THE SOCIAL CONTRACT
Posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at June 30, 2008 3:59 PM
1. There has been a lot of talk about a Social Contract in Malaysia.
2. Perhaps it would be useful if we understand this concept a little bit more before we argue about it.
3. If we care to look into the origins of the social contract we will find that it is a European concept enunciated by European philosophers. The most famous is Socrates, the Greek philosopher who was jailed and sentenced to death.
4. He refused to escape and migrate to another Greek city-state because he believed he was bound by a social contract to live by the laws of his state of Athens as he was born and brought up there, benefiting from the aforesaid laws.
5. Before this social contract, men were said to live in a State of Nature, where there was no law to govern the relation between individuals in a small primitive society. The law of the jungle prevailed where might was right.
6. As society grew it became necessary to have laws which govern the behaviour of members of the society. All citizens were committed to respect and submit to the laws. This understanding is in fact a social contract although there was no oral or written undertaking to respect and submit to the laws. This was the view of Socrates. Later philosophers enlarged on this concept but there was never a requirement for a formal contract.
7. The Greeks are said to practise a democratic form of Government. However the citizen who had the right to participate in Government were limited to male adults of sound mind. Women, children, slaves, captives, criminals and foreigners were not accorded the rights of citizens and could not play a part in Government.
8. Much of European civilisation is based on the Greek civilisation. But as society grew bigger, direct participation in Government by the people became impossible.
9. At one stage democracy was abandoned in favour of feudalism in which a monarch ruled by Divine Right. In Asia this had always been the form of Government. Nevertheless the submission of the subjects to the Monarch was also a form of social contract.
10. Later feudalism was replaced by republicanism i.e. a return to the public of the power of Government.
11. Numerous forms of republics have emerged, each with its own set of laws and rules regarding the government of the country. But whatever may be the form, the laws and the rules, the citizens are bound by them. There would be no written contract but for foreigners to accept the rights of citizenship, there would usually be a formal undertaking to submit to the laws and system of the Government of the country.
12. After becoming citizens their offspring would automatically be regarded as citizens and as citizens they need not swear a formal oath of allegiance to the country. This right is through jus sanguinis i.e. through blood relation.
13. But there can also be citizenship by being born in the country or jus soli. This can be provided for by the laws of the country.
14. But whether citizenship is gained through jus sanguinis or jus soli, the social contract still applies even though there is no formal oath taking.
15. What is clear is that a social contract is a general understanding on the part of a citizen to submit to and obey the laws and the institutions of the country. The social contract governs not just his relation with the country, its Government and its institutions but also his relationship with his fellow citizens.
16. After receiving comments on this I will talk about the Malaysian social contract and its effect on Malaysia
With due respect to Tun, whom I regard as a learned wise man, I’m compelled to post this as I feel he has not spoken the whole truth. He above all Malaysian, knows the truth on The Social Contract and that its just an idea, a very cunning at that. The term Social Contract is nothing more than a theory filled with philosophical mambo-jumbos, and that it has been argued through the centuries by many ‘idealists and philosophers’ like Rousseau, Locke, and Grotius, to name a few. This idea stemmed from the Greeks at the time of Plato, and made trendy by ‘saint’ – Socrates when he was imprisoned by the Athenian government .
For what its worth, linger on this argument :
Rousseau’s idea of the Social Contract can be reduced to the following terms. Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will; and in a body we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.
What really is the Social Contract? An agreement of the citizen with the government? No, that would mean but the continuation of [Rousseau’s] idea. The social contract is an agreement of man with man; an agreement from which must result what we call society. In this, the notion of commutative justice, first brought forward by the primitive fact of exchange, …is substituted for that of distributive justice … Translating these words, contract, commutative justice, which are the language of the law, into the language of business, and you have commerce, that is to say, in its highest significance, the act by which man and man declare themselves essentially producers, and abdicate all pretension to govern each other –
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century (1851)
As I see it, this whole idea was conspired by certain people (hidden hands) for the purposes of world enslavement and made to be as vague as possible so as to confuse the slaves, and whenever questioned the answer is never understood by the questioning slave.
The Greeks aside, I think the whole idea came from here:
It must be noted that men with bad instincts are more in number than the good, and therefore the best results in governing them are attained by violence and terrorisation, and not by academic discussions. Every man aims at power, everyone would like to become a dictator if only he could, and rare indeed are the men who would not be willing to sacrifice the welfare of all for the sake of securing their own welfare.
What has restrained the beasts of prey who are called men? What has served for their guidance
In the beginnings of the structure of society they were subjected to brutal and blind force; afterwards – to Law, which is the same force, only disguised. I draw the conclusion that by the law of nature right lies in force.
Political freedom is an idea but not a fact. This idea one must know how to apply whenever it
appears necessary with this bait of an idea to attract the masses of the people to one’s party for
the purpose of crushing another who is in authority. This task is rendered easier if the opponent has himself been infected with the idea of freedom, SO-CALLED LIBERALISM, and, for the sake of an idea, is willing to yield some of his power. It is precisely here that the triumph of our theory appears: the slackened reins of government are immediately, by the law of life, caught up and gathered together by a new hand, because the blind might of the nation cannot for one single day exist without guidance, and the new author merely fits into the place of the old already weakened by liberalism.
Protocol No.1 – Protocols of The Learned Elders Of Zion.
Social contract is a violation of contract theory?
According to the will theory of contract, which was dominant in the 19th century and still exerts a strong influence, a contract is not presumed valid unless all parties agree to it voluntarily, either tacitly or explicitly, without coercion. Lysander Spooner, a 19th century lawyer and staunch supporter of a right of contract between individuals, in his essay No Treason, argues that a supposed social contract (of the Rousseauean sort) cannot be used to justify governmental actions such as taxation, because government will initiate force against anyone who does not wish to enter into such a contract. As a result, he maintains that such an agreement is not voluntary and therefore cannot be considered a legitimate contract at all. However, the philosophical concept of social contract does not address the same issues as present-day juridical contract theory, making the name “social contract” potentially misleading. For this reason some thinkers, such as James Madison, preferred the term social compact. The key notion of social contract or compact is that the individual consents by entering or remaining on the dominion of an existing society, which is usually a geographic territory, in much the same way one does when entering or remaining in someone’s household or private property. People are normally brought up from childhood to respect the boundaries of societies, including families, and the rules made by them for their territorial spaces. That is part of the socialization development process. – Wikipedia
“Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects.”