Social Contracts

Friday, November 27 2009 @ 05:28 PM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

Recently I have started to think I should not waste what little time left to me discussing what people call politics. So I will suspend my blog activity at least for a while, or possibly for good.

Before doing so, let me talk a little about the relationship between the nation-state and the citizenry living there from the perspective of the 18th century's social contract theories.

Some five years ago I finally terminated my contract with the Japanese government. At the same time, I also parted ways with some other institutions, that inevitably included my family as I briefly touched on in my May 1 post about the myth of Japan's technological superiority. (Speaking of family, I still stay in touch with some of my kin because friends do not necessarily have to share the same values.)

One of the reasons I disengaged myself from the country of my birth was because when I became a pensioner, I realized that I had been ripped off by the Japanese government since 1959, the year I participated in the national pension program (contributory type.) It reached my patience threshold when I found out that a good part of my beneficiary right was gone.

I was forced to enter into the contract 74 years ago. But I am not quite sure if "contract" is the right word here. For one thing it does not have a termination clause presumably because it's totally inconceivable for an ethnic Japanese to leave the relationship with the nation which was supposedly founded on February 11, 2,669 years ago by Emperor Jinmu, a son of the sun goddess.

Just the same, I have since abandoned all the rights and obligations set forth in the Constitution which is filled with empty promises.

My registration is still retained on the computers of the central and municipal government. So I would be allowed to have my Japanese passport renewed if ever I wanted to. It is also true that I am paying the income taxes on my annuities because they are withheld, at a provisional rate, from the peanuts I receive every second month. Needless to say, I'm having to pay the tobacco tax in an estimated amount of JPY 270K, or more than US$ 3K, every year, along with other value-added taxes.

In return, I get absolutely nothing.

However, I have somehow managed to evade other taxes and dues. For one thing, I haven't paid the premiums for the mandatory medical- and nursing-care coverages with 70%-coinsurance clauses since my retirement in part because it's out of the question to put my life and death in the hands of those unreliable doctors and incompetent nurses. Neither am I paying the "TV viewing fees" to NHK, the state-run broadcaster, in part because none of its programs are worth watching at all.

I have dozen other reasons for not abiding by laws, but I don't want to specify them for now. That is what I would do if and when I was taken to court. I'm sure I would win because I have nothing to lose.

Currently I still have a roof over my head. I also have some, if not many, good friends locally. But I mean it literally and figuratively when I say I am stateless. Maybe you have difficulty understanding how it feels to be in that status in the country where a pathological obsession with homogeneity has prevailed in the last thirteen centuries.

On the other hand, I am not really through with America, the country I might have migrated to. You will understand what I am talking about if you know separation by divorce or bereavement does not always put an end to your relations with former in-laws.

In the past I learned many things from American people, especially how to do business and how to make my life enjoyable. I cannot just write off all these years I was in love with America.

Moreover, I still feel I have yet to settle old scores with some of them, including the literary agent who subtly, but flatly turned down my proposal amid the 2008 presidential campaign. The agent treated me as if I was one of those wannabe writers who just wanted to be institutionalized there. But actually, my aborted book that would have been titled The Unviable Japan was about my deliberate refusal to become institutionalized in Japan or any other country.

The last telephone conversation between the agent and me took place on March 4, 2008, but it was already indicative of the American Disease getting into its terminal stage.

I think the Americans have long been predisposed to Obamitis due to the fact that the United States is a nation which was built by immigrants.

People always recapitulate the American history that way. But I see some sticking point in this all-too-familiar statement; it overgeneralizes the nation's formative process. It is true that the early settlers should be given credit for the foundation of the United States, but it is not true that the later crops of immigrants, let alone their descendants, deserve the same credit.

These late-comers are just reaping the harvest from the seeds sowed by the nation's founders. It is, therefore, totally unrealistic to assume that they have high aspirations to rebuild their failing country. All we can expect from them is to further undermine the American value system which has its origin in the founding principles.

The real problem facing the nation, however, lies with the posterity of the earlier crops of immigrants. Today these people are at a loss over how to recapture the lost ground which they once inherited from their ancestors.

Simply put, that is because of their utter ignorance about the contractual relationship they are in with their country. As I observe, they seem to have great difficulty distinguishing between the statehood and individual citizens. Given the way the American society has developed in the past, this is quite understandable. But now is the time they should revisit the gist of the mandate their ancestors gave to their representatives 221 years ago.

They don't have to be reminded all anew that amid the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, "The government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Obviously the 16th Presidents of the United States could not foresee that his ideal would be largely distorted by his remote successors a century later.

But I think that if the descendants of the nation's builders don't want to be duped by the state anymore, they should relearn the essence of the Gettysburg address which all came down to the following principles:

■ individual citizens and the country where they live are two separate entities,
■ individuals create, reform, or destroy their country - it's never the other way around.

It now all hinges on their willingness and ability to get back to the basics of the social contract whether or not America will be able to demonstrate its innate resilience before having to resort to the Second Amendment.

Unlike Obama, I didn't attend Harvard Law School. Yet, I do know, as a seasoned businessman, that the Constitution of the United States, or any other country's for that matter, is the master contract between the government and the people. Also do I know that there is no such thing as a contract which is not terminable.

Some have already started seriously talking about impeaching Barack Hussein Obama applying Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which reads: "The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

I think their interpretation of the U.S. Constitution is reasonable. Things the president has said and done thus far all fall on "high crimes."

He promised the voters that he would create 2.5 million jobs as if he was talking about something that can be created artificially. Now jobless rate has topped 10% and is still edging up.

His healthcare reform and other welfare programs are based on a total disbelief in innate compassion and generosity among citizenry. By institutionalizing what should not be institutionalized, the president has chosen the surest way to kill people's spontaneity.

The immature peacenik also promised he would find his people a quick way out of the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, though, he is dragging the nation deeper into hell.

Time and again, he has misappropriated hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars to rescue an ailing, or even failing corporation on the cheap pretext that it is too big to fail.

The list of his high crimes goes on and on. All these charges would even make Bill Clinton blush. Unfortunately, though, these people calling for impeachment have remained a minority thus far.

In the face of Obama's dwindling approval rating, some influential pundits have also started openly voicing their disapproval of the guy who they once deified. But as usual, these criticisms are way too weak and unconvincing to generate the momentum to turn the situation around, primarily because their misplaced patriotism hinders the accurate comprehension of Lincoln's message.

These international busybodies are so preoccupied with foreign affairs that they have lost sight of their own footsteps. To them any problem is someone else's headache or heartache, not their own. They will remain that way only to gloss over their inaction - perhaps until Civil War II breaks out.

In 1846 Henry David Thoreau was arrested on the charge of refusing to pay taxes being levied to directly fund the Mexican-American War and indirectly support the practice of slavery.

I said I'm not really through with America. But in fact, it's none of my business whether the Americans wake up in time or still hesitate to do what Thoreau did 163 years ago, and thus, let Barack Hussein Obama further wreak havoc on the country that was built by their respectable ancestors.

It's them that suffers the consequence.

All I can tell as a stateless citizen living across the Pacific is that the Americans should know they are running out of time now.

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