The Law and The Citizen

Being a citizen in a country implies that you are entering into a social contract. This premise follows the wide array of the Social Contract Theory which was exemplified by many philosophers in their works. Plato, in his dialogue called Crito argued that Socrates refuses to leave the jail to save himself from death; and that the fact that he has been a citizen in Athens he is bound in the country’s law. Modern philosophers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Philip Pettit have also parallel discussion regarding citizens entering into contract with the state.

The primary concept of the Social Contract Theory is that people form states to establish social order. As citizens, people are giving away some of their rights to a government who shall establish laws for order and common good. In return, the government repays those rights by protecting them and giving necessary services to the people. When a person live in a certain place, whether he or she is a citizen or simply an immigrant he or she is bound by the laws present in the locality and is expected to follow the laws. There is no exemption. The expectation that a citizen should under the rule of law is because the state also has the role to protect and serve its citizens. Government services are available to citizens who uphold heir obligation to the states like paying taxes.

The state provides services like infrastructure (roads and bridges), efficient government agencies and institutions, social security system, health care among others. The state shall also uphold the right of its citizens like the right to vote, due process of law, expression and assembly. The state shall in no way violate the human innate rights of every individual because the citizens are those who agree to create a government and can join together to overthrow it when necessary.

Given the reasons above why a citizen submits his- or herself into a contract with the state, there are certain obligations that he or she should do. In many states, these obligations are written in a document commonly called as the Constitution. This is document that stipulates the agreement between the government and the citizens. Some of the general obligations are as follows: It shall be the duty of the citizen to uphold the Constitution as a covenant between the people and the state; to cooperate to the authorities in maintaining a just and orderly community where no right or person in violated.

The citizen shall also respect the symbols of the state like the flag and any other mentioned in the constitution which serves as the identity of both the state and its citizens. It is also the duty of the citizen to responsibly exercise his or her right. This is because it the state is not always there to tell each citizen how to exercise a right, rather it should be the citizen who shall consciously aware of his or her right so it knows how to protect it the cases where violations is imposed.

Moreover, as a citizen, it is also his or her obligation to engage in gainful work to assure him- or herself of a life and to uphold his or her human dignity. Lastly, since the laws are considered covenant between the government and the citizen, it is included in the duties of the citizen to register and cast his or her vote whenever election or plebiscite is made. It is one of the ways to agree or disagree to any law being passed.