When it comes to debate about “progressive” vs. classic liberal ideals, especially funding them, there is always a discussion about the “social contract”, or what an individual owes to society in recompense for what society provides and as a buffer to assist the less fortunate.
Wikipedia defines the social contract:
The social contract or political contract is an intellectual construct that typically addresses two questions, first, that of the origin of society, and second, the question of 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 natural rights. The question of the relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social contract theory.
Hugo Grotius, Thomas Hobbes (1651), Samuel Pufendorf (1673), John Locke (1689), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762) are among the most prominent of seventeenth and eighteenth-century theorists of social contract and natural rights. Each solved the problem of political authority in different ways. Grotius posited that individual human beings had natural rights; Hobbes asserted that men consent to abdicate their rights in favor of the absolute authority of government (whether monarchial or parliamentary); Pufendorf disputed Hobbes’s equation of a state of nature with war; Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable, and that the rule of God, as interpreted by the individual conscience, therefore superseded government authority; and Rousseau believed that democracy (self-rule ) was the best way of ensuring the general welfare while maintaining individual freedom under the rule of law. The Lockean concept of the social contract was invoked in the United States Declaration of Independence.
It is clear enough that we understand the “social” aspect of the definition, but what of the “contract” aspect?
As the definition indicates, the contract is an expectation of fair exchange, an agreement entered into voluntarily by two parties or more with the intention of creating a legal obligation. A contract is a legally enforceable promise or undertaking that something will or will not occur.
It is plainly evident that governments all over the world are demonstrating that they have not lived up to the social contract. From cities like Stockton, California in the US to the entire EU, there are examples of irresponsible spending and unsustainable public pension deals in a quest to satisfy both the public employee and the non-productive sectors of society in return for political support at the expense of the productive.
What happens when one party does not live up to their end of the bargain? What happens when this contract is negotiated, not with all citizens but with citizens who are not asking that their natural rights be protected and in fact are allied with government against the productive members of society? What happens when segments of the population are willing to give up almost all of their liberty in exchange for a loaf of bread and a ticket to the circus and the rest of us are on a low carb diet and want to watch the Saints and the Broncos play? What then?
In my mind, this situation is the same as the debate over public sector unions where there are two entities bargaining and a third party that is excluded, that being the taxpayer that foots the bill. We should take note of what FDR, the “progressive” Reagan, said about this situation in 1937:
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
Why would bargaining regarding the social contract be any different?
There are constant calls in the US for more spending and more taxation, mostly of the “rich”. We have noted time and time again about the already steep slope of our progressive federal income tax where the upper 25% pay over 87% of the total tax bill and our corporate tax rated are among the highest of the industrialized global economies, yet we are told that corporations and the “rich” aren’t living up to their side of the contract – pardon my French – but that is bullshit. It isn’t the productive and the people who follow the rules that are breaking the deal, it is the governments and the people who are dependent on government that are breaking (and constantly changing) the contract.
Power seeking politicians constantly cut deals and promise more than they can deliver – or as in the case of Obamacare, they lie about what it is, what it means, what it costs and how it gets paid for in order to gain just enough votes to foist it on people who don’t agree with it. This is not a legitimate way to initiate a “social contract”.
Some might say that in the era of big government and collectivist/Marxist policies, the social contract no longer exists. A contract is not a contract unless voluntary entered into and there can be no argument that a coerced contract is not legitimate. When a government exerts coercive powers, there is no “consent of the governed” that exists, ergo, no bargain. Use of the term “social contract” is illegitimate when a policy, program or government represents any form of socialism, collectivism, Marxism or communism. The social contract of Locke, the very foundation of our country, was negated by Marx and Engels.
Our founding documents lay out a plan for each citizen to enter into the social contract by individual choice, not by coercion. Our representative republic has become dominated by the political forces of “progressivism” with it’s ties to Marxism and a full range of collectivist belief systems. These systems eliminate the possibility of a voluntary surrender of liberty in exchange for protection of natural rights and substitute a system of indentured servitude where rights are given at the whim of the government. Consent of the governed (all of the governed), the cornerstone of our founding is eliminated.
This is why “progressivism” is wrong for America and why if it is left unchecked, it will eventually lead to the destruction of this country. The word “tyranny” often evokes epic imagery of despotism and destruction – but it is not only imposed through violence and conflict…tyranny can be elected.