The social contract is a philosophical construct wherein individuals are implicitlyi and “morally”ii obliged to give of themselves to “the greater good” by reliquishing their freedoms in exchange for security. This theory has been debated for millennia,iii to be sure, but it deserves renewed consideration in light of the Bitcoin-powered death of geography and the birth of cryptographically secured individualism, which is to say, the dissolution of the group and the complete disbanding of the herd.
In more modern times, proponents of the social contract readily turn to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of the most simplistic and platonically naive philosophers of the last three centuries.iv So let’s look at a few of Rousseau’s argument from his well-known Du contrat social, which he wrote in 1762 when he was already 50-years-old yet barely a pup, still unable to clean the shit from his own eyes :
Let us take it that men have reached the point at which the obstacles to their survival in the state of nature overpower each individual’s resources for maintaining himself in that state.
So basically, Rousseau is proposing that all of a sudden, quite out of the blue and much to everyone’s dismay, the “state of nature” grew into a 10-story tall Ursula the Sea Witch, engorged with rage and dead-set on thirstily murdering every adult male, raping every pre-pubescent female over the coals, and generally running roughshod over everything and anyone else in its way. Seriously. Not only is it clear to see that man hasn’t been this helpless since he grunted his first comprehensible grunt, leveraging his capacity for communication and thus organisation, but that independent men of independent means have always existed and always will exist, at least in anything sufficiently advanced so as to reasonably call itself civilisation.
To boot, this absurb proposition has never been less true than it is today, where independence has never required fewer physical attachments and geographical constraints. It’s on this shaky and transparently nonexistent foundation that Rousseau proceeds :
The basic compact doesn’t destroy natural inequality; rather, it replaces such physical inequalities as nature may have set up between men by an equality that is moral and legitimate, so that men who may be unequal in strength or intelligence become equal by agreement and legal right.
It isn’t hard to see how such senseless pretences to the understanding of human goodness, social dynamics, and material control leads quite inevitably towards centralised nation states and the inevitably consequent iatrogenics. How else to enforce this “agreement” than by a monopoly on force ? Without such rights railroads and such an ablation of freedoms, the strong would overcome the weak and the artificial and all-too-awkward equality would be right out the window.
Therefore the weak must do their damnedest to constrain the strong through physical means, redistributing that which they did not earn under the veil of high-minded “morality” to go alongside with the narrative construction of the noblese oblige somehow, someway magickally extending to handouts, lest their despicable and broad daylight thefts be called, well, “theft.”
This spherical-cow-in-a-vacuum thinking, which imagines that sharing basic biological functions like farting and dying creates some sort of bond between men anymore than it creates bonds between men and planets thousands of lightyears away, is the dissociated means to the ends you see when you look out the window of your car or office : it’s the urban sprawl, it’s the ticking time bomb of debt both public and private, it’s the computers that don’t compute, and it’s the sharp edges of post-post-modernism.v And it’s all rooted in Rousseau’s noxious “general will” :
I hold then that sovereignty, being nothing less than the exercise of the general will, can never be alienated, and that the sovereign, which is nothing but a collective being, can’t be represented except by itself: the power indeed may be transmitted, but not the will.
See what happens when you let meatpuppets have a say ? See what happens when you let collective = sovereign for a split second, much less a few hundred years ? A whole lot of I’ll-jerk-your-chain-if-you-jerk-his-and-he-jerks-mine, a whole lot of squawking and not a whole lot of doing anything meaningful and anything productive of any lasting quality. When you let socialism and coerced equality run amok, there’s little to no incentive for the greatest men to even get out of bed because their greatness is being treated equally to the suckage of everyone else, so why bother ? To the detriment of the entire planet and of human potential, this situation perpetuates. I should say, it perpetuated. Back when men who didn’t want to be men could delegate such matters to soldiers and police, that is.
Even their life, which they have dedicated to the state, is constantly protected by it; and when they risk it in the state’s defence, aren’t they just giving back what they have received from it? What are they doing that they wouldn’t do oftener and more dangerously in the state of nature, in which they would inevitably have to risk their lives in battles in defence of their means of survival?
The state of affairs where the state of a nation could protect its citizens has come and gone. Remember 9/11 ? How could you forget !vi But here’s the crazy thing now : in some imaginary place in some nonexistent time, if we’re to believe to Rousseau, it was more dangerous to be alone than it was to be in the group. Well I’ll be damned if it isn’t more of a liability to be part of the group now, ya know ?
You think anyone waving an American passport around in, say, Syria today is going to be treated any better than a leperous zombie dog with three legs, red devil eyes, and plumes of frothing spit spurting forth from his deranged lips like sulfurous clouds from a deep sea hydrothermal vent ? Think again. And if you think Syria isn’t the canary in the coal mine and that taking that “good job” with the USG doesn’t qualify you for von Flondorisation then you’re equally mistaken. Aligning yourself with the ancien regime fiat doesn’t work out in the long-term even if it seems like “the only option” in the short-term. Signing the papers is as big as mistakes come these days – these days of reputation-as-beacon-score and ever-refining WoTs.
Anyways, that’s enough Rousseau. You’re sufficiently persuaded if you’re to be persuaded at all.vii
So that’s what the social contract was, once upon a time. Quite a symmetrically-shaped theory, wouldn’t you say ? You might almost call it square-shaped. Like a peg.
Too bad the world is a circular hole.viii Heh.
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- Just for being born in a time and a place !↩
- Except entirely immorally in the sense that coercion is ipso facto required. There can be nothing as high-minded as morality that’s enforced at the end of a gun. Directions that are physically enforced are orders, not morals.↩
- Plato and Socrates were in stark disagreement on the matter, with the former arguing that the social contract was necessary in order for justice to exist while the latter took the stance that justice exists for its own sake and is the exclusive providence of the happy man. Socrates walked the walk too : he demonstrated his point with his dying, hemlock-scented breath. Socrates took death over exile not on account of some noble and high-minded duty to the state of his birth and its ever-so-righteous denizens, he just couldn’t put up with the mountains of braindead idjits choking his every waking thought. His justice was his own, as it could only be.↩
- Though I grant that Rousseau couldn’t have possibly imagined the degree to which his fellow naive idealists would use his propaganda to enlarge their numbers and justify their murderous purposes. ↩
- Not to mention that such roaring stupidity leads idjits to develop “smart contracts” and even bigger morons to become their donors.↩
- And this has happened not a moment too soon either, though there’s certainly an environmental argument to be made that it’s a bit too late. Go ahead and tell the Formosan clouded leopard that you did it for the children. Oh wait, you can’t. He’s extinct because “everyone should have everything all the time just for the mere fact of being born.” Pretty shitty when you have to look in the mirror and see that it wasn’t the big mean capitalist puppetmaster that killed the environment, but rather your “poverty line” and “dollar a day” fucktardery poisoning the air, the land, and the water. Sleep on that one.↩
- And if you’re really close but not quite there, there’s also this recent and related conversation from that little channel to help paint the social contract picture :
funkenstein_: To quote no one you are likely to consider sane, you signed up when you chose to be born.
trinque: The social contract is religious bullshit.
funkenstein_: I’m not sure what the social contract is. As you point out, I didn’t sign it.
trinque: Or “You are not your own but were bought at a price.” Corinthian’s something something.* Or any other such brainwashing which precludes my own decisionmaking.
decimation: But in that case Paul is referring to those who believe in Jesus.
trinque: Sure and my parents had me baptised. So I’m his bondslave for life according to this or that interpretation of folk legends.
decimation: If your point is that your salvation is involuntary, I don’t think that is correct, but Christians do disagree on this point.
trinque: Point is people with mouths can declare anything at all.** That doesn’t mean that I acknowledge it.
decimation: Indeed. yet, you were born, fed, taught, and you will die.
trinque: When someone says “There is a social contract” that’s just a backdoor way of saying “You shall accept the implications of there being a social contract”. I might revise that further to “I shall force you to behave as though there were such a thing as a social contract.” Though the “I” in the sentence may not be the speaker
decimation: Note that many people would replace Orthodox Christianity with some kind of warmed-over socialism, that doesn’t make their socialism Christianity (as loudly as they might protest otherwise).
trinque: I grant that. Wouldn’t it be nice for a man to call a command a command, so you know what freedom you actually have. If any. The destruction of the language in order to convince slaves they are not slaves costs far too much.***
Vexual: Such acrux.
trinque: I’ve heard it called “stealing your stolen from” around here, and it’s exactly on the mark. So then going back to the “state”, if the “state” is this, then a “state” is *not* the aggregate of agreements made by free men. Might be nice to give that one it’s own word.
funkenstein_: In practical use, the state is whatever the guy with the gun tells you it is.
trinque: Things are what they are, though we may be forced to call them otherwise.
*Corinthians 6 : 19 – 20.
***So it does. Everywhere we see the destruction of language designed to drape the cloak of ignorance over your eyes, keeping you forever a newborn babe and forever a part of the imbecilic komoonitee. “Sustainable” and “progress” are but a few of the victims of the strong-retard-powered perversity calling itself “socialism.”↩
- Turns out that GPG Contracts, the 21st century equivalent of an aristocatic gentleman’s word, are… also circular.↩