A Geo-Libertarian Constitution
|May 11, 2014||Posted by Fred Foldvary under Editorials|
We, the people of this land, recognize natural moral law as the proper foundation for governance. By unanimous consent, we thereby establish this constitution to provide the structure of governance that will best implement justice, preserve our liberty, and protect our natural rights.
Article I: The structure of governance
1. The transition. Upon the designated date of the adoption of this constitution by individuals, the existing governance powers in the old territorial realm shall be transferred to those seceding individuals who join the libertarian federation (the new realm) by their written signature either on paper or in electronic form. The lands held by these individuals shall also secede into the federation. A percentage of land value held by the old realm government shall be transferred to the new realm in proportion to the seceding population. The same percentage of the government debt shall also be transferred to the governance of the new realm. As new persons secede from the old to the new realm, in stages the corresponding land value and debt shall be transferred to the new realm, with the land value and debt set to that which existed at the date of first secession.
2. Electoral districts. Prior to the date of the secession, the old realm shall establish neighborhood electoral districts, each with a population of approximately one thousand persons. In locations where there is already an established governance structure such as a homeowners’ association, that organization may serve as the neighborhood district.
3. Councils. Each neighborhood district shall elect, from their residents, a council of seven persons plus one alternate council member. The neighborhood council is designated “level one.” A local group of 20 to 30 councils shall form a level-two council, and each level-one council shall elect one of its members as its representative to the level-two council. The elected level-2 representative shall be replaced by a new representative from the level-one council. A group of 20 to 30 level-two councils shall similarly form a level-three council. This process shall continue to the broadest and highest council, level-H, which shall be designated as the parliament or congress. Each council shall elect a chair or president.
A neighborhood council member may be recalled by a petition of one tenth of the members which elected the representative, followed by a vote for recall. A member of a council of level two or higher may be recalled by a vote of the majority of the council that elected that person.
4. Secession. Any member of the federation may secede as a person and may also withdraw land that is owned by that member in fee-simple title or other title forms that are easily separable from other real estate. However, the seceding person must pay his proportional share of any debts held by all councils for which he is a member, and is also liable for any personal debts owned to others in the federation.
Article II: The public finances
1. Prohibited taxes. In accord with the equal self-ownership of all persons, no tax shall be imposed on personhood, interest income, exchanges of property, value added, capital gains, wages, produced goods, or on profits and dividends from enterprise. However, a council may charge payments using the method of demand revelation, as described in III C.
2. Land-value and rent. A board of professional real-estate appraisers shall be appointed for each level-two council. Each council level shall appoint one such assessor for each board. The assessors and their hired assistants shall estimate the land value or land rent for each plot of land within the level-two district at least annually. The assessment values shall be a public record. Any land title holder may appeal the assessment to an appeals board selected by the level-two council, and if not satisfied, to a jury randomly selected from all level-two residents.
Each level-two council shall appoint a treasurer who shall collect and account for the public finances. Each month, the treasurer shall bill each land title holder for at least 80 percent of the assessed land rent, as the community rent that properly belongs to the people. Payments more than two months late shall be subject to a penalty of ten percent annually above the price-inflation rate. Payments not received within year shall result in a lien on the property and, after two years of non-payment, the sale of the property so that the owed funds are recovered. The level-two or higher-level councils may enact rules for the postponement of the community rent payment for cash-poor elderly title holders.
3. Pollution and congestion. Each council shall, in coordination with other councils of the same or other level, levy charges on pollution and other environmental destruction. Each council shall similarly levy charges on traffic and parking congestion just high enough to prevent congestion.
4. User fees. Each council may charge user fees for services that are voluntarily agreed upon by the residents, such as for the collection of trash and garbage, but the councils may not prohibit competitive services, and the councils may not impose charges for similar services provided by private substitutes.
Article III: Legislation
1. Implementation of natural moral law. The councils may not impose any restriction or cost on any adult action that does not coercively harm others. “Harm” is defined as an invasion, and not an offense due merely to the beliefs and values of those affected. The councils shall enact or adopt legislation that prohibits acts which coercively harm others, including threats of such acts. The council may also enact liability rules for acts which are penalized after the fact.
Residents may form clubs, including territorial organizations, within which the members may enact restrictions and dues, provided that any club member may exit the organization.
2. Majority rule. The councils shall enact legislation by majority rule. A council may also submit legislation to be put to a vote of the residents.
3. Demand revelation. Decisions on the provision of collective goods may be determined by the method of demand revelation. Each member is assigned a cost to be paid if the decision is to provide the good. Each member may enter, on a web site or on paper, the most that the member is willing to pay. Those who do not state any value shall be assumed to have stated a value equal to one’s cost. If the total values exceed the total cost, the collective good is provided. Any member whose stated value changes the outcome, relative to having stated a value equal to one’s cost, shall compensate the community with a payment equal to the net loss of all the others.
4. Adults. The standard age of adulthood shall be set at 18 years of age, which includes voting and the ability to enter into contracts and buy any products. A council may set a younger age for limited purposes, such as driving vehicles. When a minor becomes an adult, he shall sign in agreement with this constitution if he seeks to be a voting resident.
5. Jurisdiction. Legislation enacted by a council shall supercede any conflicting legislation enacted by a lower-level council within its jurisdiction.
Article IV: The judiciary
1. Trial by jury. All those charged with crimes punishable by prison, or by fines of value greater than one fifth of an ounce of gold, shall have the right to a trial by randomly selected jury of at least nine persons residing within one’s level-two council. Unanimous agreement shall be required for convictions punished by prison.
2. Law suits. All law suits under common law or civil law shall be transferrable, so that a person suing may sell the law suit to another party who will prosecute it. The default practice shall be for the loser of a law suit to pay the legal costs of the winner, unless a council overrides this with legislation.
3. Courts. The level-H council (parliament or congress) shall establish a supreme court with nine members, and each council above level-one shall appoint judges and establish courts of law. Private courts and arbitration shall also be permitted. The level-one neighborhood councils may establish courts as they wish.
Article V: Amendments
This constitution may be amended by a 3/4 vote of the level-H council together with a vote in favor by 3/4 of the level H-1 (the level below H) councils by their majority votes. However, Article II paragraph 1 and Article III paragraph 1 may not be repealed or substantially altered.