It is a strange time to be a citizen in a Western democracy. Our society is based on exchange — we transact in the free market, we share ideas online, and most significantly we give up some of our natural liberty in exchange for a civil society and a vote.
But increasingly, the freedoms supposed to be protected by civil society are being eroded away. At the level of the individual, our freedom of speech is under attack. Criticism of migration is apparently about to become “hate speech” and a prosecutable offence.
When the authority of the nation state is ceded to a supra-national body, such as the United Nations, our power as citizens is diluted.
Based on the contractual theory of society and the works of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau from the 17th and 18th century, real power is supposed to sit with the people; in order to retain moral character, government must thus rest on the consent of the governed, or the volonté générale (“general will”):
“What man loses by the social contract is his natural liberty and an unlimited right to everything he tries to get and succeeds in getting; what he gains is civil liberty and the proprietorship of all he possesses.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On the Social Contract)
What happens if you start to interfere with this contract? What happens, for instance if clauses within this contract are removed, or the contract ripped up altogether?