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Dear social contractarians, suppose I agree with you that by being born “into society” that I am bound by an unwritten social contract, and therefore am bound to allegiance to my fellow citizens and the representatives they choose. Great, I agree.

What, then, do you say to me when both my fellow citizens and especially the elected officials and the people that administer the legislation constructed by these officials do not meet the terms of the social contract? After all, if you suggest that there is a contract, there MUST be terms, no? And just what those terms are indeed are never made clear. Both fellow citizens and rulers who break the terms of the “deal” are no longer legitimate. So, when are these terms deemed broken? What is an individual’s recourse, especially when fellow citizens break the terms of the deal – can you seriously argue that they should be permitted to “choose better leaders”?

I’m pretty sure Hume had something interesting to say about this. But I really don’t know, because it’s not like I was encouraged or asked to study it at a great liberal arts college, and it’s certainly not like kids are asked to think about it here.

One Response to “Weekend Ponderance: Social Contract Edition”

  1. Harry says:

    I’ll have to check my library before making an authoritative statement about how David Hume would respond to Rizzoist questions. My recollection is that he questioned causation, and regarded empirical sensation as the highest ontological truth, for lack of better words. We used to joke (like accountants laugh over balance sheet jokes) that Hume woke up every morning and rushed to the window to make sure the world was still there. (File that under the lonely lives of epistemologists.) That may be unfair to Hume, but it was a good way to get him straight when taking a test.

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