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Public & Private Social Contracts as a means of Self-Governance

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posted on Aug, 11 2014 @ 06:00 PM
This is my first real post here on ATS. Admittedly I often lurk the more fringe forums, but when it comes to having an opinion I most often write about political issues. You can also find this article on my blog. So here it goes.

The Social Contract as a Record of Human Interaction
This article is designed to give an extremely brief history of what we currently know as legally binding social contracts. It is intended to make an argument in favor of the utilization of contracts as a form of organizing and recording self-governing human interaction.

Part I – Contractus litteris
Since ancient times humans have used "agreements" as one of the highest forms of social interaction. Since the dawn of writing cultures all over the world have been in agreement about one thing; the need to record social interaction. Some of the most notable contract based civilizations include ancient Greece and Rome, also the originators of democracy as an alternative to despotism. Both civilizations, though not everlasting, left an impression on future generations that still resonates today. So why 2,000 years later are we still not in a completely democratic system with an absolutely free market economy? Well, we've had a lot of setbacks, too numerous to mention in a single article. The ancient democracies had their fair share of setbacks, the most damaging of which must have been a lack of communication. How many wars, conflicts, invasions and assassinations were caused by ancient lines of miscommunication? We have a difficult time of keeping our stories straight in the modern era, imagine how mixed up things would have been when you have to wait two weeks for a return message from the next town over. Contracts in ancient times allowed agreements to be made, kept, and enforced, but a lack of cohesion and poor communication made keeping people honest a difficult and time consuming task.

Part II – The Modern All-Encompassing Social Contract
Yes, modern democracies throughout the world have at least one. Most of the sub-units have them also (states, providences, etc). A nation's constitution is a giant social contract designed to determine the most basic laws for each of its citizens. These national constitutions have been instrumental in changing the way we think about freedom, liberty, property rights, and laws, and the documents as a whole have been beneficial to humanity. That being said, they are archaic at best. Many democratic constitutions are full of good ideas, but there is a problem. No one has signed them, or at least only a few representatives of that nation's communities have. This was the only way to do it for several thousands of years. Not everyone can travel two months to the capital to vote, so they elected local officials to represent them. This is not far from feudalism by the way, it just seems like the lords and dukes of the dark ages had somewhat of a tighter grip on their constituents.

Part III – The Greatest Gift of the Modern Era
So, a lack of communication brings about the need for representatives. Said representatives, being only human, make mistakes. For one reason or another they fail to correctly represent their constituents and the people suffer for lack of appropriate representation. In the modern era an individual has the ability to represent his or her self, and the ability to efficiently communicate with almost anyone on the planet, or even everyone on the planet. The need for elected representation seems silly when you think about the fact that nearly everyone in the industrialized world has access to mass communication. Why do we persist in letting a select group of people make all the decisions for us? We have the capability, resources, and intellect to efficiently and transparently vote democratically on every single issue presented to every single community on the planet, regardless of size or location.

Part IV – Conclusion
We now have something no other generation in the history of humankind has had, a way to educate, debate, deliberate and vote on any number of issues without the need for any leadership, governance, oversight, or represenatives. So what do we put in the first contract we write? Should we declare our individual sovereignty? Should we abolish all nations and decide to start from scratch as a single unified species? Maybe the first thing we should vote on is what to do first.

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