The Social Contract

When I grow annoyed at having the fruits of my labor, my liberty, and slowly but surely my sanity confiscated by our benevolent and kindly government, invariably somebody points out that I am a party to a 'social contract'. Being the literal minded SOB that I am, I generally point out that I never entered into any such agreement, and that I can hardly be bound by a contract to which I never agreed. The response is generally some noise indicating that I implicitly entered into the agreement when I chose to be born, to which I can only respond that I do not recall choosing to be born, and surely had I known the conditions of the agreement I was entering into, I would have made different arrangements. Of course it's a moot point, since we cannot be bound by a contract until we reach adulthood, and my parents were quite clear that that did not happen until long after I was born. They are less clear about whether it ever happened.

So I thought I might feel better if I obtained a copy of this document, affixed my signature, and was thereby honor bound to adhere to it. Sadly, in all the hubbub, it appears that the document has been misplaced.

So in order to reach the serene state for which I long, I am going to have to draft a new copy, based on current practice. I am not a lawyer, but since nobody else has stepped up to the plate, I guess I must.

Here is my first draft:

I, the undersigned, hereby agree to enter into "the social contract". I agree to provide the government with a blank check, which will allow them to at any time and in any manner they choose to take any amount of my earnings or accumulated property that they may desire. Further, I agree to bind myself to them as an indentured accountant, and to spend whatever amount of time shall be required in plumbing the depths of the byzantine and incomprehensible tax codes, as they shall be spelled out by the congress, and interpreted by the IRS. I accept that any assistance I am granted by my masters in pondering these imponderables shall be granted at their leisure and agree to take responsibility for any errors that either I or they may make in these calculations, as well as whatever penalties they should impose upon me for said mistakes, regardless of whether said mistakes are mine or theirs. I disclaim any responsibility on their part to be accurate, fair, sane, or humane.

I agree that in return for this consideration, I will be granted guidance in how to live my life, under the gentle tutelage of the Government's jack-booted thugs, who will provide me such kindnesses as burning down my dwelling with my family and friends inside, shooting my unarmed wife as she stands in the front yard holding an 18 month old child, imprisoning me, brutalizing me, lying to me, impoverishing me, redistributing my earnings to their cronies at their whim, drafting me to serve in their wars, granting or refusing me medical care at their whim, not based on the merits of the treatment I require but on the political expediency of my receiving that treatment, and other tender mercies too numerous to mention and too ghastly to consider. I am sure that by this process I will be able to finally understand ethical behavior and good will toward those men, women, children who are not located in some place which must be bombed in the national interest.

I agree not to attempt to comprehend the simple and concise wording of the constitution, or to delve into the mysteries of what phrases such as "shall not be abridged", "shall pass no law", might mean, as if I am unable to understand the tens of thousands of pages of the tax code, I surely could not begin to fathom the 4543 words that make up our constitution. I also acknowledge that the ninth amendment, otherwise known as the "but wait, there's more!" amendment, should not be construed to imply that I actually have rights that are not enumerated in the constitution (being neither female nor pregnant) and that the tenth amendment, which states that any power which is not explicitly granted to the federal government is explicitly denied them was just an April fools joke on the part of the founding fathers. They were such kidders. You should have seen some of the pranks they played on the British.

I agree not to question why the 18th amendment was required to start prohibition I, but no amendment was required to start the war on sick, harmless addicts and recreational drug users. I also agree to ignore the fact that harmful addicts, could have been dealt with under pre-existing laws against doing harm.

I agree in all matters involving the constitution to submit to the ageless wisdom of Chief Justice Humpty Dumpty:

When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less. The question is, who is master?
I agree to ignore the fact that is was not Justice Dumpty who used the words in the Constitution but rather the founding fathers, and that it was not just written but carefully negotiated. We all know what happens, after all, to the best laid plans of mice and men. Sooner or later someone decides that since they 'interpret' the constitution, and since the word 'interpret' is one of the words of the constitution, they may 'interpret' 'interpret' to mean alter, change, legislate, repeal, destroy, mangle, or any other damn thing the feel like 'interpreting' 'interpret' it to mean at the moment. We are, after all, a nation of lawyers, not of men.

In short, I agree to obey, rather than thinking. To coast rather than striving. To work, not for those things that I value, and those people whom I love, but for the aggrandizement of the omnipotent state, and the advancement of those things I abhor. I agree that my life is not mine, but is the rightful property of my neighbors; that it is their goals I must pursue, their wants I must satisfy, their lives which I must make meaningful.

On second thought, this contract would not be binding. Under American law, in order for a contract to bind, each party to it must receive something of value, and though the document gives away my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor, it provides nothing for me. So I guess it won't solve my problem after all. Oh, well, back to the drawing board!

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