In political philosophy the social contract or political contract is a theory or model, originating during the Age of Enlightenment, that typically addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.
Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler or magistrate (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange for protection of their remaining rights. The question of the relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social contract theory.
John Locke a well renowned philosopher had addressed those matters of the social contract. The Founding Fathers had examined Locke’s influence which was profound on the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
Lock had assumed that the sole right to defend in the state of nature was not enough, so people established a civil society to resolve conflicts in a civil way with help from government in a state of society. Locke advocated governmental separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances.
Even the Declaration of Independence had noted that:
That to secure these rights,Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
In that particular context, the framers of our government had laid specific and direct charges against the King of Britain for what they
understood (at that time) to be injustices against those rights of the Americans. The Founding Fathers had cited with specifics, rather ironically, including those charges that “He (King George III) has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”
Needless to say, after that Declaration and several years of war, The United States in the end won their freedom and therein created what Thomas Jefferson had described as the “The Great Experiment.”
In a letter to Judge John Tyler, 1804, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions."
I would now invoke that still afforded “freedom of press” and of “speech” and challenge those who fear investigations to, at first shut up and investigate; and indeed, contemplate prior to voicing their redress, if any.
We now enter the 21st Century, and we are on the eve of what appears to be the edge of the fiscal cliff, a concept predicated and precipitated further by the inactions of our governmental leaders to which we have assigned to govern our interests. Our trusted servants have in fact,, failed us on many levels.
The media, the general public and even the nations of the rest of the world have been up in arms and astounded that the Senate and the House of Representatives still cannot reach any resolutions. The respective members of each body blame one another; acting worse than six year olds who cannot play nice in the playground. With these inactions and inability to find any middle ground, there are sound concerns of losses of monies in the stock market; many believing the market will fall, and in turn cause a recession, which the United States has barely recovered from. The general public and small businesses cannot know with any certainly what if any tax increases they may be exposed to and talk has been put out that employers cannot even make payroll checks, because they don’t know what tax deductions are to be taken out.
This is not a recent development and in fact, the legislators have been well aware of this cliff for some time. The general concept has been to kick the can down the road; we’ll deal with these matters another time.
That type of behavior and mentality is in fact, an abdication of the social contract previously explained. The general public had to elect these so called representatives in exchange for protection of their remaining rights.
On a financial basis, one can argue that the Senate and House of Representatives have failed to meet their obligations in that social contract.
This is in fact, not the first instance in which our elected officials have failed to abide by that social contract. The Declaration of Independence cites:
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
One key concept which has also been newsworthy these days has been that as to the matters of Health Care and Gun Rights. Once again the reader may note how the Senate and House of Representatives, especially those of the Republican Party had balked, stalled, even sought for rescinsion of the Heath Care Bill, aka ObamaCare. Fortunately the United States Supreme Court found ObamaCare as valid; which will now provide medical coverage for the populace; when millions have been left without the ability to receive simple health care. These representatives to which we have entered into a contract with; have for years enjoyed such benefits without question, and without suffering. I’ve also forgotten to mention the raises our leaders have also enacted for themselves too.
For myself, my own income has gone down; and medical coverage has been unattainable; due to the ever increasing expenses for coverage.
Our leaders likewise have chosen not to engage in any healthy spirit and with any common sense as to those matters of gun control and their proper regulation. Loopholes have been put in place in purchasing abilities; refusals to monitor weapons; even the allowance for sale of weapons which should be only available to military and to police in the first place. No hunter needs an AK 47 with a magazine of 30 bullets or more to hunt down Bambi. There is such a thing as common sense; as there is also such a thing as the willful and deliberate abdication of the safety and happiness of the public.
Where is the so called safety in the public knowing they can become the victim to a senseless shooting all because military style weapons can be obtained by John Q public? Where is the so called happiness when the poor cannot even maintain proper medical care? From experience I can attest I have not been to the dentist due to costs; and have had numerous teeth pulled. I also know that improper dental care can also lead to other medical ailments too.
Undoubtedly Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker John Boehner don’t have such problems to contend with. Of course neither did former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney either. I am one of that 47%, a Democrat by choice; I am also self-employed, the sole provider of my wife and two step-children who happen to be attending college via Grants. Undoubtedly any critics to this thesis will argue partisanship on my part. I would counter with common sense; something which seems to be sorely lacking in America, particularly in Washington.
To these naysayers the inactions on the part of the Senate and the House have shown time and time again is a failure of complacency to the Social Contract to which they were assigned. That has nothing whatsoever to do with partisanship; simply look at the record of the laws passed in recent years.
The news and even members of both houses have openly explained just how broken the system has become. Yet one concern has been the influence on special interest groups has taken over and bought out our representatives. The concerns of special interest groups had even been of concern when the Founding Father’s conceived the “Great Experiment” noting their dangers in the political process.
After watching the news and internet sites ad nauseum; an epiphany had come to me. The first being that of abdicating my citizenship and relocating to Canada; a radical ideal to be certain. The wife and I are still toying with that idea; and if any readers be of Canadian nationalization; please feel free in contacting me.
The next equally just as radial involved the overhaul of the legislative body; which truth be told is ineffective and a waste upon the tax-payers on numerous levels. I do not believe that our framers of our government could foresee the nagging and unsettled issues which befall us of late. They certainly had no concept as to semi-automatic weapons designed for military use to be freely given to the
hands of the general populace.
The Constitution in all of its intent is not a reference set for the 21st Century without significant reform.
I have made prior entries in Newsvine and other blogging sites that after President Obama’s inauguration; he should immediately go to the Capital, with chain and padlock and lock the place up. The Senators and Representative really have no interests save their own jobs; and closing the Capital would undoubtedly save billions off the national debt; yet another issue they refuse to deal with. The costs would also be incurred in the savings for their health care (which they challenged for the rest of us) and these costs would be save without the need for their salaries working (if I remember right) just four days a week.
In a revamped governance of our country for 2013 and beyond I would propose that in lieu of the Senate and House, the institution of legislation be comprised by Presidential Cabinet for each respective Department: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General. There are in fact, 16 different Secretaries, and there are 12 different Federal Districts already set. Each respective District would be responsible for voting every eight years for a separate Secretary; which would then be voted upon by a different District in the following election cycle. These Secretaries would be voted from a rotating and changing District each cycle. So the Secretary of Labor would be elected in the 2nd US District one election cycle, with the 3rd US District electing the Secretary of Labor the following cycle. Each election would be non-partisan, and each Secretary subject to one (1) term.
The only other elections for Secretary would be that of the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, State and Treasury; which would be at the national level.
The Department of Treasury would be responsible in presenting to the overall Cabinet an evaluation of the budget annually, to examine the incomes and expenses; but the budget would have to be fiscally sound, meaning no unbalanced budgets. If the money is unavailable, then cuts would be borne equally to each separate Department. Each Department would be responsible in presenting no later than December 31, their proposed budgets necessary or sought after for the upcoming fiscal year. After reviewing the proposed budgets from each respective Department, the budget analysis would have to be prepared by the Treasurer no later than January 15 of any given year; approved and ratified by the respective Secretaries no later than April 15 of any given year. Failure of any Department in presenting their proposals for a upcoming fiscal year would result in that Department receiving that same figure from the prior fiscal year.
Each Department Officer elected would then be responsible in managing committees of not more than five (5) undersecretaries appointed by each Department Secretary and approved of by 2/3 majority vote from the Cabinet. Each such undersecretary to hold such appointments not more than four (4) years. The Secretary and their cabinet would then be responsible for carrying out laws respective of their department, or for instituting new laws. If for example, an issue was to be address involving the sale of corn; an Agriculture matter, a committee compromising of the undersecretaries would examine such a proposal and present a report to the Secretary. The Secretary would then be responsible in presenting this proposal to the Cabinet and the President and its approval or denial of the proposal would derive from the 16 different appointments; and the President. The majority of the votes rule, and in instances of a tie, the Vice President would then be the tie-breaker; not different than what is conducted with the Senate.
The office of the President would still consist of the President as well as Vice President; each with the ability in holding office not more than five (5) years for three (3) terms each.
The Declaration of War would be presented by the President made with 2/3 of the approval of the Secretaries of the Cabinet and the Vice-President jointly. The Appointment of Ambassadors would be made by 2/3 approval of the Secretaries of the Cabinet and President jointly.
Judiciary nominations would also be presented to the Cabinet; and voting of 2/3 of the Secretaries and Vice-President. Vacancies of Federal Judiciary at the District level on an interim basis must be filled within 90 days of such vacancies; formal approval conducted within 90 days thereafter.
Such an appropriation of power would still comport with the necessity of separation of powers; since the Supreme Court could still override and examine any laws imposed by the President and the Cabinet. Furthermore a review and examination of the laws could also be conducted by 2/3 vote of the Cabinet members, and with vote of both the President and Vice-President.
The hope for such proposals would be to curb the powers of the special interests groups who would now be disarmed and lobbying ineffective; since Cabinet posts and undersecretary appointments are for one term only. The rotation of voting powers to these posts would limit the special interests groups from “purchasing” legislative power; since another elections cycle, a vote for Secretary would be conducted in a differing District.
Obviously this is just another opinion in a series of opinions ratcheted throughout the world. I do not have the answers, frankly no one does. Our lawmakers however have not with any seriousness taken their task to heart or for the interests of the public. Our problems are quite severe. Creditors have downgrades our rating, specifically referencing the ineffectiveness of our legislatures to perform the task at hand. That had been more than a year ago. Our legislatures still have failed to abide by those considerations. The House and Senate have in fact, demonstrated to the world just how divided we truly are; and how in fact, weak. Religious furvor and evangalism hold no place in public office or in politics. A Man cannot serve two masters, and I would challenge any and all Christan leaders in disputing that passage from the Bible. The involvment from those on the pulpit should be strongly stiffled and prayers to our leaders should be made for guidance as to their leadership; not interjections into governmental policies.
In an article I discovered on The Decline of The Roman Empire, historians challenged that:
“An economy based upon slave labor precluded a middle class with buying power. The Roman Empire produced few exportable goods. Material innovation, whether through entrepreneurialism or technological advancement, all but ended long before the final dissolution of the Empire. Meanwhile the costs of military defense and the pomp of Emperors continued. Financial needs continued to increase, but the
means of meeting them steadily eroded. In the end, due to economic failure, even the armor of soldiers deteriorated and the weaponry of soldiers became so obsolete that the enemies of the Empire had better armor and weapons as well as larger forces. The decrepit social order offered so little to its subjects that many saw the barbarian invasion as liberation from onerous obligations to the
While I fear a true barbarian invasion may not genuinely occur; liberation and sound solutions from our current oppressors are genuinely welcomed.