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THOMAS HOBBES (1651) – Social Contracts

He believed that originally humans all had equal faculties of body and mind  and from this equality and other causes in human nature, all these people were all confronted one against the other. In these conditions, people had the natural right or liberty to do whatever it takes for self-defense. In this state, there were no laws, except for the “law of nature” which is that every person must work for peace and enjoy the same amount of liberty as he would give to others. In this state life was anarchic (no leadership) and horrible (i.e. solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short). Then, people came together and gave up some individual rights so that others would do the same. This created a sovereign state, which rules with near absolute authority over all these people, with the purpose of creating laws to regulate social interactions.



Humans were not all equal for the same reason we are not equal today; we are all different. Therefore, humans all had different faculties of body and mind. There was no “equality”. 

Furthermore, even if there would have been equality, why would this necessarily lead to a war of all people against all people? This is as ridiculous today as it was yesterday. Some people will certainly attack others, but some would choose to coexist and some to cooperate.

We certainly agree that in this original state, there were no laws. However, to deduce from this that the only law that existed because it was “reasoned” was a “natural law” and furthermore that this law was benign, is a gigantic leap of faith we are not prepared to take.

We also disagree with the concept that one should be contempt with the same amount of freedom that one allows others to have with oneself. This is so because this concept is symmetrical. You get exactly the same freedom as you are willing to give. The only problem with this concept is that humans do not behave as such. We are all different and all our interactions with other people are based on selfishness and greed. We always want more freedom than what we are willing to give.

Furthermore, why would a “natural law” dictate that humans must work for peace, is a complete mystery.

Then we have the issue of people giving up the same rights so that others do the same. Apparently this process, somehow, creates a government that has superior rights than the people who created it! We have no idea how this government came to be, but apparently, it did. Not only that, but this government, who received certain rights from people, now magically has increased its rights over and above the rights of the people who donated their rights to near-absolute authority! Apparently, somewhere in the process of creating a sovereign government there is also a process of right multiplication built in. We don’t know exactly how it works and since Hobbes did not bother explaining it either, but we have the strong suspicion the did not have a clue.

Lastly, we have the insoluble problem that if all the people under this authority have the same rights, and the authority has near-absolute rights, this necessarily determines that there must be people with near-absolute rights. But this is not possible, because all the people have the same rights! In other words, this system is self-contradictory.


JOHN LOCKE (1686) – Social Contract for Self-Defense

He believed that in nature human beings were free to do as they saw fit, within the boundaries of the “law of Nature”. This law stated that no one should harm another life, liberty or property and that transgressions should be punished. He believe that this law can be deduced strictly from reason. The problem, he stated, was that “other” people would seek to kill, enslave and rob these “good” people. And so, these good people would band together to create a neutral government who would defend life, liberty and property of all the people living within it. This government would be an impartial and objective agent for self-defense whose legitimacy comes from the consent of the governed.



There are several problems, of course, but the main idea that originally all people were free to do as they saw fit, holds.

On the other hand, the idea that a “law of nature” exist, is again, ridiculous. Furthermore, the concept that somehow we should be able to deduce this law by ourselves is even more preposterous. Again, we are all different and we are all selfish. It is a mystery why would all of us suddenly be capable of deducing the same law, which is based on subjective views.

Moreover, why would this law include life, liberty and property is truly obscure. Why not life and liberty only? Or why not include the “pursue of happiness”? Or the attainment of spiritual enlightment? Or any other lofty goal we may wish to add to the list. The reason is, of course, that these are goals, not parts of a law.

Then, if this law can be deduced by anybody, how is it is possible that only good people would follow it but not bad people? Why would bad people choose to ignore this law if they, themselves, deduced it? Wouldn’t this deductive process at least reduce to meaningless quantities the people that chooses to ignore it? It should have because we all think. But if there weren’t that many bad people, why would we need a government to defend us? Why would we need to create such a government to be used only in very rare occasions? It would seem a lot of effort for very little gain… unless… there were plenty of bad people out there… which contradicts the idea that this “natural law” can be deduced by all of us.

Then we have the notion that the government would be neutral, impartial and objective in the execution of its duties. But if people are biased, partial and subjective, and people comprise this government, by what mechanism would these people now suddenly become the opposite? This concept is obviously self-contradictory. Put simply, people are not and cannot be neutral, impartial and objective; it goes again their nature.

Moving on, there is the notion that the government becomes legitimate by the consent of the governed. But again, we have the problem of a government that has superior rights than the people who consented since the government can be  judge, jury and executioner. Where do these superior rights come from? Who gave them to the government? Where is this magical right multiplication process and how it works? Of course, this is a contradiction, it is nonsense. The government cannot have more rights than the ones given to it by the people who created it in the first place.

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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