The “social contract" or "social compact" is said to be "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."
Is this idea real or just made up?
So, can society or state gain a right or authority over the individual through social contract?
Is there more than one way to establish that compact and what makes it binding?
The maxim "Protection draws to it subjection; subjection protection." suggests that state may defend citizens from harm and protect their property, and citizens may be required to follow laws and pay taxes.
There is seldom a material social contract between citizens and their government with terms written on a single sheet of paper. There are records made, often over generations, of interaction between individuals, their descendants and the State.
It is not just "protection" but mutual "welfare" which may include what Plutarch lists as "bounties, donations and benefits" which he proclaimed to be instrumental in the destruction of "the liberties of the people".
Those gratuities may be offered and received at the a price. And if provided through debt the beneficiary may become a surety for that debt.
Is consent required and if so by whom and what qualifies as binding evidence of consent?
That was a social contract to labor for the government 1/5 of of the year. It was like a 20% income tax and it was called bondage.
The people agreed to the terms because they desired free bread.
Peter warns that through covetous practices you would be made merchandise and curse children. The Bible warns about eating at the table of ruler and striking hands and becoming a surety for debt. And Polybius tells us what will happen if we disregard these warnings of the prophets.
Hobbes Locke Rousseau
According to Hobbes, he imagined that the lives of individuals in the state of nature were "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short", a state in which self-interest and the absence of rights and contracts prevented the "social", or society. Life was "anarchic" which some say is without leadership. He thought there was an absolute need for the concept of sovereignty. But "anarchic" is with our rulers not without leaders.
The State of Nature was only "completely intolerable" when men are brutal and intolerable. The moral man does not need the politics of Cain, Nimrod, nor Caesar to subdue his brute nature.
John Locke, saw the State of Nature as the natural condition of mankind. To him it was a state of perfect and complete liberty to conduct one's life as one best sees fit, free from the interference of others. Again the morality of society is dependent upon the morality in the heart of its participants.
Locke saw the arguments for the social contract, and for the right of citizens to revolt against their king when he was in breech of that contract.
Locke refuted the Divine Right of Kings yet had his own constructive view of the aims and justification for civil government but limited its power in "An Essay Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government". But there was a limit in the State of Nature. One is not free to do anything one pleases or judges to be in their own interest. The State of Nature is not a state without morality or its bounds but merely pre-political.
- “The lex fundamentalis of natural law is the duty of every man, so far as in him lies, to strive that the welfare of human society in general be secured and maintained”
Those duties include duties toward their Creator, toward themselves and toward other men who are entitled to the same rights and duties including the duty to our fellow-men to promote, as far as possible, the advantage of others.
The definition of religion used to be the performance of these natural duties to fundamental duties to others.
This itemization is of the absolute duties of the individual to his equals. There are also conditional duties, which “arise from engagements or agreements, from the mere use of language, of oaths, of acquisition of ownership, and of bona fide ownerships; … to contracts, to the dissolution of obligations to which agreement has been made, and to the method of interpretation of agreements and laws. All these things, however, as stated, are treated only from the standpoint of the individual in his relation to other individuals or rather to society; of the state or even of the association of states we hear nothing.”
None of these duties are associated in their origin with the state because our rights are endowed by nature and nature's God. The foundation of all liberty is established in a state of nature “status naturalis, wherein there was only a dependence upon God and society had not yet been constituted into a state.”
Rousseau had more than one distinct theory of a social contract. One was the naturalized account of the social contract and the other was his normative, or idealized theory. Rousseau also thought the State of Nature was a peaceful and quixotic time. Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau may all be correct about the State of Nature and the natural law depending on whose society they ponder in their examination, Abel and Seth or Cain.
While Rousseau recognizes private property he sees it as pivotal moment in man's evolution. But man was endowed from the beginning with dominion and therefore private property and actually devolved from a pure state into a state characterized by greed, competition, vanity, and inequality. It was Cain who established the first civil State evidently through the social contract.
Society and State are not the same thing. All States may include society or societies but not all societies form a State. The power of the State originates in the individuals that form it and it cannot have more powers than those individually who created it had.
Individuals of a society may remain separate in a state of nature and maintain natural rights or they may merge by those same elements that “arise from engagements or agreements...” imposing conditional duties but it begins through individual consent or acquiescence.
Government is even a more general term. When the people are in a state of nature as God intended, their government is one of, for and by the people. When man entrusts his duties and obligations along with their correlative rights to others then you have government by the State. When individuals enter into civil society by membership through those engagements or agreements with the state there is a binding of the people into a social compact or contract.
This “social contract, agreement, or covenant by which men are said to have abandoned the ‘state of nature’ to form the society in which they now live.... Assumes that men at first lived in a state of anarchy where there was no society, no government, and no organized coercion of the individual by the group… by the social contract men had surrendered their natural liberties in order to enjoy the order and safety of the organized state.” 
So what is the social contract today?
Your “social contract" would consist of the composite of your personal history and the public record you have generated throughout your life and the generation before you. It is every application for benefits or benefit derived from your participation in government welfare, from public education, employment benefits, any application for a professional license, driver’s license, occupational license, recreational license, or marriage license and of course social security and the corresponding obligations asserted in that public record. While it includes all published laws and regulations your personal connection is most often accessible through your Social Security Number.
- Exodus 23:32 "Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods."
This is done often at the cost of liberty.
- From That Word You Use - Part 2 - Faith
- What did the word Faith mean before it became just what people think?
Civil Religion is mentioned in the Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau who switched from protestant to Catholic and back again depending on which women he was in love with at the time. He suggested that a Christian Republic was paradoxical imagining that Christianity taught submission. He knew that it did not promote participation in public religion.
"Religion comes from the Latin meaning to bind. The religion of society will determine the state of society. The religion of Christ binds the people by charity and love. Civil religion is the result of a social contract. When welfare of society is provided by the sword of the State, pure religion is murdered and liberty dies. An authoritarian bureaucracy of the State becomes the new ministers and priests http://www.preparingyou.com/wiki/skins/common/images/button_headline.pngof society. All who take by that sword will perish under that sword."
"“Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty.” Individual rights given by God and the privileged power of government granted by men have been at war since Cain killed Able. “State is an end and individual is means to this end or state is means and individual is end in itself.” The State’s duties never venture into the redistribution of wealth in a moral society because man was not endowed with the right to take from from his brother."
"“Redistribution is immoral... it allows one person to treat another as no more than a means...” The welfare state is the enemy of religion. When pure religion diminishes, socialism flourishes."
Some people through social compact give the state the power to take from its members for the welfare of society. That power has been deemed a foolish rejection of God. “It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.” “All socialism involves slavery” “Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion”
“I will never live for the sake of another man or ask another man to live for mine”
We must learn to distinguish between charity and socialism. Charity is good, socialism is evil. (Pr. 14:30, 31, 19:17) Charity is for the helpless poor while [the socialist's] welfare makes the poor helpless. (Ga. 2:10)” The Higher Liberty
What You Bind on Earth
How does a government get its power and authority?
“Good government is no substitute for self-government.” Gandhi, Mahatma
Some take the belief too far that the “The State ... is a social institution forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group ... [for] no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner.”
But no such government would bind man because “Those captured by pirates and robbers remain free.” For the simple reason that “Things captured by pirates and robbers do not change ownership.” Governments obtain power and men become bound to obey those institutions on earth, for numerous reasons, which are almost all based in consent in one form or another.
It would be binding for those who “take any oath of allegiance to the Government thereof”. It would be binding for those who sign a social compact. It would also be binding if people apply and receive benefits because “He who receives the benefit should also bear the disadvantage.” The binding is even more complete if the people take the benefit at the expense of others, including your children’s future.
People may desire to claim usurpation or fraud, or failure of full disclosure but these self-serving mantras will likely fall on deaf ears with volumes of public records to the contrary. This binding is based on constructive social contracts, well publicized and no one who takes a benefit can deny the reciprocating obligations.
The “social contract, agreement, or covenant by which men are said to have abandoned the ‘state of nature’ to form the society in which they now live.... Assumes that men at first lived in a state of anarchy where there was no society, no government, and no organized coercion of the individual by the group… by the social contract men had surrendered their natural liberties in order to enjoy the order and safety of the organized state.” This is done at the cost of liberty.
The Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven is the right to be ruled by God. It is not a new government but the original state of nature with no civil or social contract.
Moses had created a nation of people to bring them back to the dominion of God. The people were bound together with a common faith in a supreme being and creator of the world, a common law and a literature that attempted to explain the precepts of that law and its common faith and religion.
Their religion included a means of freewill sacrifice that sustained the needs of their society through that common faith, in the hope and by the charity of the people. They elected titular leaders to minister that government of God without relinquishing any rights granted by God. This peculiar government of the people, served God by the people’s love for one another and no other social contract. The ministers were separate from the people who maintained their status as free souls under God. The people were the state and the Levites, without authority, held all things in common so that the people might be free.
As a people they continuously turned back to those elements and rudiments of the world that had brought them into bondage. The voice of the people elected a king to rule over them, forming a social contract that abandoned the precepts of their faith. He was soon able to take by force their sacrifices, take the first fruits of their labor, the best of their fields, their sons and daughters, make his instruments of war, and bring them back into the bondage of the world.
When the Pharisees elected to invite Rome to secure their government they continued that journey away from God toward Babylon. Upon “... the death of Caesar the Jews of Rome gathered for many nights, waking strange feelings of awe in the city, as they chanted in mournful melodies their Psalms around the pyre on which the body of their benefactor had been burnt, and raised their pathetic dirges.”
Jesus came preaching a kingdom, appointed it and told his titular ministers and ambassadors to not be like the governments of the world that called themselves benefactors but exercised authority one over the other. They were to be that one form of government that led the people back to God.
Just as there are forms of government there are forms of citizenship. Whether a citizen is still a natural inhabitant or has obtained membership in a political society, he has certain rights, although, those rights may differ. The natural inhabitant may be a member of a society or civitas,but he remains an individual with civil rights within that general body. Those “Civil rights are such as belong to every citizen of the state or country, or, in a wider sense to all its inhabitants, and are not connected with the organization or the administration of government. They include the rights of property, marriage, protection by laws, freedom of contract, trial by jury, etc.” An individual, who becomes a member or person in a political society, also has civil rights, but the origin of those rights, being political, are rights “pertaining or relating to the policy or administration of government”.
So, “as otherwise defined, civil rights are rights appertaining to a person in virtue of his citizenship in a state or community. Rights capable of being enforced or redressed in civil action. Also a term applied to certain rights secured to citizens of the United States by the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution, and by various acts of Congress made in pursuance thereof.”
The essential difference would seem to be that the former “are not connected with the organization or the administration of government”, while the latter are “subject”.
“It is quite clear then that there is a citizenship of the United States and a citizenship of a State, which are distinct from each other and which depend upon different characteristics or circumstances in the Individual.” “The rights of a citizen under one (state or United States citizenship) may be quite different from those which he has under the other…”
If the benefit of the latter citizenship includes the duty of subjection, then the assent must require a voluntary consent, or else such citizenship would be nothing more than involuntary servitude. There are countless ways of demonstrating the consummation of a voluntary consent.
“The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.” Plutarch 2000 years ago.
People like to deny the existence of any social contract that binds them. You can usually find ample evidence of binding agreements by looking no farther than an individuals wallet. Unless we grew up as a feral child in the wilderness our present state, "free or bond", is a product or by-product of everything that has gone before.
They say things like my parents cannot make a contract for me or sell me into bondage. A child does not own its parents but the parent has a natural right to the child. The parent in nature gives life to the child, rears and protects it compounding the obligation of the Child to the Parent. The command by God to honor your father and mother was the command to "fatten" or care for and provide for the parents who gave you life so that your own days would be long upon the land.
The State has often competed for this power of the natural Father to its own benefit and obtains that right by offering "tutor" or gifts, gratuities and benefits to the parents as the custodial parent on behalf of the State.
Title 15 U.S. Code § 15c reads "parens patriae on behalf of natural persons residing in such State".The state taking on the role of the parents and assuming a right to the child and his or her future production was so serious a matter that it took a three-stage process for the state to become the Father of the people or Patronus.
We see that when the duties of the patria potestas is vested in a ruling class who is elected by the voice of the people there may be a loss or shifting of parental rights. We see the people of Israel being warned in 1 Samuel 8 that the State could reverse that natural right so that it became a mere legal privilege granted and regulated by the State.
The warning in 1 Samuel 8 was if the people established or created a government where there is a ruling authority that central power or patria potestas will take your sons and daughter and "take" and "take" and "take" much more. The process used by the State from Cain to Nimrod and the Pharaoh to Caesar to obtain the natural patria potestas was the offer of protection along with gifts gratuities and benefits. Once the State obtains that power it is said to be the father of the people.
A child has a natural obligation to obey their parents recognized by God Himself.
- "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." Ephesians 6:1
There is consent from the child when he receives the care and life granted him by his parents and therefore a reciprocating obligation.
- "No one is obliged to accept a benefit against his consent."
- Invito beneficium non datur. Dig. 50, 17, 69.
- "But if he does not dissent he will be considered as assenting." Vide Assent.
- "It is immaterial whether a man gives his assent by words or by acts and deeds.
- Non refert an quis assensum suum praefert verbis, an rebus ipsis et factis. 10 Co. 52.
From the moment of a child's first suck he is obligated to obey by natural law. No one has a greater right to discipline a child than the parent. True we should fulfill that obligation out of love but these maxims of law date back to antiquity.
They are important because they are used to bind us to the State when we ask the state to provide for us or perform our natural duties as parent, provider and protector.
- He who receives the benefit should also bear the disadvantage.
- Cujus est commodum ejus debet esse incommodum.
- "He who provides for himself, provides for his heirs."
- Qui providet sibi, providet haredibus.
- "A man may relinquish, for himself and his heirs, a right which was introduced for his own benefit."
- Potest quis renunciare pro se, et suis, juri quod pro se introductum est. See 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 83.
- Children born under a legitimate marriage follow the condition of the father.
- Cum legitimae nuptiae factae sunt, patrem liberi sequuntur.
The question is which Father? The natural father or the State as the Father?
The "Kingdom of God is from generation to generation" and an heir can not inherit what the father has already given away.
This is how the social contract is created which is why we should not pray or apply to Benefactors who exercise authority nor to the gods of this world. It is also why free nations gather together in networking systems of voluntary charity.
I am not promoting the social contract nor defending the state any more than I am defending gravity. We live in a cause and effect universe. If people choose to jump off a building there are consequences. Gravity will not kill them nor the fall, but the sidewalk may have devastating effect. Yet, the sidewalk is just there and is not active in the process. The state exists by the creative power of agreements among men. It is there like the sidewalk and gravity. The solution is not to deny the existence of the problem but alter our relationship to it.
"Before governments will change, men must change."
It does not take a majority to put in motion the blessing of liberty but it does take a virtuous minority to make a real difference in the world.
Law | Natural Law | Legal title | Common Law | Fiction of law |
Stare decisis | Jury | Consent | Contract | Parental contract | Government |
Civil law | Civil Rights | Civil Government | Governments |
No Kings | Cities of refuge | Voir dire | Levites |
Citizen | Equity | The Ten Laws | Law of the Maat |
Bastiat's_The_Law_and_Two_Trees | Trees |
The Occupy Refuge Movement | Clive Bundy | Hammond |
Barcroft | Benefactors | gods | Jury | Sanhedrin |
Protection | Weightier_matters | Social_contract | Community Law |
Perfect law of liberty | Power to change | Covet | Rights |
Anarchist | agorism | Live as if the state does not exist |
- Protectio trahit subjectionem, subjectio protectionem. Coke, Littl. 65."
- Thomas Hobbes (1588 –1679), was an English philosopher. His 1651 book Leviathan established social contract theory, the foundation of most later Western political philosophy. He was a champion of absolutism for the sovereign; fundamentals of European liberal thought: the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order (which led to the later distinction between civil society and the state); the view that all legitimate political power must be "representative" and based on the consent of the people; and a liberal interpretation of law which leaves people free to do whatever the law does not explicitly forbid.
- Pufendorf: On the Duty of Man and Citizen: Introduction By Walther Schucking and translated by Herbert F. Wright.
- John Wycliffe introduced his translation of the Bible in 1382 with the words, “This Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.”
- The Columbia Encyclopedia, Columbia University Press, 1968, p. 1983
- Social Contract, chapter 8, book 4
- John Calvin Coolidge, Jr., 1872 – 1933, 30th President of the United States.
- Natural State, Welfare State or Failed State by T H Shah
- The Kantian ethic of capitalism. Harold B. Jones, Jr.
- State Welfare Spending and Religiosity, A Cross National Analysis by Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde
- Ex. 20:17, 1 Sa. 8; 13:13, Ro. 7:7, 13:9, Col. 3:5, Heb. 13:5, 2 Pe. 2:3-14
- Frederic Bastiat, 1801 – 1850, French theorist, political economist.
- Herbert Spencer, 1820 – 1903, an English philosopher.
- Richard John Neuhaus, 1936 – 2009, prominent American clergyman.
- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. Inscription above Galt’s Gulch powerhouse.
- Evangelical Bible College of Western Australia Commentary. Revelation by Dr Peter Mose [Book 97-2] July 2004
- Cf Franz Oppenheimer, Origins of the State, (San Francisco: Fox and Wilkes, 1997), p.15.
- A pirates et latronibus capti libera permanent.Dig.49. 15. 19. 2.
- A piratis et latronibus capta dominium non mutant.1 Kent, Comm. 108, 184; 2 Wooddesen, Lect. 258,259.
- Article II The Jay Treaty, Treaty of Amity Commerce and Navigation Concluded November 19, 1794
- Cujus est commodum ejus debet esse incommodum
- The Columbia Encyclopedia, Columbia University Press, 1968, p. 1983
- Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah Chapt. V
- Civitas. Any body of people living under the same laws. Black’s 3rd.
- Right. In Constitutional Law. Black’s Law Dictionary 3rd p. 1559.
- Political. Black’s Law Dictionary 3rd p. 1375.
- Right. In Constitutional Law. Black’s Law Dictionary 3rd p. 1559.
- Slaughter House Cases, 83 US 395, 407 (1873)
- Colgate v. Harvey, 296 US 404, 429. (1935)