Chapter 8 
                               BEYOND GOVERNMENT 
   * Limited Government  
   * Jury  
   * Government is a Mistake  
   * Anarchism  
   * A Covenant for a Union of Sovereign Americans  

   * Limited Government 
   Everyone wants "less" government. But in most cases, all they want is to 
get rid only of the part that they don't like. Would it be possible to place 
universal restrictions on a government so as to make it a truly limited 
government? In view of the fundamental characteristics of government 
(especially its demand for exclusivity), effective limitations are clearly 
impossible. A "limited government" would not, in fact, BE a government, but 
would instead be the equivalent of a private police force. Regardless of 
what it is called, any organization with the potential of implementing force 
MUST be structured in a way that provides genuine protection for those who 
are subject to its power. 
   Unfortunately, the Founding Fathers did not include in the Constitution a 
provision that would have made it a criminal offense for the government to 
interfere with the lawful behavior of a free citizen. That would have made a 
tremendous difference in the form of our society. The revolt against England 
should not have gone so far as to reject many eminently sensible provisions 
of the British scheme of government. Such as the Coroner's Jury, by which 
police behavior is subject to citizens' evaluation. 
   In the final scene of ATLAS SHRUGGED, Rand makes this proposal for an 
amendment to the Constitution: 
   "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and 
   An extension of this might provide a more sweeping limitation: 
   "Government shall have no authority whatsoever over the freedom of 
production, transportation, communication, and trade." 
   Another broad restriction could be patterned on the Ninth Amendment: 
   "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain activities which are 
forbidden to government, shall not be construed to permit the government any 
activity not specifically designated by the Constitution. Government shall 
have ONLY the authority which this Constitution specifically grants to it. 
Any attempt to exceed this specified authority shall constitute criminal 

   Here are two other suggestions that might have good effect: 
   Government shall pass no law that has not arisen directly from the 
populace via a ballot-initiative process. 
   It is forbidden for government to possess information about any 
specifiable individual person who is not a convicted criminal or a 
government employee. 
   In any attempt to protect people against oppression, it is necessary to 
enact laws which specify punishments for criminal behavior. 
   If a constitution were to provide for genuine protection against 
government oppression, then that constitution would have to contain 
penalties for its own violation - provisions that would make it a criminal 
offense for anyone in government to violate the constitution. And also 
provisions that would punish the government for making any laws that violate 
the rights of the citizens (e.g., victimless-crime laws) or for in any way 
exceeding the authority granted to it by the constitution. 
   Immediately the question arises: How could such violations be judged? 

   * Jury 
   Libertarians argue that the only proper functions of government are to 
provide Police, Courts and Military. Admittedly, these are indeed necessary 
social functions, but there is another function equally, if not more, 
important to a civilized society. This function is the protection of 
individual citizens against government oppression. 
   This is a function that CANNOT be performed by government! There must be 
an independent procedure for judging government behavior and for 
adjudicating disputes between citizens and government - something other than 
the presently-existing court procedures. After all, the courts are 
themselves a part of the government, and when a citizen is mistreated by the 
government he has no redress except to take his case to the very government 
which mistreated him. But as John Locke observed, "Any man so unjust as to 
do his neighbor an injury will scarce be so just as to condemn himself for 
   The "balance of power" in our Constitution sets each branch of government 
to be a counterforce against each of the other branches of government. What 
this "balance of power" does NOT do is provide a check on the power the 
government has over the freedom of the individual citizens. No effective 
check - merely unenforceable prohibitions. 
   I suggest that there should be an institution to provide such a check, 
and I see the jury as a likely basis for such an institution. I would set 
the jury up as an entity as separate from government as possible, and 
designed to act as an independent judge of government. (In fact, I would 
like to see the Jury established as the fundamental institution of 
   The principle of Jury Nullification should be incorporated into the 
function of the jury, and that principle should be extended to include these 
   Any conflict between an individual and the government, or any charge of 
misconduct against the government, shall be resolved by jury. 
   Juries shall be selected by lottery (and ONLY by lot) from a panel of 
volunteers, none of whom shall be a member of government, a registered 
voter, or a lawyer. 
   All jury members shall receive a copy of the constitution (which shall 
itself contain a detailed description of the function of a jury) and a copy 
of the law which authorized the government's behavior in the conflict under 
   Although the government (in the person of the Judge or the Prosecutor) 
shall be permitted to advise the jury, the jury shall in no way be obliged 
to follow that advice. (It might be a good idea also to abolish most of the 
functions of a judge, a position which has grown to be more that of a 
dictator than a mediator. Perhaps the function of Jury Foreman should be 
extended to encompass any necessary judgeship functions. Such an arrangement 
appears to work quite well in the operation of the Supreme Court, which 
might itself be considered as a 9-member jury.) 
   Nullification of a law shall repeal the law - permanently. Nullification 
shall also immediately and permanently remove from office all those 
legislators who sponsored the law, render ineligible for re-election all 
those legislators who voted for the law, and subject to criminal prosecution 
all armed members of government who implemented the law. 
   To enforce these provisions, there shall be established a force of Jury 
Marshals (financed by some means completely independent of government 
control - perhaps by fines imposed by juries on government agencies) whose 
jurisdiction shall extend only to members of government. Control over the 
Jury Marshals shall be exercised only by a jury. 
   In a more anarchist arrangement, the jury shall appoint a Marshall and he 
shall select a posse from a panel of armed volunteers. This group shall 
carry out the verdict of the jury, and the posse shall be dissolved 
immediately afterwards. 

   It will be objected that these ideas on the Jury are not absolutely 
guaranteed to infallibly ensure peace on earth. Of course they can't. But no 
scheme for governance can possibly result in a greater degree of death and 
destruction than government has and continues to perpetrate. 

   Legislatures are founded on the assumption that there is a need for the 
continual production of rules to govern the lives of the citizens. Is this a 
valid assumption? Is it really necessary for you to have over a million laws 
in order to be able to go down to the corner store and buy a loaf of bread? 
(No exaggeration: in 1992 it was calculated that among the Federal, State 
and Local governments, every American citizen lives under the shroud of more 
than a million laws. On January 1, 1996, one thousand new laws went into 
effect in the state of California.) 
   America is drowning in an avalanche of legal pollution that could 
appropriately be called hyperleges. But hyperleges is inevitable under the 
present legal system: it is the natural function of a congress to pass laws, 
just as it is the natural function of flies to make maggots. We have 
legislatures at the federal, state and local levels whose only function is 
to create laws, thus the inevitable result of 200 years of legislative 
function MUST be a plethora of laws. After two centuries, what could you 
expect but that the American court system would be drowning in laws? This is 
a situation that can only get worse as time passes and congresses keep 
performing their natural function. 
   These laws are the structure of the culture of our society. It is 
universally observed that this culture is deteriorating - that there is more 
crime and less personal safety than there used to be in this country. But 
have the people themselves changed all that much? Are you yourself any less 
civilized than your grandparents were? I really don't think individual 
people have changed; what HAS changed is the social context in which we 
live. We have thousands, if not millions, more laws than our grandparents 
had. But we are people, just as our grandparents were. The difference is not 
in the people, but in the rules which limit our individual choices and 
govern our social interactions. 
   Eventually civilization will be destroyed in a crazy welter of laws, 
taxes, regulations, and the endless proliferation of government into all 
phases of human activity. Proof is overwhelming that governments are not 
going to stop short at some point and quit implementing new laws. In reality 
they're going to continue just as always, passing new ones at the rate of 
tens of thousands per year. Can this go on indefinitely? Or is there a 
finite number of things that can possibly be regulated? Personally, I'm glad 
I won't live long enough to find out. 
   Why do we need all these laws that the congresses have laid upon us 
during the past 200 years? Why, exactly, do we need an institution that 
continually creates laws? 
   What IS needed are guidelines for applying a basic social principle. 
Suppose we had no legislatures, no congresses, no senates, no councils - in 
short, no gangs of goons continually passing laws supposedly "for the good 
of the people." Suppose the implementation of the principle were to arise 
spontaneously from the people themselves in the form of jury verdicts. 
   If each jury verdict were delivered in writing, and included the 
principled rationale for that verdict, then the collected verdicts of all 
the juries could constitute the "body of law" of the community and provide 
guidelines for applying the principle, just as today we consult Supreme 
Court cases for legal guidance, and refer to the Common Law, which is made 
up of legal principles enunciated by judges in particular cases, and then 
followed as precedent. 
   But notice that there is nothing binding in this corpus. Each individual 
jury can decide each individual case solely according to its interpretation 
of the principle. 
   Through such an extension of the function of the Jury, we would truly 
have a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." 

   * Government is a Mistake 
   Clearly, the suggestions I offer are not a comprehensive formula for the 
establishment of a limited government, but I do think they contain the major 
elements that any such formula must incorporate. 
   But should limited government be the libertarian goal? I think not! ANY 
government, no matter how it is constructed, is by its fundamental nature an 
evil institution - because the essence of the concept "government" is 
coercion. I believe the very idea "government" is a mistake. In the same 
category (but with much more devastating consequences) as "flat earth" and 
the "geocentric cosmology." 
   There was once a time when men believed the earth to be flat. As long as 
they held to this belief, they could not successfully navigate over long 
distances. Only when they had abandoned this belief could they advance and 
extend civilization over all the planet. 
   There was also once a time when men believed the earth to be the center 
of the universe. As long as they held to this belief, they were restricted 
to a very limited and inaccurate view of reality. Only when they had 
abandoned this belief could they acquire a comprehensive knowledge of the 
   Today, men believe that civilization is impossible without government, 
and they give their highest loyalty to their nation. This mistaken belief 
has spread misery, famine, and the wholesale destruction of war all over the 
earth. Someday in the future, when people stop lying to themselves about the 
nature of government, they will achieve the greatness of soul to see a 
higher loyalty: reality. They will then recognize the mistake, and 
government will be abandoned just as other mistakes have been abandoned. The 
scourge of nationalism will recede into history, like other diseases and 
errors that have been conquered by advancing knowledge. Only then will it be 
possible for men to live together in peace and security. 
   But the mere removal of government, although a necessary prerequisite for 
the existence of social sanity, will not suffice to bring it about. The 
absence of a negative doesn't equal the presence of a positive. We can see 
evidence of this in Yugoslavia and the regions of ethnic strife in the 
former Soviet Union. Just as in the application of any other beneficial 
moral or ethical principle, it is necessary to LEARN how to implement social 
health. The world has had freedom only by default, never by design. If there 
is to be any hope for civilization in the future, a rational social 
structure must be created. 
   The structures of the social institutions, the institutional contexts in 
which individuals interact, evolve. I want to present what I believe will be 
the next step in this process of evolution by suggesting an alternative to 
government, an alternative which would in fact perform the valuable social 
function that government merely claims to perform. I will present the 
fundamental principle which is accepted by all libertarians, show that even 
in a purely anarchic society there would be a need for an explicitly stated 
code of behavior, and present an approach to the problems of formulating 
such a code. 
   * Anarchism 
   Arguments against anarchism: 
   James A. Kuffel: 
   Jurisprudence is difficult and complex, and it is farfetched to assume 
"competing governments" would deduce exactly the same "laws" in all areas, 
not to say in one. Imagine the consequences of various "governments" 
attempting to apply different "laws" within the same territory....Equality 
before THE law would be impossible, that is, justice would be impossible. 
Government may function improperly, taking invasive action on a large scale. 
But, as a corollary, it is the only form of organized force which can ensure 
the protection of rights on a large scale. 
   [Kuffel is attacking a straw man. It is not only "farfetched" to assume 
different governments would promulgate the same laws, it is obviously false 
- as you can easily see by observing the governments throughout the world 
today. One need not "imagine" the consequences of various governments' 
attempts to apply different laws - one need only observe the plethora of 
civil wars continually being waged. To equate Justice with "equality before 
the law" is absurd. Justice and Law are only accidentally (and rarely) 
related. Government not only "may" function improperly - it always does! And 
in fact it has NEVER ensured the protection of rights on a large scale. But 
in any case, the argument Kuffel attributes to anarchists is NOT what 
anarchists propose! We conceive proper laws as being enunciations of 
principles of justice, not as being - as Kuffel implies - the arbitrary 
pronouncements of a government.] 

   Don Ernsberger: 
   While driving home from work one day, my wife was sideswiped by a 
motorist who was in a hurry to return home. After taking her car to the 
garage for an estimate, she notified the insurance company (Nationwide) that 
it would cost some $112 to repair the minor damages. It was then that we 
realized to our horror that the other driver was insured by Allstate 
insurance - a rival firm. Demanding that our rights be protected, we pleaded 
for action. Nationwide dispatched a squadron of crack troops to the home of 
the guilty driver. He, true to form, certainly did not permit rival agents 
to enter his home as he distrusted Nationwide. He was able to hold the 
Nationwide units at bay for the several hours that it took for Allstate 
troops to arrive. Now the two rival firms faced each other across a 
battleline. In the conflict which followed, seven were killed and twelve 
wounded - but Nationwide carried the day. Out of the charred ruins of his 
home the $112 was recovered and we were repayed. 
   [When did you ever hear of Pinkerton facing off in a gun-battle with 
Wackenhut? But in 1861 two rival GOVERNMENTS faced each other across a 
battleline, and the result was half a million deaths.] 

   Ron Heiner: 
   Each party may attempt to secure the services of whatever court would 
favor his point of view and, consequently, there would be the emergence of 
courts seeking clients some of whom hold different, antagonistic beliefs and 
viewpoints (there might even emerge courts soliciting individuals with 
certain religious, political, and moral views along with courts emphasizing 
different principles in tort, liability, and contract disputes). The 
conflicting parties could also look for protection agencies which would 
enforce their views and opinions. Now if one argues that the protection 
agencies would force the disputants to abide by the agreements with and the 
decisions of the private courts, then one is no longer describing a system 
of voluntary interaction but rather a system of coercive interaction 
comprised of agencies with the power to defy the wishes of their clients (or 
coerce individuals who are not clients who have for some reason antagonized 
other individuals who hired these agencies). 
   [This is an excellent description of the inter-relationships of federal, 
state and local courts, each with its own sheriffs and marshals, and we saw 
it implemented in practice during the civil rights strife of the 1960s.] 

   John Hospers: 
   As for the courts, it seems to me that they would be inclined to render 
the most popular verdicts - that is, those that would gain the arbitration 
agency the most paid members - and the most popular decisions aren't 
necessarily the most just ones. 
   [As for the elected judges, it seems to me that they would be inclined to 
render the most popular verdicts - that is, those that would gain the judge 
the most votes - and the most popular decisions aren't necessarily the most 
just ones. (See the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" for an excellent 
fictional portrayal of this phenomenon.)] 

   Arguments against competing defense agencies overlook the fact that there 
is a de facto state of competing governments presently existing in the USA. 
Every area of the country suffers under the burden of at least three 
governments, and in some places four: Federal, State, County, and City. 
   It was the competition between the state and federal governments that 
resulted in the Civil War. Has there ever been an instance of Pinkerton, 
Wells Fargo, and Wackenhut engaging in armed conflict? 
   Life under a government is a continual legal civil war, where men gang up 
on one another and struggle for possession of the law, which they use as a 
club over rivals until another gang wrests it from their clutch and clubs 
them with it in their turn. All of them continually clamoring protestations 
of service to an unnamed public's unspecified good. 
   Arguments against competing defense agencies also overlook the fact that 
the "useful functions" of government not only can be, but are presently 
being performed by private agencies. 
   Suppose you seek the expertise of a security firm to protect your home. 
You discuss the matter with 3 firms, Burns, Pinkerton, and Wells-Fargo, all 
offering a different range of services and prices. You decide to hire Burns, 
because they offer armed guards. 
   Is this not competition in the value of protective force? Is not the 
force used to repel criminals subject to open-market buying and selling? Is 
it not true that force is not only, in this sense, an economic good, but one 
in which millions of "trades" are made daily? 
   "Security firms" (free market firms trading in the "administration of 
law" for profit) are not fictional constructs from the anarcho-capitalist's 
dream for the future. They are operating now, alive and well. The Cato 
Institute proposes laws, or their abolition. The makers of "The Club" deal 
in deterrence. Holmes Protection provides guards. The Mutual Detective 
Agency investigates crimes. Private bounty hunters apprehend fugitives. The 
American Arbitration Association offers adjudication. Corrections 
Corporation of America, Inc. makes a profit from incarcerating criminals. In 
short, every aspect of functions traditionally considered exclusively 
reserved to governments is now being performed privately.  
   Since there are innumerable free market trades in force daily, force must 
be an economic good. 
   There are two kinds of force: Offensive and Defensive. Anarchists wish to 
place only the second of these on the market - and to do so in ways that 
will attempt to abolish the first. Statists, on the other hand, wish to 
institutionalize the first.  
   An anarchic society is not a Utopia in which the inititation of violence 
is impossible. Rather, it is a society which does not institutionalize the 
initiation of force and in which there are means for dealing with aggression 
justly when it does occur. The absence of government does not mean the 
absence of violence. It simply means the absence of an official, legal, 
institutionalized tool for its imposition. 
   The basic thing that all utopian theories have in common is that they can 
succeed only if they involve utopian people. Anarchism does not make this 
unrealistic assumption about human nature. 
   Anarchism is not a form of statism. Anarchists don't want to impose their 
value system on anyone else. 
   Anarchism is not terrorism. The agent of the government - the cop who 
wears a gun to scare you into obeying him - is the terrorist. Governments 
threaten to punish anyone who defies State power, and therefore the State 
really amounts to an institution of terror. 
   It is an oft-overlooked point that a non-government justice system should 
be judged not by whether it can deliver perfection (which no system can) but 
by whether it can do better than available alternatives, such as the system 
we have now. 

   Here is what anarchists believe: 
   Government, which is a form of order arbitrarily imposed on society and 
maintained through armed force, is an unnecessary evil. 
   All governments continually enlarge upon and extend their powers; under 
government, the rights of individuals continually diminish. 
   All governments survive on theft and extortion, called taxation. All 
governments force their decrees on the people, and command obedience under 
threat of punishment. 
   The principle of government, which is force, is opposed to the free 
exercise of our ability to think, act and cooperate. 
   Whenever government is established, it causes more harm than it 
forestalls. Under the guise of protecting people from crime and violence, 
governments not only do not eradicate random, individual crime, but they 
institutionalize such varieties as censorship, taxation-theft and war. 
   Appeals to a government for a redress of grievances, even when acted 
upon, only increase the supposed legitimacy of the government's behavior, 
and add therefore to its amassed power. 
   The principal outrages of history have been committed by governments, 
while every advancement of thought, every betterment in the human condition, 
has come about through the practices of voluntary cooperation and individual 
   No true reform is possible that leaves government intact. 
   Free people, when accustomed to taking responsibility for their own 
behavior, almost always cooperate on a basis of mutual trust and 
   People are capable of voluntarily organizing themselves, and the social 
order resulting from the voluntary interaction of individuals can meet any 
and all social needs without any necessity for coercion. 
   Every person must have the right to make all decisions about his or her 
own life. All moralistic meddling in the private affairs of freely-acting 
persons is unjustified. Behavior which does not affect uninvolved persons is 
nobody's business but the participants'. 
   We are not bound by constitutions or agreements made by our ancestors. 
Any constitution, contract, or agreement that purports to bind unborn 
generations - or in fact anyone other than the actual parties to it - is a 
despicable falsehood and a presumptuous fraud. We are free agents liable 
only for such as we ourselves undertake. 

   There are two kinds of anarchist: principled and non-principled. The 
critics almost always argue only against the non-principled variety. They 
seem unable to perceive the principled kind. 
   The principled anarchist bases his political beliefs on underlying 
ethical principles. The non-principled anarchist is merely somebody who 
hates government, not on the basis of ethical principle, but usually merely 
as a result of his perception of its inevitable tyranny. The problem with 
non-principled anarchy (or any other non-principled belief) is that he who 
holds it can be swindled into accepting a disguised form (such as non-
governmental tyranny) of what he opposes, because he does not have a 
principled standard of judgment by which to evaluate it. 

   The account of human history is almost invariably governmental, leaving 
little to suggest that a viable anarchist society is possible. But the fact 
that an anarchist society has never existed does not mean that one cannot 
exist or should not exist. 
   What we have today that enables the existence of an anarchist society, 
for the first time in history, is the Objectivist Ethics. Using this new 
truth, we can accomplish things that have never been done before. 

   * A Covenant for a Union of Sovereign Americans 
   From CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE by H. D. Thoreau: 
   "I heartily accept the motto, - 'That government is best which governs 
least;' and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and 
systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I 
believe, - 'That government is best which governs not at all;' and when men 
are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will 

   An animal is an animal by nature. It has no choice in the matter. But a 
human being must, by nature, CHOOSE to be human. The necessity of choice 
arises from the structure of his cognitive apparatus. A part of this choice 
is, as an individual, to choose to think - and, as a member of a society, to 
choose to live by the non-aggression principle. 
   We are social beings who can realize our humanity fully only in the 
context of community. But the culture of a community, which depends on the 
ethos of each individual within the community, can inspire the best in human 
beings or the worst. The culture can value - or denigrate - freedom, and 
thus either promote or retard its members' capability to realize their 
   The Objectivist stand is quite clear: 
   "The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may 
INITIATE the use of physical force against others. No man - or group or 
society or government - has the right to assume the role of a criminal and 
initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man." (From "The 
Objectivist Ethics," in THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS.)    
   It is the initiation of force that distinguishes criminal from non-
criminal behavior, and it is the acceptance or rejection of the non-
aggression principle that distinguishes a civilized human being from a 
savage; a libertarian from a statist. Thus it is that a person cannot claim 
to be fully human unless he acts from the base of non-coercion. 
   All civilized people, whether they are of the Anarchist persuasion or of 
the Minarchist view of social organization, hold to the same basic ethical 
principle - the libertarian ethic of non-aggression: 

   John Hospers: " a philosophy of personal liberty - the 
liberty of each person to live according to his own choices, provided that 
he does not attempt to coerce others and thus prevent them from living 
according to their choices." 
   Ayn Rand: "Both parties hold as their moral absolute that neither exists 
for the sake of the other and that reason is their only means of trade." 

   Robert LeFevre: "I will contend that each individual may rightfully do as 
he pleases with his own person and his own property without asking 
permission from anyone, and so long as he confines his actions to his own 
person or property he cannot be morally challenged. What may he do morally 
with the person or property belonging to another? Absolutely nothing." 

   David Boaz: "Libertarians believe the role of government is not to impose 
a particular morality but to establish a framework of rules that will 
guarantee each individual the freedom to pursue his own good in his own way, 
so long as he does not infringe the freedom of others." 

   Karl Hess: "Libertarianism is the view that each man is the absolute 
owner of his life, to use and dispose of as he sees fit; that all man's 
social actions should be voluntary; and that respect for every other man's 
similar and equal ownership of life, and by extension, the property and 
fruits of that life, is the ethical basis of a humane and open society." 

   Many Anarchists believe that no explicitly codified statement of the 
libertarian principle is necessary, and that no formal system of social 
organization is desirable to ensure its implementation. 
   The Minarchists believe that an explicit statement is very much necessary 
(in the form of a constitution) and that society would be impossible without 
the existence of a formally-structured social organization possessed of the 
monopolistic power and authority to enforce the terms of this constitution. 
   I disagree somewhat with both positions. 
   I believe that an explicit and formally accepted statement of the basic 
ethical principle is very much necessary. 

   There is a standard of conduct that must be observed if man is to 
flourish in a social context. In order that the members of a society adhere 
to this standard, there must exist an explicit and formally accepted 
statement of its underlying ethical principles. Anarchists err in 
considering Rights, Justice, and other ethical concepts to be market 
phenomena. They are NOT market phenomena, although their implementations 
can, and should be, market procedures. The ethical concepts denote facts of 
reality and therefore cannot be arbitrarily decreed but must be carefully 
and accurately identified. Robert Bidinotto pointed out precisely the 
mistake underlying the common anarchist position: "anarchists sincerely 
believe that they are merely advocating competition in the PROTECTION of 
rights. In fact, what their position would necessitate is competition in 
DEFINING what rights ARE." Unfortunately, Bidinotto's colleagues, who accept 
his argument and reject the idea of rights as defined by the marketplace, 
simply turn the coin over and embrace the equally-mistaken idea of rights as 
defined by government. I propose the alternative of rights being defined in 
principle - according to reason. My thesis is that rights are derived from 
examination of reality. The opposite is that they are derived from 
consciousness. Whether that consciousness is the individual judgment of a 
tyrant or a collective judgment expressed through casting ballots or 
spending dollars is irrelevant. 
   Both the statist thesis and the competing-governments thesis are based on 
the same premise: that rights are created by society. In the first case by 
the government, and in the second by the market. Both these theories of 
rights are manifestations of what Rand identified as the social school of 
ethics: "The clash between the two dominant schools of ethics, the mystical 
and the social, is only a clash between personal subjectivism and social 
subjectivism: one substitutes the supernatural for the objective, the other 
substitutes the collective for the objective. Both are savagely united 
against the introduction of objectivity into the realm of ethics." 
(Objectivist Newsletter Feb65) 
   Rights are like the elements in the Periodic Table. The structure of that 
Table results from acts of scrupulous cognitive endeavor. It does not result 
from a multiplicity of acts of economic intercourse, nor from the decrees of 
a governing congress, no matter how many people it may claim to represent. 
   See Chapter 5 for a further discussion of rights.
   See reference
I am swayed also by Rand's contention that an explicitly held conceptualization is infinitely more reliable, useful, and enduring than one that is held in a merely implicit manner. Implicit knowledge is not a substitute for explicit knowledge. Values which you cannot identify, but merely sense implicitly, are not in your control. You cannot tell what they depend on or require, or what course of action is needed to gain and/or keep them. You can lose them by means of other implications, without knowing what it is that you are losing or why. And you cannot teach them to your children! While a culture results from the actions of individuals, it has its own reality as an intellectual context within which individuals make choices. Every society contains a network of values, beliefs, and assumptions, not all of which are named explicitly but which nonetheless are part of each individual's environment. Ideas that are not identified overtly but are held and conveyed tacitly are difficult to question - precisely because they are absorbed by a process that largely bypasses the conscious mind. Most people possesses what might be called a cultural unconscious - a set of implicit beliefs about reality, human beings, good and evil - that reflect the knowledge, understanding, and values prevalent in a historical time and place. Unless these implicit beliefs are brought to the forefront of the mind and explicitly identified, they can be extremely difficult to change, and they cannot be institutionalized. Other scholars also realize the need for a formal statement of principles: Rose Wilder Lane: "I think there is a natural necessity for a civil law, a code, explicitly stated, written and known; an impersonal thing, existing outside all men, as a point of reference to which any man can refer and appeal. Not any form of control, for each individual controls himself; but a law, acting as a nonhuman third party in relationships between living persons; an impersonal witness to contracts, a registrar of promises and deeds of ownership and transfers of ownership of property; a not-living standard existing in visible form, by which man's acts can be judged and to which men's minds can cling." Ayn Rand: "Even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy; it is the need of objective laws and of an arbiter for honest disagreements among men that necessitates the establishment of a government." Robert James Bidinotto: "In any society, human life and well-being mandate that there be a set of objective procedures to distinguish aggression from self-defense, and some way of imposing the final verdicts upon the victimizers on behalf of the victims." Joel Myklebust: "'The market will handle it' amounts to little more than a disguised form of majority rule. That the identification of justice is not a market function seems clear from the fact that, given a demand, the market will supply murder, theft, and arson, in addition to protection. It will not determine right and wrong, it only reacts to supply and demand. Any attempt to deal with complex problems of right without recourse to basic ethical principles is hopeless." Murray Rothbard: "In my view, the entire libertarian system includes: not only the abolition of the State, BUT ALSO the general adoption of a libertarian law code." John Hospers: "They (private protection agencies) should be able to enforce only THE LAW OF THE LAND... - a body of law already enacted, and known in advance, so that one would forsee the consequences of any violation. In other words, laws ENACTED by the state, even though the ENFORCEMENT of them might be left to private agencies." Brick Pillow: "I agree with you that people should solve their own problems....But at some point, if there isn't a peaceful procedure to settle the dispute, it will be settled without being peaceful, and quite possibly the violent solution will not be a just solution. What I envision is that...when the antagonist refuses to yield, decent folks will need an authority that they can turn to....Of course, this presents the next level of perplexing problem: What prevents our pristine Justice League of America from exceeding its mandate, from becoming as evil as the government it replaces?" Nicholas Raeder: "It makes no difference whether the consumers desire automobiles, frozen foods, heroin, murder or censorship; if allowed to do so, the market will provide them. The market is not a slave to the good of the individual, and it does not dispense justice. The market follows desire. It will act rationally in fulfilling desires, but it is the desires of the consumers that it follows.... Neither human nature, rights, justice nor rationality are market phenomena. The actions of the market, as well as the actions of every individual within the association, must be in adherence to a certain standard of conduct in order to make justice and the exercise and protection of human rights possible." These are indeed powerful arguments for a need to establish some code of basic principles, existing in visible form, codified and publicly known - a code that would produce a set of instructions for civilized life and indicate the direction toward which the men and women of good will should choose to strive. Given that volition is a first cause, man must choose to invest human relationships with causality. Real peace is not merely the absence of conflict, it is the presence of justice. Socially, the need for tranquillity requires that man impose lawfulness - reliability - upon the apparent chaos of human relationships. He requires an ethics of non-contradiction - the knowledge that his rights will be protected from violations. A contract is one way in which man imposes order on the apparently chaotic in that if the parties can rely on each other, they can plan long-range. They can foretell otherwise unknown futures. The problem is one of providing a social organization that can effectively combat aggression and ensure the rights of the people, but which will not itself be able to encroach upon non-aggressive citizens. An arrangement of such a nature that a libertarian anarchist would have the OPTION of ignoring it completely, whilst de facto still living within its jurisdiction. It would have to assert no influence over, nor contact with, his life at all - so long as his behavior was non-aggressive. What we must strive for is an arrangement wherein the necessary power (to combat aggression) is so balanced against other, independently existing, power (to prevent encroachment) that the probability of its misuse becomes as small as it can be got. Can this be done by means of a government? Either a constitutionally "limited" government, or several government-like, competing defense agencies? I think not. When I examine the idea of government and contemplate the nature of governments as they have existed and do exist in the world, I see their fundamental distinguishing characteristic to be "the strongest group of aggressors in a given area at a given time." Herein lies my objection to both the Minarchist proposal for a government limited by a constitution, and the Anarchist proposal for competing defense agencies. In fact, there is no limit to the power of a gun except another gun. A constitution cannot limit the power of an armed group that chooses to ignore it. A "limited" government would in fact be limited only if its members chose to adhere to the constitution - and as we Americans have seen very well, this is no real limit at all. LeFevre observed that "experience over the past ten thousand years reveals clearly that governments are never limited." I think it inevitable that any "limited" government would eventually become a tyranny. I am strongly opposed to any social organization that has a monopolistic power to compel - no matter what formal documentary restraints may be placed on such an organization. There is a good deal more promise in the Anarchist "competing defense agencies" scheme, but it too is open to such a degeneration if one (or a consortium) of the defense agencies should become "the strongest group." The Anarchist proposal is further flawed by the fact that political power rests on an exclusive authority over the military and police. (Exclusivity is mandated by certain "either-or" issues such as whether or not a man - or merchandise - will be allowed to cross a border; whether or not a given behavior is illegal.) Because this authority is exclusive, two independent governments cannot permanently share a single geographical jurisdiction. There is a fundamental structural flaw in the American Constitution: the principles upon which the government of the United States was based, as well as the plan for the construction and operation of the government, were contained in the same document. To allow for the possibility of future improvements there was a provision placed in the document allowing it to be amended. This provision left the basic principles upon which the government was founded also open to alteration. Obviously the PURPOSE of governance should not be changeable, but on the other hand, the MEANS used to fulfill this purpose must be changeable so as to take advantage of new, more efficient technology and to correct errors. When Jefferson prescribed a revolution every few decades, he spoke not only politically but also about the need to remain flexible, ready to adapt to changing circumstances - to innovate at need, while at the same time staying true to those values we hold unchanging and precious. To permanently fix the purpose of governance, it is necessary to state the purpose in a binding form that cannot be altered or eliminated short of revolution. Once this binding form is enacted, and the purpose of governance thereby fixed, one can turn to constructing an agency to carry out this purpose. But these two things, Purpose and Agency, should be explicitly recognized as two separate phenomena. Thus governance should have two foundation stones, rather than one: a fixed and immutable statement of purpose - and an amendable implementation of that purpose. This "statement of purpose" could then serve as a standard against which to judge the "means of implementation." As things are now in America, there is no principled standard against which to judge Amendments made to the Constitution, or the practices by which the Constitution is implemented. I believe the best, and safest, arrangement would be a modification and linking of BOTH the Anarchist and Minarchist ideas into a scheme that would place that ultimate power DIRECTLY into the hands of the individual members of society. I believe, with Jefferson, that there is "no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves." I am NOT, however, an advocate of majority rule. I do not mean "a majority of voters," I mean each and every citizen. It is claimed that a constitution limits a government. What is it that gives a constitution its power? Nothing but the behavior of the people who have chosen to abide by its specifications. A statement of authority, according to which a country is governed (such as our Constitution), is only as valid - as faithfully enforced - as the fidelity of those individuals who implement it. Thus the Constitution of the USA is implemented only to the extent of the honesty, competence and reliability of those who have taken the oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." The foundation of our government, in its actual implementation, lies in the behavior of those individuals who have taken this oath. The ultimate democracy would be one in which all adult citizens have taken such an oath, in just the same way as physicians take the Hippocratic Oath. Carl Sagan approached this view when he lamented, "I wish that the Pledge of Allegiance were directed at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights rather than to the flag and the nation." I would go a step further and advocate a confirmation ceremony such as the Bar Mitzvah, passed through by each person as he or she becomes a fully-adult participating citizen of the society. A ceremony in which an oath of fidelity would be taken, NOT to an institution or to a document, but to a clear and explicitly stated set of ethical principles. An oath expressed in the form of a contract between the individual and the community in which he lives; a formal social statement that would specify a libertarian restraint on individual behavior; a statement making explicit the principle of non-aggression as the foundation of social organization and interconnecting the individual to the organizational structure of society in such a manner as to commit him to support, uphold and manifest this ethical principle in his social relationships; an oath that would make the individual consciously aware of his responsibility to ensure the perpetuation of a free society. This oath would be a Covenant formally establishing the principled basis of relationships among individuals, rather than a Constitution setting up a potentially dangerous coercive institution. It would establish a society based, not on command and coercion, but on consent and contract. I envision the Covenant as a "statement of purpose." It would state ethical principles, but not deal with the specific implementation of those principles. The Covenant would be an absolute, not open to amendment, but any accompanying Articles of Implementation would be amendable so as to accomodate technological and social changes in the culture. Thus there might be several institutions (defense agencies among them) established for the implementation of the principles, but each agency, as an organized institution, would be bound by the Articles of Implementation. And each agent, as an individual citizen, would be bound by the principles of the Covenant. The next step in this line of endeavor is, of course, to formulate such a covenant. Here there are two basic problems. One is to conceive the structure of a libertarian society and embody its principles in a specific statement - the other is to establish a transition procedure that would carry us from the presently existing state of affairs into that libertarian society. A procedure should be established whereby the new society can grow from a small kernel. My suggestion is to establish an association similar to something like the Black Muslims or the Quakers. This would be an inward- directed society that withdraws as much as possible from participation in the coercive world and in which each member lives as much as possible in accordance with the ethical principles of the Covenant. I propose the name "Union of Sovereign Americans" as a label for this association. I envision the long-term goals of The Union of Sovereign Americans as being the perpetuation of the libertarian ethic, being the seed of a new society, (either to replace the present one if it should collapse, or perhaps growing through time to the extent that it would extinct the present one) and being a social group in which people of good will could find companionship. To begin the Union of Sovereign Americans there must exist a Covenant and some guidelines (Articles of Implementation) on how to live one's personal life in accord with the principles of the Covenant. "THE GALLATIN DIVERGENCE" by L. Neil Smith (Ballantine book #30383) contains a covenant, (fictionally proposed by Albert Gallatin at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion and resulting in a complete alteration of the course of history). This covenant has been extracted from the book and widely circulated with a provision for registry of all signatories. It has been signed by dozens, if not hundreds, of people. But I observe something of critical importance regarding this covenant: in Smith's fictional account, the signing of the covenant always resulted in a profound change in the life of the signatory, because the people in Smith's story actually lived their lives according to their professed principles. However, in the real world of the present time, I am not aware that the behavior of any person has been changed in any way as a result of having signed Smith's covenant. The signatories simply continue their previous lives - working to support government (and in some cases working FOR government) - with no causal connection between their stated principles and their daily behavior. This is not the fault of Smith's covenant, and I am not criticizing that covenant. I criticize the lack of integrity in the lives of modern-day people. This same lack of integrity is seen in Randites (who explicitly disapprove of Shrugging), and in many of those who take the non-aggression oath of the Libertarian Party: "I certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals." These people grumble about the condition of the society they live in, but few of them choose to take the only effective path open to them for societal change: the transformation of their own lives. So what can be said of any kind of covenant or oath that requires no more of a signatory than a mere verbal assertion? The world is filled with hypocrites! Is a man who works as a drug-law enforcer really an advocate IN PRACTICE of personal freedom and moral self-responsibility? (Could a priest be a practicing abortionist?) Not hardly. How can you claim to be one of us when you serve our enemies more than you serve our cause? Such a person would not be a suitable member of The Union of Sovereign Americans. One must not only assert fidelity, but also practice fidelity. One must establish a lifestyle suitable to the set of ideas he professes. My point is that no oath of allegience to any principle would preclude people for whom there is no connection between principle and practice (This is why the American Constitution has been betrayed over the course of two centuries). I believe that to be successful the Union of Sovereign Americans must involve a whole way of life - not just an oath. It must involve the learning of a set of ideas and the practiced application of those ideas in one's life. It must include not just an embracing of the libertarian ethic, but a resolve to combat - or at least withdraw support from - the coercive aspects of the society we live in. My own belief is that a good place to begin would be with the act of Shrugging that Rand proposed. This would be a way to separate those who merely pay lip service to freedom while continuing to support the status quo, from those who are really serious in their intention to devote their lives to the practice of freedom. This statement of principles might be a good starting place for the formulation of the Covenant: "Each individual is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others. Each has the right to use and dispose of his own life and his own property as he sees fit. The only real crimes are those activities which separate people from their rightfully achieved values without their voluntary consent. The only proper use of force is in response to coercion. I will never initiate the use of force or fraudulent dishonesty, I will never tolerate the initiation of force by other people, and I will recognize the desirability of helping to keep my community free from coercion by assisting other people in preventing coercion and in defending the right of each individual to resist coercion. I will condemn any person or association acting to contravene this principle and will have no dealings with them, and upon all occasions treat them with the contempt they deserve." It has been over 30 years since I Shrugged in 1965, and after all those years of watching the Libertarian Party and the various new-country/enclave projects, I am convinced that there is no seed population within the present culture of America that can give rise to a libertarian society. The process of cultural value-deprivation has gone on too far for there to be any significant number of people willing to drastically alter their lifestyles to accomodate "mere philosophical principle." They are so immersed in political and philosophical falsehoods that they are blind to the existence of any rational morality and ethics. Thus, I do not know what to propose as a practical implementation of the ideas I have presented. I don't see any real present use for them, but have written them up and will circulate them in the hope that they will be preserved for some future generation to whom they might have some functional significance. All I can hope to accomplish is to create an atmosphere within which the times might have the possibility of change. But a generations-long process of intellectual transition will be required. You can't jump ahead moral lightyears into the socially advanced behavior of libertarianism any more than goldsmiths in a medieval guild could overnight start manufacturing transistors. As Max Planck observed: "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." "Libertarians have one thing going for them that others lack: they are in tune with reality. Human beings are all that really count and libertarians know that. A man and his wife drinking coffee at the kitchen table, an old woman warming herself by the fire, a child playing in the mud: these are the only reasons governments should exist. All the giant industries and superhighways, all the wonderful technology and fabulous medical knowledge, everything that seems to stand so loftily above us is only there to serve these people and their desires. One of these days, people are going to understand what is real and what is illusion and that is the day when anarchy will triumph." ... Allen Thornton "From the conclusion of this war we shall be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, 'til our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion." ... Thomas Jefferson Men, women, of every nation, every race and condition: how much longer are you going to let yourselves be used? When are you going to tell your rulers, "Enough!" and claim the right to live your own lives? If you continually cling to government you are ensuring your own doom. The thing you worship is destroying itself, and when it is gone you will perish because you will not know how to live without it. On to Chapter 9
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