A social contract is an unseen and consensually accepted force. It legitimizes the authority of the state over the individual by asserting that inclusion and participation in a society is synonymous with accepting that societies rules and laws. By accepting a subservient position and giving up some of our natural freedoms to a higher authority we are able to enjoy the benefits of the protection of rights and political order.
This “higher authority” is contextual but at all times references the lawmakers or recognized appointed positions of power. For example the state, the police, the voting majority or the federal government could all be considered the “higher authority” in the American social contract. To me social contract is a seemingly vague and amorphous phenomenon. Social and legal expectations can change from area to area and there is not a consistent definition of right and wrong, even though all of these areas (such as tribes, towns, cities or states) are often part of a larger system, such as a country.
Here in the US we have the constitution and the federal level of government to play a bridging role between the different states and allow for consistent expectations regardless of area. Because a social contract can be applied to so many different levels and systems of civilization I think of it as the accepted doctrine of behavior in any given situation, subject to change depending on context. Social contract is intuitive to an extent, especially regarding what are known as “natural” or “god given” rights. It is theorized that the state cannot violate these because they are prescribed by a higher power than the state. Such as Nature or God.
Democracy is essentially “mob rule” in that it is the decisions of the majority that decide for all. The danger here is that the objective can easily and often switch from the pursuit of the best solution to the pandering to the public for the majority support of a substandard but popular solution.
Emotions are part of the human condition and they give us insight to reactions to stimuli. I do not necessarily think that emotions are bad in politics, in fact some may argue that the are more needed. Travesties such as human rights violations, famine, war and disease gain support and momentum because of emotionally fueled desire to help.
Emotions are a tool, and like all tools they have multiple applications. This is often exploited in politics. Candidates make emotional appeals to the public as much, if not more often than honest and straight forward explanations of issues and proposed goals. Our current president won his 2008 election with the simple slogan of “Change” cleverly executed. This term struck a chord with so many people tired of the economic crisis and constant war that many instantly and easily felt as though Obama had the ability to change the country because he vocalized what so many were emotionally predisposed to.