Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Examining the 'social contract'

Examining the 'social contract'

Once again, I have seen the statement that I should be satisfied that my stolen money ("taxes") is being used to uphold (enforce?) the "social contract". Social contract? What is it? Where is it? When did I sign it? Let's look at Dictionary.com's entry:

social contract  –noun 1. the voluntary agreement among individuals by which,
according to any of various theories, as of Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau,
organized society is brought into being and invested with the right to secure
mutual protection and welfare or to regulate the relations among its members. 2.
an agreement for mutual benefit between an individual or group and the
government or community as a whole.

Oh. OK. There is a social contract that I explicitly agreed to. It is called The Zero Aggression Principle (ZAP). It works. I voluntarily agreed to it. I have "signed" it (as well as the Covenant of Unanimous Consent). It only "regulates relations" to the extent of telling those who agree to it that they would be wrong if they initiate force against anyone (not just against those who agreed to live according to the ZAP). That is great, and no theft is necessary to "uphold" it. In fact, theft of any sort violates it. This is a social contract that works and has none of the drawbacks of other, mythical, ones.

However, I would like to examine the dictionary explanation a little more.

"...voluntary agreement among individuals..."- How is an agreement voluntary if it was reached before I was born? Why am I bound by it simply because of where I was born? That is nonsense.

"...according to any of various theories..."- Why should I believe these self-serving theories? What makes these theories any more "true" than mine? Because they who advocated them are dead now?

"...organized society is brought into being and invested with the right ..." - Just because something is "organized" doesn't make it good. "Organized crime" and "government" are two examples that come to mind, although I am repeating myself there. And this "contract" invests this "organized society" with rights? That is quite a trick. Only individuals can have rights. "Society" can't. A society could have authority, perhaps. But only if it functions by unanimous consent and violates the rights of no individual. Otherwise it is just "the tyranny of the majority".

"Mutual protection" can not be a right since it obligates another person. Instead a true social contract would remove any barriers to self defense and not penalize mutual protection. That is the sign of a real civilization.

"Welfare" is best served by not punishing people for consensual acts between individuals. Anything else creates victims of government abuse and overreach.

"...regulate the relations among its members..." - No individual has the authority to regulate the consensual relations among other people, and certainly not "society as a whole". To attempt to do so renders your "contract" null and void as it violates the basic human rights of those engaged in voluntary interactions..

All of these things demonstrate why the ZAP is a legitimate "social contract" while the "implied consent" we have thrown in our faces, based upon where we live and nothing else, is not.

Moving on to the second definition, I would point out that it is not possible for anything to benefit both an individual and a government (unless that individual is a state parasite, in which case his "welfare" is harming all free individuals and is wrong). Either the one is harmed, or the other is. Since only individuals have rights, it is their "welfare" that must be placed above the authority of any government. Where the two clash, the individual must be given priority. If this means the government withers and dies, then so be it. No loss. The "community as a whole" is only benefited if each individual is free to pursue his or her self-interest without harming any other individuals or violating their rights. The implied "social contract" falls flat here as well, while the ZAP once again shines.
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