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Today we touch on a topic a little bit on the obscure side. This is one of those topics that people don’t talk about any more. However, this topic or idea is at the very core of Democracy (or Monarchy or Communism). If we really want to understand why any government is obsolete and unworkable, we need to take a look at Social Contracts or Social Mortgages. By now, we guess that if we tell you that Social Contracts are a scam, you would not be surprised at all. Well… they are.

 

A DEFINITION

As usual, if we can’t define what we are talking about, we can’t talk about it coherently. So, we create a definition.

A Social Contract (or Mortgage) is a theory that deals with the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.

In other words, it is supposed to be the rational to explain why it is OK for people to surrender some rights to a ruler in exchange for the protection of their remaining rights.

As you can see, this stuff is really important. It is the justification of Democracy. It is the reason why modern democracy was created in the first place. If this concept is flawed, then we have a mayor problem in our hands, because Democracy is automatically a fraud. Or, to be more precise, they have a major problem in their hands (we are OK with no government whatsoever).

 

THEORIES

Over the years, several theories have been developed. These theories are known by the names of the philosophers that developed them. As our modern Democracy is based on a blend of these theories, we need to study them one at the time. If they fail separately, then they also fail when combined.

We will study these theories from a theoretical point of view as well from a practical one (or as scientist love to say, empirical). Let’s do it!

 

HUGO GROTIUS (1625) – Natural Rights

He believed that humans nave “natural rights” that justify self-preservation. As we all have these rights, we can build an agreement based on them even when faced with religious and social diversities. We could develop a sort of “natural law” that everyone could accept. This idea of original natural rights, leads to the concept of sovereignty. If we are all entitled to preserve our lives, we are then all under our own jurisdiction; in other words, we are all sovereign. There is no supreme authority over us. But precisely because we are all sovereign and we recognize this, we must all avoid doing harm or interfering with each other. If we do so, we would be breaching other people’s natural rights and this is not acceptable, therefore this must be punished.

 

Commentary

From this philosophy, there is one idea we agree with. We also believe that humans have natural rights, but our belief is that those rights are unlimited when people are in absolute isolation. To enable coexistence, those rights need to be limited voluntarily simply because absolute rights overlap absolutely. 

We disagree with Grotius in the notion that a “natural law” can ever be found. The reason is that “natural rights” do not come with a manual itemizing them. People are all different and as such, they will all have different ideas as to what our “natural rights” are. Therefore, it will be impossible to find a “natural law” that will be universal.

We also disagree with Grotius in the concept of punishment.  Grotius’ punishment idea comes attached to a government. The concept is that “somebody” should punish transgressors and this “somebody” should act under a discovered “natural law”. The inevitable conclusion is that this “natural law” will give rise to a government. But this poses a question: what rights would a government (a human invention) have, or more precisely why should government rights be superior to human rights if we are all bound by this “natural law” which is the same for all of us? Let’s remember that if a government (or a bunch of people calling themselves government) will punish somebody, they will do so against this person’s will. If all people have the same rights under the “natural law”, how do we justify that “some people” have superior rights over others to be able to punish? The answer is, of course, there is no justification. Grotius’ theory does not hold.

In practice, this notion of a “natural law” is simply unworkable because it demands that we all behave as equals. This goes against human nature where we are all selfish and greedy. Grotius’ position is that we need to recognize our mutual sovereignty and behave. If we don’t, we get punished. There isn’t a single example in the history of humanity where such a society was created. In practice it simply does not work.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.


Continue to Social Contracts Are A Scam - Part 2

 

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