There is a common belief (although not necessarily an accurate one) that there is an implied "social contract" that goes something like:
"The problem is to find a form of association which will defend and protect with the whole common force the person and goods of each associate, and in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before." This is the fundamental problem of which the Social Contract provides the solution.These simple arguments seem to crystallize the debate that continues throughout our political and philosophical arenas.
If then we discard from the social compact what is not of its essence, we shall find that it reduces itself 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 our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole."
by Jean Jacques Rousseau; 1762
- Is there really a "social contract" between an individual and all other individuals in a society... and if so, what are the terms and conditions... what must I do and what can I expect?
- How are my rights as an individual protected?
- What are my responsibilities as an individual toward society?
- What happens to my rights if I fail in my responsibilities?
- What are my rights if society fails in its responsibilities?
- Can my rights be more important than someone else's'?