The Social Contract: Compliance vs. Consent
One of the most perverse and pervasive errors in modern thought is the social contract theory. In short, it asserts that participation in society is tacit assent—if not outright consent—to a contract that requires submission to the government in the area. It was developed by philosophers who needed a workaround to avoid the necessary anti-government implications of their political thought, but it fails to hold any weight when examined closely. The root is confusion over consent, compliance, and coercion.
A contract is an agreement consisting of an offer, acceptance, an exchange of consideration, and voluntary consent. It may seem spurious to request evidence of a written and signed contract, but if a contract exists, there must be some kind of evidence beyond, "Well, you're here, so you consent."
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Quote source: "Consent of the Governed," by Robert Higgs
As an analogy, consider the difference between someone offering me a $20 bill and me demanding $20 from someone at gunpoint.
In the first instance, someone makes a voluntarily offer, I voluntarily accept it, and the $20 is exchanged. This may be a gift, a payment for some service I have rendered, or part of a trade. In any case, these are all examples of a voluntary exchange and a valid contract. There may be a written receipt for a transaction as evidence of the contract, but it need not be written down at all. Nonetheless, there is evidence of a valid contract in the nature of our actions.
In the second instance, I use the threat of force to compel someone against his will. The threat of force is ipso facto proof that there is no voluntary consent, and the other must choose to comply under duress or suffer harm should I carry out my threat. If someone were to frame this as some kind of voluntary exchange, they would need to show I had a higher claim to the bodily integrity and property of my victim. This is clearly an absurd usurpation on my part since it violates the universal and reciprocal nature of natural rights theory.
Compliance under duress is proof that consent was not given, and the social contract theory presumes that consent has somehow been granted. And yet, the proponents of the social contract theory claim that the latter is in fact a valid contract if enough other people agree and the proper rituals are performed. They even argue that the former example can violate the "social contract" if some third party disagrees with it.
Mutual voluntary consent between individuals is the primary hallmark of human civilization. It is what allows the development of complex economies, technological advancement, and the massive interweaving web of relationships that constitutes society itself. It is our responsibility to pursue recognition of individual rights, understand the sphere of just individual authority, and seek consent if we are to ever achieve the potential of humanity.
Author's note: This is a re-post of an article from my Steemit account. I apologize if my Russian tags are in error, since I am relying on Google Chrome to translate the Russian text in the trending topics list for me.