I have been hearing “social contract” bandied about the news and tubz – usually in an effort to make us feel bad for the poor downtrodden members of society. We just MUST support them (forever)! It is the right and moral thing to do.
Hmph. I will not go into the Lockes, Hobbes or Rousseau theories- as that information is readily accessible. Here is a wikilink if you need the bare bones.
Let me just for a moment run with this (incorrect) notion that a social ‘contract’ implies we must take care of people from cradle to grave. Let’s define ‘contract.’
An agreement between two or more competent parties in which an offer is made and accepted, and each party benefits. The agreement can be formal, informal, written, oral or just plain understood. Some contracts are required to be in writing in order to be enforced. (2) An agreement between two or more parties which creates obligations to do or not do the specific things that are the subject of that agreement. Examples of a contract are a lease, a promissory note, or a rental agreement.
EACH PARTY BENEFITS. A contract is a two way street. You want your roof repaired, you hire a roofer. The roofer offers her skills for your benefit. You offer your money (or other bartered item you have agreed upon) to her benefit. Two parties. Each giving and receiving. Same with getting your vehicle repaired, hiring a neighbor kid to mow your lawn or shovel your driveway. Even going to a restaurant or the grocery store. Each party benefits.
As I stated at the beginning, there is a distressing tendency for pundits to toss around “social contract.” What they really mean is Welfare. And Food Stamps. And Housing Assistance. And on and on and on.
Unfortunately those poverty programs are NOT contracts. Nothing is expected from the recipients. When one goes in to the local assistance center (they are known by so many different acronyms) and asks for help there are forms to fill out. Documenting name, address, social security number, names of children etc. Provide birth certificates (AND ID for the adult applying)
Thank you very much. You can expect to receive your first check in a couple of weeks. Did you need immediate food? Here you go. Housing? Well there is a LONG waiting list for that.
So the recipient is receiving a benefit. What are we, the taxpayers, receiving? Is the applicant required to set goals to achieve independence? To get their life on track to self sufficiency? Is there a community service component? Must the recipient take classes on how to budget? How to get the most bang out of OUR buck at the grocery store?
The answer is NO! A resounding NO! Should we not be expecting recipients to GIVE as well as receive? Should not the expectation be that the recipient will join the ranks of taxpayers at some defined point?
That my friends is NOT a contract. It is entrapment.
Been there, done that. It is a TRAP. Designed to keep people down and dependent. Shame and determination got me out. Oh- and a sense that as a citizen I need to contribute to society as much as possible. Not a sense of entitlement. Yes I believe we should help the less fortunate. We should give them a hand up- not a hand out.
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