by Gary North
In the history of Western philosophy and social theory, no really silly idea has been more successful than the theory of the social contract.
It is in fact not a theory of the social contract. It is a theory of the political contract. It is the idea, promoted by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that, at some point in history, people got together and voluntarily transferred their personal rights to the state. Their rights, in short, were alienable.
Hobbes and Locke spoke of this event as if it really happened. Rousseau was much more honest. His words in his essay, “A Dissertation on the Origin and Foundation of the Inequality of Mankind” (1754), went right to the point:
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