Can I Get My Copy of this Contract

Apparently I have entered into a contract, which keeps getting amended, but no one ever sends me a copy or asks for my signature.

I heard an angry town-hall participant in Texas claim health insurance was not a right. If you could not pay for it, you should not have it. That's neither realistic nor desirable. Everyone requires certain goods and services, such as food and shelter. There exists an implicit social contract that people who cannot afford these goods will get them from the state.

The last time I understood that we entered into a social contract was in the late 18th century, when we exited our old relationship with Great Britain and entered a new one defined by the Constitution.  But I am pretty sure that government provision of food, shelter, and health care were not in this contract.

Then, in the 1930s, we were told"food" is in the contract.  Then, in the 1960's, we were told "shelter" is on the list.  Now apparently health care is on the list.  Can someone send me a copy of this contract, so I can know what else is on it?

Isn't it ironic that the only "contract" the Left respects is the kind that I don't sign, don't consent to, and don't enter of my own free will?   Of course, a contract that one party doesn't consent to and only enters into by force is not a contract at all.  As Wikipedia puts it for the definition of a contract, "Agreement [to a contract] is said to be reached when an offer capable of immediate acceptance is met with a 'mirror image' acceptance (ie, an unqualified acceptance)."

  • m

    We all have an implicit copy of this contract. To access it, follow these steps:

    1. Turn off any critical thinking skills you might have.
    2. Think of something you want but don't want to pay for.
    3. Come up with a non-sensical argument about why your neighbors have a responsibility to provide you with this thing.

    Congrats, it's in the contract!!

  • Bill

    I could accept the notion of a "social contract." I jump ship when "social" is automatically equated with"government."

    It really becomes bizarre when the social contract is "implicit." The legal doctrine is quite clear that government are not bound by implicit agreements. So apparently we all implicitly owe something to government and it owes us nothing in particular in return.

  • traderpaul

    "...a contract that one party doesn’t consent to and only enters into by force is not a contract at all."

    Actually, it is called involuntary slavery.

  • me

    *G* I have to point out that the same logic applies equally to anything any legislative branch dreams up and gets signed into law. I never signed a contract that said I wanted my taxes go to support a pointless war, was interested in supporting intrusive search and seizure at airports, believe in state-support of faith-based initiatives or prayed for creationism be tought in schools. Personally, I'd much rather support the notion that in my US, nobody starves, lacks basic shelter, or dies of cheaply curable medical problems. (And yes, I am painfully aware that current initiatives and plans go far beyond the basic minimal support I'd like to see).

    That said, I am a terrible contrarian, so, what do you expect me to say 😉

  • Link

    From William Wallace's trial in Braveheart:

    William Wallace: Never in my whole life did I swear allegiance to [Longshanks].

    Judge: It matters not. He is your king. Confess, and you may receive a quick death. Deny, and you must be purified by pain.

  • DKH

    As I sit eating lunch, the sandwich place has a TV on to CNN, which just informed me of "Good news in a bad economy: Government needs to go on a hiring binge." Did you know the social contract also included employment?

  • Prof Frink

    "I never signed a contract that said I wanted my taxes go to support a pointless war, was interested in supporting intrusive search and seizure at airports, believe in state-support of faith-based initiatives or prayed for creationism be tought in schools."

    Whether you support a pointless war or not, defense of the country is a valid function of government as provided by the constitution.

    Passing laws regarding the requirments for boarding a plane, while perhaps annoying to you, is a legitamite function of congress. The government takeover, via the TSA, is another undesirable expansion of government beruacracy.

    State support of initiatives, including faith based ones, is not provided for in the constitution.

    The debate surrounding creationism being taught in *public* schools is the natural consequence of having primary education provided for by the government. This can be added to coyote's social contract list above. Private schools are free teach whatever hocus pocus they want.

  • Methinks

    The problem with all these contracts is that the state can only provide all these rights by robbing (violating the rights of) others. There is really no good way to force people to produce. My people tried and found that the Gulags were really not that efficient.

    Traditionally, this type of arrangement leads to a country rich in rights which are worth less than the paper they're written on.

  • dave

    We aren't reqired to sign this "contract". We have elected representatives to sign it for us. The only way to hold them accountable is term limits. Or, you can try the town hall meeting approach and see how that goes.

  • gn

    The only implicit social contract I'm aware of is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (i.e., employment, health, fast cars, fast women, good booze, etc.) The emphasis on "pursuit," as in, you go and work and do whatever is necessary to afford it for yourself.

    The problem is some folks think the "right to life" can be stretched to encompass everything that could possibly cause you to lose it or not have as good a life as you think you deserve. So, health care is a requirement for a long, happy life, and is therefore a right. I ran in to this argument recently with a neighbor and didn't get past it.

    I find it strange that the same people who use "right to life" in this way typically define it very differently when talking about abortion.

  • Rob

    Quid pro quo ...You give taxes, you get service ... Except the taxes are taken from you by force ( since a gun will ultimatelymake you submit if you decide not to give your taxes) and the service which you recieve is... Given to someone else that needs it more.

    But seriously, societies form out of symbiotic relationships. It is beneficial to contribute a share of you goods/talents while others do the same and everyone can benefit. That model quickly breaks down when people don't contribute but are consumng benefits (leech or parasite). You can remove the drain on you society, change the drain into a spout, or leave the society. Unfortunately none of those are options. We won't dispose or kick people out (too mean or immoral), we don't teach a drain how to be a spout we just pour more into it and somehow expect it to start flowing out (fish vs fishing pole), and can we really leave this society? ...

    I could make alot of money by creating a country which is strictly a cooperative!!! ... Now where can I find land and how can I prevent the rest of thx world from using their force against me as all the productive entities in society start leaving and coming to my country?

  • Scott

    "Whether you support a pointless war or not, defense of the country is a valid function of government as provided by the constitution."

    It matters very much if it is a pointless war, since that speaks to the valid function of "defense of the country". If we merely accept an action by government because it isn't logically against the words in the Constitution (regardless of whether the action is actually against the *meaning* of the Constitution),you could justify anything, from regulating wheat grown for private use based on "interstate commerce" to building an unsustainable and massive income redistribution scheme based on the "general welfare" clause...

  • Econ_Scott

    You will NOT be given a copy of the Contract in advance, only AFTER your representative who has power of attorney for you signs on your behalf.

    All benefits in the contract or amendable and cancellable without prior notice, written or otherwise.

    Your obligations under the contract however are NOT cancellable or amendable...

    ... which are of course "Death and Taxes"

  • Methinks

    "You could justify anything, from regulating wheat grown for private use based on “interstate commerce” to building an unsustainable and massive income redistribution scheme based on the “general welfare” clause…"

    Except that the interstate commerce clause to "regulate interstate commerce" means to keep commerce regular between the states. That is, ensure that there are no tariffs between states and that capital and goods flow freely across state lines. So, that has nothing to do with regulating wheat in the sense I think you're implying.

    "General welfare" is not at all synonymous with "building a welfare state". If it were, the constitution wouldn't have so many limits on government. Plus, a welfare state definitely runs afoul of "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness".

    As for pointless wars....going to war is a collective effort. Thus, there will always be people pro and anti any given war. There were people who were anti-world war II and pacifists will be anti any kind of aggression.

    A war you one thinks is pointless does not justify scrapping the constitution.

  • DJB

    "it is called involuntary slavery." as opposed to voluntary slavery?

  • Scott

    Methinks,

    I think you took my comment the wrong way. It was more sarcasm than dire warning. I was referencing the infamous Wickard v. Filburn, the case where a farmer (Filburn) produced more wheat than he was allowed to grow (as mandated by Congress at the time, to stabilize prices or some such thing), but claimed he was going to use the extra for personal consumption (and so it was not Congress' business) - and the Supreme Court ruled against him, upholding interstate commerce as valid in this case. So as a matter of fact I agree with you, that one should take "interstate commerce" as meaning what it appears to mean (and what the founders meant when they wrote and spoke about it). Unfortunately your government doesn't feel the same way. I think that's known as "scope creep", and is inherent with any group in a privileged position of authority.

    That doesn't mean we should "scrap" the Constitution, but it does mean for all practical matters, the government acts as if it didn't exist, or treats it as a piece of modern art, that can mean whatever you want it to mean.

  • hanmeng

    DJB, sure there's such a thing as voluntary slavery. In the old days you could sell yourself into slavery to work off a debt. These days all you have to do is be a citizen.

    Kiss the ring and rejoice in the infallible wisdom of your benevolent, dearly beloved rulers!

  • Methinks

    I think you're right, Scott. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Just claim you were drunk. Intoxication automatically voids contracts.

    Or just claim you’re insane. Or Tom Daschle.

  • Gil

    Strange Methinks - as an immigrant you can hardly complain about a 'lack of choice' in the U.S. Government and the U.S. Constitution.

  • Brad

    There is no social contract, but there is ongoing social negotiation. Some misunderstand the difference.

  • Prof Frink

    "It matters very much if it is a pointless war, since that speaks to the valid function of “defense of the country”. If we merely accept an action by government because it isn’t logically against the words in the Constitution"

    Yes, but this is a completely different argument. Doling out food stamps, housing, and health care is not a legitimate function of government as defined by the constitution. The manner in which we defend the country is political. If you don't like it, you can not accept it by voting for politicians who agree with you.

    I was rejecting "me"s argument which made equivalent spending money on wars and spending money on social welfare. One is provided by the constitution, regardless of your political opinion, and the other is not.

    So for the sake of this argument it does not matter if you think it's pointless. As Methinks points out, you could find opposition to every conflict we've ever been involved in.

  • me

    Very true, Prof Frink. That said, the constitution used to be very specifc about income taxation (yes, I know about the 16th amendment) and is very specific about which rights the federal government shouldn't have. In the end, all politics come down to pragmatism and what 'we, the people' as represented by (ultimately) the supreme court, let the legislative branch get away with. There is plenty of room for interpretation (e.g. lying about a private affair vs lying about intelligence and motivation for going to war, use of torture, who gets to declare war etc. pp.).

    My counterargument would be that the war was as much covered by the constitutionality of defense of the nation as healthcare and maintenance of minimal lifesupport (in the forms of shelter and food) are by the right to pursuit of happiness.

  • A friend of mine likes to say that the Social Contract isn't worth the paper it's not written on. I used to disagree, but in these latter years his point is growing ever sharper.

    The problem, of course, is the conflation of desires with rights. Needless to say, the Left would disagree; they'd insist that they're talking about needs. But no two persons have ever agreed on the meaning of that term, a condition we may expect to continue into the foreseeable future.

    It's time for a rectification of names, a la Confucius. I'll be writing about this later today.

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