A Blueprint for Human Civilization
(Neil’s Note: This is as big and as radical a set of ideas as I have put forward to date. I worry a little about the length; and I also worry that some of the ideas here may, at first at least, go over many people’s heads. But I feel a need to put them forward, even in their current imperfect state. For, as with all such attempts, there will be errors, omissions, bad phrasing and things which simply won’t work – and, probably, lots of them. Thus I ask my readers, please, to think hard about the ideas here, and to look at what makes sense and what doesn’t, and what can have a chance of working in the real world and what doesn’t).
Introduction and Summary
To lovers of individual liberty, the political state and the moral privileges it grants to its ruling élites are anathema. Therefore, many liberty lovers oppose government in all its forms and aspects, and come to identify themselves as “anarchists.” But this label creates difficulties. First, because most people associate the word with makers of violent mischief. And second, because anarchism appears, at least on its face, to preclude any possibility of rule of law, or of a system of justice to enable individuals to claim restitution for wrongs.
For me, all constructive interactions between human beings must be based on voluntary choice, and on contract whether formal or informal. But such voluntary interactions can only operate effectively within a framework which encourages all to behave peacefully, justly and honestly. Thus, I value objective justice, the rule of (minimal) law and the defence of human rights. But at the same time, I abhor the state, its politics, and its ruling classes and their privileges. And I see no contradiction in this position.
The fundamental question, for liberty lovers who reject the anarchist label, is: How can we have law and justice without a political state? In this paper, I put forward for discussion a possible basis for an answer to this question. And I aim to do it from the bottom up; that is, from first principles and in a constructive manner.
IN VIEW OF:
- The systemic corruption and dishonesty of the political systems currently instituted among human beings,
- The moral and financial bankruptcy of today’s political governments, whether local, national or international,
- The need to defend the lives, security of person, dignity, rights, freedom, and earned prosperity of all civil human beings,
- The need to institute new systems of government to enable civil human beings to live in peace, justice and freedom,
THE AUTHOR SUBMITS this Blueprint as an early draft of a potential basis for such a system, and an enabler of discussion.
1: Individuals and Communities
- Every human being is an individual. Each of us has our own body and our own mind. Each of us experiences our surroundings as an individual, and acts on our surroundings as an individual.
- On the other hand, human beings are sociable. We naturally form communities at many levels, such as:
- Partnerships, including marriages.
- Communes, for example university colleges, monasteries or kibbutzim.
- The marketplace.
- Societies with various goals or purposes.
2: Voluntary Contract
- Human beings naturally seek to make, and to carry out, agreements or contracts with others for mutual benefit. Mutual contract, voluntarily entered into, is the basis of all constructive interactions between human beings.
- Such contracts may be formal or informal, and may involve individuals or groups.
3: Human Nature
- Human beings are naturally good, peaceful and honest. Absent perverse incentives, most human beings naturally remain good, peaceful and honest.
- Human beings naturally seek the truth.
- Human beings have free will. In consequence, they bear responsibility as individuals for their actions, and for the effects of their actions on others.
- Human beings are moral agents. We naturally distinguish right conduct from wrong. We seek to improve our understanding of what is right and what is wrong. And most of us have the desire to do right.
- Human beings naturally seek to adapt to those changes in our environment, which are not of human making.
- On the other hand, human beings naturally seek to appropriate our surroundings, and to make ourselves masters of them. By applying work to our surroundings, we change our particular corner of existence to suit ourselves. We control it, and make it our own. We bring it to order for our own well-being.
- Human beings understand that it is wrong to appropriate or to enslave any moral agent, such as a human being. Thus, our mastery over our surroundings does not extend to mastery over other human beings.
- On the other hand, parents have the responsibility to bring up and to educate their children to become civil human beings. Therefore, they may control the behaviour of their children while they are too young to have yet become moral agents. But they must do it without using force except in extreme need.
- Human beings naturally make use of the physical resources around them. These resources, whether animal, vegetable, mineral or of some other kind, are ours to use wisely as we see fit.
- Human beings naturally work and trade with others to create well-being and to build prosperity and Civilization.
- Civilization has three aspects:
- It is the process, by which civil individuals work and trade with each other to build a fit framework in which all can live.
- It is the framework, which results from that process.
- It is the community of all civil human beings.
- On the other hand, Civilization is not a society or a commune. It does not have a “will” of any kind. And its only purpose and goal is to enable civil human beings to live in peace, justice and freedom.
- Civilization is open to all civil human beings, regardless of race, colour, gender, birthplace, geographical location, language, religion, political or other opinion, culture, social class, wealth, sexual orientation or lifestyle.
- Civilization is uncompromisingly honest. Among civil human beings, lies, spin, deceit, propaganda, bullshit and hypocrisy are not acceptable.
- The binding forces of the community of Civilization are shared willingness to behave in a civil manner, and shared desire for peace, justice, rights and freedom for all civil human beings.
- Civilization respects local, regional, religious, cultural or other traditions, as long as they do not contravene the civil ideals of peace, justice, rights and freedom. On the other hand, Civilization also respects everyone’s right to devise novel ways to do things, and to try them out in company with like-minded others if they wish.
- Civilization has no geographical boundaries. The only border or wall of Civilization is the one which divides civil human beings – that is, those who behave up to civilized standards – from the uncivil, those that do not.
- Property is the expression of our mastery over our surroundings.
- In Civilization, property can rightly be acquired in the following ways:
- By taking possession of resources not previously owned by anyone.
- By improvement of property already owned.
- In voluntary exchange for the provision of labour, goods or services which are valuable to others.
- By voluntary trade of resources with others.
- By receipt of a voluntary gift from others.
- All rightly owned property represents part of someone’s life, which has been expended in creating or improving it. Thus, property is life.
- The owners of resources such as goods, chattels and money (whether one or several persons) have an exclusive right to use these things. They may decide to forgo this right in a particular case if they wish, for example by making a gift or establishing a joint ownership.
- The owners of goods which they trade to others have a right, at need, to impose reasonable conditions on the subsequent use of those goods. (For example, not to copy a book they have written without permission).
- The owners of real property have the right to choose who may access their property (or particular parts of it), at what times, and under what conditions. They may agree to forgo this right if they wish, for example if they let the property for a period.
- The owners of real property may designate parts of their property as easements (such as roads, paths and waterways) for the free movement of people and goods. Such easements (known collectively as the public space) are open to all human beings, without exception.
- No-one may encircle anyone else’s property and thus prevent access to it from the public space. Nor may anyone refuse to allow easements to such an extent, that their property causes unreasonable obstruction or restriction to the passage of others in any direction, or to services (such as electricity) being provided to other properties.
- In consequence, the public space is connected. That is, any point of it is accessible from any other without leaving the public space.
- In Civilization, property rights are sacrosanct, subject only to the Rule of Law and Justice, as described below.
- Civilization has a general principle of justice: Each individual, over the long term and in the round, should be treated as he or she treats others.
- The essence of justice is the balancing of the rights and interests of the individual against the rights and interests of others.
- Justice aims to avoid gross or persistent treatment of individuals better or worse than they treat others.
- In Civilization, justice (also known as common sense justice) is objective, without either undue harshness or leniency.
7: Moral Equality
- Civilization has a general principle of moral equality: All human beings are morally equal. What is right for one to do, is right for another to do under similar circumstances, and vice versa.
- Moral equality implies that there exists a code of what is right and wrong. And this is independent of time, place, culture, or the social status of an individual. Thus, morality is universal.
- This universal moral code, which forms the core of all proper moral systems and is natural for all human beings, is called the Code of Civilization.
8: The Code of Civilization
- The Code of Civilization consists mostly of negative rules, or prohibitions. But it allows for two possible sources of positive rules, or mandates:
- To ensure you can fulfil your obligations to compensate others in the event that you cause them damage. For example, by having insurance if you wish to drive a car.
- To uphold the principles of Civilization – justice, rights and freedom – when necessary. For example, in a system which uses trial by jury, to perform jury service on reasonable request.
- A draft set of obligations, intended to encapsulate the Code of Civilization, is attached as Annex A.
- The owners of real property may set additional rules or guidelines for the conduct of those on their property, if they wish.
- Societies (including communes) may set additional rules or guidelines for the conduct of their members. But no society may make rules to regulate the conduct of anyone other than voluntary members of the society and visitors to its property.
- Rules or guidelines, imposed by owners of real property on their visitors or by societies on their members, are only valid if they are consistent with the Code of Civilization.
- The Code of Civilization can evolve as it is applied to new situations through case law. And on rare occasions, new knowledge may become available, which enables a better understanding of the Code. But it cannot be changed by fiat of any individual or group. The Code of Civilization can be discovered; but it cannot be invented.
- The Code of Civilization has no statute of limitations. It applies to everyone, at all times and in all places.
- In Civilization, moral equality and the Code of Civilization apply in all circumstances, except if they conflict with justice; in which case, justice will prevail. (Without this proviso, no system of courts of law and justice would be possible).
- In consequence, the rule which Civilization implements is known as the Rule of Law and Justice.
9: Local Rules
- To supplement the Code of Civilization, in specific places there may be local rules. Local rules are sane, sensible, non-politicized conventions for the benefit of all users of the public space in the local area. For example, rules of priority for traffic junctions.
- All local rules must be consistent with the Code of Civilization.
- Local rules can be made if agreed by all property owners in the immediate area. They will also usually take account of local traditions.
- Local rules must be kept to a minimum. They must be clearly publicized and signed, and should not vary unreasonably between neighbouring locations.
- Civilization has a general principle of rights: Provided you behave as a civil human being, you have the right to be treated as a civil human being.
- The rights (human rights) of a civil human being are of three types:
- Fundamental rights. These result from moral prohibitions of the form “Thou shalt not…” followed by something bad.
- Rights of non-impedance. These result from moral prohibitions, of the form “Thou shalt not obstruct…” followed by something good.
- Procedural rights. These represent the best ways so far found to organize Civilization justly.
- A draft list and classification of these rights is attached as Annex B.
- No-one may claim any “right” (positive right) which can only be provided through violating the rights of others.
- Rights can on occasion be restricted by the Rule of Law and Justice, as detailed below and as indicated in Annex B.
- Certain rights may be violated on occasions when there are objective and reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has committed, is committing or is planning to commit some real crime. (For example, it is normally a violation of privacy to film someone, against their will, for longer than a very brief period; but this does not apply in the case of reasonable suspicion of crime).
- Individuals that fail to respect others’ rights, to the extent that they fail, forfeit correspondingly some of their own rights. It is on this ground that, for example, it is acceptable to deny freedom of movement to convicted criminals in prison.
- In Civilization, subject only to the exceptions above, the rights of every individual are sacrosanct.
- Civilization has a general principle of freedom: Except where countermanded by justice, the Code of Civilization or respect for others’ rights, individuals are free to choose and act as they wish.
12: Branches of Law
- In Civilization, there are three branches of law:
- Contract law.
- Restitution law (otherwise known as civil law).
- Criminal law.
13: Contract Law and Arbitration
- Contract law enables those, who have suffered or are suffering through breaches of contract by other parties, to claim redress and, at need, compensation for those breaches.
- Contracts will specify an arbitrator, to rule in the event of a dispute between the parties. The arbitrator’s decision is final.
- The burden of proof in contract law cases is on the claimant.
- If the arbitrator becomes unable to continue in the role, the parties to the contract will agree on a replacement arbitrator.
14: Restitution Law
- Restitution law enables those who have unjustly suffered objective, quantifiable wrongs to claim compensation from the perpetrators of the wrongs. Wrongs include, for example, physical injury, financial damage, or the effects of noise or pollution.
- Breaches of local rules can be taken into account in restitution law cases.
- Failure to act, where this failure causes damage to another, can be taken into account in restitution law cases.
- The burden of proof in restitution law cases is on the claimant. The restitution awarded may vary from what is claimed; this is entirely dependent on the merits of the case.
- Compensation under restitution law (and, where necessary, under contract law) usually takes, but need not always take, the form of monetary payment.
15: Criminal Law
- The need for criminal law arises because certain acts, accompanied by certain states of mind, go against the nature of civil human beings. In John Locke’s words, an individual doing such things “declares himself to quit the principles of human nature and to be a noxious creature.”
- Thus, criminal law deters the perpetrators of real crimes by punishment, above and beyond compensation to the victims.
- Real crimes are acts that breach the Code of Civilization or a local rule consistent with it, and are accompanied by a state of “guilty mind” (mens rea), such as greed, malice, irresponsibility beyond the bounds of reason, or a claim of moral privilege.
- No-one may be punished for any crime unless all three of the act, the breach of the Code or rule, and the mens rea have been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
- Criminal punishment must always fit the crime, both in kind and in severity. The punishment may include a period of imprisonment, but only if the criminal is a real danger to others.
- While the death penalty is not precluded by the Code of Civilization, it is in practice never used.
- It is possible for either contract or restitution cases to have an additional criminal element. In Civilization, these additional elements are judged separately from the case for redress or compensation.
- It is possible for a breach of the Code of Civilization to have a criminal element, even if there is no or minimal damage caused to any victim. However, a breach of a local rule cannot have a criminal element unless there is both mens rea and objective, quantifiable damage caused to a victim.
16: Institutions of Civilization
- The only institutions of Civilization are justice providers and quality reporters.
- Both justice providers and quality reporters are subject to the Code of Civilization, and have no moral privileges over other service providers. They compete for customers in the same way as all other companies.
- Because the Code of Civilization can only be discovered, not invented, there is no legislative in Civilization. Once codified, any proposed change to the Code of Civilization must be approved by all those affected by it.
- There is no executive in Civilization. Anyone has the right to arrest a suspected criminal and bring them to justice. They may be backed up, at need, by specialists trained in arresting violent individuals. Furthermore, anyone may contract with a justice provider to enforce the decisions of its courts.
- In Civilization, justice providers and the courts they institute occupy the role of judiciary. However, they are neither centralized nor hierarchical.
- There is no military in Civilization. All individuals have the right to defend themselves or others at need, with violence in proportion to the attack. Those of demonstrated competence and without criminal convictions may keep and carry weapons, if they wish, to defend themselves or others against attack.
- Civilization has many currencies. In principle, anyone may issue a currency provided it is backed by sufficient reserves. In practice, currencies are usually based on different baskets of commodities.
- In Civilization, quality reporters occupy the role of a free press. However, they are neither politicized nor biased.
- There is no taxation in Civilization. Justice providers are financed by subscriptions and, where appropriate, court fees. Quality reporters are financed by those who choose to pay for the information they provide.
17: Justice Providers
- Individuals are free to subscribe to a justice provider, or not if they choose. However, justice providers will normally only take cases brought by their own subscribers. In consequence, those who do not subscribe to a justice provider (or form their own) will be unable to prosecute either restitution or criminal cases.
- Justice providers institute courts of law, whose function is to make judgements in the three branches of law outlined above.
- Courts usually follow traditional local rules of procedure, for example in rules of evidence, the ability to call witnesses, and the use of juries.
- When a court decision has been made in writing and confirmed, and is not subject to appeal, anyone not involved in the case may enter into a contract with the court to enforce the court’s decision. Courts will require that restitution and, if appropriate, punishment are imposed in the correct measure as determined by the court, and without any duplication.
- Court costs are apportioned by the court according to the merits of the case.
- The payment of these costs is normally covered in the contract between the plaintiff or defendant and their justice provider. Those who do not subscribe to a justice provider are liable for their full share of the costs.
- In Civilization, after a primary court decision there is generally a single right of appeal to another court.
- Which justice provider hears the appeal is normally determined by a contract between the court which made the decision and the justice provider of the appellant if he has one.
- If there is no such contract, or if the appellant is a subscriber to the justice provider which instituted the court, the parties may agree on which justice provider will hear the appeal. If this is not possible, the appellant may contract with any justice provider to hear the appeal.
19: Quality Reporters
- Civilization has quality reporters. Their primary function is to investigate and to report objectively on the quality of the goods and services provided by companies, including justice providers.
- Quality reporters also can test and certify individuals’ competence to perform activities which carry risks to others, for example to drive a car or to use a gun.
Annex A: Obligations of the Code of Civilization
This proposal attempts to encapsulate, in ten ethical Laws and five Paths, the obligations, which are imposed on the individual by the core Code of Civilization. These should be considered in conjunction with the conditions in the main part of this Blueprint and the rights in Annex B below.
For more about the Laws and the Paths, please see my book “Honest Common Sense”, ISBN 978-0-9571894-1-6.
A1: Ten Ethical Laws
- Law of No Harm. Do not do or threaten violence or intentional harm to others, or violate others’ rights or freedom, except as may be justified in the following circumstances:
- In self-defence,
- In defence of another, or
- In the execution of common sense justice.
- Law of Restitution. If your conduct unjustifiably causes harm to others that was reasonably foreseeable, you must compensate them if they require it.
- Law of No Criminal Intent. Do not act towards others with any of the following:
- Greed (trying to take more from others than you are justly entitled to),
- Malice or intolerance,
- Irresponsibility beyond the bounds of reason,
- A desire to create or aggravate injustice,
- An unjust desire to violate rights or freedom, restrict choices or obstruct free trade,
- A claim that you have moral rights that others do not.
- Law of Civilization. Uphold the principles of common sense justice, human rights and freedom.
- Law of Reciprocity. Treat others at least as well as they treat you.
- Law of Truthfulness. Never knowingly lie, deceive, mislead or bullshit, unless strictly necessary to defend yourself or another.
- Law of Independence. Strive to be independent in thought and actions, to avoid becoming a drain on others, and to take full responsibility for your own life.
- Law of Contract. Always strive to do what you have freely and knowingly agreed to do.
- Law of Parenthood. If you have children, bring them up and educate them to be civil human beings.
- Law of No Aiding or Abetting. Do not knowingly aid, encourage or condone any violation of the Code of Civilization.
A2: Five Paths of Honesty
- Be yourself, and let others be themselves.
- Seek the truth, tell the truth.
- Seek to know right from wrong, and to do only the right.
- Create well-being and build Civilization.
- Practise what you preach.
Annex B: List and Classification of Rights
These rights should be considered in conjunction with the conditions in the main part of this Blueprint and the obligations in Annex A above.
B1: Fundamental Rights
Fundamental rights result from moral prohibitions (that is, prohibitions applicable to everyone) of the form “Do not…” followed by something bad. These rights and prohibitions are opposite sides of the same coin.
- The right to life comes from: “Thou shalt not kill.” It applies to all human beings. It is a purely negative right, and does not impose any obligation to act to preserve life.
- The right to dignity comes from: “Do not treat any human being as less than a human being.”
- The right to property comes from: “Thou shalt not steal.” It applies to real property, goods, chattels, money and all other rightly owned property. Because property is life, property rights are sacrosanct, subject only to the Rule of Law and Justice. In particular, any seizure of property or income, other than from the perpetrator of a wrong in order to secure compensation under law to a victim, is a violation of the Code of Civilization.
- The right to truth comes from: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” It implies a right to challenge false, deceitful or misleading statements made about you, or about issues affecting you.
- The right to security of person comes from: “Do not commit any physical aggression.” Except, at need, where objective justice may require use of violence, for example to arrest a suspected criminal.
- The right against fraud comes from: “Do not commit any wrong against any person or their property through fraud, deceit or trickery.”
- The right against perjury comes from: “Do not make false or misleading statements in evidence to a court, or any other body which can make decisions affecting others.”
- The right against slavery comes from: “Do not appropriate, enslave or demand forced labour from any human being.”
- The right against torture comes from: “Do not subject anyone to torture.”
- The right against cruelty comes from: “Do not subject anyone to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
- The right against arbitrary arrest or detention comes from: “Do not arrest or detain anyone without objective and reasonable grounds to believe that they have committed, are committing or are planning to commit some real crime.”
- The right against unreasonable detention comes from: “Do not detain anyone for more than a very brief period prior to a hearing; unless they are a real danger to others, and the detention is a criminal punishment determined according to the Rule of Law and Justice by an impartial court.”
- The right against trespass comes from: “Do not enter others’ real property, except where the owner has authorized unconditional access (including easements), or where the owner has authorized conditional access and you meet the conditions.” Except, at need, where there are objective and reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has committed, is committing or is planning to commit some real crime.
- The right to be alone comes from: “Do not interfere with anyone’s right to hold themselves away from the company of others when they choose to.” Except, at need, where there are objective and reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has committed, is committing or is planning to commit some real crime.
- The right to personal privacy comes from: “Do not interfere with anyone’s right to keep their thoughts and actions to themselves when they choose to.” Except, at need, where there are objective and reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has committed, is committing or is planning to commit some real crime.
- The right to privacy of correspondence comes from: “Do not intercept, copy or otherwise interfere with anyone’s correspondence not intended for you.” Except for storage in the normal course of data transmission, and at need where there are objective and reasonable grounds to believe that the individual has committed, is committing or is planning to commit some real crime.
- The right against stalking comes from: “Do not stalk or unreasonably follow anyone.” This includes filming them repeatedly or in different places, or otherwise recording their activities against their wills, even in the public space.
- The right against unreasonable surveillance comes from: “Do not keep watch on anyone without good and provable reason why particular individuals should be subjected to surveillance.” This includes routine surveillance in the public space.
- The right against unreasonable search comes from: “Do not search anyone’s bodies or possessions without good and provable reason why particular individuals should be subjected to search.” This includes all random search, including in the public space.
- The right to security of reputation comes from: “Do not attack anyone’s honour or reputation.” Except, at need, where the statements made are objectively and provably true, and there is no intention to commit or to provoke any breach of the Code of Civilization.
- The right to say No comes from: “Do not coerce anyone to enter into, or not to enter into, any contract against their will.” This right includes, as particular cases, the right not to be coerced into marriage and the right not to be compelled to belong to an association.
B2: Rights of Non-Impedance
Rights of non-impedance result from moral prohibitions (that is, prohibitions applicable to everyone) of the form “Do not obstruct…” followed by something good. These rights and prohibitions, too, are opposite sides of the same coin.
- The right to general liberty comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to choose and act as they wish.” Except where this right is countermanded by justice, by the Code of Civilization or by respect for others’ rights.
- The right to justice comes from: “Do not obstruct objective, common sense justice, or the honest implementation of such justice.” This right includes the right to restitution for wrongs through contract law, restitution law and criminal law.
- The right to choice comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to make and to act on their own choices.” Except, at need, where their actions breach the Code of Civilization.
- The right to pursue happiness comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to pursue their own happiness.” Except, at need, where their actions breach the Code of Civilization.
- The right to self defence comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to defend themselves against aggression, or to keep and carry weapons for the purpose of defending themselves or others against aggression.” Except that weapons should not be carried by those convicted of crimes, or insufficiently skilled in the use of their weapons.
- The right to tradition comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to practise local, regional, religious, cultural or other traditions, as long as they do not breach the Code of Civilization.”
- The right to novelty comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to devise novel ways to do things, and to try them out in company with like-minded others if they wish.” Except, at need, where such actions breach the Code of Civilization.
- The right to enjoy property comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to enjoy and to use their property as they see fit.” Except, at need, where their actions breach the Code of Civilization.
- The right to insure against loss or damage comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to set up, or to use, schemes of insurance or mutual aid designed to provide a return to the individual in the event of suffering a specified loss or damage.”
- The right to free movement comes from: “Do not encircle anyone’s property, or unreasonably obstruct or restrict their passage in any direction.” Except that free movement does not authorize trespass.
- The right to free association and assembly comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to associate with, or to meet with, whomsoever they choose.” Except, at need, where the association or meeting is intended to do or to provoke violence or some other breach of the Code of Civilization.
- The right to freedom of contract comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to seek or to make contracts with others.” Except, at need, where the contract breaches or is intended to breach the Code of Civilization. This right includes, as particular cases, the rights to seek work and to engage in commercial activity.
- The right to the free marketplace comes from: “Do not obstruct or try to obstruct, in any way and for any reason, the economic free marketplace which underpins Civilization.”
- The right to free trade comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s access to the economic free marketplace, either as seller or as buyer.”
- The right to pursue betterment comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s attempts, by any means consistent with the Code of Civilization, to better themselves and those they care about, whether in standard of living, in education, in culture, in health or in any other area of life.”
- The right to marriage comes from: “Do not obstruct the freedom of anyone of full age to marry and to found a family.”
- The right to freedom of thought and opinion comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to think their own thoughts and to hold their own opinions.”
- The right to freedom of speech comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to say what they wish.” Except, at need, where what is said is objectively and provably false, misleading or deceitful, or breaches the Code of Civilization, or is intended to provoke such a breach.
- The right to freedom to publish comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to write and publish what they wish.” Except, at need, where what is written is objectively and provably false, misleading or deceitful, or breaches the Code of Civilization, or is intended to provoke such a breach.
- The right to freedom to seek and receive information comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media.”
- The right to data transparency comes from: “Do not store or hold information about others in such a way that they are unable to access and check it if they so wish, or to have it corrected if it is wrong.” Except, at need, for data showing objective and reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has committed, is committing or is planning to commit some real crime.
- The right to freedom of conscience comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to make their own judgements according to their own conscience.”
- The right to freedom of religion comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom to hold a religious belief, or to hold no religious belief, or to change his religion or belief.”
- The right to freedom of worship comes from: “Do not obstruct anyone’s freedom, either alone or in community with others, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
B3: Procedural Rights
Procedural rights represent the best ways so far found to organize Civilization justly. That is, the best ways so far found to implement the Rule of Law and Justice.
- The right to access law and justice. Everyone has the right to seek remedy for wrongs, whether contractual, civil or criminal, through the Rule of Law and Justice.
- The right to institute proceedings on behalf of others. Everyone has the right to institute proceedings to seek remedy for wrongs done to those who are unable to institute such proceedings for themselves, for example because their property has been stolen.
- The right to habeas corpus. Everyone has the right to seek remedy, either for themselves or for another, where there is good reason to believe that some individual has been or is being unreasonably detained or imprisoned.
- The right to due process. No-one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
- The right to personhood before law. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before law.
- The right to moral equality. What is right for one to do, is right for another to do under similar circumstances, and vice versa.
- The right to equality before law. Law and justice will make judgements only according to what is objectively just and on the circumstances of the case, without prejudice to who has brought the case or who is affected by it.
- The right against strict liability. No-one shall be guilty of any crime unless they have committed an identifiable act, in which they showed intention (mens rea) to violate the Code of Civilization.
- The right to fair and public trial. Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
- The right to speedy trial and full, public hearing. Everyone charged with a crime has the right to a speedy and public trial, at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
- The right to presumption of innocence. Everyone charged with a crime has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty of an offence.
- The right against self-incrimination. No-one shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.
- The right against double jeopardy. No-one shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same crime.
Thank you, Neil, a thoughtful post which has obviously involved considerable work.
This is a bit of a theme of mine Neil, but I’m interested where these rights reside in the system. Specifically, if we are free to contract with (or not) a justice provider (this is the Anarcho-Capitalist model, right?) then are these justice providers required to conform with all these rights, and if so by whom? Are the rights meaningless if one has no justice provider? How does my justice provider compel the accused to attend their court? Suppose that some action X is considered by myself and my justice provider to be a violation of my rights- and thus listed as a crime- but not by you and your provider- or, you have no provider and thus do not subscribe contractually to any law. What happens next?
Thank you, Ian, for your kind words.
My quick answers to your questions are:
(1) If particular justice providers fail to uphold (the appropriate list of) rights, I think their customers may start to become unhappy with them.
(2) If you choose not to have a justice provider, the rights aren’t meaningless. But you can’t prosecute anyone for breaching them. Though if they feel like it, someone else can choose to prosecute on your behalf if they wish.
(3) Per item 4 under the list headed 16: Institutions of Civilization, “There is no executive in Civilization. Anyone has the right to arrest a suspected criminal and bring them to justice.”
(4) I don’t think there ought to be any disagreements between JPs on exactly what the Code is. It should be written down explicitly and clearly (that’s part of what I call “Transitional Arrangements,” an area I decided not to confront this time round). That said, there will obviously be situations where one individual claims that his rights have been breached, and another denies it. What happens in such a case may depend on the circumstances (e.g. on whose property did the alleged breach take place?)
Thank you again for your interest, these are exactly the kind of questions I wanted!
Interesting stuff, Neil! You’ve got the makings of a book there, and it’s one I’d like to read.
Thank you Thomas, yet another book to write! But I’m most glad that you find this area interesting. In fact there is a (much less detailed) chapter on this subject in my book “Honest Common Sense” which I published last year. This essay is my attempt to put a little flesh on those very brief ideas.
Neil, I’m sort of of the feeling that this kind of work deserves further comment and discussion, but despite generally being an argumentative SOB, I feel uncomfortable nitpicking, which is what it would come down to.
So, as a general question, how do you see this blueprint in practice? Is it a Constitution, a legal document, a personal code? Or a statement of what may be called, in your view “general prerequisites of a civilised society”?
How do we go from where we are to the society described above?
Thank you, Ian. I’m well aware that there are lots of holes, inconsistencies and mistakes in here, so even nit-picking would be constructive, if it’s objective enough!
I guess that, of the suggestions you make, the document is nearest to the last. It might be capable of being evolved into a “constitution for civilization” – indeed, it’s written more than a little in that style. But it isn’t anywhere near there yet. There’s a personal code in there as part of it – most of the detail being in the two Annexes, though some is in the main document.
As to your final question, I’m thinking about the “transitional arrangements,” but that’s a big job. There’s a very short section (approx 450 words) in my book called “The Transition Period.” I’ll look that section out and put it up on the LA website for you. But I suspect it will raise more questions in your mind than it answers – particularly “how do we get to the start of this process?”
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