So I owe everything to the society and that’s why I have to pay taxes, obey the laws, etc. Because there’s this social contract. But HOW is that social contract REALLY binding?
When people object to government policies, wars, taxes, laws – they’re often told that they’re required to comply because of a “social contract” they are supposedly party to. The reasoning is that since you’re part of the society, you’re using its services, benefiting in numerous ways, are provided security, etc – you’re thus legally bound to comply with its rules. The argument that you “didn’t choose” to be born into this doesn’t wash in those arguments, because your rejection of the societal rules and norms would be seen as anti-social, and therefore to be dealt with swiftly and categorically – in the “society’s” favor.
- Strictly speaking, if you didn’t sign it or verbally agree to it in front of witnesses – it’s not an explicit contract. If someone else signed it on your behalf but without your authorization or consent, it’s not a valid or explicit contract.
- The fact that you’re present in a group which explicitly agrees to it, does, however, indicate an implicit consent on your part. Theoretically, you are free to leave. This argument falls down, however, in all cases where the individual has no realistic hopes or chances of moving away, and is thus NOT free to leave.
- 3. There is also the argument that by accepting the services of this unwritten contract, you’re thus endorsing it. But if you accept food from your kidnappers, you’re benefiting from the nourishment, but are otherwise enslaved and NOT in agreement with them.
I recognize that the problem is not as straightforward as proponents of either position would have you believe. If you value your safety and freedom from arrest – then, YES, you better accept that you’re party to a binding social contract. Additionally, most people around you would support you in this agreement. But if you value your freedom above all else, then the answer is clearly NO. In that case, however, you’re also freely agreeing to bearing the consequences of that decision, regardless of how your non-compliance affects the society you’re living in.