About The Social Contract

The Social Contract Press

The English philosopher John Locke, whose thinking helped inspire the American Revolution, said that society should be governed by an understood set of values he termed the social contract. Under the social contract, governments have obligations to their citizens, and citizens have responsibilities to society.

Most public issues are basically moral and ethical ones. What is the right thing to do? How do we decide what we think is right? When rights collide, which ones take precedence? The concept of the social contract helps us sort out the difficult issues confronting American society today and helps us find balance.

Each quarter The Social Contract journal examines trends, events, and ideas that have an impact on America's delicate social fabric. This journal addresses the following key topics:

  • Human Population issues, including absolute size, rate of growth, and distribution. Do cherished American ideals prosper or suffer through further population growth?
     
  • Immigration issues. In order to best facilitate meeting the highest goals of the American people, (1) how many immigrants should we admit? (2) who should be admitted? And (3) how can we humanely enforce the rules?
     
  • Language, assimilation, culture, and national unity considerations. What shared values are necessary to the maintenance of our social contract?
     
  • The balance of individual rights with civic responsibilities. Since the previous issues are so often framed in terms of rights, what are the balancing obligations?
     
  • Other nations' efforts at creating and guarding their own social contracts. What practical insights can be gained from observing the failures and successes in nation-building by other societies?

The Social Contract explores these complex and interrelated issues with articles, essays, and book reviews that vary greatly in outlook and philosophy. We encourage a wide spectrum of opinion as we publish contributions from many vantage points. The opinions expressed by the writers are not necessarily those of the editors or publisher.

Why The Social Contract Journal?

Over the past four decades, a number of issues have attained public attention, all of which are directly or indirectly related to, or influenced by, the question of human population growth; its absolute size, distribution, and rate of change.

In the development and elaboration of any social idea, literary efforts of different types are needed. A number of groups have been strong on the production of short tracts and newsletters, and have generated a few books, but very few of the magazine-length articles that would fill in the gap between these two extremes.

The lack of any journal dealing with these related topics has meant that there has been no epicenter for their discussion, and no coherent body of literature to which interested parties can be referred. Older items of lasting value tend to be lost from view - which is one reason The Social Contract re-published Garrett Hardin's celebrated essay, "The Tragedy of the Commons," in our initial issue. Many of us would benefit from reading it again, and many of the next generation of readers, to whom the standard must be passed, will never have read it at all.

(The Tragedy of the Commons is also published on the Garrett Hardin Society website.)

Success of The Social Contract

There are several factors which make The Social Contract Press successful. First is the content of our materials. Secondly, we have a wonderful support staff including the individuals listed below. Read the short biography of each. It will give you a greater understanding of who we are.

John TantonJohn H., Tanton, M.D. is publisher of The Social Contract, and served as editor for its first 8 years. He is a retired eye surgeon whose boyhood on a farm made him into an ardent conservationist and advocate for the environment. His conviction that continued human population growth was a large part of the conservation problem led him to chair the National Sierra Club Population Committee (1971-74), and to the national board of Zero Population Growth (1973-78, including a term as president, 1975-77). In 1979, as immigration grew to be the significant part of the U.S. population problem, he organized the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) based in Washington, D.C. He is co-author with Wayne Lutton of The Immigration Invasion, and has written numerous editorials and opinion pieces including "End of the Migration Epoch."

Wayne LuttonWayne Lutton, Ph.D., is editor of The Social Contract, having served as associate editor for six years. He is a policy analyst and historian who has published widely on population and immigration concerns. With a Ph.D. in history, Dr. Lutton has been research director for an educational institute, a college professor, and a frequent speaker at symposia and on radio talk shows. He is the author or contributor to many books and monographs including The Immigration Time Bomb (revised 1988), and The Immigration Invasion. He has written hundreds of articles and reviews that have appeared in Chronicles, National Review, The Social Contract and other journals of scholarship and opinion.

Kevin Lamb is a graduate of Indiana University with degrees in journalism and political science. He served as managing editor of Human Events (2002-2005) and as a library assistant for Newsweek (1989-2002). His writings have appeared in The Asian Wall Street Journal, National Review, Chronicles, Society, Human Events, Mankind Quarterly, Middle American News, Conservative Review, The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, and Right Now!