By Andrew Lepore | USA
For us liberty minded individuals, taxation is a form of theft, extortion, and involuntary servitude. After all, the definition of theft is the taking of an individual’s property without that individual’s consent. For those on the left and advocates of taxation, it is not only is a powerful tool for good but fully justified due to the justification that it is “the price we pay for a civilized society.” This has been labeled the conjured up term of the “social contract”. Supporters of the concept (which most people are, they just have never heard the term social contract in use) claim that by simply existing within a nation you have automatically submitted to the will and authority of the state, to whatever extent that may be. In this article, I will break down the definitions and debunk the concept of the social contract.
If you’re a libertarian or conservative who has found yourself debating the morality of taxation with a lefty or a statist you can assume the conversation went something like this:
Leftist: “We should tax the rich.”
Liberty man: “Taxation is theft.”
Leftist: “You agreed to be taxed when you agreed to the social contract.”
Liberty Man: “What social contract? I Never agreed to a contract with the state.”
Leftist: That doesn’t matter, your existence and participation in society is an unspoken contract which you must abide by.
Liberty Man: That is wrong.
This idea of the social contract is the the-go-to argument for statists desperately trying to justify taxation. It’s the key to justifying all governmental authority.
‘Oh, you don’t want to pay 50% of every dollar you earn to the state? Too bad you agreed to the social contract.’
‘Oh, you don’t want to go to jail for smoking a plant? Too bad, you agreed in the social contract.’
Anybody can see how this is ethically problematic, but the main problem with this idea of an unspoken binding contract to the state is that legitimately cannot exist within the legal realm. To break this down we must first be familiar with the legal definitions and terminology. Firstly, what qualifies a legitimate contract?
A Contract: An agreement between parties creating mutual obligations enforceable by law. The basic elements required for the agreement to be a legally enforceable contract are: mutual assent (mutual agreement or approval), expressed by a valid offer and acceptance; adequate consideration(Something bargained for and received by a promisor from a promisee).; capacity (Ability to pay); and legality.
Right off the bat you can see that this phony idea of a “social contract” is in direct defiance of the requirements qualifying a legally enforceable contract. The most obvious contradiction being the idea of an unspoken, unwritten agreement which you automatically consent too by simply existing. This is a plain and simple fallacy, the most vital qualification for legitimate contract is that it must be a clear mutual agreement, expressed by a valid offer and acceptance. In other words, all parties must knowingly and willingly submit to the terms and agreements in any given contract. I don’t know about you but when I was born I never agreed to, or bargained for any such contract with the state.
These are not abstract qualifications, they are specific; unless you have bargained for and agreed upon non-abstract, specific elements and conditions there is no legally binding contract. But even if such a social contract legitimately existed, it still would not be enforceable due to a little something called contract coercion. Contract coercion is “When a contract agreement is entered into under conditions involving harm or threats of harm.” For an agreement to be legally enforceable, contracts must be entered into “knowingly” and “willingly” by all parties. Thus, if a party signs a contract due to coercion, the agreement will not be considered legally binding or enforceable. Thus, (if this contact existed) and the state declared that by existing you have signed a “social contract” to which you must comply or men with guns will detain (and if you resist, murder) you, this is not a legitimate or binding contract. This idea of a social contract backed by coercion is literally a contradiction in and of itself and cannot legally exist.
In conclusion, the debunking and delegitimizing of this idea of a non-voluntary “social contract’ is essential. When accepted, it marks a seal of approval on all abuses of power by the state. Next time a lefty attempts to weasel in justification for theft, cercion, and involuntary servitude with the simple answer of “Muh social contract”, politely inform them of their ignorance of contract law and liberty.