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A Contract Between Americans

As Lysander Spooner details in his essay, "No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority", contracts reached between individuals have no legitimate authority over other individuals. The practical conundrum this presents libertarians is rarely dealt with head-on.

Newt Gingrich's evocatively titled "Contract With America" struck a seductive chord with conservatives precisely because it seemed to present a proposal for a contract between Americans -- between individuals called "Americans" -- thereby establishing its legitimacy.

A far more powerful political force can sweep libertarians to victory if only they would ask themselves the following question:

"What would a natural individually sovereign American, in debt-free possession of his house, tools, land and weapons sufficient to defend and support his wife and raise his children to maturity, agree to if approached with 'a contract between Americans'?"

Answer that question honestly and libertarians will be on the road to victory. One thing is for certain: It is dishonest to claim that an individual sovereign, in a state of nature, would agree to respect the property rights agreed to by others if he, himself, were deprived of any land with which to support a wife and have a family. Yet that seems to be the contract offered by many so-called "libertarians" to the general public and the general public rightly rejects the transparently illegitimate proposal as placing the sanctity of property above the sanctity of life. Not only is this a loser's political strategy -- it is in naked violation of natural law. To win, libertarians must be more honest with themselves and others as to the natural interests of individual sovereigns.

I propose the following Contract Between Americans as the political platform that can, particularly in the present circumstances, sweep deep libertarian principles to political victory in the near term:

* Treat pollution as a criminal assault on the nation.

Pollution harms the national territory. Individuals that harm private property may be held criminally liable under some circumstances but if there is no intent to harm, it is usually up to civil courts to award monetary damages. Individuals that harm the national territory, however, must be held to a higher standard of discipline due to the greater harm. Mere tort law is insufficient as a remedy when what is at stake is the national ecology. If the choice is made to reduce regulation of private behavior because such regulations, although they prevent damage and are therefore quite economical, impinge on freedom, then those enjoying said freedom must, when abusing that freedom, suffer consequences sufficiently severe to serve as an effective self-regulating motive.

* Household bankruptcy protection is the median price of a home plus median capitalization of a job.

The origin of bankruptcy law is the recognition that a man’s homestead is as sacrosanct as his body since it is the means by which he sustains his body. A homestead entails not only a primary residence real estate holding but also the source of his other necessities. Hence personal bankruptcy protects “home and tools of the trade” from confiscation. Only a society that accepts slavery can accept confiscation of a man’s body for the use of others.

* Anyone or anything (including the government) can place money in escrow as a bid for any property right recognized by law, thereby establishing an in-place liquidation value for that property right.

Money differs from other property rights in terms of its liquidity—that is, its availability for trade upon demand. When money is “tied up in investments” that is simply another way of saying that the owner of the property right sees more value in the property right than do others with money ready to buy that property right. The more people who perceive a particular level of value in a property right, the more force must be brought to bear to protect it from confiscation. In short, if you have a big pile of gold sitting around that a lot of people know about, you are going to have to invest more in protecting it than, say, the Wright Brothers needed to invest in protecting their bike shop from theft, even though they could see that their bike shop was worth the dreams of men over thousands of years. The man with his pile of gold might very well find several bids for it that were comparable to his own valuation of it. There is no chance that the Wright Brothers would have received a bid for their bike shop sufficiently high to motivate them to give it up during their development of the first heavier than air powered flying machine. On the off-chance that someone (say Langley's backers) wanted to suppress the Wrights by escrowing an enormous bid the Wrights could not service from immediate cash flows, the Wrights could borrow against the liquidation value of their asset.

* Cease taxing economic activity except for international trade, which is taxed in such a way as to retain sovereignty.

Economic activity is human action. There is no reasonable way to justify a use fee for a human’s own volition in a society that rejects slavery. Sovereignty, on the other hand, demands independence rather than interdependence or “entangling alliances” with other sovereigns. It is therefore essential to national sovereignty that the nation control international trade so as to avoid vital dependencies on other sovereignties.

* National revenue is instead a use fee for property rights paid at a rate equal to the liquidation value of the property right times the short term lending rate to the government—but individual exemption is equal to one half of household bankruptcy protection. The owner can liquidate his property right at any time by accepting the escrowed bid for his property.

A natural man, outside of any government, must acquire minimal territory and tools to exist—and these are represented in household bankruptcy protection. If you take a certain amount of money and lend it to the government, you are assured of interest payments at some minimal level. This sort of income is the zero risk economic value of society. No one in particular can claim responsibility for generating it hence it is inappropriate to let it fall randomly on those who happen to benefit from general economic growth—typically the wealthiest and most politically powerful. The requirement for pair bonding is a singular dependence that must be accommodated or the very life of the nation is in severe jeopardy. Unless we are going to disenfranchise females, it is necessary to divide this minimal territory in two parts so that the pair bond is encouraged within a money-based economy. Corruption of assessment takes 2 forms: 1) Underassessment by the government of favored individuals and, 2) Over assessment by the government of disfavored individuals. In underassessment, a private individual may come in and offer more than is the government thereby raising the pressure on the current owner to transfer title. In overassessment, the current owner may escape payment of exorbitant fees by accepting the exorbitant bid.

* National revenue is sent in equal amounts to all citizens as monthly deposits in their bank accounts and all able bodied men are required to arm themselves and participate in county militia training for protection of private property rights as well as defense of country.

As the national revenue derives from the risk free economic growth of the society, it is the proper source of social expenditure. As political systems are notoriously corruptible when involved in deciding social expenditure, it is prudent to remove discretion from political systems, “the political class”, in allocating social expenditure—and this includes discretion in interpretation of complex rules of allocation. It is therefore essential that money gathered by the government be immediately dispersed evenly to all citizens so their personal market decisions drive investment capital toward serving the demands of the citizenry rather than some elite. The ultimate social expenditure that cannot be left to charity is military defense of national territory and, secondarily, private property rights. The Swiss model of defense, based around mandatory military service by all able bodied men, commanded by the Cantons has proven quite effective in defending territory while also avoiding entangling military alliances that result in world wars. Individual responsibility for using the citizen’s dividend stream to self-equip according to local standards under local command minimizes the likelihood of central government corruption of the military and maintains a force at-the-ready throughout the land for defense of the nation as well as the law.

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I hope the readers can appreciate what you have done here...

Since prehistoric times, men have always lived in groups. Even the most primitive hunter/gatherer society has a government, property, laws, and rights.

All of these were based on an evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) balancing the individual's interest with the interests of all other members of the tribe.

The fact that the ESS was not originally written did not make it any less real. Men were living and dying by its precepts millenia before Hammurabi attempted its codification.

But, in fact, it was (and IS) already written; in our very DNA!

We KNOW instinctively what is just.
We KNOW that we need government to enjoy the fruits of civilization.
We KNOW that there is a fine line between the criminal and the rugged individualist; and that there exists a subspecies composed of psychopaths waiting to prey on our willingness to co-operate.

We KNOW all of these things in our gut; even if our conscious mind has been brainwashed by a religion or ideology.

But the paradox of Natural Law is that it can never be expressed fully in words; written or spoken.

We cannot write Natural Law because we ARE Natural Law.

Similarly we cannot form a perfect government because WE are not perfect.

Government is not inherently evil; except to the two year old toddler or that part of our ego that regards anything other than our own will and interest as "evil",

But government, a just and efficient government, is inherently complex.

We will not be able to accidentally evolve our way into a better society.

We will have to use our intelligence to design and implement a better government.

The non-aggression principle, while coming very close to describing Natural Law, fails to allow enough room for government and its very real benefits.

More importantly, it also fails to acknowledge the preeminence of the most basic Natural Right; the right to life.

How does it fail?

No rational man would expect an individual to agree to a social contract in which he is expected to respect the property rights of another; even at the expense of the lives of himself and his family.

And yet libertarians have no problem asking a starving man to respect the property rights of a multi-billionaire.

No rationalization can erase the injustice of that situation.

Any attempt to do so only reinforces the impression in the common man that the Libertarian has either lost touch with his sense of justice, or that he is one of the psychopaths trying to game the system.

That is why "Libertarianism" (at least in its current form) has not and never will be the dominant ideology.

The Virtual Conspiracy

This is an easy argument.

The starving man should respect their property rights and ownership rights, no matter how much he may disagree with the person in question.

That is not to say the rich man or starving man should be left out in the cold, at all.

Inter-alia; the starving man should be given the tools to hunt; to fish; to fetch food & to clothe himself willingly and freely by the rich man or other members of society. After which, the now non-starving man should pass on this wisdom to everyone he meets.

Solution? Many people are now no longer starving, and state councils as well as state governments..are able to prevent it from happening. Charities go widespread as society does what it can to help, the "predators of society" (IE: the elite) also get blacklisted & exposed.

They get rightly trounced on many TV stations or other media outlets we control, for neglecting men for their own selfish needs & desires.

Au contraire, teaching those men how to fish, hunt and seek truth...is more valuable than any force of the federal government.

Our American government was designed to enforce our sovereign,

unalienable, Rights.

A right without enforcement is NOT a Right.

good point..

The problem with all governments, including Republics, is that they are subject to the law of entropy and the law of depravity. As people gain more power, they pervert justice and trample the rights of others. When there is a disregard for the rule of law, then all sorts of atrocities can be justified by the perpetrators.

"Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern." ~~C.S. Lewis
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Knowing & knowlede is NOT the same as implimentation..

All things have been known since the beginning ..It is the implimentation that is not being done because human nature interferes with the rule of law..

why else would you have the term, "criminal"?..
Why else do you have the term, Regulation ?
Humans must Regulate & Crimianalise to keep "evil" from overtaking "good'..It's a FACT of nature ..PERIOD..You need rules to follow..And you need enforcement if not followed by free will...

This is why you need to have a free will change to the human nature behavior that can ONLY come from G-D..
CHRIST in you = Free Will
Gov't = forced will..

Sorry for the religious slant but that is the fact...
Change does not proceed out, from within an individual, which is why for 6000 years we have problems ..You cannot change to perfectness, your own core..Your ability to do so, was given away in the garden..You were influenced..PERIOD. The core needs to be changed..

Well said...

We are not sheep. Replacing failed laws with more of the same? Never.

Replace fraudulent contracts with no contracts at all. Repeal all false contracts of fraud.

The Law is Broken

and replacing with other laws is oxy-moronic given all human history.

"Code" is what's needed and Oath of Righteous Individualism that man makes alone (with no witnesses) and lives by it without talking about it.

1st -- Community-Economics (I've spelled it out a thousand times)

2nd -- Consumer-Minarchism (read the bottom two links)

3rd -- Consumer-Individualism

It's not so much the names or that I wrote it that should concern you.

It's the "math"

What is the "evil they's" Revenue Stream?

Why are we 2/3rds of it with the last 3rd being a by-product of the 1st two?

Why is localism the answer?

When you can answer those three questions you'll be retracing the first few steps in my original meditation on individualism years ago.

We can jump-start it by putting shoulders behind my work (based off of Mises, Spooner, Gandhi, and RP to name a few).

All this changes

when a Country is running in DEBT mode.
"We the People" become the "securer" rather than the Federal Reserve...So we are actually doing the FED a big favor by securing what they cannot..
The Tresury Dept has hung us out to dry ..
NOT the Fed..

A "responsible" Federal Reserve would say, NO , Treasury DEPT, you may not borrow more than you can pay back, or more than you can pay interest plus principle while you maintain your economy.

Monetary Policy Consequences

Under such a system, the money supply is represented by the sum total of all escrowed bids for property rights. This means the money is backed by the property rights of the citizenry -- a large and highly diverse "basket of goods".

Although there may be fictitious entities, such as corporations, they would not have the legal status of citizens and therefore would be manifest in the money supply only as property rights of citizens, eg: stocks, bonds, etc. held by individuals. The internal property rights of such entities would not appear in the public ledger nor have bids escrowed for them.

Inflation results when the money supply increases relative to the value of the property rights backing it. Deflation occurs when the money supply decreases relative to the value of the property rights backing it. The negative consequences of both inflation and deflation on the citizenry are mitigated by virtue of the fact that the citizens dividend increases or decreases in exact proportion.

The money supply increases whenever the government bids more for a property right than any of the currently escrowed bids for that property right OR pays interest on a debt (eg: escrowed bid) owed to an individual that is still within the standard exemption. The money supply decreases whenever the government withholds full payout of the citizen's dividend.

The value of the nation's property rights increases whenever wealth is created by good investment. The value of the nation's property rights decreases whenever wealth is destroyed by malinvestment.

As with any corporate entity, excessive payout of citizens dividends can be malinvestment.

To summarize then, the monetary powers of the government are:

  • Adjust the short term interest rate it pays.
  • Bid high for properties when there is a growth in their in place liquidation values not reflected in the escrowed bids for those properties.
  • Retire money from existence by lowering the payout of the citizens dividend as there is a relative lowering of the in place liquidation value of the nation's property rights.

If you read nothing else, read this: A Contract Between Americans

Right here is bulletproof evidence that....

..The system is unsustainable fraud.

Like you say, corporations must be rigorously prosecuted and prevented from becoming higher than natural persons.

To give them free handouts and subsidies constantly, in the love of war & religious bigotry...is the definition of insanity and is the number one problem to solve!!!

We have more weapons. Lets solve these problems.

awesome snippet

Hopefully, some of the more statist leaning newly join DP'ers I've been seeing in the last couple of weeks, let this piece of wisdom settle in their souls, a bit.

RON PAUL 2012 and the r3VOLution!!!

I will study this later,

thanks for sharing this.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

An elegant solution to a thorny political problem.

Maybe even THE political problem.
Human history is the story of the struggle of individuals struggling to survive and reproduce in the face of challenges both natural and social.

Civilization has always been a two-edged sword.
Proponents of either of the polar extremes of statism or anarchy fail to acknowledge the baby that they are discarding with their particular brand of bathwater.

The Virtual Conspiracy

I agree with that, to some degree...

It's all about property rights. Our personal property rights and rights to be individuals, rather than part of some ideology that rules by force.

Property for Life

Yes. Might the key concept be captured by the phrase "Property for Life" better than "A Contract Between Americans"?

Natural property is for life by design of Nature and Nature's God. Artificial property is for life only by the design of man. If our designs for living place the sanctity of property over the sanctity of life -- in its fullest form of heterosexual love and rearing children to themselves participate in this joy -- we place the creation over the creator.

If you read nothing else, read this: A Contract Between Americans