Debate:Is "The Social Contract" by Rousseau a bunch of made-up medieval bullshit?

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Proposition[edit]

Is "The Social Contract" by Rousseau a bunch of authoritarian, religious, superstitious and irrational hogwash? I think it is. Tell me why I'm wrong or right.— Unsigned, by: LogicMaster777 / talk / contribs

Nah. It just doesn't exist. When did I sign this contract? Never. And to argue that I did so implicitly by living in a country is ridiculous, because then my "signing" is coercive and worthless, removing validity of the contract. αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 20:10, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
You don't understand. The social contract is a protection for you from collective attack(which under the "natural state" could happen at any time) conditional to you obeying its strictures. Its exact nature is subject to the qualitative nature of the dominant collective force in your life. To weaken a pro human rights collective in favor of no collective is to invite some other group you can't fight to exert whatever bullying they feel like on you. Ikanreed (talk) 17:11, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that what you have stated is an agreement between two parties. In order for two parties to agree, one must offer something, and the other must agree to it. When did the U.S. government walk in and say, "Hey, how about you give me taxes and I'll give you police?" Never. αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 18:48, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
I believe it was they time they were presenting the Constitution to people for the first time. I don't think there were enough Founding Fathers to force everyone to agree to it if they didn't actually want to. King Skeleton (talk) 19:08, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
Oh yeah, I forgot that society and government sprang into existence in 1780 Ikanreed (talk) 19:12, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
And I forgot that it always existed and nobody ever had to produce the founding documents of a nation and then convince people to follow them. Also, he specifically said US government, which I would assume meant the one established by the US constitution. King Skeleton (talk) 19:14, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
No one is making the argument that society couldn't be better, and that such things are negotiated, I'm just asserting that previous posters do not understand the core idea of social contract. Our modern social contracts with democratic assent to ideas and laws is quite new, on human history time scales, but that's not the same as universal assent, like idiots want. Ikanreed (talk) 19:26, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I'm not arguing any of that, I'm just saying there was actually a time when, by the very nature of a written constitution, people had to have been asked if they wanted it or not. Most European states just built up unwritten constitutions based mostly on the things the nobility had previously decided not to burninate the peasants for doing. King Skeleton (talk) 19:32, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, that. That was an advancement on what the people above are thinking works somehow. Ikanreed (talk) 19:43, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
The problem, of course, is that you're imagining there was some superior previously standing state, or that anarchy lasts if established. Before active philosophically structured government, it was "kill those guys because we outnumber them and take what we want". Volounteerism doesn't work, and has no bearing on a reality where people, by nature, interact with each other all the time. If we had a theoretical alternate universe where I couldn't do anything without your consent, then that'd be a viable philsophy. As it stands, consent itself is a social construct. Ikanreed (talk) 19:12, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
It's like those EULAs on software. Everyone is subject to them by using the software even though no one reads them.--TiaC (talk) 19:16, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Rousseau's Social Contract was an attempt at a rational enquiry into the origins of states and similar relationships of power and protection, it was not meant to be taken literally. It was a classic attempt at rationally explaining why people might voluntarily accept less than total freedom (which is probably an illusion anyway) in exchange for a certain measure of security. And it's obviously neither "authoritarian, religious, superstitious and irrational", and to label a classic work of Enlightenment rationalism "medieval" says a lot more about the one making the proposition than it says about Rousseau's ideas. Now you can argue that it is flawed, or that you don't accept either its premises, its logic, or its conclusions, but this kind of "EEEVUUULZ!" is far more irrational than the Social Contract has ever been. Sure, a libertarian or an anarchist is never going to be convinced by it, but then again, a Marxist is not going to be convinced by The Wealth of Nations, any more than British monarchists/royalists were convinced by Common Sense, nor are contemporary secularists going to find much merit in Milestones. ScepticWombat (talk) 19:46, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Eh, the OP is LogicMaster, we know he doesn't understand what the state is anyway. King Skeleton (talk) 20:00, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
I know, King Skeleton. And I found the use of "medieval" to be particularly indicative of LogicFail LogicMaster's lack of even the most basic grasp of the concepts (s)he's trying to browbeat others with through inane questions and a arguing by assertion "debate". ScepticWombat (talk) 20:12, 1 December 2014 (UTC)