There are many who believe the social contract obligates individuals to act a certain way. For example, many are pushing people to get vaccinated because it is “their duty to protect their community.” But this is a flawed way of thinking that is anti individualism.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Emma.

Emma: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: So one of the very first episodes we did on this show was the topic of, the social contract. And that was at the very, very beginning of the pandemic. So, I wanted to revisit this topic cuz I think there’s some new things to mention or some new tie-ins to mention. And, you know, everything on the show has kind of been building on each other, so I think it’s kind of nice to take older concepts and talk about how they relate to things going on now. So for a quick refresher, since it has been a long time, let’s talk about the social contract and what it is. It’s not a physical thing to begin with, you know when we think of contracts, we probably think of paper and lawyers and all those sorts of things. So the social contract is an idea that as people come together to form, you know, our societies, we have to work together to get certain social benefits like safety. Now this might seem like a good idea when you hear it, right? Cooperation is good. We’ve talked about that before, but when people talk about the social contract, cooperation has a lot more to do with force and giving up some of your liberty if it benefits or helps the security of everyone. And Emma, there is a recurring theme here that we talk about a lot. Can you help us identify that?

Emma: Yeah, absolutely. So the, you know, there’s a, I believe it was Benjamin Franklin and Brittany, you correct me if I’m wrong cause I know you know a lot about him.

Brittany: That’s what people always say. So, we’ll go with that.

Emma: She had, yeah, there’s this quote that’s often attributed to him. It’s often misquoted too. But it’s something along the lines of, I’m probably gonna butcher it myself, but it’s those who give up temporary security or No, no. It’s those who give up a little liberty for temporary, temporary security that deserve neither or something along those lines. Right. Am I, totally off there?

Brittany: No, that makes sense. Yeah, that’s about right. Okay. That’s a good one.

Emma: Okay, there we go. But yeah, that’s like a huge theme throughout the American founding is this idea that we should not be giving up something as important as our liberty for something as fleeting as, you know, a sense of security because the government, the founders knew this, the government is not good at actually protecting us and a lot of times they will actually turn back against us and use our liberties that we gave up to harm us and to take advantage of us. So not only did they, know that the government’s bad at protecting us, but they know that the government does not always have our best interests in mind. It wants to grow its power, it wants to, you know, serve itself. And the people in government wanna serve themselves over us. That’s just a historical fact that happens time and time again. So that’s why it’s so important that we hang onto our liberties. And that’s why people like Brittany and I and people like Connor are so obsessed with protecting our liberty. Anytime it is in danger because when you give up your liberty, you’re not actually gaining security, you’re just getting a feeling of security or you’re getting a feeling of being safe. It’s kind of like gun control, which we’re gonna talk about this in a little bit. You know, it might feel good to say, Hey, we should just take away everyone’s guns. No one needs to have guns. If none of us had them, then we would all be safer. And on a really basic level, I can understand why some people might think that, but the fact is you’re never going to prevent everyone from having guns. There will be people who have guns.

Brittany: Don’t obey laws guns too, right? Exactly. Like criminals are like, oh, I can’t have a gun, I won’t do it.

Emma: Exactly. Yeah. Criminals are never stopped by laws only law-abiding, you know, people who follow the rules are stopped by laws. So at that point, all you’re doing is you’re giving up your liberty, but you’re also giving up security. So it’s actually kind of interesting, like the more liberty you give up, the more security most of the time you’re actually giving up as well. So that’s kind of the long-winded version of a very simple question you ask.

Brittany: Oh, no, that’s perfect. I love it. So to add to this whole social contract being a terrible idea for the reasons Emma just mentioned, people often shame you when you don’t bite into this belief. You know, you’re not living in up to your end of the social contract or you hate society or whatever it is. And we’ve talked about what a contract is before, but I wanna back up and discuss it a bit. So a contract is a document or maybe an agreement that two or more people sign or shake hands on and it’s proof that each person promises to hold up their end of the bargain so long as the other person does the same, right? Pretty simple. But for this contract to be valid, both parties have to consent. We have used this word so many times and they have to voluntarily agree to that agreement. You know, that’s what consent is. You agree to it, but there’s a problem when it comes to the social contract. And, Emma, have you ever seen this elusive social contract?

Emma: I have not. I have never seen it or signed it or, you know, ever seen proof of it even.

Brittany: Exactly. So if you’ve never seen it, you’ve pro or seen it, I just had seen it. Oh my goodness, don’t listen to me for grammar today guys. If you’ve never seen it, you probably never signed it either, right?

Emma: Definitely not.

Brittany: Alright, so let’s say that we’re in a group of friends, you and I, Emma and we decide, or three of us decide that we should all swap our toys for the good of the friend group. You know, so everyone has a chance to play with a new toy, right? That seems like a nice thing to do. Wait, let’s say that you don’t wanna do that, but the rest of the group is gonna hold you to this idea even though you never agreed. And they’re gonna tell you, you know, if you don’t wanna do this, you are selfish. And this seems pretty silly for a couple of reasons. One, it takes away consent. And also it completely ignores the individual. It’s this idea of the greater good, which we’ve talked about before. So, Emma, I’m gonna put you on the spot here. How do you think this relates to COVID? Can you think of anything where this idea of the social contract or shaming people who don’t do it kind of connects to what we’re seeing right now?

Emma: Oh boy. I mean, there are too many ways for us to talk about all of them even in this episode. But I think the thing that comes to mind first was early on when masks first became a thing, which is funny to me because a few weeks before they were required for everyone. You had Anthony Fauci saying, no one needs to wear a mask, it’s not gonna protect you. So that always makes me laugh. I always have to mention that, but.

Brittany: Follow the Science.

Emma: Oh yeah. The ever-changing science. But yeah, so I mean, many people thought it was easy to put on a mask and they thought basically they’re bargaining for their freedom a little bit, where they’re saying, well, if you just put on this mask, we can go back to normal. It’s 15 days to slow the spread and also the masks save people and they really work. So you really need to wear one. Otherwise, you’re being selfish and you’re a grandma killer and you’re, you know, you’re just looking out for your own self and putting yourself above others. But some people can’t actually breathe in masks. And if you know anyone with asthma and you ask them about what their life has been like over the last couple years this was not good for them. And there are also people, I’ve seen some really heartbreaking videos of people with hearing impairments who really rely on reading lips. So there was a woman who posted a video and she had gone into a coffee shop and she’s actually completely deaf and she, it’s pretty amazing people can do this, but she mostly communicates by reading other people’s lips. And can you imagine how horrible it would be to try to like exist and survive over the last two years if you rely on reading people’s lips to communicate and how, how tough that would be? So it’s easy for us to say, oh, well, wearing a mask benefits everyone. But the simple fact is that it doesn’t. And we as people in a free society, have a requirement to look out for ourselves in our own best interests because our government was formed in a way where we need to do that. Other people are not going to do it for us. Yep. So I’m going on a tangent here, but there are also negative health impacts of wearing a mask too. There’s, been all kinds of studies and scientific findings, real science that shows it’s not good to breathe in your own CO2 constantly Yeah. Throughout the day and even skin problems. And it’s not been good for people’s health. And a lot of people I think just saw this as an easy way to show people, Hey, I’m doing my part.

Brittany: I’m the virtue signaling as we call it.

Emma: It is virtue signaling. It’s basically saying, look at how selfless of a person I am. Look at how good I am cuz I’m wearing this mask. And it goes the opposite way too, where if you don’t wear it, everyone just kind of automatically assumes you’re a bad person. So that’s, I think social contract, the masks are the perfect way to kind of illustrate how this works.

Brittany: Same. And, now we’re seeing this again with vaccines. And it’s funny, I have to go to a rant about this, but I got a vaccine cuz I, wanted to go to a concert and they weren’t gonna let me in. And I got COVID. So, Yeah. It’s funny to me, that it’s like, and it’s been a light case, like it hasn’t, it hasn’t been terrible. But it’s funny to me because people want, it’s like the TSA people want you to get the vaccine so that they feel safe. And a lot of people, do the same thing with TSA, you need to give up some of your liberty for security. So the terrorists don’t win. But as we found out, TSA doesn’t really protect anyone. They fail all their safety tests or like their trials to see if they’re actually doing the right thing. And we’re seeing this with vaccines. And the thing I really don’t like, you know, I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t necessarily wanna get mine and I am not a scientist. I’m not pretending I am, but, there was so much shame and there’s still so much shame where if you don’t get one, people will say, like you said Emma, like you’re killing my grandma. You’re doing this. Yeah. And that’s so silly to me because your body is such a personal choice. You know what, oh my gosh. Put in your body, whether it’s junk food, whether it’s, you know, we talked about raw milk in a past episode, it’s such a personal decision, but here we have people saying, for the good of everybody for this social contract, you need to get your vaccine, you need to do this. And it’s so funny to me because it’s also so hypocritical because you have these things where sometimes you’re doing your greater good if you don’t do it. So like there’s no consistency. And Emma, I want you to go into what I’m saying, I think you get what I’m saying with this a little bit if you can.

Emma: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think there’s nothing more personal like Brittany said, than what goes into your body. And a lot of us are conscious about what we eat. We’re conscious about getting exercise, and we’re conscious about not consuming things that we know are unhealthy for us. And I’m sure a lot of your guys’ parents will say things like, Hey, you need to eat these vegetables or you need to, you know, not eat this or not eat that. And there’s a reason that we do that. It’s because our health is really precious and our health is ultimately how long are we going to live. Yeah. And it’s, what’s our quality of life going to be? How susceptible are we going to be to diseases and illnesses? Like COVID health has been a huge factor in people surviving COVID or not. And you know, when you talk about it that way, most of us make sacrifices and personal decisions regarding our health, even when it’s not totally convenient. Or even if, you know, you would rather just ha take it the easy way and eat McDonald’s every single day. You know, that’s.

Brittany: What, that’s what you wanna do.

Emma: Which you have the right to do. If that’s what you wanna do, it’s your choice. So if we, acknowledge choice in something as simple as, you know, your lifestyle or the food that you eat, we have to acknowledge choice when it comes to medicine and the things that we want to take and put in our body. And you know, Brittany chose to get the vaccine and if you choose to get one or if your parents choose to get one, that doesn’t make them a good or bad person. It just means that they are looking out for their interests and they found that it was worthwhile. You know, I have chosen not to get it because I had COVID before and I had.

Brittany: Natural antibodies.

Emma: Right. I read the studies and I read into the real science that says if you get COVID, you have, I think it’s 29 times natural or 29 times the protection of a vaccine if you have natural immunity, which makes sense because that’s how people have survived, you know, viruses throughout the last thousands and thousands of years. Is that, you know, our bodies adapt and they get these antibodies and help us fight things off. So when you look at something like vaccines and you say, I’m going to take away your ability to choose whether this is good or bad for you, and this is all assuming too that the vaccines are safe. That’s not for me to comment on because I’m, again, I’m not a scientist, I’m not a doctor, but people need to be able to make these choices on their own. And if you strip someone of the choice of something as basic as choosing whether or not they want to take a certain medicine, especially when that medicine has a new technology with it, that is very dangerous. And that is a scary road for us to go down where we say, just because you exist in society, just because you wanna be able to, you know, go to concerts or, you know, fly on an airplane or go to a restaurant even in certain cities, you need to take this medicine that is, abusive. And it’s forcing people to do things that they don’t want to do. And it’s taking away their autonomy, which is a super important part of living a free life is your personal autonomy. So that’s kind of my take on the vaccines. Yeah. And the social contract. I think it’s another thing that just like the masks, it really illustrates kind of the road we’re going down and how scary it can be.

Brittany: Completely agree. And I, know we’re almost at a time here, but I wanna add one more thing that I think really highlights the silliness of the social contract, and that is. So there was a point in time where if you protested the lockdowns, how dare you again kill grandmothers and all this stuff because you owe it to people to stay inside. And then at the same time when the BLM and other protests were going to defund the police protest, you had people say, if you are not protesting out on the street, you are not doing your social duty. And you have to be like, wait for a second, I can’t even keep up with the terms of this alleged contract because it’s changing all the time. So I think it’s important to be wary of anyone that says you owe something to someone that you didn’t consent to. Right? Yeah. We don’t, we’ve never seen this wonderful mythical social contract. We’ve never really signed onto it. So I think we need to be really careful about giving in to the pressure of people saying we have to abide by it.

Emma: Absolutely. We need to check our premise and make sure that we’re not, you know, following rules for something that we never agreed to because that’s wrong and people should not be able to force us to, you know, be cajoled and, forced into it. Good word. A certain good word. I’m like, did I pronounce that word right? I’ve read it a million times, but I don’t know if I’ve ever used it loud.

Brittany: It means it’s forced, by the way, we’ll back up. It means, right. It means forced or coerced.

Emma: Forced or coerced. We shouldn’t allow people to force us into a way of life that we never signed up for or agreed to. So that’s, where I’m gonna leave it today. thank you for listening guys, and we will talk to you all again soon.

Brittany: Talk to you later.