The State of the Social Contract
Okay, so perhaps your political science class was a long time ago. Here’s an overview of the Social Contract.
Have you felt lately that, given today’s economic state, something had to give, considering ongoing recession, joblessness, foreclosures, multiple wars and political stagnation? Unprecedented access to multiple independent news sources make for political movements that can spread like wildfire. It isn’t only marketing pros like OFA that influence the “99 percent” who are not doing well these days. It’s social media and word of mouth.
Unrest was inevitable.
Some say foreign protests are related to the New York protests. Some online sources have likened these nascent protests to recent upheavals in the middle east. That seems far-fetched, but unanswered discontent has a way of growing beyond its early manifestations. Our leaders need to take action soon.
So have you heard about the demonstrations on Wall Street? Detractors of big media say it isn’t being covered enough.
Aside from the shock value of New York City police roughing up ostensibly non-violent demonstrators, what is more notable is the possibility of the spread of the movement nationwide, and perhaps worldwide.
Is the United States about to revisit unrest similar in scale to that of the 1960s? Perhaps you’re too young to remember those days, but I do. Occupying, for example, college administration buildings, with peaceful, non-violent sit-ins, definitely garnered attention — and eventually stopped a war.
Today, it’s called “Occupy Wall Street”. Supporters are even sending provisions to the New York demonstrators, who promise a continued occupation. And Occupy Together says the protests are spreading to other cities across the U.S. and Canada. The protests are leaderless. The movement’s grievances are varied. Their detractors say the groups are comprised of spoiled children and ageing hippies looking for a cause, but that’s like saying there is no problem worthy of protest, when so many people are desperate.
Sometimes it’s interesting to step back from the country itself and to take an arguably less subjective look at what’s happening. A British news source, called The Guardian, says, in the U.S. and in Europe, “we are seeing the results of colossal social failure.”
So what is the state of the social contract? What’s in store? Peaceful protests as the impetus for change? Watts riots? Revolution? Whether our current social contract continues depends upon the severity of our problems, the extent of discontent and on the responsiveness of the government.
When a country won’t change and when an oligarchy holds up progress, the will of the majority will prevail in the end. Just how non-violently we get there is up to all three branches of our government, as indeed we learned in poli sci.