Friday, March 13, 2015


"What John is saying," Frank ventured. "Is that we're all born into society, and that we therefore have an obligation to obey by the rules of society. It's not like we're born into a vacuum. Nobody is suggesting that the social contract is an actual contract. It's only a metaphor for the fact that we are part of society."
"Yeah? And who sets the rules of society?" Thomas asked, not at all deterred by Frank's attempt at ending the discussion.
"Well... We do. We, together, are society."
"You and me set the rules?"
"So, what's the government for?"
"The government?" Frank asked confused. "Well, that's us. We are the government."
"No we're not."

Frank took a sip of his wine. "Well, that's where you are mistaken," he said with confidence. "However, since we can't all be busy governing the land all the time, we have elected representatives who work for us."
"And who came up with this arrangement?" Thomas asked.
"We did. It's the way we've chosen to organize things," Frank replied. "Everybody knows this. It's hardly news, is it?"
"It's news to me," Thomas answered with a grin. "I can't remember agreeing to such an arrangement."

Frank sighed and shook his head. "That's because you signed on to it when you were born. It's the social contract."
"Exactly," Thomas answered triumphantly. "The social contract is not about us and society. It's about us and our so called representatives."
"Whom we elect every four years," John added.
"Sure," Thomas agreed. "But the legal basis for this is still the social contract. The social contract is more than just a metaphor. It's a legal construct. Yet, no one has ever signed such a document. I never gave my consent to be governed by our so called representatives in Oslo."
"What about the constitution?" Espen suggested.
"I never signed that either. It was written and signed by a bunch of self serving elitists, all dead long ago. How the hell can that be considered legally binding for me? I never met any of those guys."

There was a pause of silence, which Frank and Thomas used to catch up on their eating.

"So what's your suggestion?" John asked, looking over at Thomas as he shoved food into his mouth.
"I'm suggesting we make this whole government thing voluntary," Thomas said with his mouth full. "I suggest you sign onto the Norwegian state, since you like it so much. And then I can sign onto whatever I find convenient and appropriate for me."
"Like what?" John asked.
"Like Canada or Switzerland or... well... maybe nothing. Or I might go for an insurance with Pedro."
"With Pedro? You mean that guy down in the village?"
"Yeah, sure, why not?"

Everyone chuckled at the thought. "And how is that going to work?" Frank asked with a grin.
"Simple," Thomas answered undeterred by his colleagues. "I pay my dues to Pedro, and you guys pay your dues to Oslo. Why would that be a problem?"
"It won't work," Frank said.
"Why not?"
"Imagine the overhead," Espen suggested.
"What overhead?"
"What if we get in a fight or something. Who's rules are we going to follow?"
"That's for Pedro and your representatives in Oslo to figure out."
"Exactly!" Frank noted. "That's why it won't work."
"Not true," Thomas answered defiantly. "This kind of thing happens all the time. It's called international law, and it works fine for corporations. Why shouldn't it work fine for people too?"

There was another pause in the discussion. Then, Thomas answered his own question. "You know why it won't work?" he asked rhetorically. "Because they don't want it to work. They don't really want us to be free to pick and choose our security arrangements. They want to control us. That's why it wont work. Not because it cannot be done, but because they won't let it happen."

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