Beating the social contract
Renaissance and the industrial revolution bestowed great responsibilities upon mankind. There were various responsibilities upon men, responsibility to earn the most he can, responsibility to feed his family, responsibility to abide by the laws of the land and many more. Few men prospered while the rest were left behind alone to wallow in their own pity. There were crowds of young men and women, each trying to earn a living. The historians rightly regard these times as the greatest and the most crucial of all ages for they knew that the inventions and industries of this age would lead world to the dawn of a new era. The psychologists and humanitarians may however not be having such similar views, for in the times of the renaissance and also that of the industrial revolution, many families died of starvation, the society was divided into two classes and there were many lonely people of the streets of Europe who were either disowned by their families and left alone to earn and live or were depressed of their continuous failures in this age of reason, iron and steel.
The effects of the industrial revolution on the lives of the petty city dwellers have been taken up by various enthusiasts who have by means of either print or visual media portrayed the same. Some of the most famous of these are Charlie Chaplin movies, Mr. Bean and the writings of Mr. Lewis Carroll (Alice in wonderland & Through the looking glass).
Lewis Carroll however was the most peculiar of all, for he used an exclusive method in his writings. The method of inverse reflection. Whereby he attempted to portray the sufferings of men by inversely reflecting upon them. The fact that his two writings were the bestsellers of the time is adequate to prove the efficiency of the methodology adopted by him.
This paper is however neither upon the facets of the industrial revolution nor is it upon the distinct writing techniques. The reference to the two is however made because this paper would attempt to understand and reflect upon the modern state that we today live in.
2. From crimes to a state
There prevail numerous theories which talk of the establishment of the state. There also exists a bifurcation of these theories, bifurcation on numerous bases. Some of the prominent theories and their advocates are
· Theory of Divine Origin – James I , Dr. J.N. Kiggs, Kautilya
· Force theory – Oppenheim, Jenks
· The Contract theory – Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau
· Patriarchal & Matriarchal theory - Leacock, Aristotle
· The Evolutionary theory
Out of the various theories, the most famous and discussed theory of all is the ‘The Contract theory’. Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau are known today because of this theory only.
Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau have all given their speculative descriptions of the ‘state of nature’ and of ‘the social contract’ though the gist of the writings of all three is same yet they differ in their description of the state of nature and also of force which drove men to sign this contract.
Hobbes stated that the state of man in the state of nature was a state of savagery and human life was solitary poor, brutish and short. People were self centered and the only rule which prevailed was the rule of ‘might is right’. The state of nature, according to Hobbes, was a state of war; war of all against all. Thus in order to bring such a state to an end and to secure their lives, men entered into a contract with each other and created a society. A person was appointed as the king who was unlike the others, not bound by the contract and was above all. The duty of the king was to ensure the protection of the lives of the people and to ensure that the laws of the contract were duly adhered to.
Locke’s state of nature was much different and by various degrees more modest than that of Hobbes. In Locke’s opinion, the state of nature was that of peace and solace. Men lived a very natural life. They enjoyed the natural rights i.e. Right to life, liberty and property. But there was a problem in proper implementation of these natural rights which were open to numerous interpretations. Thus there came a need for the government which would uniformly interpret and impose these rights and thereby prevent conflicts in the society. The king was thus appointed as a trustee of the people.
Rousseau’s description of the state of nature of nature is similar to that of the Locke in the sense that like Locke, Rousseau too believed that man lived a peaceful life in the state of nature. This peace, according to Rousseau, continued till the population was limited but when the population boomed and conflicts started arising on the issues of property and possessions, the need of a contract was felt. This contract would appoint a government which would work as an agent of the society and that of the general will.
As earlier stated and pointed out, the three exponents of the contract theory differed which each other on various terms. But the common factor in the writings of all three, which I intend to highlight, is that all three agreed to the fact that chaos, conflicts and crimes are pre requisites and essentials of a social contract. Though they differed on evolution of these evils in the state of nature yet they all do consider chaos, conflicts and crimes as the force which ultimately propelled mankind to come and sign a contract with each other and to establish a government.
Chaos, Conflict & Crimes
Contract of all with all
Establishment of government and government institutions
A little twisted version of Carroll’s inverse reflection methodology can be implemented at this juncture of the paper and it can be inferred that if Chaos, crimes, conflict and Anarchy are removed from the society, then the contract would hold no meaning for its main purpose was preservation of people from each other and once that is attained, the contract would have served its purpose. And when there shall not exist any contract, there shouldn’t be a state as well, for the concept of state was introduced as a means to achieve the ends of the contract and this would be achieved by the establishment of a chaos, conflict and crime free society. Hence it can also be said that if the governments want to continue governing and legislating, it is essential that chaos, conflicts and crime continue prevailing in the society. The only reason why human beings have given up their liberty and their rights to a few is because they seek protection of their lives.
As proved above, the government owes its existence to chaos, conflict and anarchy. Once these evils are swept off the face of humanity, the governments and the state would not be required. The governments must therefore ensure that these do keep occurring. Here we come to the concept of state Induced crimes. Crimes which are initiated and sponsored by the state itself in order keep the contract alive and its existence legitimate.
Hardly have there been claims that crimes and chaos are the heart of sole of the governments across the world for ever since the dawn of a state, the state has been viewed as the an institution for our protection and on the contrary as an institution which strives to create a crime free society.
Creating a society where in no crimes prevail is perhaps a utopian desire but in order to attempt at creating one such society one must understand that actions and steps are required from the ends to two major actors which are:-
a) The common men of the society
b) The government
3.1. The common men
The common men refers to those individuals in the society who are only minutely associated with the government. Their association is limited to voting, debating and criticizing the government and not beyond this sphere. These are the men who commit most of the crimes and are a major part of the chaos in a state. Thus if the citizens or the common man wishes to achieve a stateless society or a society with minimum government then they would have to instill morals in themselves and also in people around them. These people need to come up with their own exclusive means to minimize or to finish crimes and also with mechanisms to deal with crime without involving the government if they occur. Thus the common man plays a major role in the pursuit of a chaos, crime and conflict free society.
The government is the second major actor in the pursuit of a society free of evils. The role of the government is more retributive in nature and they tend to end violence and disturbance by adhering to violent and disturbed means. Their achievements in curbing crime, conflict and chaos are momentary in nature.
These days with the strong global advocacy of human rights the governments have started shifting to more towards humanitarian means to the end.
Returning to the question of possibility of a peaceful society, it can be said that the dream is far from even being dreamt of. Let us consider that the common man, which forms the bulk of the state, manages to transform itself into an ideal being, free of malice and desires and all such evils which prompt him to commit crimes or to be involved in conflicts and chaos. In such a condition one may be tempted to consider the job done but it wouldn’t be so, because when one of the two actors completes its task and challenge the other’s legitimacy (legitimacy of a government in a crime free society) the other being stronger and better equipped would easily re-induce crimes, chaos and conflicts in the society thereby re affirming its legitimacy in the state and nullifying the claims of a crime free society.
Thus a crime free society shall never be attained!
4. Conclusion (A Trap)
Each philosopher who vouched for the necessity of a social contract for the protection of our lives has indeed led humanity and mankind into a trap. For the social contract once entered into shall, unlike the other contracts, last forever. The social contract suggests a one way route to our protection entering which, humanity and mankind has forever surrendered itself to the whims and fancies of a few who would call themselves the government. The social contract aims at establishing a safer society and to protect the rights of the people and citizens but it has in fact created grounds for our never ending exploitation. The dreams of a perfect and a peaceful society where our lives are not endangered by the greed of others shall remain a dream forever. The dream of a stateless society would remain a dream forever for centuries ago our great ancestors entered into a contract with each other and we are bound to uphold it.