July 28, 2013
On July 24, 2013, by a 12 point margin, the House of Representatives rejected an amendment to limit NSA surveillance of data collection on Americans. Their rejection allows the NSA unlimited access to spy on American’s private information. How, pray tell, does this represent the supposed social contract of supposed mutual benefit of both government and the people?
One is certainly left to wonder. Earlier this month prior to the NSA amendment vote, Democrat John Conyers pointed out that the NSA had already violated the law because the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizure. Rep. Spencer Bachus, Republican, also chimed in to liken the NSA surveillance to the 17th century English Court of the Star Chamber. Popular early-on with the people, the Star Chamber ended up as a political tool the king used for retribution against his enemies. The Court of the Star Chamber was finally abolished in 1641 due to the flagrant abuse of power.
In my last blog-article, “Social Contract: Exceptions to the Rule,” July 17, I included the definition of social contract: an obligatory, reciprocal agreement the people of a nation make voluntarily with government for their mutual benefit. The original premise for the need for the social contract was that individuals will only focus on themselves and their own self-interest when left to their own devices.
The social contract, however, is but one political philosophy in a debate that has been going on for a long time. It is an answer to the question, what is the best way for individuals to function in a group, i.e. society. At the bottom of this debate is another big question, what or who has the final say over the individual in society? The State? The community? The individual? The Creator?
America’s Declaration of Independence empowered the individual and their unalienable rights as members of the American society, and added that “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…” Americans, in no way whatsoever, had to tolerate a repeat of British colonial control over the colonists.
Even so, somehow the social contract philosophy crept in to the fiber of society and changed America’s original mandate. As a decentralized confederation, the federal legislation of America’s first constitution had lacked the power to compel performance (force) from the people of the states for any reason, including taxation. Anyone who reads American history finds out that in no uncertain terms how the Framers did not like the liberties and autonomy enjoyed by the 13 fledgling states under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.
It was a slick move on Framers’ part to embed the tacit consent of the people into their document. Thereafter, the social contract philosophy prevailed and gradually led Americans to stop thinking for themselves. Instead they had the State to depend on to decide about everyday matters that had previously been theirs’ to figure out.
Yet since many Americans have persisted in thinking for themselves, they see through the social contract. To them, mainstream media acts as nothing more than a propaganda mouthpiece for government and big corporations. People have become disillusioned by voting as the bone they have been thrown in the name of having a voice while government/corporate controls increase in the name of national security and restrict personal liberties. Many believe that, over the centuries, the general population has been deliberately set-up as the worker-bee revenue units to fund the ruling elite.
Cui bono? Who benefits besides government, monopolistic corporations, and government contractors from massive surveillance on Americans backed by a virtual police state of swat teams to enforce surveillance allegations?
America, the supposedly freest country in the world, cannot admit that democracy (per the Constitution of 1787) has failed. The U.S. Government entity is in no way what Americans signed up for in 1776. Corporate entities are fictional, legal constructs that have no conscience or moral compass and that includes the U.S. Government. It is a system; one comprised of millions of salaried employees who tend to go along with top-down decisions that preserve their careers and the benefits that go with it.
After all, it’s only human and that’s what social contract philosophy is all about. While it exposes the shortcomings of “the people” and their propensity for self-interest, it entirely ignores the same propensity when it comes to the other half of the social-contract bargain: “the people” who run governments.
If the Declaration of Independence from the British Empire is true, something has gone horrible wrong and Americans need to wake up. In today’s plugged-in world, awareness would mean divorcing oneself from the mainstream media and finding sources of information not invested in reinforcing the popular party-line regarding politics, lifestyle, culture, finance, etc.
After that? The all-important next step is to discover what it means to withdraw your consent from an American social contract gone wild if “to institute new government,” whatever that means. There is no knowing what new government would look like but, for sure, we’ll never even get a hint of it until enough people become aware of what has already happened to their country. Strength is in our numbers but our numbers can only grow one by one with individual conviction.
“Man has no rights except those which society permits him to enjoy. From the day of his birth until the day of his death society allows him to enjoy certain so-called rights and deprives him of others; not . . . because society desires especially to favor or oppress the individual, but because its own preservation, welfare, and happiness are the prime considerations.” ~A. Maurice Low, “What is Socialism? III: An Explanation of ‘The Rights’ Men Enjoy in a State of Civilized Society,” The North American Review, vol. 197, no. 688 (March 1913), p. 406.
Think outside the box. Live outside the cage.