The Imposition Of Law As Free Will

3668 words - 15 pages

The Imposition of Law as Free Will

The Myth of the Social Contract The Social Contract is defined to be the method by which a people agree to the systematic limitation of their rights for the purpose of gaining governmental protection. It is the theory that all people agree to the imposition of law and the restriction of their personal freedoms in exchange for safety. The founding tenet of the Social Contract is that people agree to the limitation of their natural rights for the benefit of governmental protection. Yet most often in a working society can one see that many people do not agree to the oppression of law; rather, that they rebel against it. The Social Contract is meant to justify governmental oppression by saying that people consent to, indeed support it. The ideas expressed in this theory, though, are not reflected within the working of a real society. Many people, though they often may not constitute the majority, actually resist the imposition of law because they refuse to surrender their natural rights to a government that they perceive to be a menace to their liberty and a threat to their safety. The Social Contract attempts to portray the state as the free will of mankind. Yet individuals do not consent to the rule of their government, rather it is imposed upon them. Children are taught respect for the law and government but, as adults, they are not given the ability to make a rational decision on whether or not to accept them. As clearly stated by Joseph Raz in his text "The Obligation to Obey the Law", "The obligation to obey the law is a general obligation applying to all the law's subjects and to all occasions to which they apply. To look for an obligation to obey the law of a certain country is to look for grounds which make it desirable, other things being equal, that one should do as the law requires." People are not allowed the ability to logically analyze the justifications for the rule of law and the existence of government; they are forced merely to accept them. So not only does law impose ideals without giving justification; it also imposes itself without justification. Law does not allow itself to be vulnerable to criticism; instead of allowing people to judge it by its merits and failings law forcefully imposes itself, without consent based on analysis and understanding. The Social Contract purports that people who agree to the imposition of law upon them do so in exchange for the protection of the government. Still, as one can see, in reality government often fails, indeed never attempts, to protect its own people. The purpose of law and punishment is to "protect" the people, but the fact that punishment need be imposed only illustrates the fact that it does not protect. Punishment is imposed only after harmful actions against society have been carried out. In order for punishment to be applied there first must be a crime- an action that is government's responsibility to prevent from taking place. When law is...

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