The most important thing to know about the Fundamental Contract is that it is not a contract.
The second most important thing to know about the Fundamental Contract is that it is not fundamental.
Or, rather, while it is expressed in the form of a contract, it is not one in actuality, and while it is fundamental to law, both the law of oath-contracts and the law otherwise, it is not fundamental to ethics.
It is, instead, a restatement of the fundamental inalienable and non-derogable right, inherent in the the nature of all sophont and volitional beings, to liberty and its concomitants in a format which better permits explication of the privileges and obligations that inhere therewithin (with regard, in particular, to the avoidance of choice-theft), and thus in membership of the greater community of sophonts.
It is not a contract, therefore, inasmuch as its authority does not derive from the sophont’s innate power to place themselves under obligation by their consent. (That would indeed be circular, if it were to be the case.) Rather, it derives from – by consisting of – the ethical fundamentals implicit in the nature of sophont beings, by which all entities that are, remain, or are composed of or controlled by, sophont beings are necessarily bound.
This is a matter of natural law, akin to gravity or supply and demand, if indeed not even more fundamental than either, and thus not subject to revision or denial.
– Fundamentals of Imperial Law, Valarian Elarios-ith-Elarios