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william clegg

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What do you think of the Social Contract?

Do you understand what it is? When do we agree to it?
What's it good for? Should we change it? Can we change it?

The Social Contract is an implied co-operative relationship between a government and those governed and has been around as long as governments have existed. The people surrender their inherent freedom to do "as they darn well please" to the government in exchange for a safe and secure life.

The Constitution of a nation sets down the rights and responsibilities of its citizenry as well as of its institutions and its government. Citizenship then becomes a complicate agreement - the Social Contract - to adhere to the strictures of that Constitution and the government of the day. .

Yet from what i have learned over the years few are aware that a Social Contract even exists never mind what its intent or content is. Even fewer seem to respect it with the proliferation of aggressive drivers, tax 'avoiders', criminal enterprises and contempt for politicians - those who end up in government - as classic examples.

So, please share your thoughts and feelings on the whole Social Contract issue.

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Closing Statement from william clegg

Amongst those who spoke for a social contract there was strong support for its continued existence and importance as a binding commitment between the state and the citizenry and integral to citizenship.

However, there seemed to be more voices that refute the existence and/or any importance to the premise of a social contract with blatant self interest - whether the speakers or the speaker's view of others - as the principle barrier to embracing the concept. .

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    Nov 7 2013: "few are aware that a Social Contract even exists, never mind what its intent or content is."

    In what form are you assuming the social contract exists in your country or province? Are you assuming there is a document in archives with signatories who bind all future generations to that agreement? Or are you thinking a Constitution is that social contract by definition?
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      Nov 7 2013: Blessings for starting off the discussion so perfectly - honest folks I never met the guy before this.

      As indicated in my intro "The Social Contract is an implied co-operative relationship between a government and those governed and has been around as long as governments have existed. The people surrender their inherent freedom to do "as they darn well please" to the government in exchange for a safe and secure life. "
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        Nov 7 2013: The matter I meant to raise is that the first problem arises when people resist the idea of being born into any sort of contractual obligation to be a willing subject and collaborator of a government that existed before they did themselves (and which incidentally may not take their interests or values into account).

        Of this sort of disposition, civil disobedience, civil wars, and secessionist movements are made.

        Here is a reasonable link from which you can learn more about the best known social contract theories as well as critiques from the perspective of groups who tend to have no legacy of participation in founding the governments in question. http://www.iep.utm.edu/soc-cont/#H2
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          Nov 8 2013: Of course the social contract exists, whether written down somewhere or simply in the minds of its adherents. Rules of the road are a classic example. Private clubs, public facilities, non-profits, companies, businesses, governments and criminal enterprises all have spoken and unspoken expectations, freedoms, restrictions and even behaviours which those who wish to participate in them are obliged to follow.

          And yes, there are always those who will resist, deny and/or defy the very idea of a social contract. But if a person claims citizenship/membership with a particular group then they are binding themselves to both the benefits and the limitations of that groups constitution. It is the claim to membership/citizenship which confers ones agreement.

          That said, there are very few social encounters that are not going to challenge such a resistant personality to go somewhere else if they don't like it here.

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