The Social Contract

Have you ever stopped to wonder where governments come from? Are they like weeds that spring up in your flower bed; something you don’t want but are often too lazy to pull out? Or are they something you plant of your own volition; something you think would make your garden a better place?

Before government, if you can imagine such a time, man was free to regulate his own pursuits and be the judge, jury and executioner, (in the need arose), for those who attempted to steal from him or violate his liberty. In a state of perfect nature each human being is free to make their own choices regarding how they want to live their lives, with the only restriction being that they do not deprive anyone else of that same right.

If all humans were just and honest then in this state of nature a state of balance would exist which would cause no man to interfere with the lives, liberty or possessions of another. As Locke explained in his Second Treatise, “The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…”

But, unfortunately, man is not just, he is not honest, and he often does not respect the rights of others. It is when we encounter those who DO NOT respect our lives, liberty or property that we have the right of deciding whether the infraction warrants punishment. As Locke states in Section 12 of his Second Treatise, “By the same reason may a man in the state of nature punish the lesser breaches of that law. It will perhaps be demanded, with death? I answer, each transgression may be punished to that degree, and with so much severity, as will suffice to make it an ill bargain to the offender, give him cause to repent, and terrify others from doing the like.”

If man is endowed with that much freedom in a state of nature, then why in the hell would he enter into social or political societies and surrender that freedom; or does he when he enters into such a society? Well, according to Frederic Bastiat man does NOT give up those rights when entering into a social compact that gives others the power to make laws. Here, read for yourself what Bastiat said on the matter:

Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?

If every person has the right to defend—even by force—his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right—its reason for existing, its lawfulness—is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force—for the same reason—cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

That still does not answer the question of why men would enter into social compacts; forming civil or political societies. The answer lies in the fact that, as individuals, their lives, liberty and property are only protected by the force each individual is capable of bringing to bear against those who threaten those three gifts. In forming societies, man can utilize the concept of strength in numbers to resist encroachments upon their lives, liberty and property. As Locke states, “The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property. To which in the state of nature there are many things wanting.”

As societies, both social and political, are established so that they can enact rules by which all the members of those societies must obey, than the laws being enacted MUST serve the purpose for which man enters into those societies, or the system man has established becomes corrupt and evil. Once again Frederic Bastiat had this to say about that, “But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect.”

Frederic Bastiat wrote his book The Law well after our country had established its Constitution; framing the system of government we currently suffer under. But Locke, on the other hand, wrote his Second Treatise well before the establishment of our system of government; in fact it was a motivating influence for Jefferson when he penned our Declaration of Independence.

I find it somewhat interesting that those Founders who spoke most loudly about liberty during the Revolution were absent from the convention that produced the Constitution. Jefferson was abroad in France; Patrick Henry refused to attend, saying he smelled a rat in Philadelphia; Samuel Adams was missing, as were many other notable figures who may have had some say in limiting the powers given our government; or placing better safeguards against violations of our liberty.

On September 17, 1787, just prior to voting on whether or not to accept the final draft of the Constitution, a speech prepared by Ben Franklin was read to the delegates by James Wilson; a speech which urged them to unanimously support their final product. In that speech Franklin stated, “In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? ”

Could that have been the birth of the belief that it is acceptable to tolerate anything less than perfect in politics – the beginning of the belief in the concept of the lesser of two evils? I may be alone in these thoughts, but when it comes to the preservation of my liberty I am not willing to accept any system which is not perfectly designed to protect and secure that liberty to me.

It seems to me that, at a subconscious level, fear is the motivating emotion which guides the decision making process of far too many people. If there is a shooting, people fear becoming a victim and then support measures which limit their right to keep and bear arms. If there is some kind of terrorist attack people fear being a victim of such an attack and support measures that limit their right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, or support laws such as the Patriot Act.

It was no different when our Constitution was being debated amongst the people of the States in 1788; the fear of what would happen should they NOT adopt the system being proposed was one of the big reasons many chose to adopt a less than perfect system. The dissenting minority from Pennsylvania had this to say about the means being utilized to coerce people into adopting this system, “Whilst the gilded chains were forging in the secret conclave, the meaner instruments of despotism without, were busily employed in alarming the fears of the people with dangers which did not exist, and exciting their hopes of greater advantages from the expected plan than even the best government on earth could produce….”

The power of government implies the power of making laws, and laws, without any means of enforcing them, are nothing if not mere suggestions. Therefore, when your liberty is at stake, if you are going to establish, or consent to a system of government, you should damn sure ensure that the system of government you are establishing has sufficient restrictions upon that government’s ability to threaten your life, your liberty, or your property.

Unfortunately, that did not happen. Patrick Henry vehemently opposed the proposed Constitution, stating numerous faults within it. I’ll just post a few of them for you to consider, to see whether Henry’s fears were warranted:

-There will be no checks, no real balances, in this Government: What can avail your specious imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances?

-My great objection to this Government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants
-If then Gentlemen standing on this ground, are come to that point, that they are willing to bind themselves and their posterity to be oppressed, I am amazed and inexpressibly astonished.

-The Honorable Gentleman who presides, told us, that to prevent abuses in our Government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, Sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical; no longer democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?

I have come to accept that the Constitution is not flawed because of the compromises that took place to produce a document that was acceptable to all the delegates; rather it was intentionally left weak and ineffective in restraining the government it produced and defending our liberty.
Your government can:

-tax you to whatever extent it deems necessary to fund itself and pay for the debt it creates.

-enact whatever laws, rules, regulations and codes it thinks are necessary for the general welfare of the people; the regulation of commerce, or are simply necessary and proper.

-hire as many enforcers as they deem necessary to harass the people and ensure that we obey whatever edits they issue from on high; all being given the power to use deadly force against those who resist their authority.

-Staff courts of justice with judges who do not tolerate the introduction of organic law into their courtrooms; rather they enforce previous interpretations of organic law. One of the most frightening quotes I’ve ever read came from Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.” Judges, after all, are political appointees; part of government. Therefore that quote is akin to saying that the government, and its employees, get to decide what the Constitution means, and what limits it imposes upon them.

That is a complete reversal of how it was supposed to work. The people were supposed to have been the sole deciders in what power their government was to be allowed to exercise. Now the government gets to decide for itself what powers it can exercise, and we are powerless to prevent it from overstepping its lawful authority. How are we to stop them; vote them out of office? How well has that worked out for you?

If you recall, Patrick Henry warned of this very flaw within the Constitution, “The Honorable Gentleman who presides, told us, that to prevent abuses in our Government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, Sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical; no longer democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?”

People think that simply because they are allowed to vote in a free and democratic election, that they have a say in what goes on in government. They don’t! When 99.9% of the candidates running for office are loyal to the system, not to the principles that system was established to protect and defend, then once elected they will just continue with business as usual; meaning more taxes, more laws restricting our liberty, and more rules and regulations than the average person has the time, or inclination to read and understand.

I’m going to paraphrase something I read on a Facebook post by my friend Mike Gaddy. He basically said that to change course, or reverse course, one must first stop going in the direction they are going BEFORE they can change directions. For America to be fixed, (I didn’t say for us to fix our system of government, because I don’t think it CAN be fixed), we must first stop supporting it.

To do so we must first stop participating in the charade of choosing who will seat in the various positions of power within that government. To continue voting is to continue giving your consent to a system that was designed from the get-go to be destructive to your lives, liberty and property.

I want you to read something, and I apologize for the length, but I think it is vital that you understand what I’m about to share with you. In his book The Law, Bastiat writes, “Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain—and since labor is pain in itself—it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

But, generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men. And since law cannot operate without the sanction and support of a dominating force, this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws.

This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice.”

Our system was designed, intentionally I believe, to be the tool by which one class of society can plunder the other of their property and liberty. Without any ironclad protection for our liberty, or limitations upon what our government can do, the only way of preventing it from overstepping its authority and becoming oppressive is the morality of the people who choose those who fill the positions of power within that system.

When that check fails, the whole system fails. When special interests, groups, or any other entity seek to utilize the coercive power of government to benefit them, the rights of the individual and the full enjoyment of their property and the fruits of their labor becomes subject to confiscation or restriction. And isn’t that what Locke said is the purpose of any system of government, to better secure to each individual the things that they would have enjoyed in a state of nature had they not been under the dominion of a ‘government’?

At the very beginning of his book The Law, Bastiat opens with the following statement, “The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!”

As the entity which creates the laws that they enforce upon us, that statement is the most accurate description of them and the laws they enact. And yet you STILL support that entity, that system because you think that voting makes a difference? Like I said, how well has voting worked out in controlling the expansive growth of government; not very well if you want my honest opinion?

I don’t think we can fix this country so long as we remain under the control of the system established back in 1789. We can’t fix it, and to keep voting for people to try and do just that is madness. I also think, unfortunately, that we won’t be able to educate and inform enough people to abolish this system. As Morpheus told Neo in the movie the Matrix, “The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”

I think the only thing we can do, at this stage, is stop participating in our own enslavement. The best thing I’ve seen about this in a long time came from something a guy named Mike Miller, who posted a graphic on Facebook that said, “The day I found out I was in a system I decided to become a virus.”

Maybe if enough of us did that, if we just stopped playing their game, we could throw a monkey wrench into things, become a cog in the wheel and slow down the progression towards absolute tyranny and despotism. After all, that’s what those who fought for America’s independence did, they refused to consent to tyrants, and they won their independence. They didn’t do it by voting, they did it by not CONSENTING to tyrants.

I’m constantly being told that I must be on a few government watch lists, to which I reply, “If you’re not on a government watch list by now you should be ashamed to call yourself an American.”

Freedom isn’t free, it takes the people to preserve it and ensure that it is passed on to the next generation. That cannot be done if you participate in the very system that enslaves you; robs you of that freedom. We may not be able to fix it, but that doesn’t mean we have to consent to it by choosing who will be our masters.

That’s all I’m trying to say; take that first step and recognize that the problem is not either a Democratic or Republican problem, it is a systemic problem and by voting you are only giving your consent to the system itself regardless of which party gets to drive the bus.

Once you accept this, you’re on the road to recovery – otherwise you’re still jacked into the Matrix, completely unaware of your condition as a slave…

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