Where's My Contract?

Column by Paul Bonneau.

Exclusive to STR

Dear Senator Enzi,

I was reading Robert Higgs' article Consent of the Governed? when I suddenly realized that I have misplaced my copy of my Social Contract. You know, the signed agreement between myself and the federal government, allowing the latter to rule me? I have looked everywhere and cannot find it.
Would you please make a copy of this agreement we made, and send it to me? I'd appreciate it, and apologize for any effort you have to expend in compensating for my absent-mindedness.
Of course, it must bear my signature. There is no such thing as a contract that was not voluntarily entered into, and the signature is the proof of that. Non-existence of a signed contract constitutes proof that the entire US Code, and all actions of Congress, are null and void.
In case you are thinking my ancestors somehow bound me to a Social Contract, I have seen no evidence of that; but if you can find it, including their signature, I would appreciate seeing it. There would still of course remain the little issue of whether people can forever bind their unborn descendants, but we can address that later.
If there is no such signed Social Contract, I would certainly consider signing one. Please send your proposed contract to me, and I will forward it on to my lawyer for consideration. If by any chance such proposal would include the US Constitution, I have to warn you that my lawyer and I will be considering its terms in the manner of current court interpretation (and not as the plain meaning of the words), since that is the way you interpret it. This interpretation will of course play into whether I decide to sign it. Also, we will have to negotiate on some points I find unacceptable, such as the existence of a Federal Reserve Bank, or the ability to war on and kill innocent men, women and children in foreign countries in my name and for my supposed benefit. And there are some other points of contention that must be addressed.
I have heard a few people claim that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution is itself the Social Contract. Since it was not properly ratified, this cannot be so, and I consider it null and void; nor will I sign a Social Contract that consists of the 14th Amendment.
Senator, if there is any other basis than a voluntary agreement, for your ability to rule over me--for example, the exercise of brute force and violent coercion--please let me know.
Paul Bonneau
The above is an example of a letter I have sent to my Congresscritters. I am curious what form letter will be chosen to respond to it. But, it brings up a point. Any time the legitimacy of the federal government is brought up, we should respond by asking for a contract. Just say, “I want to see the Social Contract, and if there is none, I wish to negotiate one.” “Show me the Contract.”
I think this is a reasonable request, don’t you? I’d like to see them attempt to maintain their alleged legitimacy without it.
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Paul Bonneau's picture
Columns on STR: 106


Suverans2's picture

Just curious, Paul Bonneau, how many times have you checked the "yes" box, to either of the following two questions, and signed it?

Are you a U.S. citizen?

Are you a citizen of the State of Wyoming?

If your answer is once, or more, (like I had), have you rebutted the presumption that that answer, or those answers, and signature created; the presumption that you have expressly consented to be a citizen, i.e. a subject, of a State government or, of the United States government?

John deLaubenfels's picture

I don't think so. The questions being asked in these cases are, "Do we classify you as a U.S. citizen" and "Do we classify you as a resident (not citizen) of the state of Wyoming". To reply truthfully is not to pledge any fealty whatever to any institution, legitimate (ha!) or otherwise.

Paul's picture

Yeah, that's my reading too. And even if it wasn't, Suverans, you ignore the implicit coercion in the question. If I have to check a little box that means nothing to me or offends me, to be able to engage in some commerce, I will play their game and check it. It does not negate the reality, which is that they are illegitimate. They are putting a gun to my head, and contracts where a gun is on the table are not valid. I bet if they pointed a gun at you and asked you if you were a citizen, you'd say "yes" too.

Suverans2's picture

G'day Paul Bonneau,

I've not had a gun put to my head, (and I doubt many here have), but I have had a taser put against my chest directly over my heart, by some no-neck thugs disguised as "peace officers", and I still said, "NO!"

[Emphasis added]

This is not intended as a condemnation of you or anyone else, but as I wrote in a previous post, "(...I perceive that greed, i.e. the fear of the loss of material wealth, is greatest coercive force for many, if not most, of us)".

Paul's picture

Suverans, please see tzo's response below, starting with "When coercion is used..." I couldn't have said it better.

I don't particularly disagree with your point about fear of loss of material wealth; in fact I have advocated disengaging from government as much as reasonably possible (note the qualification). I don't agree with Molyneux's view that one should not inconvenience oneself at all (thereby justifying any and all compromise with the state). I think Atlas should shrug.

On the other hand, there are limits to this stance. For example, if one has a family, one has an obligation to defend it. Checking off a box on a sheet of paper in order to buy a gun is philosophically obnoxious, as is getting a permit to carry. But one is sometimes forced to make unpleasant choices to get one's most important obligations taken care of.

The point is, government is nothing but a very powerful criminal gang. We do not compromise ourselves by dealing with that reality and keeping our current priorities straight (obligations of child rearing first for example). We have not proclaimed the criminal gang's legitimacy in doing so. As we get older and naturally shed such obligations, we can afford to become more hard-core about these things. One of the few benefits of getting old is that you don't have to back down.

Suverans2's picture

Thank you for your response.

Samarami's picture

Paul: "As we get older and naturally shed such obligations (<== child rearing, etc), we can afford to become more hard-core about these things. One of the few benefits of getting old is that you don't have to back down.

Excellent point, Paul -- and congratulations on a very well-written essay. I can "afford" (I'm 75, grandpa 23 times, great grandpa of 5) to spout off, refuse to get drivers' license, etc.; to "be a sovereign state". I can rant and I can rave against "government" -- but I must maintain empathy and respect for those I love.

Thankfully, 3 of my 7 children are homeschoolers, shielding 13 of the 23 (soon to be 24) grandkids from government ("public") school's harm. I can take credit for cheering them on in that pursuit, but it's the kids' "doing". It's important for me to remember that. I'm aware that they still have to interface with state school officials in submitting to testing (all grandkids test far above mean "normal" scores), allowing "inspections", etc.

Two of my sons are "at the helm" -- active in Ron Paul's "campaign" -- and I support their efforts (with my mouth shut for the most part). They've both quit haggling me to get involved or "vote" (although they insist a vote in the "Iowa Straw Poll" wouldn't be considered an "act of violence"), and they know I respect Dr Paul and them for supporting him. I'll help with the younger grandchildren during the upcoming straw poll -- and I'll restrain myself from negativity. Sam

Paul's picture

"I'm aware that they still have to interface with state school officials in submitting to testing (all grandkids test far above mean "normal" scores), allowing "inspections", etc."

Actually, they don't. There are an awful lot of "noncompliant" homeschoolers out there.

On the homeschooling email list I frequent, newbies often come on asking how they can get right with the state. I always ask them why they would want to do that. I point out to them that many homeschoolers on the list who registered wish they hadn't, but none who refrained wish they had. I told them I considered the raising of children none of the governments' business, and they might try looking at it that way. I also of course point out penalties for noncompliance are very mild and almost never applied (to my knowledge).

Sometimes it makes sense to wait until they put a gun to your head before complying. It keeps in mind our fundamental relationship with the state, a coercive one; we should never forget it. And a lot of the time they never get around to it. Let's not willingly enslave ourselves for their benefit.

John deLaubenfels's picture

Excellent column! The Higgs reference is probably my favorite from an author I much admire. This point needs to be driven home, "I do not consent!" "I did not sign that B***S*** contract!"

I've got a domain, govNotLegit.com, that I need to flesh out. When I get time... I'll be sure to include a link to this column.

Paul's picture

Thanks John. See my other articles, listed here:

tzo's picture

Valid contracts imply "a meeting of the minds," where all parties are informed on all points. The old argument about signing away your rights because you said you were a citizen in order to get a social security card in order to get a drivers license in order to get a job just doesn't work.

How many of you have done a one-click agreement online in order to make a purchase or join a website? What if it said in the seventh paragraph of stipulation number 437 that you hereby relinquish your first born child?

Suverans2's picture

G'day tzo,

Express and implied. An express contract is an actual agreement of the parties, the terms of which are openly uttered or declared at the time of making it, being stated in distinct and explicit language, either orally or in writing.

An implied contract is one not created or evidenced by the explicit agreement of the parties, but inferred by the law, as a matter of reason and justice from their acts or conduct, the circumstances surrounding the transaction making it a reasonable, or even a necessary, assumption that a contract existed between them by tacit understanding. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 323

TAC'IT, a. [L. tacitus, from taceo, to be silent, that is, to stop, or to close. See Tack.] Silent; implied, but not expressed. Tacit consent is consent by silence, or not interposing an objection. So we say, a tacit agreement or covenant of men to live under a particular government, when no objection or opposition is made... ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

Unfortunately, complaining to the other servants does not count as "objection or opposition".

tzo's picture


When coercion is used, it is difficult to accept that there is an implicit contract based on the behavior and actions of the coerced. If the threatened party elects to interact with the thug because he believes he will be better off than by not, then this is merely self-interest, and is action taken under duress.

To claim that a government has some ethical claim to being a valid party to a contract because it successfully threatens or tricks people to interact with it just can't process in my brain.

Every armed robbery in history where the victim acquiesced peacefully was legal because there was no objection, thereby creating tacit consent which made the "interaction" a contract? Every fraud and theft is legal because the unaware victim fails to object as the event is occurring, which creates a valid contract based on tacit consent?

I'm sure I went overboard with my parallels in the previous paragraph, but I'll need you to point out how they fail in comparison to "contracting with government."

Suverans2's picture

G'day tzo,

Touché! Your parallels are apropos, my friend, regardless of the fact that they may be a bit "overboard".

So, now that we know that there is no "lawful" contract, that we have been "tricked" into it, what do we do about it? Do we succumb to the fear of "coercion", (though I perceive that greed, i.e. the fear of the loss of material wealth, is greatest coercive force for many, if not most, of us), and just sit around complaining to each other? Or, do we stand up for what is right, and "pledge...our lives, fortunes, and sacred honour" to the great and honorable fight for freedom?

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom..." ~ Samuel Adams

John deLaubenfels's picture

I would say there are two things we can do:

. Sound off. Spread the word. Sure, it's frustrating to be confronted by ignorance, and many times it will prove a waste of time to try to counter it, but occasionally a seed will take root.

. Disengage from the government. Attempt to live our lives out of its sight and away from its greedy, grasping hands.

Suverans2's picture

"Disengage from the government." John deLaubenfels


DISENGAGE, v.t. [dis and engage.] ...4. ...to withdraw... 6. To release or liberate from a promise or obligation; to set free by dissolving an engagement ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

Secession. The act of withdrawing from membership in a group. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition

Paul's picture

My prescription exactly. Add to that the mental preparation to go to war if war is brought to one.

Fred Reed wrote an excellent article about disengaging here:

BTW seeds are taking root all over the place, these days.

Paul's picture

BTW, none of "my" congresscritters responded to this communication of mine, even with a form letter. I suppose there is no way for them to respond to it, if you think about it.

Samarami's picture

When you think about it, Paul, what percentage of people could concede the cold, hard fact that all "rulership" everywhere (other than the family) is criminal and is simply a matter of who holds and is willing to use the gun? I mean outside this and a half-dozen other anarchist-oriented forums.

The family is rulership. The human newborn is unique among living beings due to its absolute dependence upon parents and adult caregivers for every element of basic survival. Even a newborn puppy or colt will at birth struggle to its feet, awkwardly find its way to mommy's teat to nourish itself, and is born with a coat adequate to assure its survival in its innate climate. Within months it will be weaned and from that time have no kinship with parent or sibling.

Not so the human newborn. S/he is given total care at birth, protective and loving guidance until 5 or 6 (at times including incarceration in the form of bed and playpen rails to keep him or her from hazards until they can be trained and trusted to avoid perils and graduate to a bunk bed); a slow but loving unbinding of the restrictive chains until Mom and Dad can finally (with trepidation) say, "...OK. You may take the car to the party. But you call me at 8, and be home by 11!..."

How many parents have heard, "..you just wait 'till I'm eighteen! THEN you can't tell me what to do!..." Already they have been inculcated with the statist mindset that state functionaries have a mandate to "determine" the age at which you are "legally" adult, thereby accountable. But "free"??? Alas, shortly thereafter kids will come or call back home with the lament, "...please! Tell me what to do!..." I think there's a line in an old country song, "Life gets complicated once you reach eighteen".

You and I will love our children and our grandchildren and our great grandchildren until death do us part. In a normal and healthy family Mom and Dad will give loving guidance forever. That is the proper roll of governance -- not "government" or "rulership". There is a distinct difference.

All rulership outside the family is gangsterism. Enforced by the unacknowledged gun pointing at you. By sociopaths who know that a vast majority of the unwashed masses are easily inducted into "voluntary compliance". The other small percentage (those who have a character defect called "thinking") can be dealt with -- through peer pressure or with direct violence.

I just now gave bail money to a coworker whose father was arrested and jailed last night for operating a vehicle without insurance -- third offense. Gangsters of state and lobbyists of insurance (now a GSE -- government sponsored enterprise) have slept together incestuously to force all drivers on government roads to purchase their product. Under threat of savagery -- and you don't know what savagery is until you've spent a night or two in the white man's jail.

Make no mistake -- if I stick a gun in your gut I become "your ruler". But I give you an advantage: if you comply "voluntarily" I'll go away and leave you alone and never bother you again unless you're dumb enough to come back into the same dark alley in which I robbed you the first time. Another advantage you have with me is that I know what I am -- a robber. I won't try to induce you to chant some slogan that you owe your "freedom" to the likes of me.

I just thought of something: maybe I should give you my name and address. Out of gratefulness that I refrained from shooting your ass you might just continue to contribute some of your hard-earned "money" to me regularly. Voluntarily, of course.

Good luck on locating that social contract. Sam

Suverans2's picture

G'day Sam,

Don't know if I've ever seen any "government roads"; most of the roads I have been on are either multi-jurisdictional or private.

    Highway. A free and public roadway, or street; one which every person has a right to use. Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 728
Samarami's picture

Since I'm a free, sovereign state, Suverans2, I refrain from recognizing "Jurisdictions".

But if I witness a silly movie-style car with red light flashing behind me I've learned it's probably a dangerously-armed goon wearing a silly costume and identified as a government agent, or government policeman. And I know these schizoids have been given free reign to shoot anybody and everybody on-site and claim later they didn't stop in time and acted like they might be a terrorist, etc etc., and never pay any kind of a consequence.

So if a white man named Black, who in history claimed to have some authentic "knowledge" of the legal correctness of such terms as "highway" -- that only means he thought what he sez a highway be, it be. It does not mean what he sez be a highway BE a highway. Even if millions of other white men ("practicing", whatever that's supposed to mean, in the white man's court) accept white-Black's opinions as holy grail -- it still only means in their opinion Black could define what a highway be.

So dictionaries, like jurisdictions, are meaningless unless I want to impress somebody with my authenticity or my validity (or my capacity for bamfoozling the troops), which I normally do not need to do unless I get trapped into one of the white man's courts; at which time I must first challenge the jurisdiction of s/he who is bringing charges, as well as the "judge" who claims to have "jurisdiction" to cause me grief. But that's just a bunch of fluff in what they're calling a "writ of habeas corpus", which properly defined means I'd better show a grateful attitude and acknowledge they're all such nice guys regardless of charges or jail conditions or I'd be a dead man by now, and after all we're a nation of laws not men.

So if you ain't seen a government highway, Suverans2, you just hain't been lookin'.


DennisLeeWilson's picture



Suverans2's picture

G'day Sam,

Sorry, if I upset you, my friend; you know that was not my intent.

Just thought that people should know that, even according to their own law, the government does not own the highways, i.e. "public roadways' and 'streets", therefore I never give them the satisfaction of acknowledging them as "government roads". And, just because highwaymen[1] sometime accost me on a "free and public roadway, or street; one which every person [even natural persons[2]] has a right to use"; it doesn't change the fact that the artificial entity[3] known as government does not own the roads.

And, for the record, I have been lookin', Sam; it's just that we all see what we want to see, some of us see "government roads", and some of us see a "free and public roadway, or street; one which every person, has a right to use".

"...the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.” ~ יהושׁוּע

[1] HIGHWA'YMAN, n. One who robs on the public road, or lurks in the highway for the purpose of robbing. ~ Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

[2] NATURAL PERSONS. Such as are formed by nature, as distinguished from artificial persons, or corporations, formed by human laws for purposes of society and government. Wharton. ~ A Dictionary of the Law (Black’s 1st c. 1891), pg. 802

[3] Artificial. As opposed to "natural", means created or produced by man ["human laws"*]. ~ Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (c.1991), page 113
* See Artificial persons

Samarami's picture

I'm sure you know you and I are "in tune", Suverans2.

You've likely often seen me define borders and "state lines" as fictitious lines in the sand -- drawn by sociopaths who seduced hoards to fight and die to create them in their endless "wars" over history -- "boundaries" that are held together with the point of the unacknowledged "gun in the room".

I'm not sure which "ism" it is -- I think perhaps "Agorism" -- that preaches that land cannot be held as "private property", since nobody legitimately had "title" -- it is the providence of "G-d" or some such. Although their "theory" makes some sense, it does not work out practically in a political-oriented world. And we DO live in a political-oriented world. Most of us have eaten of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Figure that out some day. It ain't "religious rant".

Our old friend, White Indian, actually had this correct -- although I'll admit he tended to skewer his presentation with lots of embedded and repetitive nonsense. Natives here and in other parts of the earth might have defended "territories" (to various locations of which they would migrate with weather and game) in "survival of the fittest" tribal aggregations. But few of them ever considered that they "owned" the land in that sense, and they did not form states.

It took the good old white man to transgress "their" land and claim "ownership" and "statehood". And to make "treaties" that they always brazenly and unapologeticly broke at the earliest convenient time.

So, I was really pulling your leg by accusing you of not "seeing government roads".

They ain't and you're right. Gotta go truckin'.

East coast runs. I hate 'em. Sam

Suverans2's picture

Be safe, brother.

DennisLeeWilson's picture

Sam: "I'm not sure which "ism" it is -- I think perhaps "Agorism" -- that preaches that land cannot be held as "private property", since nobody legitimately had "title" -- it is the providence of "G-d" or some such."

It must be some other "ism", Sam.


Agorism is a political philosophy founded by Samuel Edward Konkin III that holds as its ultimate goal the bringing about of a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics.


Most agorists consider themselves market anarchists, while some proponents characterize it as a form of left-libertarianism. Agorists generally oppose voting for political candidates and political reform. Instead, agorists stress the importance of alternative strategies rather than politics to achieve a free society. Agorists claim that we can achieve a free society more easily and sooner by employing such alternative methods.[citation needed] Such alternative strategies consist of education, direct action, entrepreneurship, and counter-economics.[citation needed] Agorists advocate promoting awareness of libertarianism and Austrian economics.[citation needed]

Best regards,

mhstahl's picture

I do believe it's geo-libertarianism:


Though, I believe most left-libertarians consider land ownership invalid.

Suverans2's picture

So, you build a house, barn and other outbuildings, and you own the house and buildings, but not the land that it rests upon?

AtlasAikido's picture

The Not-So-Wild, Wild West [Agorism is a political philosophy founded by Samuel Edward Konkin III that holds as its ultimate goal the bringing about of a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics.]

In a thorough review of the “West was violent” literature, Bruce Benson (1998) discovered that many historians simply assume that violence was pervasive—even more so than in modern-day America—and then theorize about its likely causes. In addition, some authors assume that the West was very violent and then assert, as Joe Franz does, that “American violence today reflects our frontier heritage” (Franz 1969, qtd. in Benson 1998, 98). Thus, an allegedly violent and stateless society of the nineteenth century is blamed for at least some of the violence in the United States today.

In a book-length survey of the “West was violent” literature, historian Roger McGrath echoes Benson’s skepticism about this theory when he writes that “the frontier-was-violent authors are not, for the most part, attempting to prove that the frontier was violent. Rather, they assume that it was violent and then proffer explanations for that alleged violence” (1984, 270).

In contrast, an alternative literature based on actual history concludes that the civil society of the American West in the nineteenth century was not very violent. Eugene Hollon writes that the western frontier “was a far more civilized, more peaceful and safer place than American society today” (1974, x). Terry Anderson and P. J. Hill affirm that although “[t]he West . . . is perceived as a place of great chaos, with little respect for property or life,” their research “indicates that this was not the case; property rights were protected and civil order prevailed. Private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved” (1979, 10).

...Terry Anderson and Fred McChesney relate how Thomas Jefferson found that during his time negotiation was the Europeans’ predominant means of acquiring land from Indians (1994, 56). By the twentieth century, some $800 million had been paid for Indian lands. These authors also argue that various factors can alter the incentives for trade, as opposed to waging a war of conquest as a means of acquiring land. One of the most important factors is the existence of a standing army, as opposed to militias, which were used in the American West prior to the War Between the States. On this point, Anderson and McChesney quote Adam Smith, who wrote that “‘[i]n a militia, the character of the labourer, artificer, or tradesman [agorist], predominates over that of the soldier: in a standing army, that of the soldier predominates over every other character.’” (1994, 52). A standing army, according to Anderson and McChesney, “creates a class of professional soldiers whose personal welfare increases with warfare, even if fighting is a negative-sum act for the population as a whole” (52).

The change from militia to a standing army took place in the American West immediately upon the conclusion of the War Between the States. The result, say Anderson and McChesney, was that white settlers and railroad corporations were able to socialize the costs of stealing Indian lands by using violence supplied by the U.S. Army. On their own, they were much more likely to negotiate peacefully. Thus, “raid” replaced “trade” in white–Indian relations. Congress even voted in 1871 not to ratify any more Indian treaties, effectively announcing that it no longer sought peaceful relations with the Plains Indians.

There is much much more...

** Stateless but not Lawless: Myths of Violence in the Old American West ** Exclusive Interview with Dr Thomas DiLorenzo

You will never be able to hear the words, 'Wild West' again without saying to yourself "No, it was not!".

*Law and Order did not (and does not) require a Government at all.

*The Old West was mostly Peaceful UNTIL the US Government arrived and perpetrated the genocide of the American Indians.

*Unlearning what we all have been taught through television and movies; a foundational show. Hosted by Michael McKay.

You can read Dr. DiLorenzo's scholarship
Or here

Or Listen

Other References.
The Not So Wild, Wild West
The Not So Wild, Wild West