don't think Barbie was portrayed as an airhead, just momentarily taken in by Ken's looks. She was pretty instrumental in the escape.

Pretty and smart really scares some people.


I went to see Toy Story 3 with my son and when Barbie said this line people in the audience started to applaud. Of course, it was in Texas


I caught that too, and although I appreciated the flavor of the founding fathers, I also suspected it was an homage to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in one of the more hilarious scenes where Arthur (the King) is asking some peasants who owns a local castle, and the peasants inform him that they don't have a Lord, that they are an "autonomous collective" and when Arthur informs them that he is their king, the peasant says something like:

"Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony."

Towering Barbarian

But nowhere is it writen that people who are being ironic shouldn't have such humor tossed back in their face by treating their words at face value. When you are doing this because what they had said in irony actually deserves to be treated in seriousness then the ironic humor becomes even greater! ^_~


Heh, my kids and I laughed, because they immediately associated it with Monty Python. I think a varied childhood is a good thing... They can quote Barbie or Python, or fifth element with equal ease. Throw in a chaser of Princess Bride or Star Wars and we have the full geek attack.


You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it does....

Frank Warner


In humor is truth. To me, it seemed funny only because it is obviously (and seriously) true, at least for humans.


Good quotes. "Toy Story 3" also seemed to have a more subtle message about private property (that people who own their toys take care of them better than those who only borrow them). Of course, in the next room, the children seemed to be playing well with toys they didn't own, but could that room have been utopia? Hard to say.


Good points. And democracy and freedom are important to us liberals, too.


I think most people define "consent of the governed," on a national level, as representative democracy through free and regular elections, and not as constant polling of the mob.

Roger h,

Some people have biases against blondes, especially blond dolls.


I heard a few "Yes!"s here in Pennsylvania.

Towering Barbarian,

It's fair to respond to humor from any angle. Humor opens the door. Each of us walks in laughing in our own way.

Ed Minchau

Back when there were such things as court jesters, it was only the jester who could get away with saying anything... well, almost anything... in front of the king. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, C3PO and R2D2, Jay and Silent Bob, and other such characters appear in plays and movies for pretty much the same reason. You can express hard truths if the edge is softened with humor.

I, too, immediately thought of Dennis's "Supreme Executive Authority derives from a mandate from the masses, not some farcial aquatic ceremony" line.


Basic civics is for everyone, even Barbie. Nothing ironic about that.


Oh, and both Python and the Founding Fathers drew their theory from the political writings of St. Robert Bellarmine, and before him, from St. Thomas Aquinas.

Bellarmine: "It depends upon the consent of the multitude to constitute over itself a king, consul, or other magistrate. This power is, indeed, from God, but vested in a particular ruler by the counsel and election of men" (De Laicis, c. 6, notes 4 and 5).

"The people themselves immediately and directly hold the political power" (“De Clericis,” c. 7).

Aquinas: "Therefore the making of a law belongs either to the whole people or to a public personage who has care of the whole people" (Summa, la llae, q. 90, a. 3).

"The ruler has power and eminence from the subjects, and, in the event of his despising them, he sometimes loses both his power and position" (De Erudit. Princ., Bk. I, c. 6).

People forget that there were a lot of prosperous Italian republics, communes, democratic city governments, and so on, both in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Places like Siena tended to ricochet from one form of government to another, but they certainly weren't people who didn't think about how to govern themselves!

china manu

So what constitutes consent. If I don't vote, do I still have to pay tax? Nullification looms large in the American psyche.


I've grown up alongside of my younger cousin. Now she is a 19-year-old competitive collegiate athlete and top student, a beautiful young woman and an inspirational person. All muscles, she used to call herself "fat." She could only look "fat" if compared to exceptionally thin beauty standards.


When I look at current fashion dolls, I'm reminded of my experience in high school and that of my cousin. I'm reminded that there are some things that are just a mirage and not worth emulating. Moreover, I'm reminded that there is beauty in embracing all the aspects of who you are, and in staying true to you Barbie.

Frank Warner

And in 2016, we had Hillary Clinton as his opponent.

Trump was elected constitutionally by the States, and Trump has to face re-election in less than two years. In a democracy, the people always have another chance to change course.

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