Monday, June 11, 2012

The "Social Contract"

A few questions to ask of the alleged, "social-contract"

A "contract" is a written agreement, is it not? 
Where is this "contract" written? 
Who has signed it? 
Did the signers of this "contract" do so freely, without threat of force, or were they under duress (threat of punishment)?  
Do all "signers" of the "social contract" have an option to not sign?  Is there any threat to punish, or to forcibly remove a person for not signing the alleged "social contract"?
 How might a contract be legitimate, when one party possesses overwhelming means of violence and claims to 'own', "control" or "govern" the other party?
Can a slave, enter into legitimate contract with her master? 
What do the alleged "signers" of the "contract" receive in return for signing the contract (in legal terms, this is called "consideration")? 
Do the alleged "signers" of the contract, want/desire this "consideration"?
Can one party, sign a contract on behalf of another party, when the other party does not consent to this "representation"?
How would we know, if either party had "breached" the "terms" of the supposed "social contract" and thus made the "agreement" null and void?
What third-party independent arbiter exists to arbitrate the potential breaches of contract?

 This alleged "social-contract" fails on every account of any meaning of the word "contract" or formal agreement; no appeal to "implied consent" may save it from being a non-agreement, just as a woman who surrenders her purse to the man threatening her with a knife cannot be said to have "implied" consent to the robbery because she acted to "give" her purse to the knife-wielding robber. 

One party of this so-called "social contract" presumes to enforce the "terms" of the so-called "contract" with violence; in as much as the use of violence is the essence of what it is to be anti-social, this so-called "social-contract" is by overwhelming evidence, in fact, an abuse of the meaning of terms; it may only be considered on the basis of the evidence available, to be an anti-social non-contract.  The so-called "social contract" assumes a voluntarily consensual agreement and consent when neither is given, nor could be given under the circumstances (power disparity with threat of punishment) of the supposed "contract" and then uses violence to "enforce" the non-contract.

Any legitimate contract must include terms of agreement that any breach of contract may be clearly identified and clauses for the extrication for either party, else either or both parties could become enmeshed into an agreement that neither wishes to continue.  This so-called "social contract" can demonstrably evidence no agreement whatsoever for all of the parties allegedly concerned, neither explicitly nor implicitly; it has no terms for which a breach of contract could be determined; it has unequal parties, one which is ready to enforce the "contract" regardless of objections, and there is no admission that any third party could arbitrate this so-called "social contract".

This "social contract" is neither social, nor is it a contract; it is vacuous-nonsense of linguistic expression and nothing more.


  1. Your points are valid for the "social contract" that many USers think is in place with the US Constitution and virtually all government supporters consider is the essence of "democracy". However your points are NOT true for "The Natural Social Contract: A Contract Concerning Interpersonal Conduct for Mutual Benefit" - - and therefore your ending statement is without cause except in relation to governments, which are of course never "without threat of force".

  2. I've been wondering lately whether there might be a way to rehabilitate the idea of the social contract. Look at it from a strict property rights viewpoint, and the idea implies that "the government" has a deed restriction on every bit of land within its territory. To convert this situation to one of voluntary interaction requires that those who do not consent to be governed must have a reasonable alternative, some place where they can go to avoid being treated as a consenter, some way to opt out. If this idea were taken seriously, it would need to have some mechanism to adjust this safety value dynamically.
    OTOH, it's not clear that many people who use the social contract idea actually believe in it. It seems like more of a debating prop, an excuse to avoid examining one's views critically.