Contracts and Caretakers
April 18, 2012
The Magna Carta. The Mayflower Compact. Dozens of constitutions ratified in countries and states worldwide. Even your car loan or your 65″ flat screen 3D TV from Rent-A-Center. Without the concept of “contracts,” none of these would exist.
The notion of a contract is not at all complex, yet we constantly hear about some supposed “social contract” in modern America. This “social contract” notion is quickly dispelled by doing something I’ve loudly advocated for years: defining our terms.
Contract: a mutual agreement between two or more parties which delineates the terms of an exchange, and cites consequences for breach of said agreement. Contracts are legally enforceable, but terms cannot be modified by either party without mutual consent, and by outside parties not at all.
Now, with our terms defined, we can proceed to ponder the notion of a “social contract.” Who are the parties to this “contract”? Ostensibly (according to those pushing the idea), we are ALL parties to the “social contract” in America. Especially non-Americans. (Remember, after all, we have Supreme Court Justices perfectly willing to subject our Constitution, or contract, to foreign laws.)
What this means, in practical application, is that everyone’s basic needs will be met (somehow), except for the self-sufficient. If you have the wherewithal to provide for yourself and/or your family, the “social contract” mandates you also pay for others’ needs. A stay-at-home-mom, who “never worked a day in her life,” is perfectly fine under the “social contract,” but only if the government pays her bills.
This “social contract” has never been put to paper and signed by the parties who would be governed by its terms. Ever.
It is, instead, posited as a verbal or implied “contract.” Yet the basic definition of a contract hasn’t been met: a mutually agreed upon exchange of value for value.
Basic needs are not, by definition, rights. Someone must produce food, clothing, and shelter, and be compensated for doing so. But our society, in its current (progressively manipulated) incarnation, has managed to convince large numbers of people that what used to be considered “needs” are now “rights.”
This becomes a slippery slope far too easily, as now there is a vacancy where needs used to be. Progressives insist on filling that gap with what used to be “wants,” defining them now as needs. Which, in turn, opens up a convenient space for brand new wants. And on down the slippery slope we go, until everything is a “right,” and government now must be in charge of all, as the proper guarantor of rights.
Adam Smith wrote about the “benevolent butcher” providing meat for a community. But, what progressives refuse to acknowledge, is that he provided first for his family. Even the most altruistic among us anticipate or expect some commensurate return, even if only gratitude.
But even a modicum of gratitude is missing from this “social contract.” Ever gotten a “thank you” from SNAP Sally at Food Lion? Of course not. Because the terms of the “social contract” only apply to those footing the bill for the benefits it doles out.
You fund the social benefits, THEN hope to have enough left to feed your family. Shut up about the others you’re forced to support. The “social contract” ultimately depends upon lopsided coercion and plunder. But to point this out is taboo. “You just want people to starve!!”
If we are to truly “progress,” we must have the courage to point it out, and scoff at whatever stripe we’re painted with.