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The social contract defined and demolished in less than 5 minutes
from Braincrave Second Life staff
Dec 06, 2010
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By definition, a contract has to be an agreement. It's intellectually dishonest to call something a contract without an agreement. To paraphrase Lysander Spooner, a contract made hundreds of years ago by people long since dead, even if they voluntarily gave their consent, cannot be assumed to be obligatory upon their posterity, or to bind them in any way. Thus, the US Constitution was a voluntary agreement by people at the time of its creation between themselves and the government but not upon people living today. Unlike a slave contract, where children born to slaves are the property of the slave owner, no valid contract can compel someone yet to be born to do something. It is likewise tenuous to claim that someone who did not participate in a particular vote is subject to the outcome of that vote (especially considering most people don't vote). For example, imagine a small group of your friends getting together to vote that they have the authority to rob you. It's absurd to think that this vote justifies their authority to steal from you. Social contract theory "is the view that persons' moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement between them to form society." Are the critics correct that Social Contract Theory is not only flawed based on the validity of its premises but also actually contradicts itself?


Hi everybody. It's Stefan Molyneux from Freedomain Radio. This is the social contract defined and demolished in less than five minutes.

The social contract is the idea that citizens who live in the country must obey their government. And if you remain in that country, the "love it of leave it" situation, you remain in that country and you have the right to vote ideally, this constitutes a form of voluntary contract between a citizen and his or her government.

Thus, a social contract is geographical or country-specific, unilateral (state to citizen in terms of taxation and laws - not citizen to state), and it is implicit. You do not sign it. It is not a formal agreement like a mortgage or something like that.

Now, any methodology which claims validity must itself must be subject to its own constraints. No one is above the law. The scientific method, as compared to something like religious revelation, must itself be subject to the scientific method. We can compare the results of the scientific method to other forms of "knowledge." Logic and evidence must, themselves, be subject to logic and evidence in the form of reality and consistency. And atheism cannot claim, as its own justification or truth, the fact that God told an atheist that there was no God. That would be a rank contradiction.

The government proposes itself as the highest and sole agency of justice in the land. The government claims that its justification is the social contract. Thus, the social contract must be the highest and most moral contract in existence since it's the root of all other contracts that are enforced by the state.

Thus, the opposite of the social contract must be unjust and immoral. It's just basic logic. If A is just, anti- or the opposite of A must be unjust.

The social contract is, as mentioned, geographical, unilateral and implicit. Thus, all contracts that fulfill these obligations must also be just if the social contract is just.

So, for example, let's have a look at the social contract car dealership. So I send a letter to every household in a 10-block radius telling the occupants that I have bought a car on their behalf, that they can choose a Volvo or BMW if they want. If they don't choose, I'm just going to send whatever the majority chooses. The car is delivered to them. Next week, the car cannot be returned. I'm enclosing a bill for $30,000. If they don't want the car, no problem. All they have to do is move to another neighborhood where they will have to choose another car.

So let's say I bring this contract from my social contract car dealership to the government and ask them to enforce it. What will the court's response be? Well, they'll call me insane and they will laugh me out of the court. If I then take a gun and say "well I'm going to go pick up this $30,000 that these people owe me, I'm considered an immoral aggressor. I'm going to get arrested and spend years and years in jail. Yet I am perfectly fulfilling the requirements of the social contract. It's geographical, it's unilateral, and it is implicit.

Since the government claims, as its justification, the universal validity of the social contract but will attack as evil and unjust anyone who attempts to enforce an identical contract, the social contract is, thus, considered to be the highest moral good in terms of the government's justification and the greatest moral evil simultaneously. Now if the social contract is the highest moral good, then the government should defend it for everyone. But the government does the opposite. The government attacks competing social contracts. Therefore, it is evil. If the social contract is the greatest evil then the government is, by definition, evil since that is what it claims is the justification for its power.

Ah, but perhaps we could amend the social contract to say "well no geographical overlapping." Ah... doesn't work. The government core geographically overlapping social contract's morally good - fed, local, municipal, and so on. Perhaps we say social contract only applies to governments but, by definition, the social contract, to be valid, must apply to everyone, especially the poor sap taxpayers.

Now if the social contract were to apply to everyone, everyone could create and enforce a social contract while the government would say "my social contract allows me to send you a bill for 10 grand for taxes." And I say, "OK, I'm going to send you back, through my social contract, a bill for 10 grand." Nothing is achieved. It all cancels out. Therefore, the social contract is only possible if it is the highest good and the greatest evil simultaneous. Good for government, evil for me.

If it's morally good for Person A to impose a social contract on Person B but morally evil to do the reverse, thus, exactly to the degree that the social contract is morally good, the government is morally evil for attacking competing impositions of a universally good moral contract. Exactly to the degree that the social contract is morally evil, the government is morally evil since that is what it uses to justify its own violent power. Thus, the social contract utterly and completely and totally invalidates the social contract.

Thank you very much. 20 seconds to go. This is from my free book, Everyday Anarchy, which you can pick up at my website Thank you so much watching and/or listening and I still have some time to spare but we'll finish early, shockingly enough. And I will talk to you soon.

The Social Contract: Defined and Destroyed in under 5 mins


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