I am not sure if this is going to be expanded into a short story, but I would like to think that it will. This started as a Slashdot reply, and turned into something a bit more. I might like to keep this a secret, but it seems posts to this blog are pretty much a secret anyway, so who cares. Btw, this was a response to a statement made about the preamble to the constitution and the statement about "general welfare."
Even the most basic understanding of contracts modern or historical gives simple clarity. If I make an agreement with my neighbors for the purpose of landscaping in order to create a more perfect neighborhood and the general welfare of the street, to reduce cost, time, and effort to that need, we would need to specify what that means. For example, within the contract we specify that ABC Landscaping will be the agent to the contract, and they have the right to determine how many times a month on which days our lawns will be mowed, so long as they are specified in advance; the amount of water and fertilizer necessary to promote healthy growth. If ABC Landscaping informs us that the best lawn is one mowed every other day, that was left to their discretion because it is specified in the contract. If we think this is excessive, it is not a contract violation per se, but a fault of the parties. In such a case you would probably want to notify that even if it is in the best interest of the lawn that you really didn't want the lawns mowed 15 times a month. On the other hand, if ABC Landscaping installed fences and lawn gnomes in every yard and converted one persons lawn to be a community pool, they have clearly violated the contract no matter how much they may argue that it contributes to the general welfare of the neighborhood as specified in the preamble.
The situation we have is to imagine a neighborhood of renters where the contract is made between the landlords, ABC Landscaping is still the agent but the cost of the landscaping is not included in the rent. Further, ABC Landscaping can sue you if you do not pay them. The problem we have is that ABC Landscaping has decided to convert all our yards into a giant admission free amusement park. And as if the Landlord we almost never see not caring wasn't enough, any complaints about this possibly having gone a bit too far are met with the kids throwing a fit over loosing their free amusement park and redouble that with the Union of Amusement Park Ride Operators crying that you are trying to kill jobs and put people out on the street.
This really isn't what you bargained for, but you are providing jobs, and the teenagers are reasonably well behaved. It is a bit on the expensive side, but hell, you even enjoy the rides every so often.
Now ABC Landscaping puts on their thinking caps. There really isn't any room for any more rides, but still they would like to make the amusement park better. So they get the brilliant idea of adding concession stands with free food for anyone visiting the amusement park! Everyone is thrilled, right? And anyone that complains must want people to starve to death or at very least just be miserable, right? "Buy your own damn food!" How cold is that? What possible reason could people really have for not wanting free food when everyone can get some?
To be continued...