Principles of Law and Government

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"Such As Will Administer the Law in Equity and Justice Should be Sought for and up held"


Principles of Law and Government

[With Commentary]

by Joel M. Skousen
A variation of this is found at
used with permission

Explanatory note: The principles are presented in italics and my commentary in regular type in brackets.

Principle #1:


A. Governments can only derive their just powers from the sovereign powers of their individual members.

[There are two basic forms of authority to initiate government: 1) force (man or God) or 2) voluntary mutual cooperation. Since God has not intervened to mandate a secular government and we reject the imposition of force by man as a proper basis of initial authority, we are left with mutual cooperation as the basis for government. Inherent in the concept of voluntary cooperation is the fact that all the forming parties come to the table on an equal basis--each person sovereign in his claims of liberty insofar as those claims do not force others to serve his needs.]

B. All persons are rightfully sovereign over those affairs, which do not infringe upon the rights of others.

[This is the basic criteria for a non-conflicting cooperation. Notice that I do not use the words "harm other people," or "conflict with other people." There are examples where people’s exercise of their freedom can do economic "harm to" or "conflict with" people without violating any rights. For example, painting your house a wild color can potentially lower the value of your neighbor’s house, but since your neighbor has no right to any predetermined value on his home, no rights have been violated. Economic values are determined in the eye of the beholder and by negotiation with potential buyers, so the seller does not have a right to enforce a fixed value on others. If we were to use the words "harm" or "conflict" in limiting sovereignty, there would exist many unsolvable legal challenges to sovereignty. By tying sovereignty to a distinct definition of rights (Principle #3), more protection is afforded against arbitrary claims of offense.]

C. All persons reaching an age and ability to take care of themselves and be responsible for their actions can claim status as sovereign individuals.

[This provides the basic criteria for determining who can exercise sovereignty. Its wording is general, which is sufficient to guide lawmaking, but not so specific as to cause problems. For example, if I had chosen an age and ability to be "completely self-sufficient" one might be able to attack anyone’s claim to be a sovereign individual. Who can be totally self-sufficient indefinitely? Responsibility for actions is an essential part, however. Sovereign entities must never be able to use sovereignty to evade compensating others for damages that occur as a result of their use of liberty. This criteria will also serve as a basic guide to lawmakers who may wish to define a specific minimum age or responsibility level when children can claim independent status from their families and join the ranks of sovereign individuals.]

Principle #2


A. Families, composed of a man and a woman and their natural or legally adopted children, act as a special sovereign unit over the health, welfare and education of their children until such children reach the age or capability of exercising individual sovereignty and self-responsibility.

[It is precisely due to the existence of children, who cannot yet exercise individual sovereignty, that we must carve out a special form of sovereignty for the family. If we do not give families sovereign status, there is no basis in individual rights theory to stop the state from asserting a preeminent caretaker status in the guise of protecting children--as it does in our current legal system. Even though the definition of the family is becoming fuzzy with artificial insemination of children, I feel we must rely on the basic biological fact that no child can be engendered without the male and female components, which are traceable in origin to the parents for purposes of sharing responsibility. This definition is not intended to say that families only exist when both parents are present, but that only a man and a woman having a child trigger the creation of a family unit. All other artificial forms of the family are creations of the state, and liable to the state. The family unit, including the subsequent responsibilities of parents, still exists and is binding upon both even if parents separate or never live together in the first place. Marriage that doesn’t involve children does not need this separate form of sovereignty since both parties to a marriage are protected by the individual right of contract. Unfaithfulness to the marriage covenant under this doctrine would be prosecuted as a breach of contract.]

B. Families, therefore, possess the ultimate authority over the health, welfare and education of their children unless the actions of the parents constitute an actual or imminent threat to the life of the child.

[This principle confronts the major question of who has the ultimate authority over children, the parents or the state--and if parents, what are the limits of that sovereignty? I believe it is always dangerous to give the state the ultimate authority over children, short of a life-threatening situation--especially in areas of normal health and education. Despite the growing problem of abuse or the potential problem of neglect, if we are going to allow leeway in the law, we need to defer to the family. Recent patterns of state intervention in families are showing an increasing hostility toward parental freedom to choose in areas of physical discipline, rejection of establishment medical procedures (including psycho-therapeutic drugs), and religious indoctrination.

The state even claims, under the guise of the "state interest" doctrine, that it can control the education of children, which is extremely dangerous to parental rights. As one tough-minded home schooling parent told a judge, "I don’t care if the state claims an "interest" in my children’s education, I have the ultimate interest and authority!" The growing hostility of the courts to this simple doctrine is disturbing and needs reinforcement in a founding principle of law. I am proposing raising the barrier of state intervention into the family to actual or imminent threat to the life of the child. It is a high barrier, and it will permit some mild abuse. If there is any doubt or suspicion, judges almost always defer to state authorities. Parents are often forced to meet arbitrary requirements as a condition of regaining custody--often including consent to questionable psychological counseling and drug therapy for their children. The courts should never be involved prescribing treatment--only prosecuting actual violations for serious abuse or life-threatening neglect. Because there is a growing hostility of establishment authorities to family rights and strict religious upbringing, the burden of proof for abuse or neglect should always remain upon the state. There is an addition safety valve against abuse as well. Children have the clear right to leave an abusive home at any time, and seek voluntary foster care, before the level of abuse approaches life-threatening consequences. This is an important option in problems of sexual abuse.]

C. Once new life is conceived, in a consensual relationship, a family unit is formed and both parents must accept responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child until it reaches the age and ability of exercising individual sovereignty.

[This principle establishes a new and formidable barrier against abortion and neglect. It bases the requirement for parental responsibility on the principles of liability for consequences of consensual acts. Individual right-to-life arguments are valid even for a fetus, in my opinion, but they get mired down in the question of whether or not the fetus is an individual capable of claiming rights. In the liability argument all that has to be shown is that the consensual act engendered a new living entity and that the persons responsible must bear the consequences of their actions. Just as a person who impacts another person’s property with his car is not free to walk away from the responsibility, so a man and a woman, engaging in a consensual act that creates new life, are not free to walk away from that responsibility or otherwise destroy that life, unless the life of the mother is truly endangered. This argument avoids the issue of when the life is "viable." Initiating a new life marks the beginning of the resultant liability.

Under this doctrine, rape does not trigger any liability on the part of the victim--only upon the perpetrator. In the case of the mother and child where neither party is at fault, we do have a conflict of rights. The solution to abort a child would not necessarily have the sanction of law, however. The case should be judged on a different standard of law--one that addresses the relative burden of harm to each party when there is a conflict of rights and no one is at fault. Note that the impact of the fetus upon the innocent mother is only temporary and not generally harmful, whereas the impact of an abortion on the innocent fetus is permanent and fatal.]

Principle #3


A. Fundamental rights are those rights that all persons can claim simultaneously without forcing others to serve them.

[The definition does not require a fixed listing of rights, but rather provides a two-prong test which can be applied to any action that someone claims as a right. The first criteria is simultaneity of action. Even though this rarely happens in life, it establishes a theoretical and mental framework to more easily determine if conflict will result from competing claims. The second criteria fulfills the core element of non-conflicting rights--no one being able to claim a right that requires some form of involuntary servitude, whether personal, financial or use of someone’s assets. I have purposely chosen involuntary servitude as the standard rather than "harm" or "conflict." It is more precise and easy to determine, as mentioned earlier, and does not create false rights based upon the sometimes ethereal concept of "harm." Physical harm is not too difficult to define but aesthetic, spiritual or psychological harm are hard to prove and requires considerable judgment.

The most common false rights claimed by democratic socialists are the rights to a job, an education or health care. But each of these clearly violates the definition. All people cannot simultaneously claim any of these without forcing others to provide the facilities, the salaries and the working materials.

In contrast, the most commonly derived true rights from this definition are life, liberty and property. Each of these traditional rights qualifies under the definition, as long as certain non-conflicting conditions are added. The universal qualifier is: "as long as the rights of others are not violated." The right to life therefore is not absolute. If a person is engaged in attacking another without justifiable self-defense, the aggressor’s life would be rightfully in jeopardy. The right to life does not mean that society is obliged to keep you alive--that would violate the second criteria. It only assures that no one can rightfully take it from you, as long as you are not acting so as to violate any other person’s rights.

Personal liberty of action is a universal right until one begins to infringe on another’s right. All persons can claim property and hold physical assets as long as these things were acquired by voluntary contractual relationships or the application of unique labor and improvements to unowned land (not first claimed by others).

As far as categorizing rights, a good logician could probably extract all necessary rights from one--the right to Life, but the mental gymnastics would be somewhat tedious and difficult for the common person to follow. We must also avoid the temptation to add so many categories that it becomes complicated. I will list two more categories to the basic three already mentioned, which I consider essential to thwart common violations by government--excessive intrusion into family affairs and the denial of private arms for self-defense.

Having a right to family sovereignty over the affairs of children is essential to avoid trying to carve out a complete doctrine of individual rights for children, having no ability to be independent nor responsible for self. The right of self-defense is essential to the existence of all other rights. No claim to a right is meaningful without enforcement power--first and foremost by the person possessing the right. No person should have to rely totally upon others, including government, for defense of his rights. A suggested definition of this right should include the right to possess private arms in the defense of self, family and others; and the right to use the appropriate force necessary to eliminate the threat.

Corollaries to the right to life would be the right to be free from physical attack by others (when not engaged in criminal behavior) or even freedom from harmful pollutants emanating from another’s property (if shown to be harmful).

Corollary rights under personal liberty would be the right of contract with willing parties, the right to take risks, and the freedom to engage in any economic endeavor as long as others’ rights are not violated.

Corollary rights of private property are interesting because certain rights that are normally considered absolute (like freedom of speech) are actually not absolute except when linked to private or contractual property rights. Property rights would also include the right to freedom of association or disassociation on your own property, freedom of expression, privacy (including freedom from search and surveillance when not violating any person’s rights), and freedom from physical or regulatory takings of property by government. Notice that there is no unrestricted freedom of expression on other people’s property or even on public property. Personal actions on public property are governed by fundamental rights or, in cases of indeterminate rights, by rules and norms of the local citizen compact or "community standards" as determined by mutual consent of the governed.]


B. Fundamental rights are superior to all other earthly law and should never be made subject to majority rule. No law or claim of state sovereignty to enforce a law is valid if the law constitutes a violation of any fundamental right.

[If a right is truly fundamental, then no other person or government can rightfully violate it, even by law. A constitution alone would be insufficient to protect those rights if that constitution is capable of being amended by majority rule. Rights must never be subjected to a vote. They must be declared and agreed upon by mutual consent.]

C. Fundamental rights are best secured by a citizen compact where all parties agree to recognize and defend those rights.

[Since it is improper to subject fundamental rights to a vote, the only way to secure those rights is by forming a unanimous covenant of all participants, akin to the Mayflower Compact. In this case, I use the term "citizen compact" since it would be the basic signature document that all citizens would have to agree to upon when forming a government. In terms of practical implementation, it doesn’t mean that a government can’t be formed until every possible person agrees, but rather, that we form a government with the largest possible circle of agreement we can achieve at a given time and place, and treat other non-participants as free foreigners, inviting them to join when they want the benefits of the protections that the new government offers. Any new society that truly protects the broadest range of fundamental rights will eventually win out over competing societies that violate rights. This will be described more fully in Principle #10.

A variety of citizen compacts, all emanating from one basic national pact can also resolve the major differences in religious background in a pluralist society. Most conservatives recognize that this nation was founded as a Christian nation. This is true, for the most part, even though there were many non-religious people who were part of the American Revolution. Today, imposing the concept of a Christian nation upon non-believers would be highly resisted and improper. Religion has lost significantly more ground in recent years and every group who perceives itself as the "silent majority" is struggling to control the majoritarian system that gives almost total power to whoever controls the electoral process. If a national government is formed with a basic compact that only sets out basic, bare-minimum "community standards" for public behavior, and each religious section of society is allowed to establish more restrictive religious covenants, by mutual agreement in contiguous territory, then a variety of differences in society can be accommodated without each one trying to oppress the other.]

Principle #4


A. The formation of a government with enforcement powers is an extension of two specific fundamental rights--the right to contract with willing parties and the right to act in self-defense of fundamental rights.

[This concept is derived from the assumption that the only legitimate form of government (in the absence of a clear, divine mandate to all people on earth) is a cooperative government formed by free men possessing equal fundamental rights. A cooperative form of government cannot possess any right that its individual members do not possess.]

B. In forming and authorizing a government to enhance the right of self-defense, the individual does not cede nor limit any fundamental rights except as specifically agreed upon.

[This statement counters one of the prevailing doctrines of those opposed to the "right to bear arms"--that there is a presumed "social compact" entered into by each person who is born a citizen. Proponents say the implied contract dictates that, "each citizen relinquishes his right of self-defense to government, for the sake of order." This sounds nice, but it is bad doctrine. Presumed social compacts are whatever the government says they are. Only specific agreements entered into by all citizens can rightfully limit the exercise of fundamental rights. Otherwise, who is to decide what rights are "presumed" to be limited in a social compact?]

C. Thus, a government that is granted enforcement powers and is governed by majority rule should only be formed by initial unanimous consent of those to be governed by such.

[This point was previously explained.]

D. A proper government is controlled by a constitution that limits majoritarian powers and establishes a sovereign nation composed of sovereign states that jointly and severally protects our rights through a republican form of government.

[A Republican form of government is a government ruled by elected representatives of the people, within a federation of several sovereign states, whose majoritarian powers are strictly limited by a constitution to the defense of fundamental rights. This principle expresses the American concept that lawmaking power should be limited by a constitution and that power should be diffused among sovereign territories (states) under a federal government that, in turn, takes its place as a sovereign nation among the nations of the world. This system provides a federation of cooperating sovereign entities. Each sovereign state has the right to establish a unique citizen compact for its members, with community standards of public conduct that may differ from state to state. Even though the principles herein espoused eliminate most of the conflicts within law, there is still a role for the concept of competing governments, that attract adherents according to the specific judgments and standards developed under the overall umbrella of fundamental rights, guaranteed nationally. When there are multiple competing sovereign states, like multiple private schools, citizens can choose the state and local community that best represents their taste in community standards and efficiency in governmental administration.]

Principle #5


A. A government’s only proper role of enforcement power is to defend the fundamental rights of the persons joining together to form, authorize and support such government.

[This statement forces all law to seek its basis in fundamental rights and effectively prohibits government from drifting off into areas of regulating and protecting people from themselves and from other harmful decisions that don’t involve violations of fundamental rights. It also declares that non-participants don’t qualify to have their rights protected, except by their own fundamental right of self-defense. This is one of the inducements to join in a cooperative government and help pay for its legitimate expenses.]

B. All levels of government must be strictly limited in their respective legislative and enforcement powers to those powers specifically granted to them by the citizens of each jurisdiction which do not violate the fundamental rights of individuals.

[In other words, there must exist no unlimited powers of lawmaking in any portion of the Republic. All levels of government must trace their just powers to a grant by all of the citizens of each jurisdiction, and that grant of power is always limited by the doctrine of fundamental rights.]

C. Governments may also act as a cooperative enterprise in behalf of any portion of its citizens, as long as such services are provided exclusively on a user-fee or voluntary donation basis.

[Under this doctrine, governments may provide cooperative schools, hospitals, or engage in business ventures as long as no public funds are used to fund them in any way. Government, when not acting in its enforcement role, is no different than any other business co-op--as long as it is funded with user fees and private donations. In this manner government isn’t unfairly competing with the private sector.]

Principle #6


A. Within the proper limitations of government powers, an effective government will be structured so that representation will reflect both territoriality and population.

[This point reflects the wisdom of the founders in the "great compromise" dividing representation between territoriality for the Senate and population for the House of Representatives.]

B. In addition, to avoid concentrations of power, at each level of government, there should be a separation of executive powers, legislative powers, judicial powers, and those oversight powers retained by the citizens.

[This principle acknowledges another of the founders’ great principles--the separation of power at the federal level--but also suggests that such a separation be implemented at the state level as well. It also directly addresses oversight powers of the citizens themselves so as to be able to override potential collusion within the 3 branches of government, which is particularly threatening at this time.]

C. Each separate jurisdiction of government, including citizens, should have investigative and enforcement powers to ensure access to truth, expose corruption, and enforce compliance within their proper and respective realms of authority.

[One of the weaknesses of the Constitution’s separation of power is the lack of enforcement and investigative powers on the part of the Judiciary. Even the Congress has no enforcement powers except that of impeachment. The bar has been raised so high on impeachment that Congress has little power to enforce its investigative authority.

In one particular case, President F. D. Roosevelt took direct advantage of the judiciary’s weakness by refusing to abide by one of its rulings. It set the world on notice that the court had no power to enforce any of its rulings, or do basic fact-finding on issues of compliance. As for citizen oversight, citizens have been given (by Congress) a minor power to investigate government through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but are powerless to break through the government’s improper use of secrecy to hide all illegal acts from discovery through ultimate control of the FOIA procedure. The courts almost always refuse to assist the citizens in penetrating this control.]

Principle #7:


A. In criminal proceedings, equal justice through due process of constitutional law should be provided all citizens and residents. Due process should always include the right of the accused to have ready access, in person, to a representative of his choice to prepare a defense, the right to a speedy and public hearing on the cause for detention, and timely trial not to exceed a certain time limit from the time of detention.

[This principle sustains the two bedrock principles of traditional law--equal justice and due process for every accused person. The language establishing the rights of the accused are important to ensure that each prisoner’s condition is capable of being known outside the justice system, and that a speedy and public trial is mandated. The time limits for a speedy hearing and trial are essential to avoid the grave injustice of wrongful imprisonment or refusal by the government to "yield up the prisoner" (Habeas Corpus).]

B. The accused should be considered as innocent as the current level of credible evidence permits.

[Even though everyone thinks we presently act under the dictum of "innocent until proven guilty" this is not completely true. Judgments about bail, tendency to flight, and danger to society, always involve some determination of the credibility of the evidence, and the seriousness of the crime at the initial hearing. This replacement language states the conditional principle of innocence more plainly.]

C. Access to the courts to defend one’s fundamental rights, in criminal cases, should never be denied due to inability to pay, although the assessment of reasonable user fees and fines are appropriate once guilt and blame are established. Access to the courts for civil proceedings may be limited to those who sustain and support the legal system.

It is inappropriate for the Courts, in either criminal or civil matters, to grant court-approved representatives the exclusive power to represent persons before the court. [While access should not be denied due to inability to pay, neither does this principle mandate unlimited taxpayer support for court-appointed attorneys, which have less than a stellar record for fair representation. There are other partial solutions, such as in D below, where the judge himself is responsible to make sure the rights of both parties are secured. Other solutions would include a loan fund for the indigent accused that would be paid back by the user in prison-work fare programs, so as not to present a burden to taxpayers. The support qualification mentioned in civil proceedings is important so that non-participants cannot claim the same level of access to the system as citizen taxpayers. A fair user fee would be the appropriate remedy.]

D. Punishment for infractions of law should be uniformly applied to all offenses of similar threat to fundamental rights. Punishments should be fair, proportional to the offense, provide deterrence, provide restitution to victims by the perpetrators, and remove permanently from society chronic offenders who refuse to control their predation upon others.

[The principle of uniformity, qualified by the "violation of rights" test, differs from the current "danger to society" test, which often is used more today to heavily penalize anyone who presents a challenge to the government or court system itself (tax protesters, constitutionalists, government whistleblowers), instead of focusing on criminal threats to the public. The list of criteria herein for proper punishment is meant to establish fairness and increase the deterrent effect of the judicial system. The principle of removing chronic offenders of any category permanently from society can mean life imprisonment, the death penalty or even banishment. Providing an ultimate penalty for recidivism, even among petty criminals will have a powerful deterrent effect as well. To facilitate victim restitution and reduce the burden on taxpayers, a vigorous prison work system should be instituted.]

E. All prosecution of criminal acts should be tried before a judge and citizen jury, trained in the applicable law, where the judge is responsible to ensure that rights of all parties are protected and the jury has the power to judge the facts of the case, the applicability of the law to the particular case, and the appropriate punishment. Access to a jury trial should be an absolute right for all criminal cases and an absolute option for civil cases, where the parties to the case are willing to accept their share of the appropriate user fees.

[It is my belief that both judges and juries should be trained in the applicable law, so that those who make the final judgments on guilt are less likely to be influenced by bad arguments on sophisticated issues outside their area of expertise. The history of jury manipulation and excessive control by judges through restrictive jury instructions leads me to the conclusion that juries must possess the ultimate authority to judge both the application of the law to the situation and the facts of the case.]


Principle #8


A. Government should be financed by general taxes only for universal services that are directly related to the defense of fundamental rights of all and that render no specific benefit to an individual or group constituting less than the whole.

[This one principle would do more to stop the power of government to redistribute wealth than any other. It would also provide a major obstacle to political corruption since no politician would be able to promise direct benefits to any individual or group. This principle was the basis for the original "general welfare" clause of the Constitution--which had nothing to do with welfare benefits and everything to do with restricting government to those things which related to the defense of everyone’s rights.]

B. User fees must be employed to cover all costs, and only those costs, for any direct government services or benefits to individuals, groups, and such user fees should be applied to those same services, which produce the fee.

[The principle of user fees allows government to offer cooperative and selective services to less than the whole, as needed, without violating the property rights of the general taxpayer. Restricting user fees to actual government costs effectively prohibits legislatures from tacking on new and unrelated taxes and calling them "user fees."]

C. A mix of general tax revenues and user fees is appropriate to support a single government service which provides both a general protection of rights and a specific legal or other service to an individual or group.

[This is most appropriate for civil trials in the judicial sector, as well as where there are mixed-use benefits to public commercial enterprises like seaports, airports, and use of the "commons"--oceans, airwaves, and space, etc.]

D. The type of taxation employed should be directly levied upon the persons or properties protected by government services.

[The two primary entities protected by the military and police powers of government are people and property (which includes land, buildings, factories, and farms). A truly fair tax system will directly tax those entities in proportion to how much they benefit from government defense and administrative services. Any other form of taxation, no matter how convenient to tax is a violation of someone’s rights.]

E. Taxation should never be allowed on commerce, income, inheritance or gifts. Neither should taxes be hidden within an economic price, interfere with or distort economic processes, or force any person to pay a higher proportion of taxes when no higher protection is required from government services.

[The greatest way to keep government expansion in check is by keeping the cost of government up front and painful to the taxpayer. The prohibition against today’s common forms of taxation effectively forces government to tax openly and directly the people and property directly protected.]

F. There must be no taxation without representation and no form of taxation voted upon with majoritarian powers should be valid unless applied to all citizens and residents.

[The intent of this principle is to stop the human tendency to "tax the other guy" by seeking to add other types of taxes on products that have no majority constituency in the legislature to protest."]

G. No state should be allowed to incur a budget deficit and no deficit should be allowed at the national level except in time of declared war. All government liabilities and expenditures should be included in the budget.

[Government should only be allowed to spend what the citizens are willing to pay for each year. A nation must have the power to save itself in wartime, even if it means extensive borrowing, but that deficit should be limited to the principles of debt in H. Today’s governments distort and hide their real financial condition with a variety of accounting tricks. Everything should be up front and transparent.]

H. Total indebtedness should not exceed a certain percentage of total annual tax revenue of any government entity (perhaps, 10%) and every separate debt issue should be retired within 10 years so that those who vote for it pay for its retirement. No tax burden should be shifted to the next generation through debt or unfunded entitlement programs.

[Debt is a form of future taxation and is an insidious form of government funding because it makes the expenditure seem less painless than it is. A tight time and quantity limitation on debt is important to avoid the threat of exceeding a nation’s solvency, or violating the prohibition against transferring a debt to the next generation without their consent.]

Principle #9:


A. Military and police power of government should only be used to prosecute and punish actual violations of fundamental rights of its citizens, or imminent threats to those rights, whether foreign or domestic.

[This language restates the basic principle that all police actions must be tied directly to the defense of someone’s rights or the rights of the nation as a whole. Military intervention prior to enemy action is appropriate under the very limited circumstances of "imminent threat"--a strict legal term meaning that a lethal threat poses a real and present danger.]

B. Citizens should be secure in their privacy from government search, intrusion, surveillance, and seizure except when credible evidence exists of a crime against fundamental rights or an imminent threat to liberty.

[This presents the basis for constitutional language that would require that a warrant be issued by a judge before a search or seizure could take place. It should also be required that police must have the warrant available for inspection, naming a specific person or place to be searched and detailing the evidence justifying the warrant. Too often, the Constitution’s strict language on warrants is totally disregarded. Surveillance is also routinely conducted without any warrant. Thus, government agents must be held strictly liable for the violation of these limitations on police intrusion.]

C. Government power to enforce secrecy should not be applied to the specific knowledge any person may have concerning crimes committed by government officials.

[This principle directly addresses the major reason why government illegal activities continue unabated despite numerous attempts to discover them--laws and penalties for violating a government’s "national security" mandate are entirely one-sided, aimed at suppressing the testimony of any agent who threatens to blow the whistle on illegal activities. Despite lip service to whistle blowing laws, agents have little effective recourse to overturn or object to secrecy orders covering government illegal activities when the courts often refuse to side with government critics.]

D. Officers of government should not have immunity from acts committed by themselves or by others under their knowing supervision that violate the fundamental rights of others.

[Immunity, coupled with excessive powers over secrecy, allows powerful forces for evil to grow up under the mantel of government enforcement. The excuse that police or military are "only following orders" has lead to history’s greatest human holocausts. Military command and control is important but it must never be used to create a cadre of abject "yes-men," as was the case in Germany, Russia, and now America. There is no substitute for ample training of every government agent, including military personnel, to know when their actions constitute a violation of fundamental rights. Only the threat of personal liability will make sure each is motivated to learn the law and keep it high on his list of priorities.]

E. In Foreign affairs, any assistance in behalf of liberty given to other nations or peoples, where a significant threat to this nation’s rights cannot be demonstrated, should be encouraged and allowed by government, but carried out by voluntary measures.

[This principle prohibits tax-payer assisted military involvement in foreign wars where no direct threat to our nation’s liberties can be demonstrated. It also establishes the right of volunteers to help with private arms and manpower. Presently the US uses the Neutrality Act to prohibit all private assistance to freedom movements.]

F. No citizens or residents of this nation should be allowed to use the shield of government protection of fundamental rights herein to undermine the efforts of other foreign persons seeking to establish similar fundamental rights.

[This point does allow government to prohibit US citizens from using this nation as a base of operations to foment or assist revolutions against liberty.]

Principle #10:


A. Citizenship should be by covenant and qualification rather than by birth alone, whereby the fundamental rights of citizens, voluntary limitations on those rights, and the duties and responsibilities of both citizens and government are clearly specified.

[The concept of citizenship by qualification solves the greatest and most persistent internal threat to liberty--an ignorant populace with the power to vote themselves benefits without any understanding of the law or the principles necessary to maintain liberty. The two most prevalent causes of citizen ignorance are a controlled media and a controlled system of public education. By requiring all potential voting citizens to pass a test on law and government, each person has an inducement to get whatever education is required to pass the test.

Without such a test, conservatives have to compete with Socialists for control of education in order to ensure a knowledgeable voting public. But with a test of understanding, citizenship itself serves to induce all people to seek out the necessary information on liberty in order to qualify. I believe strongly that linking knowledge of liberty to citizenship is a more viable solution than trying to control people’s education, which in and of itself, is a violation of liberty. Besides, the battle to control education has not been successful and shows little hope for improvement, given the high percentage of the public (including conservatives) that has become addicted to the tax monopoly funding of public education. This welfare benefit allows their children to receive education funding for lavish buildings and programs far in excess of the taxes they personally pay.

The citizenship test needs to be extensive and complete so that all citizens understand the full range of what constitutes bad law and illegal actions. But it need not be tricky, complex or difficult. The questions can even be known in advance so that people can openly prepare for the test. The test’s purpose is not to stop good people from becoming citizens, but to ensure no one becomes a citizen with the power to vote without having the requisite understanding of how to maintain liberty.

There are other essential things that can be done in the context of a citizenship compact that are equally useful in establishing a government that maintains fundamental rights and moral values without doing so through the dangers of majority rule. For example, the citizenship compact is the appropriate place for all citizens to sign on to the recognition to fundamental rights, to take a pledge not to violate those rights, and agree to some voluntary limitations of those rights, for example, taking part in jury duty, a citizen militia or a limited military wartime draft; accepting some very limited eminent domain takings of property for public purposes (with compensation); and agreeing to basic "community standards" of decency in public. Each of these functions I have listed are problem areas when implemented by the force of law without the consent of those whose lives and property are used involuntarily or taken by government.]

B. It is, therefore, proper to establish other classifications of residence for the protection and training of those not yet qualified for citizenship.

[The purpose of this form of citizenship by qualification is to offer citizens a higher level of protection and privilege in society in exchange for a higher level of knowledge and commitment to preserve liberty. Since this form of citizenship is not imposed upon unwilling participants, it must be structured to offer inducements for others to join so that the circle of supporters is ever-increasing. Citizenship privileges offer one of the major inducements for people to join and qualify. It is therefore appropriate to have lesser categories of resident or visitor for those who have not yet qualified or who do not wish to do so.

Residents and visitors would not have a free ride, however. They would pay different types of taxes and user fees than most citizens if they wanted to have access to any public services or public property. In like manner, not having joined the covenant as a citizen, they most likely would not have access to any public property governed by the new government unless they at least agreed to the "community standards" on public behavior and paid appropriate user fees. There must, of necessity, be some disadvantages to remaining in a resident status so that people have the incentive to move up to citizenship, but the differences must not be so onerous as to make being a "resident" a non-viable choice. I think there is even room to allow residents to have some limiting voting rights on local issues (especially taxes) that directly affect them, as well.

One of the most important differences between the categories might be the restriction of ownership of titled property to citizens. Residents and visitors could own the full range of normal goods but would have to rent housing, cars, businesses or certain investments that are defended by legal title. This is not an onerous difference since all responsible people can easily become citizens should they want to own titled property. What the restriction does do is link increased privilege with increased responsibility for maintaining liberty.

This is simply an overview of the basic concept. The details of implementation would require much careful thought and discussion. Non-participants with the new government always have the full range of private fundamental rights that all men possess that pre-date any new government, including property rights, but they would not be able to have those property rights defended by the new government unless they agreed to come into the compact as a citizen. Those who chose to stay completely outside the system would be considered foreigners and have to rely on their own fundamental right of self-defense.

This form of citizenship also helps solve one of the major problems in a world of open markets and free trade, where an unequal balance of payments results between different trading countries. Currently foreign holders of dollars evade purchasing American products and choose instead to buy up portions of America itself: government debt, land, capital and business enterprises. Since all of these are titled property, under this new proposal they would be restricted to citizens only. Foreign buyers would not be able to buy up the capital assets of America unless they became citizens. In this way, either they become committed to our version of liberty through the citizenship qualification process, or they apply their excess dollars to American products. In both cases, liberty wins.]

C. Children of citizens fall under the protection of their parents’ citizenship until reaching an age or ability to become self-responsible, or they become disqualified by criminal or rebellious behavior. [Children of citizens (or residents, for that matter) automatically come under the respective category of protection that their parents possess. Thus, children are fully protected under the umbrella of their parents’ citizenship, but aren’t considered citizens themselves until they qualify. Once reaching the minimum age to apply for citizenship, they would become "residents" until they otherwise qualify for personal citizenship status.]

Principle #11


A. All citizens should be free to own and possess the means of effective personal protection and to use appropriate force to protect life and property from harm when police forces are not immediately available or willing to help.

[This language is extremely effective in recognizing a broad degree of power for the individual in the exercise of his right of self-defense. It does not specifically limit the types of arms a person may possess, though a citizen may agree to do so in the citizen compact. It allows the use of force to defend both life and property, and is not contingent upon permission from police.]

B. Citizens acting in self-defense of fundamental rights should use only the force necessary to eliminate the perceived threat.

[This presents the basic principle of how much force is appropriate. It focuses on the issue of the threat, as seen through the eyes of the one threatened. Naturally, specific kinds of force would be more clearly defined in constitutional and statutory law.]

C. A privately armed citizenry also serves as a proper counter-force and deterrence to government tyranny.

[This principle recognizes the legitimate role that an armed citizenry has in deterring government tyranny. This is essential since the threat of government tyranny is very real today, but carefully hidden.]

Principle #12:


A. All non-coercive values should be free to compete for adherents in both private and public domains, with government serving only in its role of maintaining public order.

[This principle establishes that government is not to promote or detract from the private or public competition of ideas, but is only to ensure public order and to ensure that neither side has use of the public purse nor enforcement powers to promote its position as stated in B.]

B. Government should never use general revenues or its lawmaking power to establish or promote any system of belief except that which directly protects fundamental rights or which is agreed upon by all participants in a citizen compact covering "community standards" of public conduct.

[This principle adds the concept that governments can only go beyond fundamental rights to enforce some limited community standards of public conduct (not private) as long as all citizens who form the government have agreed to those standards. In this case fairness would dictate that only a reasonable set of community standards is going to be capable of engendering wide support. That is why excluding private conduct is an important element of gaining wide acceptance among people who are not totally moral by God’s standards, but recognize the wisdom of keeping such conduct to themselves and not flaunting it in public. One must be careful to implement a citizen compact while there still exists a majority of people at least sensitive to these moral issues, otherwise the best that a compact can do is govern a break-away sector of good people who declare their freedom from the corrupt majority.]

C. Officials should not be restricted, however, from making statements of personal belief, including religious references to a duty to God or a belief in a Supreme Being, or praying publicly to God, as long as such pronouncements are stated as their own personal beliefs or feelings, represent part of his or her leadership role to constituents, and do not require mandatory acceptance by others.

[This principle establishes that even though officers of government are paid employees, they may express their personal convictions about politics, philosophy and religion etc., as long as those expressions are part of their leadership responsibility, are not at odds with their official capacity requiring fairness and justice, and are stated as their own personal opinions or feelings. Leaders are paid to lead, and not simply parrot mechanistic rules. If a leader oversteps the bounds of propriety in this area, there are other checks and balances, including the election process or legislative censure that can serve to counterbalance excesses.]

D. Private citizens should not be prohibited from using public property on a temporary basis, without cost to the government, for religious or other celebrations of belief as long as such activities are voluntary and coordinated with other normal public needs.

[Religions are no different than any other association of belief. All such associations (that do not threaten fundamental rights, or the community standards established by voluntary compact on public comportment), ought to have free access to public property, even to promulgate their beliefs--as long as any costs to the taxpayer for administration or maintaining public order is reimbursed.]

E. Officials should not, in an official capacity, publicly disparage the beliefs of others, unless those beliefs violate fundamental rights.

[Again, the criteria for official criticism of a belief system must be strictly limited acts or intentions that violate or present an imminent threat to fundamental rights--not mere dislike or disagreement for the belief system that is otherwise voluntary. Naturally, criticism can be leveled at beliefs or actions of the group that may violate the agreed upon standards of public comportment as well--especially since even those members agreed to those standards.]