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Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights

Article 5 — Civil Government

Section 3: No Exclusive Emoluments Or Privileges; Offices Not To Be Hereditary

That no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments, pensions or privi­leges from the community, except in consideration of current public services. Neither shall civil offices be hereditary. No man shall rule by divine right, inheritance, gift or conveyance.

This section affirms the principle of service-debt found in Romans 13:1-7. Paul explains that taxes are properly levied by civil government in order to be spent on those objects which civil government properly renders. The payment of wages to its employees for the purpose of punishing wrongdoers is one such legiti­mate expense. The payment for services rendered, however, does not permit an expenditure of money in ex­cess of such services, such as pensions, or special privileges or emoluments. Emoluments are any advantage, profit or gain arising from the possession of an office within the civil government. The rule is the agent should not gain personally by the agency beyond compensation for services.

The proposition that civil offices shall not be hereditary is required for two reasons. First, no man has a right to rule as a function of birth, as all men are created equally. Indeed, no man springs from his mother's womb with a diadem on his head. Second, civil power is dependent upon a civil compact. It is not a function of contract, gift or of the laws of inheritance. Therefore, no man can pass civil offices to his heir by reason of death, nor by conveyance, subjection or donation.

It is important to note that it is the office of civil power which is not hereditary. Nothing bars the people from placing an heir in the office, though this raises a further question. May a people provide by compact, that an heir be extended a civil office by virtue of his bloodline? The rule is this: If, when the compact is made, the heir is a life-in-being and the compact designates that he is to rule subsequent to the completion of his father or mother's reign, then the heir may fill the office lawfully. But if the heir is not yet conceived when the compact is made, then the people may not lawfully declare him their future heir to rule by succession, for they have no authority to bind themselves to an heir who does not yet exist. If, however, the compact is already in existence and provides for offices to be hereditary, it is void. Unless it be amended by each generation, it is of no effect.

 
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