The Social Contract and The State of Nature
The Social Contract is the relationship between the people and the government. This relationship is a voluntary agreement where the people agree to follow the government's rules if the government protects their natural, unalienable rights: life, liberty and property. If the people break any laws, there will be a punishment. If the government fails to protect the people's natural rights, then the people have the right to rebel.
Hobbes's philosophy is very pessimistic. Humans are sophisticated machines all of whose functions and activities can be described as robotic. He believes that the "state of nature" will lead to civil war. It will create reasons to fear one another and cause violence and death. Human cooperation should not be supported and humans are not morally good in any way.
People are generally good and have the capability, and common sense to work together and respect one another. the original state of nature was happy and characterized by reason and tolerance. In that state all people were equal and independent, and none had a right to harm another's unalienable rights. The state was formed by social contract because in the state of nature, each was his own judge, and there was no protection against those who lived outside the law of nature. The state should be guided by natural law.
"The natural state of man's life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". -hobbes
"All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions." -Locke
Where have we seen
the Social Contract?
Article: Bellum Omnia Contra Zombies: The Walking Dead and The Social Contract by John Perich This an example of John Locke's and Thomas Hobbes's theories of the Social Contract observed in The Walking Dead.
Shane fully represents John Locke's Theory of the Social Contract. He believes that social order can be rebuilt through teamwork. Shane wants the survivor camp to come together, willingly. Through not yelling and not having a gun around, he is able to make his point and doesn't back down from enforcing the rules. Shane: Hey, Ed? You wanna rethink that log? Ed: It’s cold, man. Shane: Cold don’t change the rules, now does it? Keep our fires low, just embers, so we can’t be seen from a distance, right? Ed: I said, it’s cold. Whyn’t you mind your own business for once? Shane: Ed? You sure you want to have this conversation, man?
Rick embodies Hobbes's theory of the Social Contract and the State of Nature. We get the classic phrase of bellum omnia contra omnes: the war of all against all, from Rick in the show. That phrase might also describe Merle, one of the first survivors Rick meets. High on drugs, Merle shoots at walkers from a rooftop, and overpowers the other survivors with brute force and violence, in order to get what he wants. It’s only when Rick ambushes him and claps a gun to his head that he’s muted, and stopped. Thankfully it’s violence in the hands of a good man (Rick) instead of a bad one (Merle).
The Social Contract
In the United States of America
Declaration of Independence to protect EVERYONE'S Natural Rights
Punishments for law breakers: jail, put on trial...etc.