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Mitt Romney doesn't understand what it means to honor a contract. People with the kind of money he has often don't need to. They have lawyers for that, and the people they employ exploit do not.

In America, Romney doesn't believe that our citizens have a right to housing, food, or a whole host of other basic human needs. He thinks Americans only earn those rights by working for an employer.

He's wrong, and his disdain for and ignorance of America's social contract with its citizens is telling. Mitt Romney is a global citizen, a jet setting member of the 1% of 1% who don't seem to think the American Dream entails holding true to the social contract all Americans have signed.

All American citizens are in fact entitled to housing, food, and other forms of government aid. We don't need to work for the wealthy in order to earn those rights. We earn them simply by being Americans and by abiding by the many laws the wealthy have written over the years to protect and enhance their wealth.

In many parts of the world, they don't have the kinds of laws we have here in America that restrict the rights of the poor. For example, people are free to simply take unused or neglected land and build their own homes with found materials. Families build them and live in them. Entire communities and even neighborhoods can be constructed in this informal way. In America, the poor are not permitted to build their own housing. They need permits, licensed builders, etc. Without the permission of the wealthy via these restrictions to basic human freedom, any housing built by the poor would be torn down and the violators of the various laws fined and possibly imprisoned. In America, the poor abide by the laws regarding the construction of permanent housing, and in return for this very obedient restraint of behavior by the poor (providing housing for one's family is the most basic human impulse), our social contract seeks to guarantee them via government programs some form of housing, even if it isn't particularly safe or desirable.

Likewise, with food, in many parts of the world where Romney's brand of country club Republican simply doesn't exist to restrict human freedoms via the laws they write, people are free to squat on historically (not legally) delineated lands in order to grow and/or raise their own food. In America, this isn't possible. Ever since rich cattle ranchers parceled up and fenced off the free ranges of the American West, all citizens (poor and otherwise) have been forced to abide by a new and special set of rules written by the wealthy when it comes to feeding one's family. We buy our food from the rich, and as a part of our social contract, and in return for this special modification of natural human behavior to provide food for one's family by any means necessary, if the poor are unable to purchase the nutritional sustenance they require to survive, then the government steps in to provide food assistance, especially for poor children.

These are the trade-offs the poor live with, according to the social contract every American signs by accepting citizenship in this country. Mitt Romney's family signed it when they decided to become American citizens again. They rejected some of the ideas they held in Mexico, and accepted a new set of ideas here in this country. They made a promise, and in exchange for the special rights we guarantee for the owners in this "ownership society" (put generally, the public protection of what they own by taxpayer funded law enforcement and the restrictions to freedom this entails), they agreed to help fund programs to care for those their special rights would otherwise exploit and then totally abandon.

No American must work for a man like Mitt Romney in order to secure the right to food or housing. They secured that right by being Americans, and by sacrificing the basic human freedom to build their own homes and grow their own food (a freedom mankind has enjoyed for millions of years) to a system that tells them these things will be provided by other means (either via commerce or public aid).

If Mitt Romney wants Americans to agree to third world working conditions (and he does), then he and every rich person like him must recognize that they have abandoned the social contract they promised would be honored, and the security they have in their property and the hold they have over the laws and regulations that restrict the poor from providing for themselves are also forfeit.

Throughout history, Mitt Romney's extremist aristocratic thinking ends with pitchforks and angry mobs, because that's the natural progression of a society where the basic social contract has been abandoned by the wealthy elite in a way that makes it impossible for poor families to survive. If the wealthy feel threatened now (which is of course absurd, take a look at the DOW), just wait until Romney makes good on his promises. Because once they shred the social contract that has defined America for generations, they will unleash the tidal wave of poverty induced rage that was only held in check by that social contract and the laws it represents - laws that actually protect the rich from the poor and the middle class (not to mention themselves).

Originally posted to snowcity on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 02:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Promote the General Welfare, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ther is so much he doesn't understand (8+ / 0-)

    foreign policy first amongst them.

    This however could l;lose him the election, thankfully

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 03:30:04 AM PDT

  •  Good Diary (14+ / 0-)

    Got me thinking about the social contract, a condition which seems to be breaking down in this country and elsewhere.

    Here's the classic definition:

    An agreement among the members of an organized society or between the governed and the government defining and limiting the rights and duties of each.
    John Rawls identifies two main principals that he sees as necessary for the most basic society, which he calls the Two Principles of Justice.
    These two principles determine the distribution of both civil liberties and social and economic goods. The first principle states that each person in a society is to have as much basic liberty as possible, as long as everyone is granted the same liberties. That is, there is to be as much civil liberty as possible as long as these goods are distributed equally. (This would, for example, preclude a scenario under which there was a greater aggregate of civil liberties than under an alternative scenario, but under which such liberties were not distributed equally amongst citizens.) The second principle states that while social and economic inequalities can be just, they must be available to everyone equally (that is, no one is to be on principle denied access to greater economic advantage) and such inequalities must be to the advantage of everyone. This means that economic inequalities are only justified when the least advantaged member of society is nonetheless better off than she would be under alternative arrangements. So, only if a rising tide truly does carry all boats upward, can economic inequalities be allowed for in a just society.
    Rawls' first esposed this in a book A Theory of Justice.  You can probably find it in most libraries, or, if you want to own a copy, check out
  •  Too bad asses like West, Joe from Illinois.. (6+ / 0-)

    and Romney are such cunning bastards.

    Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity....clearly the real reason there is ANY question of an Obama second term.

    by tdslf1 on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:46:04 AM PDT

  •  Great diary (14+ / 0-)

    I think people all to often forget what created the conditions for the French Revolution and that it was a poverty struck mob that rose up against the aristocracy of the time. A rich elite who prevented the masses from participating in resource use and failed to provide basics like food, housing, etc...

    Qu'ils mangent de la brioche indeed

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 06:44:25 AM PDT

    •  Another perspective (5+ / 0-)

      I have read Simon Schama's "Citizens" and he offers a different reason for the cause of the French Revolution, or at least the initial leadership, but yet reaches the same conclusion as you.

      In "Citizens," Schama states that the aristocracy manipulated the people of France to engage in mob violence in an effort to curb the absolute monarchy and regain rights and privileges they lost with the advent of Louis XIV.

      The problem was the violence they instigated, or agitated, soon went beyond their control and they eventually became the victims of the great purge.

      However, as you stated, it was a mass of people, the proletariat, so to speak, which arose because of the dreadful conditions of poverty and hunger they had had to endure for decades, if not centuries.

      Good analogy and it is one I'm glad you stated.

      •  I've read that one as well and its a good read! (2+ / 0-)

        And it may be correct that the violent mob may have been a brush fire lit by the Aristocracy that quickly grew into an inferno and completely out of their control.

        I know there we many examples of elites attempting to appease their peasants with gifts and the like and tried to walk bake comments made from the crown.

        In either event though, you are correct, the end result is the same and something we have to mindful of.

        --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

        by idbecrazyif on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 09:08:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Off topic - user IDs (0+ / 0-)

        I sometimes hover over user names in comments to see their user ID #s and couldn't help but notice something here.

        I hadn't realized that the latest numbers are over 500,000, as is Todd Hancock's (544864). (He) joined a few days ago, 9-16-12.

        Then I checked idbecrazyif's ID# and date (he) joined - 321502 on 10-6-11.

        That is 223,362 new members in less than a year!! That's quite a lot, even if you discount for a certain percentage of trolls.

        Also, both of their comments here were spot on.

        Existence always was and always will be.

        by Seattle Mark on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:16:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ohh, would love a brioche and a pitchfork! (3+ / 0-)

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 09:54:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Besides, the whole idea is to keep the serfs on (8+ / 0-)

    the lower edge of quiet desperation, so they don't storm the castle.

    •  Good comparison (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whenwego, No one gets out alive

      When considering that there is a severe lack of social, economic, and physical mobility in contemporary society, the idea of a neo-serfdom is not far off the mark.

      The serfs were "enslaved" based upon their ties to the land, and were unable to move elsewhere for better opportunities.

      Many in America are unable to move from failing areas, or accept new opportunities, because of the severe poverty that keeps them as renters rather than owners, as their labor is spent living day to day, rather than saving for the future.

      Much as the aristocrats in Russia refused to hand over land upon the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, so are the capitalist owners in contemporary society unwilling to part with their own piece of the pie in order to better the whole of society.

  •  Mitt, you know what happens when you break... (3+ / 0-)

    a contract?  

    Now just replace wonka with the american people.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 07:16:43 AM PDT

    •  Only problem I have with that (2+ / 0-)

      is that Mr. Wonka's reaction is more akin to the 1%ers and how they treat anyone who has, oh, a pre-existing condition, or an inability to pay on debt due to a job loss or not having enough income due to layoffs or any number of other things. They say "You signed the contract, and in part 37B of the fine print you've violated it, so fuck you."

      Because, you know, the theft of Fizzy Lifting Drinks and the sterilization of the ceiling is far more important than food, clothing, and shelter for the serfs and peons.

      Science can tell you how to clone a dinosaur. Humanities explains why this is a bad idea.

      by Killer of Sacred Cows on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 10:28:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  WITT, Mitt, you YOYO! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snowcity, Killer of Sacred Cows

    with apologies to Jared Bernstein.

    Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

    by triplepoint on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 07:26:30 AM PDT

  •  Great Diary (4+ / 0-)

    Great perspective.  Recommended.

    We're all just monkeys burning in hell.

    by smokeymonkey on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 07:44:15 AM PDT

  •  Splendidly thought-provoking - excellent! (4+ / 0-)

    Tipped, recced, and thank you most sincerely....

    This year, I'm doing something I've never done before - I'm voting a straight Democratic ticket

    by chmood on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 08:23:06 AM PDT

  •  Huh. (0+ / 0-)
    every American signs by accepting citizenship in this country.
    Can't recall ever accepting citizenship myself.  I doubt most Americans have.

    That aside, private property long predates entitlement programs.  The idea that the latter is a condition for the former is absurd and ahistorical.

  •  good small point (3+ / 0-)

    dont romanticize shanty towns.

    Favelas (shanty towns) in Brazil have faced removal several times over the last 75 or so years. Sometimes they are the wealthy...and sometimes they have won significant legal and political battles. Its the same story for most places where you find shanty towns.

    THE MST (landless workers movement) in Brazil has sometimes been very successful in occupying and cultivating land that they also essentially squat upon. And sometime the death squads have come to remove them. Plus....Brazil has laws stating the requirement of putting land to social use. ie, not cultivating farmable land can make is suspectable to change of ownership.

    Some years ago I spent a few days in a shanty town in Belize city. We stayed at my friend's sister's home. While there we read about how fishing interests were being sold to a Korean company and that the seasons when locals could harvest lobster or conch were limited to about two weeks out of the year for both shellfish....where as my friend claimed that while growing up in the a freakin' grass shack!...they could always get food like lobster and conch.

    Did I mention Death Squads? Death squads that remove the homeless from the prime spots of a city? Homeless children included. Notice, we dont call the groups removing them "relocation" squads.

    ALL in the name of monied interests.

    Of course in Brazil Lula was better than Cardosa who was better than a military dictatorship, and your points about the social contract here in the US are very good. (I have no solid idea how Belize is doing in the 21st century) But careful what we compare things to..."the grass aint greener, the wine aint sweeter, either side of the hill...."

    I cant tell if its a West End musical or Marxism in action.

    by Evolution on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 09:20:22 AM PDT

    •  About housing........the government is very bad (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snowcity, BrianParker14

      about helping people with that here.

      Anyone who has ever needed help with housing costs will know what I mean. Any subsidized housing is almost impossible to get. And rents are so high that if I, living on SS, were to rent an apartment, it would be, along with utilities, nearly all of my meager income. So I'm stuck, cannot move and soon my old '94 car will be stopping some day and will be stuck without any transportation because there are no buses at all where I live, 20 miles from a city.

      It's one place the social contract needs beefing up.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 10:01:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I appreciate your empathy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elginblt, No one gets out alive

      I've also had some experience with informal settlements. One point I might make is that in America, with the quality of discarded materials available, and the quality of the natural environment, informal settlements here probably would have the potential to be of a very different character than those we see in the 3rd world. The poor just don't have the ability to build them here. Granted, they would be unsafe, to some degree, but then so is much of government housing. Which is worse, the drug/gang infested environments we force the poor to raise children in, or the risk that the housing they might build for themselves could possibly collapse. Hard to say. Many informal settlement communities develop economies that aren't so different from what we think of as normal society. Many even have bank accounts. Often, the housing is actually built by those who know about construction, etc. Let's think also about the Quakers. The point being that we don't allow the poor to pull themselves up by their bootstraps in ways that mankind found natural for millions of years, and that comes with obligations to the poor to accommodate them for giving up those freedoms, IMO. I've been privy to the construction of informal structures as well as other building projects for the poor. Average people can do a lot more with their own hands than we give them credit for sometimes.

  •  Excellent diary! You make points that mostly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are never talked about.

    This one, so true, so ignored:

    abiding by the many laws the wealthy have written over the years to protect and enhance their wealth.
    we buy our food from the rich, and as a part of our social contract,
    Your summary here is so good and something I guess he and the GOP has never thought about.
    If Mitt Romney wants Americans to agree to third world working conditions (and he does), then he and every rich person like him must recognize that they have abandoned the social contract they promised would be honored, and the security they have in their property and the hold they have over the laws and regulations that restrict the poor from providing for themselves are also forfeit.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 09:49:51 AM PDT

  •  The GOPbaggers want to rip up and walk away... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... from the social contract.

    Their answer to everything is, "Not our problem."

  •  kurt vonnegut describes a "money river" (6+ / 0-)

    in God Bless You Mr. Rosewater  (one of his best imho)

    Posted this in Armando's recent FP rant about Wall Street, but seems apropos here as well...

    "You mean fright about not getting enough to eat, about not being able to pay the doctor, about not being able to give your family nice clothes, a safe, cheerful, comfortable place to live, a decent education, and a few good times? You mean shame about not knowing where the Money River is?

    "The what?"

    The Money River, where the wealth of the nation flows. We were born on the banks of it. We can slurp from that mighty river to our hearts' content. And we even take slurping lessons, so we can slurp more efficiently.

    "Slurping lessons?"

    From lawyers! From tax consultants! We're born close enough to the river to drown ourselves and the next ten generations in wealth, simply using dippers and buckets. But we still hire the experts to teach us the use of aqueducts, dams, reservoirs, siphons, bucket brigades, and the Archimedes' screw. And our teachers in turn become rich, and their children become buyers of lessons in slurping.

    "It's still possible for an American to make a fortune on his own."

    Sure—provided somebody tells him when he's young enough that there is a Money River, that there's nothing fair about it, that he had damn well better forget about hard work and the merit system and honesty and all that crap, and get to where the river is. 'Go where the rich and powerful are,' I'd tell him, 'and learn their ways. They can be flattered and they can be scared. Please them enormously or scare them enormously, and one moonless night they will put their fingers to their lips, warning you not to make a sound. And they will lead you through the dark to the widest, deepest river of wealth ever known to man. You'll be shown your place on the riverbank, and handed a bucket all your own. Slurp as much as you want, but try to keep the racket of your slurping down. A poor man might hear.'

    No System of Justice Can Rise Above the Ethics of Those Who Administer It. (Wickersham Commission 1929)

    by No Exit on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 11:11:36 AM PDT

  •  The US Constitution uses the term "general welfare (3+ / 0-)

    " not once, but twice.

    After all, promoting the "general welfare" is one of the main purposes of government, isn't it?

  •  social contract (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No one gets out alive

    I think theRadical Rich do not realize that it has been LESS than 100 years since the Russians dragged those fat boyars out into the snows

    If THEY violate the Social Contract - they should be reminded that the 99% can violate it as well

    perhaps we should be looking for a Napoleon to FOLLOW a Robespierre

  •  Ah, the mythical Social Contract (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Throw The Bums Out

    the belief that you have the "right" to anything you want and, if I don't choose to provide it for you, you then have the right to use whatever force to compel me to provide it.

    Sure, it's easy to believe in a social contract when you're the taker and not the provider.  A right can only exist when it does not impose an obligation on someone else to provide it for you.  You can't have a right to housing or food or healthcare when declaring such a right imposes an obligation on someone else to provide it for you.  If I can't afford the food you are selling, I can simply take it because the "social contract" declares that I have a right to it.  Seriously?  There are actually people who think this way?

    The social contract is merely a feel-good mechanism to remove any guilty associated with being criminals.  I didn't steal your money, you paid it voluntarily in taxes so that I can ____ (eat, have medical care, have a house, a car, free internet, whatever I want).  If you choose not to pay your money voluntarily, the government comes and takes it from you by force.  I didn't do it, the government did it because the government is the protector of my rights.  Notice the government doesn't protect my right to my property, my body, my earnings.  It merely protects your right to steal as much as you want from me and leave me with whatever you deem is enough.

    Government is good at one thing. Government breaks both your legs and then hands you a set of crutches and says, "See, you need government."

    by hankmed on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 02:36:00 PM PDT

  •  What I'm struck by is the lack of understanding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No one gets out alive

    by these "conservatives" of the necessity of popular consent to the system that gives them their wealth and allows them to keep it.

    I am perfectly able to go out and shoot or grow my food, but not without breaking my duty to respect property rights.  But those property rights do not occur in nature.  They are creatures of LAW, and thus, in a democracy, ultimately dependent on the consent of the governed.  And that consent is dependent on the common good.  And, in the end, my duty to respect someone's property rights depends on them making sure there's a reasonable alternative to starvation.

    A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

    by legalarray on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 09:09:03 PM PDT

  •  In other words (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No one gets out alive

    Those who govern only govern with the consent of the governed.

    Why would everyone consent to having everything taken away from them by the wealthy?

    I'm thinking it is a case of the wealthy believing their own PR, and very bad mistake that can happen to anyone that manipulates others.

    Women create the entire labor force.

    by splashy on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:51:38 AM PDT

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