Final draft, August 19, 2001.
"Justice is the armed defense of innocent liberty." WD
The purposes and limitations of a first principle are: (1) to establish the context and scope of discussion; (2) to affirm the existence of a fundamental truth pertaining to the topic generally; and (3) to define that truth, employing the least ambiguous and most cognitively fruitful concepts that are logically germane to the definition. Men and women have reasoned about law for centuries. Familiar terms, the relations of which are obvious in the structure of a predicate, compel any adversary to concede or to contradict squarely, because a first principle necessarily addresses a fundamental question. The most fundamental issue in law is justice -- not electoral processes or delegated powers, but the right to public justice.
Definitions of justice proffered by others have been lengthy, covering hundreds of pages, intertwining dozens of terms. However, logic is an exact science. Verbosity indicates lack of understanding or deliberate obfuscation. That's why my definition of justice is succinct. A complete theory of justice is presented in one proposition, consisting of one object, one action, and two qualifiers: Justice = armed defense of innocent liberty. The qualifiers are necessary for precision. Verbal defense of liberty isn't justice. It must be armed defense. Not all liberty, just innocent liberty (e.g., the liberty of women and children, who are often unable to defend themselves). My definition does not refer to or imply any ethical principle. The philosophy of law is a separate branch of science, independent of ethics. Moral inquiry pertains specifically to the interests, powers, and dilemmas of an individual, epitomized by the question: "What shall I do?" Legal philosophy addresses impersonal administration of public justice, litigation among parties in dispute, the combined might of a community, and custodial guardianship of certain individuals who are unable or legally prohibited to conduct their own affairs.
"No freeman shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseized or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimized, except by the lawful judgement of his peers and by the law of the land." [Magna Carta, 1215 A.D.]
Very early in the history of Anglo-American law, it was asserted that a freeman was at liberty to conduct his own affairs, unless restrained by due process of law (i.e., a constitution). The notion of "innocent liberty" is easily discerned in this ancient statement of political right. Freemen were at liberty, presumed innocent unless proved guilty of violating the law, which applied equally to all freemen. I do not suggest that this provision of Magna Carta should be construed as an obligatory legal or constitutional precedent. Rather, I cite it to suggest that my theory of justice is not at odds with historical understanding of civil liberty and the rule of law. The essential function of law is to distinguish between innocence and guilt, truth and falsehood, political right and wrong.
"The power exerted by a legal regime consists less in the force that it can bring to bear against violators of its rules than in its capacity to persuade people that the world described in its images and categories is the only attainable world in which a sane person would want to live." [Robert Gordon]
Every Fourth of July, my fellow countrymen celebrate the mistaken notion that the United States was conceived in liberty. This reveals how little our constitutional history is studied. The U.S. Constitution was not conceived at all -- it was a bastard product of compromise and contentious debate, winning ratification by a slim margin (among the 20 percent of colonial population who were eligible to vote for it). The U.S. Constitution did not provide any definition of justice. I accept that many generations have endorsed the American federal establishment by acquiesence, understanding only that their national government was a small, weak, often laughable cesspool of graft, which prior to 1880 had no control over private life and freedom of contract. There was no Federal income tax, no regulation of domestic commerce, and minimal entanglement in foreign affairs. Only in the 20th century did the U.S. begin in earnest to exert intrusive, dictatorial control of every citizen's private life and civil liberty. Today, all business owners are compelled to serve as tax collectors (Federal income withholding, Social Security, Medicare). Global income is taxed, all investment gains are taxed, and an immense code of rules govern the operation of banking. The result is a nation of political sheep, following the most conservative in our midst. It is a tragedy of unequalled horror, that the meek are led routinely by dangerous and devious charismatics. The only way to rectify this unfolding political disaster is to articulate an alternative legal system, based on a simple proposition that enshrines liberty as the cornerstone of justice.
The Freeman's Constitution does not claim sovereignty in a geographic area, but rather the world at large, affirming that you have an inalienable constitutional right to innocent liberty which no state may lawfully abridge. This bedrock principle of justice is not reiterated in the detailed provisions which follow. Instead, it is the legal standard by which all of the provisions of The Freeman's Constitution must be interpreted and measured in practice.
To be outlawed for contempt is a heavy punishment. Stripped of the protection of law, an outlaw has no right to life or liberty, innocent or otherwise. His bankers can empty an outlawed account, his friends and associates are forced to think twice about entering into or continuing to honor what are now illegal, unenforceable agreements with an outlaw, and his personal safety is put in jeopardy, since an outlaw may be detained or harmed by any law-abiding person with impunity. There is no greater punishment that public justice allows, than a sentence of outlaw. For this reason, the courts of first instance are not permitted to impose such a punishment without appointing counsel to represent the person accused of contempt, for the purpose of appeal. The presumption of innocence is integral to due process, and the punishment for contempt amounts to a bill of attainder. Appellate judges are not likely to affirm a sentence of exile and outlaw, unless the evidence of contempt is overwhelming and the entire record of the trial court case shows that the accused fled prosecution for felony and the complainant had sufficient evidence and sworn testimony to obtain a grand jury indictment. WD, 8/3/01
No official or Founder of Laissez Faire City advised or consented to promulgation of this Article. No official or Founder of Laissez Faire City should be construed to have, now or at any time in the future, a favorable opinion of this constitution or any intent to execute the powers of appointment and removal conferred by this Article. That said, it is equally true that Laissez Faire City is addressed and referenced above as a defacto nation in need of a constitutional judiciary and due process of law, which has occupied my thoughts for two consecutive years. WD, 8/3/01
Majority rule is seldom good, but there is little other choice with respect to public officeholders (such as law judges). The defunct Articles of Confederation, which governed the United States during its infancy as a republic, required the unanimous consent of all 13 states to enact law -- and promptly collapsed as a constitutional entity, because any individual state could withhold its consent and frustrate the manifest public good. That's why the Federal Convention was held, as an emergency conference of "wise men" to negotiate a majority-based balance of power among Large States and Small States, Free States and Slave States. The only thing they agreed on was a statist paradigm, reflecting the widely-held Christian view that God had ordained the Americans to seize "the separate and equal station" of sovereignty that monarchies claimed. Today, we are in a vastly different context. The Freeman's Constitution does not ordain or establish a state. Rather, it is the organizational law of the laissez faire bar. It gives practicing lawyers the right to convene and the duty to pay for courts of first instance, and judges must command the confidence of a majority of their professional colleagues to remain on the bench. WD, 8/4/01
In a laissez faire community of any kind, physical or digital, the rule of law arises from and requires all of the following: a constitutional right to practice legal representation on behalf of others; the right of practicing lawyers to associate for the purpose of selecting judges who, on appointment to the bench, are barred from private legal practice; and the right of any person or organized group to obey and execute lawful orders that may be issued from time to time by the courts so created. The jursidiction of laissez faire constitutional law and the courts which duly interpret and uphold such principles exists globally and perpetually as a matter of right. Laissez faire constitutional law flows from a single proposition, which is that no one may legally judge his own cause of action or act to penalize another without fair public trial and impartial due process of law. Laissez faire law is discovered and demonstrated in the process of litigation and trial. It cannot be legislated, codified, or imposed by a "lawgiver." WD, Opinion of Counsel
Associations, partnerships, corporations, trusts, states, and other fictional legal persons have no intrinsic right to life or liberty. The fundamental legal character of all such entities is that of shared or managed property, title to which is in dispute. Fictional legal persons cannot prosecute crime, other than misdemeanor trespass or burglary. Laissez faire law does not recognize the "sovereign power" of a state to levy taxes, issue passports, coin money, or regulate banking or commerce. WD, 8/6/01
The most serious crime of all is abuse of the police power, and the Constitution provides the sternest possible punishment (basically, the death penalty) for willfully and wrongfully denying another person's legal presumption of innocence and right to due process. Note also that in homicide cases, prosecution made is on behalf of a survivor -- a grieving spouse, dependent child, or business associate. "The earth belongs in usufruct to the living." (Jefferson) WD, 8/6/01
A state of revolutionary war exists at the time of this writing and shall likely continue during the indefinite future, until the United States of America ceases to assert its "sovereign power" over free men and women, whose right to innocent liberty admits of no limitation by legislatures, territorial states, or previous condition of citizenship. WD, 8/17/01
There is one other document archived on this domain. It was written long before The Freeman's Constitution was created, and it accurately reflects the author's motive and his understanding of the highest purpose of civil liberty: Happiness