The purposes and limitations of a first principle are: (1) to establish the context and scope of discussion; (2) to affirm the existence of a fundamental truth pertaining to the topic generally; and (3) to define that truth, employing the least ambiguous and most cognitively fruitful concepts that are logically germane to the definition. Men and women have reasoned about law for centuries. Familiar terms, the relations of which are obvious in the structure of a predicate, compel any adversary to concede or to contradict squarely, because a first principle necessarily addresses a fundamental question. The most fundamental issue in law is justice -- not electoral processes or delegated powers, but the right to public justice.
Definitions of justice proffered by others have been lengthy, covering hundreds of pages, intertwining dozens of terms. However, logic is an exact science. Verbosity indicates lack of understanding or deliberate obfuscation. That's why my definition of justice is succinct. A complete theory of justice is presented in one proposition, consisting of one object, one action, and two qualifiers: Justice = armed defense of innocent liberty. The qualifiers are necessary for precision. Verbal defense of liberty isn't justice. It must be armed defense. Not all liberty, just innocent liberty (e.g., the liberty of women and children, who are often unable to defend themselves). My definition does not refer to or imply any ethical principle. The philosophy of law is a separate branch of science, independent of ethics. Moral inquiry pertains specifically to the interests, powers, and dilemmas of an individual, epitomized by the question: "What shall I do?" Legal philosophy addresses impersonal administration of public justice, litigation among parties in dispute, the combined might of a community, and custodial guardianship of certain individuals who are unable or legally prohibited to conduct their own affairs.
"No freeman shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseized or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimized, except by the lawful judgement of his peers and by the law of the land." [Magna Carta, 1215 A.D.]
Very early in the history of Anglo-American law, it was asserted that a freeman was at liberty to conduct his own affairs, unless restrained by due process of law (i.e., a constitution). The notion of "innocent liberty" is easily discerned in this ancient statement of political right. Freemen were at liberty, presumed innocent unless proved guilty of violating the law, which applied equally to all freemen. I do not suggest that this provision of Magna Carta should be construed as an obligatory legal or constitutional precedent. Rather, I cite it to suggest that my theory of justice is not at odds with historical understanding of civil liberty and the rule of law. The essential function of law is to distinguish between innocence and guilt, truth and falsehood, political right and wrong.
"The power exerted by a legal regime consists less in the force that it can bring to bear against violators of its rules than in its capacity to persuade people that the world described in its images and categories is the only attainable world in which a sane person would want to live." [Robert Gordon]
Every Fourth of July, my fellow countrymen celebrate the mistaken notion that the United States was conceived in liberty. This reveals how little our constitutional history is studied. The U.S. Constitution was not conceived at all -- it was a bastard product of compromise and contentious debate, winning ratification by a slim margin (among the 20 percent of colonial population who were eligible to vote for assemblies of state politicians who narrowly approved it: Pennsylvania 46-23, Virginia 89-79, New York 30-27). The U.S. Constitution did not provide any definition of justice. I accept that many generations had endorsed the American federal establishment by acquiesence, understanding only that their national government was a small, weak, often laughable cesspool of graft, which prior to 1860 had no control over private life and freedom of contract. There was no Federal income tax, no regulation of domestic commerce, and minimal entanglement in foreign affairs. Only in the 20th century did the U.S. begin in earnest to exert intrusive, dictatorial control of every citizen's private life and civil liberty. Today, all business owners are compelled to serve as tax collectors (Federal income withholding, Social Security, Medicare). Global income is taxed, all investment gains are taxed, and an immense code of rules govern the operation of banking. The result is a nation of political sheep, following the most conservative in our midst. It is a tragedy of unequalled horror, that the meek are led routinely by dangerous and devious charismatics. The only way to rectify this unfolding political disaster is to articulate an alternative legal system, based on a simple proposition that enshrines liberty as the cornerstone of justice.
The Freeman's Constitution does not claim sovereignty in a geographic area, but rather the world at large, affirming that you have an inalienable constitutional right to innocent liberty which no state may lawfully abridge. This bedrock principle of justice is not reiterated in the detailed provisions which follow. Instead, it is the legal standard by which all of the provisions of The Freeman's Constitution must be interpreted and measured in practice.
The Right to Petition
Any natural person who is not in contempt may petition the courts and enjoy the full protection of due process of law, including appellate review and petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court, as a matter of natural right. A natural person who is unable or declines to personally appear may appoint an attorney of his own choosing to appear on his behalf. Attorneys shall be admitted to the practice of law upon appointment by any client, but may be publically censured or debarred for gross incompetence or misconduct. In the interests of justice, courts may appoint competent counsel to assist or represent any natural person who is indigent, or deemed to be in contempt of court, or insane, or mentally incompetent, or deceased, or a minor under 16 years of age. Associations, partnerships, corporations, trusts, and sovereign states may sue or be sued, provided that any attorney-in-fact who represents a fictional legal person in court shall certify that all of the representatives, officers, agents, and fiduciaries of such person will obey all lawful orders that the court may issue. If suit is brought against a fictional legal person, any and all of its representatives, officers, agents, and fiduciaries may be summoned to appear. Willful and repeated failure to appear when summoned may be deemed an admission of contempt, punishable by up to five years in exile and outlaw, during which persons ruled in contempt shall enjoy no standing to sue, no right to due process, and no right to public justice.
Comments on Article I
To be outlawed for contempt is a heavy punishment. Stripped of the protection of law, an outlaw has no right to life or liberty, innocent or otherwise. His bankers can empty an outlawed account, his friends and associates are forced to think twice about entering into or continuing to honor what are now illegal, unenforceable agreements with an outlaw, and his personal safety is put in jeopardy, since an outlaw may be detained or harmed by any law-abiding person with impunity. There is no greater punishment that public justice allows, than a sentence of outlaw. For this reason, the courts of first instance are not permitted to impose such a punishment without appointing counsel to represent the person accused of contempt, for the purpose of appeal. The presumption of innocence is integral to due process, and the punishment for contempt amounts to a bill of attainder. Appellate judges are not likely to affirm a sentence of exile and outlaw, unless the evidence of contempt is overwhelming and the entire record of the trial court case shows that the accused fled prosecution for felony and the complainant had sufficient evidence and sworn testimony to obtain a grand jury indictment. WD, 8/3/01
The Power to Appoint and Remove Judges
Five or more attorneys, acting on behalf of ten or more natural persons, may convene a court of first instance by electing one of their number to serve as a law judge. Any natural person may serve as a law judge, unless debarred for cause and forbidden to practice law by order of the Supreme Court or any inferior appellate court established by the Supreme Court. A law judge of first instance and his clerk shall be remunerated by equal contributions levied upon and serve at the pleasure of a majority of attorneys admitted to practice law in that court. To make these provisions effective, a majority of the first twenty signatories to this Constitution shall assemble or correspond for the purpose of nominating one or more members of the first Supreme Court, whose appointment shall become effective if confirmed by the Supervisors or Governors or such other style of Representative Body of Founders who are empowered by Laissez Faire City to review matters pertaining to its governance and redress of grievances. The Chief Justice and additional Associate Justices shall be nominated by the Chief Executive of Laissez Faire City, all such appointments becoming effective if confirmed by a majority ballot of sitting law judges of first instance. Justices of the Supreme Court and inferior appellate judges shall serve during good behavior or until voluntary retirement and may not be removed, unless impeached by the City's Representative Body of Founders and convicted of misconduct by a majority ballot of law judges of first instance.
Comments on Article II
No official or Founder of Laissez Faire City advised or consented to promulgation of this Article. No official or Founder of Laissez Faire City should be construed to have, now or at any time in the future, a favorable opinion of this constitution or any intent to execute the powers of appointment and removal conferred by this Article. That said, it is equally true that Laissez Faire City is addressed and referenced above as a defacto nation in need of a constitutional judiciary and due process of law, which has occupied my thoughts for two consecutive years. WD, 8/3/01
Majority rule is seldom good, but there is little other choice with respect to public officeholders (such as law judges). The defunct Articles of Confederation, which governed the United States during its infancy as a republic, required the unanimous consent of all 13 states to enact law -- and promptly collapsed as a constitutional entity, because any individual state could withhold its consent and frustrate the manifest public good. That's why the Federal Convention was held, as an emergency conference of "wise men" to negotiate a majority-based balance of power among Large States and Small States, Free States and Slave States. The only thing they agreed on was a statist paradigm, reflecting the widely-held Christian view that God had ordained the Americans to seize "the separate and equal station" of sovereignty that monarchies claimed. Today, we are in a vastly different context. The Freeman's Constitution does not ordain or establish a state. Rather, it is the organizational law of the laissez faire bar. It gives practicing lawyers the right to convene and the duty to pay for courts of first instance, and judges must command the confidence of a majority of their professional colleagues to remain on the bench. WD, 8/4/01
In a laissez faire community of any kind, physical or digital, the rule of law arises from and requires all of the following: a constitutional right to practice legal representation on behalf of others; the right of practicing lawyers to associate for the purpose of selecting judges who, on appointment to the bench, are barred from private legal practice; and the right of any person or organized group to obey and execute lawful orders that may be issued from time to time by the courts so created. The jursidiction of laissez faire constitutional law and the courts which duly interpret and uphold such principles exists globally and perpetually as a matter of right. Laissez faire constitutional law flows from a single proposition, which is that no one may legally judge his own cause of action or act to penalize another without fair public trial and impartial due process of law. Laissez faire law is discovered and demonstrated in the process of litigation and trial. It cannot be legislated, codified, or imposed by a "lawgiver." WD, Opinion of Counsel.
Venues and Causes of Action
The common law right to trial by a jury of one's peers, drawn at random from the full list of living natural persons signatory to this Constitution, shall be limited in family law cases to a jury of women. In all except felony cases, trial by jury may be waived by unanimous, informed consent of all parties to the proceeding. Complaints of misdemeanor or felony shall be heard in a trial court that is licensed by the Supreme Court to conduct police proceedings. Each of the parties to a criminal case must be represented by a criminal barrister, a distinction to be awarded according to the wisdom of the Laissez Faire Bar Association. Other courts of first instance may hear and adjudicate cases and controversies according to the specialty of practice selected by a majority of the court's attorneys, or hold a general civil session if subscribed by more than twenty attorneys. All constitutional questions must originate in a lower court, unless one or more parties named in a petition is a sovereign state, in which case the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. From time to time, the Supreme Court may create, regulate, fund, and appoint judges to appellate courts, whose jurisdiction over courts of first instance shall be apportioned randomly by date of appeal and without regard to legal specialty. All pleadings shall be styled "In defense of innocent liberty," and all plaintiffs shall allege that the petitioner's enjoyment of life, liberty, or settled claim to property was or will be wrongly impaired or taken without due process of law.
Comments on Article III
Associations, partnerships, corporations, trusts, states, and other fictional legal persons have no intrinsic right to life or liberty. The fundamental legal character of all such entities is that of shared or managed property, title to which is in dispute. Fictional legal persons cannot prosecute crime, other than misdemeanor trespass or burglary. Laissez faire law does not recognize the "sovereign power" of a state to levy taxes, issue passports, coin money, or regulate banking or commerce.
The Police Power
The right to keep and bear arms and to use reasonable force in defense of one's life and innocent liberty, or the life and liberty of another, describes the police power generally. Every person signatory to this Constitution is lawfully empowered to arrest and detain a perpetrator or willing accessory apprehended during the commission of a crime. From time to time, the Supreme Court may establish, regulate, fund, and appoint officers to an investigative agency or custodial facilities for the humane detention of persons accused of felony, and in all cases detainees must appear before a criminal magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. No accused person shall be bound over for trial unless there is actionable evidence of crime and credible testimony to establish probable cause for complaint. All felony prosecutions shall be conducted on behalf of a living natural person whose enjoyment of life, liberty, or settled claim to property are alleged to have been impaired. In cases of public nuisance or acts injurious to a communications network, database, bank or exchange, courts may order natural or fictional persons to cease and desist. Willful and repeated failure to obey such an order may be deemed an admission of contempt. There is no personal right to exact vengeance or to obstruct justice and due process of law. Any person convicted of willfully and wrongfully invoking the police power may be punished by life exile and outlaw.
Comments on Article IV
The most serious crime of all is abuse of the police power, and the Constitution provides the sternest possible punishment (basically, the death penalty) for willfully and wrongfully denying another person's legal presumption of innocence and right to due process. Note also that in homicide cases, prosecution made is on behalf of a survivor -- a grieving spouse, dependent child, or business associate. "The earth belongs in usufruct to the living." (Jefferson) WD, 8/6/01
The Right to Revolution
When otherwise law-abiding and peaceful freemen are imperiled as a class by force of arms, or arrest and imprisonment, or conscription, or surveillance, or involuntary taxation levied by a state or legislature in denial and derogation of innocent liberty, such acts of terrorism and oppression shall be interpreted as a campaign of war against humanity, and every natural person or group acting in concert possesses the legal right and duty to throw off such tyranny and to resist its evil by prudent and vigorous self-defense, including but not limited to flight, armed rebellion, sabotage, and use of disguise to avoid capture. No man shall be prosecuted for crime or sued for damages in respect of his service in a revolutionary war, except in cases where wanton bloodshed or private vengeance or impairment of individual liberty or property was willfully perpetrated by a person or conspiracy to thwart civil due process of law.
Comments on Article V
A state of revolutionary war exists at the time of this writing and shall likely continue during the indefinite future, until the United States of America ceases to assert its "sovereign power" over free men and women, whose right to innocent liberty admits of no limitation by legislatures, territorial states, or previous condition of citizenship. WD, 8/17/01
Signatories and Threshhold Of Ratification
The undersigned men and women jointly and severally affirm the lawful supremacy of and pledge to defend The Freeman's Constitution as set forth above. When this constitution is subscribed by more than one hundred unique and reasonably authenticated digital signatures, all of its provisions shall be deemed ratified and thereafter to be in perpetual force and effect, subject to interpretation by the Supreme Court of Laissez Faire City, which is hereby ordained and established as the final arbiter of public justice and due process under laissez faire law.
To ratify, select the text paragraph (above) which begins "The undersigned..." and paste it in an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laissez Faire Law
Libertarianism Anarchism Articles from ZolaTimes
Note: You need to use the Wayback Machine to see these articles, since ZolaTimes is defunct.
- Force and Jurisdiction in Cyberspace Capitalism [Agent Delta]
- The Man Who Made Libertarianism Academically Respectable [Machan]
- The Myth of the Reasonable Man [Zola]
- Reflections on Freedom & Responsibility [Machan]
- Is There an Inalienable Right to Immigrate? [Antle]
- New Systems of Law [Goldman]
- Economic Imperialism: An Introduction to the Economic Analysis of Law [Lemieux]
- The Optimal Number of Criminals [Grabbe]
- Costa Rica's Anonymity Motels [Goose Dog]
- What Is a Sovereign Individual? [Scam Dog]
- Law Framer of Last Resort [DeVoon]
- Do Organ Non-Donors Kill? [Machan]
- Think Free to Live Free by Clare Wolf (review) [Maravillosa]
- Tyranny Laundering: Why Big Brother Attacks "Money Laundering" [Lemieux]
- The Libertarian [De Coster]
- Individualism and Language [Machan]
- Justice Without Force (4 part series) [Goldman]
- The Search for Libertopia [Peron]
- The End of Fukuyama [DeVoon]
- Sir Edward Coke and the Common Law [Sandefur]
- Freedom Stories [Madden]
- Keep Your Hands Off Our Kids! [Maravillosa]
- Don't Vote, Don't Legislate, Be Free: an Interview with Daniel Burton [Mingardi]
- Why Women Should Care About Gun Rights [Maravillosa]
- Meth, Wa, and Privacy [Erhlich]
- Cops and Robbers [Madden]
- The Will of The People [Topolewski]
- The Death of Libertarian Outrage [Sandefur]
- Principles: Public and Private [Madden]
- Rape or Disappointing Sex? [De Coster]
- Freedom in Mexico [Maravillosa]
- Dignity and the Individual [Dorman]
- Abolish Taxation [Machan]
- Ron Paul interview [Mingardi and Stagnaro]
- Religious Freedom and Private Property Rights [Machan]
- The Myth of Market Failure [Madden]
- The Independence of Cyberspace [Zola]
- The Law by Frederick Bastiat [intro by Zola]
- The Good Walk Alone by Wolf DeVoon
- Where Are the Libertarian Women? [Maravillosa]
- Justice Without Government [DeVoon]
- Principles of Internet Law [DeVoon]
- Property [DeVoon]
- Many Roads To Freedom [Maravillosa]
- Classical Individualism [Madden]
- A Problem With Guns? [Kocher]
- The Nine Commandments of Libertarianism: an Interview with David Boaz [Mingardi]
- The Cyberdefense of a Virtual Community [Estaban Hill]
- Systems Thinking and Judicial Failure [James Wright]
- Bad Cop No Donut [DeVoon]
- Systems Thinking and Legislative Failures [James Wright]
- What's Wrong with Proportional Representation [Lauren Bain]
- Freedom, Choice, and Consequences [Kocher]
- Copyright [DeVoon]
- The Immorality of Taxation [Maravillosa]
- Kids Write About Liberty [Liberty Round Table]
- Slavery In The Name of the 'Public Good' [DeVoon]
- Government Is A Quack Faith Healer [DeVoon]
- Liberty's Structure (interview with Randy Barnett) [Mingardi]