Naturally, every person has freedom to do whatever they wish. However, people are forced to sacrifice some of their freedoms in order to comply with the general needs. People only accept to voluntarily ignore some of their freedoms when they enter a civil society in which the general will dictates everything. The general will also determine the relationship between the government and the governed. Individuals are obligated to act within the will of the government, mostly through following the rules and regulations stated by the governing body. There are always frictions between the will of the government and the sovereign will. In reference to the social contract idea, government rules and regulations are only binding when they are supported by the general will of the people. Citizens have their personal rights and freedoms and there are many things they can do without being restricted by any party but when they join a civil society, they are restricted to do what serves the will of the majority. In such cases, some personal freedoms that do not serve the general will that is abandoned. Citizens are bound by the social contract theory because they only support government laws and policies that are in line with the general will. The paper will discuss the different ways which prove that citizens are bound by the social contract theory.
The general will is about the wishes of the sovereign that aims to achieve the common good. Every citizen has his or her own specific will that reflects what is best at his or her personal level. The general will replicate what is best for the entire state. In the modern society, people come together through different platforms or representation to discuss what they want from the government or anybody that exercises power over them. Whatever individuals agree upon is what they expect from the government because it means good for the majority of the population (Rousseau 112). Failure by the government to act according to the will of the majority results to frictions between the governing body and the governed. Disagreements between the government and its subjects are common because the government is also obligated to exercise its power and authority over its subjects. Consistent friction between the two sides reveals much about the performance of the government. It is also used to gauge the level of representation by the elected or selected individuals to represent the will of the people. When the government fails through formulating laws and implementation of projects and policies that are not supported by the general will, citizens exercise their power to change the government. In the modern society, the changing is done through a democratic process by voting out the incumbents.
The purpose of the social contract idea is to indicate that members of a civil society have justifiable reasons to accept and work in line with the social rules, institutions, laws, as well as the principles that govern that society. The general public is bound by the idea because it is basically deals with public justification. Social contract idea is employed to ascertain whether or not a given regime is authentic and therefore deserves loyalty. In the contemporary society, the ultimate objective of the social contract idea that is state focused is to reveal that some political systems can meet varied challenges for instance, to prove whether citizens have ability to establish a performing government from choice and reflection. Another challenge presented to the people by the idea is to show whether or not they are completely ordained to depend for their political compositions on accident and force. People are brought together by the various needs they want them fulfilled. When they asses the degree at which their aspirations have been achieved by the ruling system, they become fully obligated to select another government or retain the existing one (Welch 76).
People depend on the social contract idea to reflect in the most general sense that political, moral, and legal; collectively referred to as social rules are justified in a rational manner. However, the idea does not isolate itself from other techniques in moral and political philosophy. Social contract and other approaches try to suggest that political and moral regulations are largely defensible in some sense. The real distinctiveness of the social contract approach is that explanation does not solely depend on exogenous truth or reason. In the present day setting, justification is mainly achieved through a rational agreement as opposed to using the reasons that lead to the agreement. The fact that every person within the society, given their thinking at a personal level, would comply with certain principles or laws in the critical validation for that rule, instead of some all-encompassing or correct reasons that satisfactorily lucid individuals would appreciate and, if respected, would result in agreement (Hulliung 97).
Citizens are bound by the idea because for any democratic system to work, the social contract inkling must be applied. The idea is also centered on the fact that a government acquires its obligation to exist and exercise rule of law through the consensus of the governed. People apply the idea to ensure that the common will is expressed as truly as possible by the government of the day. The implementation of the line of thinking is also associated with making the social order as democratic as possible. Holding assemblies to talk about fundamental issues that ought to be addressed by the government in relation to the will of the people falls within the application of social contract to practice democracy (Pope 81).
The constitution clarifies all rights and obligations of citizens and they are expected to act according to what is expected of them. The rights and obligations of citizens also play a vital role in determining the support of citizens to the government. The government is expected to act in accordance with the constitution. When citizens hold public assemblies to discuss and propose crucial changes that will positively affect the entire state, they must bear in mind that whatever they propose need to be in line with what the constitution says.
The American constitution has a bill of rights that spells out all rights and obligation of its citizens. The freedoms of speech and religion gives the American citizens a right to choose what and how they worship. It also allows them to develop their own lines of beliefs. In addition, the freedoms are also extended to the press because it enjoys a right to question the government concerning several issues affecting the lives of citizens. The American citizens are also allowed to assemble for a course provided that then assembly is peaceful and it discusses a crucial issue. In such assemblies, people discuss issues that affect their lives and channel them to the government through their elected leaders (Binmore 77). The assembling and agreeing on particular aspects that affect them is sourced from the social contract which encourages such actions. The citizens can later assume whatever they have discussed as their rights and demand the government to act according to their will. The will represents what majority of the citizens wants. The amendments of the constitution make changes on the issues that affect majority citizens. The changes are done according to the general majority will. A common issue that was amended in response to the common will was the right to due legal process as well as autonomy from self-accusation or else self-incrimination (Hulliung 68).
Social contract is practiced through the people’s right to vote. The constitution gives all American citizens over eighteen years regardless of race or gender freedom to vote and select their leaders at all levels. In the modern democratic systems, citizens apply the right to vote to express their level of satisfaction in the ruling regime. When they feel that the government of the day has not solved most issues that they expected to be addressed, they vote out the administration. The civil society dictates the grounds over which they should dismiss a government. In a democratic society, the will of the majority dictates the selection of a governing body.
The citizens decide to comply with their legal responsibilities as provided by the government through assessment of how the responsibilities affect. People only accepts to comply with their responsibilities as citizens only if it means good to the entire state and they fully support it. The idea of social contract explains that legal duties of citizens are only binding if they are supported by the civil society. Responsibilities fail to be legal if they lack majority support for example implementation of unnecessary taxes and being forced to serve in the army. Citizens have moral responsibilities to their country as well. Such responsibilities include acting as volunteers and responding to special needs of the community. Since citizens are bound by the social contract theory, they comply with their moral and legal obligations only if they serve the general will of the state.