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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.


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 13 2013: I would go with David Hume and say that social contract is a convenient fiction. I would go one step further and say that the dynamics of society and polity are inherently different and social contract cannot be taken as synonymous with political contract to start with.
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      Nov 13 2013: and therein lies the rub I am afraid. Political divisions are at the heart of the problem and political parties feed on that division. Political parties don't just serve special interest groups, today they are themselves special interest groups seeking the offices of power and control for whatever reasons or agendas of convenience will get them there.

      Instead of uniting the citizenry in common causes and finding common ground on contentious issues political parties exploit the opportunity to divide that citizenry even further.

      Hume did not have much respect for government in general and viewed most of them as conquerors and usurpers which he then uses to discount and/or discredit any consent of the people to be so governed But that does not diminish the social contract that is inherent in claiming citizenship/membership with any social structure.

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