Government, Contracts, and Slavery
Recently I’ve been thinking about the progression of social order. Hans Herman Hoppe has an interesting lecture called “Parasitism and the Origin of the State” that touches on why a social order rises and I’d like to blab about a piece of it.
The basic progression of society he puts forward is this:
None > Cannibalism > Slavery > Rudimentary Government > State
I think he’s inaccurate. I think the last two are just obfuscated versions of Slavery. The big difference is that with slavery you know exactly who owns you and you have no delusions about becoming free except by some massive turn of good fortune or something unusual happening. With Rudimentary Government (Feudalism) or a State, you are presented with the notion that you chose to have these rules and obligatory fealty put over you and that you have some control over who arbitrates them.
In short, you are subservient to the Feudal lord or the State and the only way of ending that condition is to run away – but anywhere you run you will just be in the same position under someone else. Because of this centralization of power, it is very attractive to be the number one arbitrator of rules (it’s good to be the king). It’s best to be the slave master and not the slave.
What is a contract?
A contract is an agreement between at least two people that both agree can be arbitrated by a third person of their choosing (they have to agree). The contract has an inception date, a conceivable ending date, and a means of being broken by either party through the arbitrator (such that both parties will have some sort of satisfaction after the break).
There are different contracts, but the most difficult to grasp are spatial contracts – contracts that have to do with space (house, land, mines, wells, etc).
One way to solve the difficulty of Spatial Contracts is to use slavery. When one person or entity (such as a state) owns everything (including the people), then it is really easy to just divide, confiscate and distribute these spatial concerns without objection. This is the basis of Social Justice, Marxism, Socialism, Eminent Domain, etc. This method is always beneficial to the state, and the slaves have no place to complain – though with a State it is possible to give the illusion of having an avenue of complaint by allowing the slaves to pick their master periodically and the ability of the State to give gifts to the slaves to make them happy.
The Social Contract Myth:
Proponents of the State contend that we are required to adhere to the tenants of the State because by living in the State we agree to follow the rules of the State. This is stupid. A slave who has no choice but to follow the orders of the master (or else be punished or killed) does not therefore agree to be a slave because he has followed the master’s orders. There must be a reasonable expectation that the arrangement can be ended at any time – but in the case of a State or Slavery there is no such expectation.
Furthermore, when a new child is born, that child has no choice but to become a ward of the State, and none of us have ever been given the option to cease being a ward of the State. There was never an agreed upon third party arbitrator of the contract. If we try to cease being a ward by not paying taxes or adhering to the laws we don’t like, then we get fined and go to jail – i.e. we are punished like the slaves that we are.
This indicates that there is no contract. We should be able to cease paying taxes in return for the expectation that we also will cease to receive anything provided by the State – while still living within the State. Furthermore, this “contract” extends beyond death (death tax). That means that there is no expiration date and so never could reasonably be expected to be a contract.
I’ll write something on solving Spatial Contracts without the use of a State soon, so stay tuned!