In modernity, what is the “Social Contract”, and does it still hold any meaning? Or, is the bundle of bureaucracy, the conflict between the competitive predatoriness of capitalism left to its own devices resulting in a cronyism of wealthy interconnections, as opposed to the growing girth of Federalism with a pittance and breadcrumbs left to State governments to fill in some minor gaps — does the aggregate of such entities, comprised of regulations, statutes, laws and a compendium of languages isolated in fine print, all together reflect the vestiges of the Social Contract we once revered as the awe-inspiring product of the Age of Enlightenment?
Would Rousseau, and to a lesser extent Hobbes, and further explained in Locke’s Treatise, represent anything of value, anymore? Or are we left to our own devices, as Darwin proposed those many decades ago on the lapping shores of the Galapagos, where survivability is determined by genetic origin, environmental refinement, and ultimately the devices used in subterfuge when societal niceties require at least a surface semblance of genteel behavior? In the end, the concept of a “Social Contract” means little if the basic legal constructs are not adhered to.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, such legal constructs are represented by the cumulative promises made by the bureaucracy which employs them, comprised of statutes, regulations, executive orders and corollary mandates. For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, the idea of honoring the Social Contract becomes important, because part of that agreement is to fairly treat the Federal or Postal employee when the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able, because of a medical condition, to continue working in the same job.
Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is each day a test as to the continuing resolution of the viability of the Social Contract. While not every Federal or Postal employee may be automatically eligible for the benefits to be received through Federal Disability Retirement, it is the fairness of the process which is important, and whether a proper course of administrative protocols are followed and met throughout the entirety of the bureaucratic process.
In the end, those vestiges of that grand idea originating in the minds of philosophers — the highfalutin concept of a Social Contract — are only as good as the promises made and declarations kept in the things that impact the everyday lives of ordinary people, like those dedicated public servants who toil daily in the Federal Sector and the U.S. Postal Service.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire