Man as Rule Maker

Man looks at himself before he looks at others. The individual recognizes, and acknowledges, that he is neither saint nor sinner, either in existing or in extrapolated society. Man adopts rules. The rule-maker explicitly and deliberately imposes constraints upon himself in order to channel his own expedient behavior toward rationally selected norms. No one could claim that Robinson Crusoe is not "free"; yet a rational Crusoe might build and set an alarm clock, a device designed deliberately to intervene in his behavioral adjustment to changing environment.2 It is rational to adopt rules that will ef

2. After writing this chapter, I discovered that the alarm-clock example was used by John C. Hall to illustrate roughly the same point. More generally, Hall's careful and persuasive interpretation of Rousseau's work suggests that many of the elements of the contractual analysis developed here can be found in Rousseau. Those points where Rousseau fectively "govern" individual behavior, and in this sense we say that Crusoe, even before Friday's arrival, is "governed." The concept of rationally chosen "self-government" is a necessary starting point for any analysis of "governing" in a many-person setting.3

Crusoe imposes rules on his own behavior because he recognizes his own imperfection in the face of possible temptation. This is not an acknowledgment of original sin but a simple recognition that behavioral responses are to some extent predictable by the person who chooses, and that some behavior patterns are better than others when a long-term planning horizon is taken. The rational Crusoe accepts the necessity of planning; his necessarily anarchistic existence may be carefully and systematically "planned" to make for a fuller and better life.4 Before shifting from Crusoe to the individual in society, however, we should note that the alarm-clock example was not randomly chosen. Crusoe constructs his alarm clock, an impersonal and external device designed to impose constraints on his own choice behavior. He may, of course, also select internal rules or precepts which, once adopted, will be rigorously followed. But there remains an important difference between the two cases, one that has significance for the broader problems to be examined later in this chapter. With the alarm clock, Crusoe disturbs his dozing in advance. He closes off one behavioral option that would continue to remain open under voluntaristic rule. In a literal sense, Crusoe is "governed'' by his clock with respect to his time of starting to work, even in his isolated one-man world.

A somewhat different way of putting this is to say that Crusoe "makes contracts with himself'' when he works out his planning program. He recognizes that the pleasant life requires work while the sun is young in the tropical morn and agrees with himself during his contemplative moments that such work is a part of an optimal behavior pattern. But, knowing him departs from Hobbes, in Hall's interpretation, mark comparable limits of Hobbes for my own analysis. See Hall, Rousseau; the alarm-clock example is found on page 95.

3. Complex psychological issues are raised even in this simple model of self-government. As Mcintosh says: ''The idea of self-control is paradoxical unless it is assumed that the psyche contains more than one energy system, and that these energy systems have some degree of independence from each other'' (The Foundations of Human Society, pp. i22f.). See also Gordon Rattray Taylor, ''A New View of the Brain,'' Encounter (February 1971):

4. Cf. Rousseau, The Social Contract, p. 393.

self and his predispositions, he fears that he will not expediently and voluntarily live up to his own terms. The alarm clock becomes, for Crusoe, the enforcing agent, the ''governor'' whose sole task is that of insuring that the contracts once made are honored. For effective enforcement, the ''governor'' must be external to the person who recognizes his own weaknesses.

As the alarm bell arouses him from his nap, Crusoe faces one paradox of ''being governed.'' He finds himself frustrated by an external constraint on his choice set, and he feels ''less free'' at that moment than he might have felt in the wholly voluntary act of rising from his bed. This sense of frustration may be repeated each and every morning, but Crusoe may continue to set the governing clock each evening. The rational rule-maker makes the tradeoff between liberty and planned efficiency and includes an enforcement instrument in the contract.

I have discussed this choice calculus in some detail because the analysis is helpful in introducing problems raised by the enforcement of social contracts. Just as our Crusoe may choose to govern himself by the alarm clock, two or more persons may rationally choose to be governed by prior selection and implementation of enforcement institutions. Consider an elementary, two-person example. Once two men recognize each other's existence, potential conflict becomes possible, and some mutually acceptable disarmament agreement may be worked out, either before or after conflict takes place. This contract will embody agreed-on limitations on behavior which will, in turn, imply agreement on something that may be called a structure of rights. Each party will realize, however, that the agreement will have little effective value until and unless there is some security against violation by the other. Some enforcement mechanism, some device or institution, may accompany the initial contractual agreement, and each party will place a positive value on having such an instrument included.

At this point the two-person example distorts analysis by making enforcement seem less essential to contract than it is in the more general multiperson interaction. But the two-person example carries offsetting benefits in that it focuses attention on one feature of enforcement that may be overlooked. As noted, both men in the example will place value on the enforcement institution. The design and location of this institution becomes all important, however; neither party will entrust enforcement to the other, and, indeed, the delegation of such authority to one party in contract violates the meaning of enforcement. Both persons will seek something analogous to Crusoe's alarm clock, some instrument that is external to the participants (potential violators all) and which may be programmed in advance, which may be counted on to detect and to punish violations of the agreement, and to do so impersonally and impartially. Both parties will place a higher value on external institutions of enforcement than on adversely chosen internal ones.5 (It is bad baseball when the catcher is required to umpire.) Both parties will prefer that the rules which they mutually choose be enforced by a third party, a stranger, by forces outside and beyond the participating group. Ideally, some wholly impersonal mechanism, a robot that could do nothing but follow automatized instructions, might be selected. Failing this, resort to third-party adjudication produces "government" of the ideal type in practicality.

Baseball For Boys

Baseball For Boys

Since World War II, there has been a tremendous change in the makeup and direction of kid baseball, as it is called. Adults, showing an unprecedented interest in the activity, have initiated and developed programs in thousands of towns across the United States programs that providebr wholesome recreation for millions of youngsters and are often a source of pride and joy to the community in which they exist.

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