All of us humans get extruded at birth helpless and vulnerable with not even the ability to pick our own names, religions, color, language or anything else!
If we are fortunate we soon assume positions of huge influence on the lives of our parents.
If we are lucky enough to have 2 or more caring caretakers to tend us we get to survive.
Watching the mayhem around the world we know how chancy that is.
Even in the rich USA, we know that in 2013 half of those babies born were the result of unintended pregnancies and nearly 500,000 women resorted to abortions, both safely and unsafely.
Should we be lucky enough to have ten fingers and toes and an average intelligence, we can begin that life long process of taking control of our lives, but that of course can only be achieved where a balance of control and freedom can exist, as, for example, it does not in North Korea.
Where, Dear Reader, could I possibly be going with this seemingly banal account of human origins?
Simply, quickly and avidly to my hope that somehow the USA and more and more of the world can achieve what this publication has sought to foster, conditions under which The Social Contract can exist.
What is the Social Contract? As Wikipedia tells us, “In moral and political philosophy, the social contract or political contract is a theory or model, originating during the Age of Enlightenment, that typically addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler or magistrate (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange for protection of their remaining rights. The question of the relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social contract theory”.
Certainly broad consensus has long prevailed for the majority of us here in the USA that the theory works!
However, the events of the past several months in Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere serve as grim reminders that faith in government and in its agents of authority cannot be taken for granted or allowed to assume behaviors that are not embraced by its constituents without losing what in the USA serves as the basis of what our politicians constantly claim is “our exceptionalism”.
It’s called the Rule of Law and maintained by our alleged balance of power of the 3 Federal branches.
Why are we so rich, famous and often arrogantly successful? Because with all their warts and human foibles, our Founding Fathers, being aware of the unsavory junction of power in Europe where church and state power was completely welded together and the “divine right of kings” was then still the order of the day in the late 18th century, they saw the social contract was in danger. However, punctuated by the French Revolution which should have forever but did not teach the lesson that failure of the Social Contract leads to the breakdown of conditions where human behavior leads to chaos which can ill be afforded in The Atomic Age.
This trend in the USA toward the breakdown of the Rule of Law has ominous implications for all of us, even our super rich, who like the mindless French nobility leading up to 1789 were willing to say, as its final queen was alleged to have opined, when told the masses needed bread to eat, “Let them eat cake.”
Some of her lovely French furniture eventually got to a handsome home in Thomasville Maine built and owned by Revolutionary hero General Henry Knox, but Marie never did!
With wealth and privilege piling up and up for our wealthiest, we better take serious care of that Rule of Law which has been kept somewhat intact using what was the Founders’ genius of having our 3 main branches of government power.
Can the Rule of Law and our precious Social Contract be restored well enough to make those vital concepts function adequately again?
Not if the Supreme Court gives unlimited power to powerful corporations to fund those campaigns of those we elect with its approval of Citizens United. As Wikipedia tells us, “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is a U.S. constitutional law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.”
Not if the main stream media, also controlled by a fear of losing its corporate sponsors, fails to call attention to issues such as why the USA allowed its population to double in the past 50 years without a vote from its citizens.
Not if the President can decide to avoid obeying the laws passed by Congress, notably with Executive Orders allowing illegal aliens to evade our laws.
Not if our Congress, which can legislate to correct the above misdeeds, fails to do so for the same financially, politically, and ideologically driven reasons as those functioning in the other two branches.
The survival of the Social Contract (TSC) will depend on everyone understanding the need for considering the entire welfare of our country as well as the world’s problems. Ending devotion by those in power to the “Me first and damn the rest” philosophy risks far more in an atomic age than ever before.
Why not imagine how greatly we could now vigorously move to enforce and maintain TSC??
What moves could we support?? The list is long and many items could be added, but here are a few.
How about addressing the global warming issue by taking huge steps to move from fossil fuel consumption to wind and solar, thus stopping the ruinous fracking of our water supplies.
How about recognizing that human numbers now at 7 plus billion can’t be sustained and that 11 billion people on our planet, a projection by next century by demographers, would cause disaster.
How about understanding that human choices for birth control must rest with the carriers of babies and make sure that religious views do not stand in the way of safe access for all women to family planning.
The information revolution now makes all this important information available to everyone. The transmission of useful information now makes the world flat, as Thomas Friedman proclaimed several years ago. That fact bodes well for all of us.
However, the jury is definitely out, Folks!
From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013
By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Back in 1991, the NGO Don Collins founded in 1976, International Services Assistance Fund (ISAF), co-produced a TV quality 22-minute film called “Whose Choice?” which Ted Turner arranged to broadcast on September 21, 1992 in prime time on his then independent Turner Broadcast System (TBS). Other outlets such as PBS and several of its affiliates Collins and his colleagues contacted then refused to run it because of its forthright treatment of the abortion issue, arguing for all women’s right to choose not to have a baby. ISAF has made a new edition of that DVD. The purpose for reissuing this 3rd version of “Whose Choice?” was simply to show the historical urgency that attended those times, still blocked and attacked over 40 years after the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. This video is available for public viewing for the first time.
Al Bartlett — Democracy Cannot Survive Overpopulation
Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook