Announcing the winners of the Constitution of Consent Contest. $25,000 in prizes to be awarded.
Nice. Looks like everyone did beautiful work. There were more entrants than I expected and that is phenomenal. I am happy with the outcome, as this was an amazing experience for Gav and myself. I'll be sharing these results with the Logos team; I also publish ours via my Substack and other spaces for folks to review. Keep up the good work as per usual, Max. Props to you and the judges who put so much time and energy into this exercise. A worthwhile endeavor if I have seen one. Cheers.
Thank you for making this competition. I was one of the submitters in the contest (as named Som Mathur) and I really appreciate you setting this to help me hone in on some ideas for a new constitution that I've been sitting on for a long time. While I wasn't one of the winners, I see many great ideas coming out of the well-deserved wins you described in this article, and I would like to further help develop the new constitution you envision, perhaps as a legal innovator you mentioned here:
"We are currently in talks with donors to take the Constitution of Consent to the next level: to assemble a working group of legal innovators. These professionals will take the best of the contest ideas to ensure our open-source Constitution of Consent 1.0 has the best chance of seeing future implementation. "
If there's any opportunity available to help with this, please feel free to let me know the best way to reach you.
Thanks a lot for the shout-out, Max! It was a very creative and stimulating competition. I felt a certain absurdity in even making the attempt. I would never have done it without the pretext of the competition. But I learned a lot, and it made an impression. Ever since, it's echoed in my mind and my imagination. I keep refining it. For example, it ought to be one of the duties of the Judges' Guild to submit for reauthorization by the Assembly laws that have lapsed, IF the laws have proved enforceable and consistent with other laws, with such revisions as are necessary to enhance administrative efficiency and fairness and the coherence of the legal code as a whole. Also, when local governments are organized, they should be required to compensate residents who choose to leave because they didn't consent to the organization of that local government, and one of the duties of the Assembly can be to determine whether the compensation is fair. And... Etc.
I've also started to imagine futuristic historical scenarios where the constitution might actually be implemented. Suppose a religious commune, wanting to escape corrupt mainstream society in the West, secures sovereign title to uninhabited island somewhere, where they plan to grow food and to telework by satellite internet. Others join them, fishermen and refugees and relatives, until there's a substantial body of residents, in need of some way of governing themselves. And so they could run a constitution competition of this kind for proposals on how to do that, and if I adapted this, submitted it, and won, then... Etc.
Readers of this threat might be interested in the political philosophy I wrote 12 years ago, entitled Principles of a Free Society. https://a.co/d/bgHRdMD
It starts from natural rights and freedom of conscience, then leads into the social contract, after which it deals with property rights, then scathingly critiques the concept of "sovereignty." It covers free trade and foreign intervention, but the most striking is your position it takes is for open borders. Government is legitimate up to a point, but immigration restrictions are not. There is fulsome praise for civil disobedience, as the great force for liberty, without which we would forever deteriorate on the dilemmas of the "who guards the guards?" problem. The chapter on Christianity and freedom is also key: I think the historic group of human freedom is inseparable from the continual influence of Christianity raising the moral level of mankind.
Thank you for creating this contest. In my research, I came across constituteproject.org which catalogs all the constitutions in the world. Definitely eye opening. I also realized that there needs to be a testing lab for these ideas. Struggling with the second and third order effects of even one simple line in a constitution stymied my ability to complete a submission in time. Personally, I concluded that there cannot be a one size fits all for a constitution. At the core of a constitution, I believe, is an idea worth fighting for and risking your life for. The world is full of people and ideologies that are willing to do just that. A constitution written by you or me that, at its core, is based on self interest will probably not stand up to the afore mentioned evolutionary forces. Please, someone, change my mind!
Max Borders has done an important thing, basically saying, 'Put up or shut up. Let's see a working, nuts-an-bolts constitution derived from your political theorizing.'
However, the snippets above from those who were recognized do not say much about their entries. Yes human rights good, yes individualism good, yes small government good, but I don't see any institutionalized mechanism that would guarantee those things.
Max, since you own all the entries, you should post them all, so that each of us can judge whether they indeed 'put up' a working system.
I'm extremely grateful to be included amongst the winners. Thanks for all of your hard work putting together and judging this contest.
I have also published the entirety of my entry via a GitHub repository here: https://github.com/luisrayas3/golden-liberty
In addition to the full text, I have a "commentary" document, which motivates things in a more casual way, without being part of the "binding" text: https://github.com/luisrayas3/golden-liberty/blob/master/COMMENTARY.md
I welcome ideas and suggestions in the form of "Issues".
I have 'put up' my entire constitution contest entry here: http://terryhulsey.com/TLH.pdf
I reserve only CC BY ND rights (the minimum).
The comprehensive elucidation of its ideas is in _The Constitution of Non-State Government: Field Guide to Texas Secession_, here:
Please put your thoughts on its Amazon comments page. The "Look Inside" feature is quite long, but if it really gives you a heartburn to buy the book, I'll send it to you free, provided 1) That you observe CC BY ND, 2) that you give an Amazon comment and 3) that you pass it along to another, under these same three conditions.
I'd love to read the complete systems of the other 41 entries.
Thanks a lot to the judges and everyone for reading and appreciating my work. It was an honor for me to participate in this contest
Thank you so much to everyone involved in this amazing and vital project. Thank you for your hard work and all the sacrifices you made to see it through.
I believe that history will look back on this as a seminal event—the first page of a new chapter in the course of human affairs.
Nice job. I liked the excerpts you chose from Voss’s entry.
Although I’m sure it was a lot of work, it sounds like you and the judges did a very thorough and fair evaluation. In any event, I think it was a very interesting and worthwhile experiment.
Also, just curious: Was this a "blind" judging, or did the judges see the authors' names?
Chris, thanks for the discussion. I give my final remarks here, referencing this thread and the thread at Chris Cook's https://christophercook.substack.com/p/human-constitution/comments#comment-44393389
>>Marriage is a special contract to bring a conceived child to adulthood. It is misleading to apply it to other kinds of contract.
"I still think there is a fundamental disconnect. I am not trying to create a single society. I am trying to create a framework [...]. You see what I mean?"
>>I do see. The disconnect must remain.
"[P]eople are CHOOSING the set of rules by which they abide".
>>A rule whimsically observed or ignored is no longer a rule.
Great replies! I respond here in one place, referencing Chris Cook's https://christophercook.substack.com/p/human-constitution/comments#comment-44393389
1. On these things we fully agree:
a) “Lionizing consent [...] does not solve all problems, but it helps.”
b) “I do not think large territories are workable, moral, or a particularly good idea.”
c) “Freedom of association means [total] freedom of association.”
d) “Yes [I want total private property ownership.]”
2. I’m familiar with Mises.org, Hoppe, Rothbard references to insurance/protective societies. The libertarian weakness is to typically start with a conjectural bare stage, when the real work is in providing transitional institutions to the desideratum.
3. “I am not quite getting your objection [to marriage as anything but a commitment to raise any conceived children].”
>>My point is to insist on the clear definition of “marriage,” apart from ordinary interpersonal contracts. I think the popular muddying of its meaning to apply to both really seeks to steal the sanctity of the term. It has greater sanctity entirely apart from any supernatural claims, since conceiving a child casts a ripple across all eternity.
4. “[Unoccupied territory exists in] Seasteading and the colonization of space, mostly.”
>>Werner K. Stiefel: Operation Atlantis in the Caribbean, failed in 1972.
Michael Oliver: Republic of Minerva in the South Pacific, failed in 1972.
Michael Oliver: Minerva on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas, failed in 1973.
Michael Oliver: Minerva on the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, failed in 1980.
As for the colonization of space, I leave that to Robert Zubrin and the sci-fi crowd.
5. “We claim these principles to be universal and true, but we're not going to force you to live any particular way.”
“[Supernatural authority] is as bad as Locke's appeals to ‘right reason’.”
>>This is my point. Not only are the various ‘polities’ free to live as they please, but so is EVERY MEMBER of each polity. Since you deny any authority, supernatural or reasoned, each one is “bound” solely by consent, which is no bind at all, since it can be changed on a whim, without consequences.
6. “I chose to write a constitution that is entirely consent-based.”
>>And since members of this society can cancel or amend its terms at any time, they are bound by nothing. I see no difference between it and The Land of Cockaigne, or Rabelais’ Abbaye of Thélème, where the only rule is ‘Fais ce que tu voudras.’
Here is my full constitution: https://christophercook.substack.com/p/human-constitution
It is taking me a little time to get to reading the other entries (I have only read one so far), but I will get there eventually!
For the entry of Luis Rayas, I have also added the comments below at https://github.com/luisrayas3/golden-liberty/issues/new
Go there for the full context of the references. All remarks are intended as collegial.
I; Rights of all persons:
>>“inherent natural rights”: Does that mean the rights enumerated in the first eight Amendments to the U.S. Constitution? Or does it mean substantive rights?
>>Is a religious belief that mandates the killing of unbelievers to be treated “with dignity and respect”? Is contempt for short people to be prosecuted under the law?
>>Does self ownership forbid incarceration for any crime?
>>Does the “equal natural right to move about the earth” mean that no jurisdictional borders shall exist?
>>What agency will enforce remuneration for these “transgressions”?
I; Rights of the accused:
>>Is the more restrictive “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard now to apply to torts as well?
>>If the “sanction” does not “surpass the degree of the original transgression,” then crime becomes a winning proposition: Getting caught would mean no more than restoring what was taken or damaged.
II; Right to secession:
>>If the seceding city views some obligation as an exit tax, is the League permitted to use violence against it?
II; Republican and transparent government:
Cities shall recognize the popular sovereignty of each of its Citizens.
>>This is not clear, since “popular” and “each” refer to a group and to an individual, respectively.
>>“Equal opportunity for suffrage” could mean penalizing those who don’t vote, among other things.
All bodies [...] shall be subject to audit by the Ministry of Accountability.
>>This “Ministry of Accountability” is thus given veto power over every aspect of government.
>>You advocate compulsory jury duty.
>>“Material defense” should be clearly distinguished from “defense.”
II; Legislative powers:
>>What authority will enforce this legal standardization among the cities?
>>This paragraph seems to authorize cities to suppress disturbance of the peace, but is not clear.
>>“Natural authority” should be clearly distinguished from “authority.”
II; Collection of natural rent:
>>The “ground rent” issue lets loose an avalanche of other issues: Are landlords to have their rents confiscated without compensation? Is ground rent to be the sole tax? How is it to be distributed?
>>Does “willing to pay its rent” allow rent charges as high as the “exclusive” users care to charge? If so, the purpose of ground rent is defeated; if not, then the users’ property is being taken.
II; Power to spend:
>>This paragraph seems to distinguish between ground rent equally distributed among citizens and ground rent withheld for “public” use, with no restriction on the size of the “public” share.
>>If not set (redundantly) by the existing market, then what is the “appropriate rent” according to the ground rent scheme?
II; Establishment of money:
>>If a city distributes the money of its choosing for the dividend, it may be CBDC, “social credits,” or any arbitrary medium.
II; Harboring fugitives:
>>Must a city deliver up a person accused of an act that is not a legal offense under its own laws?
IV; Councils of the League:
>>The distinction between League and City seems similar to that of Federal and State, but this is not spelled out.
IV; Representation in the Council of Citizens:
>>What is the advantage of vote delegation?
>>What is the purpose of Council of Citizen forums?
IV; Election of the Council of Cities:
>>“Consistent with the principles of republicanism” could mean almost anything.
IV; Plurality votes:
>>Why not just say 28%, 40%, and 46% plurality? These calculations serve only to confuse.
>>Nowhere are “directive” and “ministry” spelled out (not even in section VI), despite the elaborate business of their pluralities.
IV; Rules, processes, and schedule:
>>Nowhere is “council” spelled out, despite the elaborate business of its pluralities.
V; Office of the President:
>>Does “unarmed” mean “bureaucrats”?
>>Is the national army a collection of militias coordinated by protocols? If not, what is the nature of the national army?
The President shall serve in their office until they choose to abdicate[...].
>>This seems to be a “President-for-Life and Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea” position, like that of Idi Amin.
VI; Naturalization of Cities and Citizens:
>>I’m not sure of the value of passports when no borders exist (see above).
VI; Citizen's dividend:
>>There seems to be no restriction on the amount that the Councils can “allocate” to themselves for some “public” use.
VI; Ministry of Accountability:
>>The “Ministry of Accountability” seems to have veto power over the entire government.
If one calls an entry "colorful science fiction," and then provides a non-representative quotation that was never part of the entry, there's no honor in the mention.