A frequent commenter to the Independent Political Report (IPR) and longtime member of the Libertarian Party, Andy Jacobs, who also works on ballot access drives and thus has encountered a large segment of society, has discussed the idea of a “Libertarian Zone” in IPR comments since at least 2012. Below is a comment Andy made on June 5, 2014, which I believe best summarizes the Libertarian Zone concept and provides the rationale behind it. Andy gave The Saturnalian permission to repost it here. The Saturnalian does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in this commentary
Why We Do Not Have a Libertarian Society
The reason that we do not have a libertarian society right now is because there are too many people in this country who do not believe in liberty.
I’ve never been to PorcFest (the annual summer libertarian festival in New Hampshire from the Free State Project), but I’ve heard accounts from people who have attended it, and they said that it is great, because it is like a mini-libertarian society. What makes it a libertarian society? The only people who go to PorcFest are libertarians!
People can be free to disagree on a lot of issues, and this is fine. The problem is when people use force, most often in the form of government, to FORCE their views on to others. Now it is one thing to use force against a person who is violating the non-aggression principle themselves, such as a person who believes that they have a right to steal your car, but it is another thing to use force against a person who is not violating the non-aggression principle, as in they have not initiated any coercive acts of violence or destruction of property, nor have they stolen anything or defrauded anyone.
People who are not libertarians do not really believe that individuals have the right to disagree, because they want to use government to force their views on to others, even when the people whom they are forcing their views on are not doing anything to harm anyone else. So this is why it is dangerous to liberty to have people around who do not believe in liberty. People who do not really believe in liberty DO NOT REALLY BELIEVE IN THE RIGHT TO DISSENT, as in they do not believe in “live and let live.”
I think that Lysander Spooner was right way back in 1867 when he wrote, No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority, in that the Constitution is not a valid contract, because nobody living signed it. There is also the fact that the Constitution still established a coercive government.
Kenneth Royce, also known as “Boston T. Party,” wrote a book called Hologram of Liberty: The Constitution’s Shocking Alliance With Big Government, where his premise is that the Constitution was a coup, as in the real purpose of the constitutional convention where the Constitution was drafted, which was supposed to have been held to merely to amend the Articles of Confederation, was to create a strong national government, which is what has led to the mess that we are in today.
Regardless of whether or not Kenneth Royce is correct with his assertion about the Constitution, the fact of the matter is that nobody today signed it, and most people today, even those who hold elected office, and those who work in government, do not have a freaking clue what the Constitution says or means.
Even with the flaws present in the Constitution, I think that we can all agree that if it were actually followed, we’d have a society that is a lot more free right now than it really is. Well how can you expect people to follow a document that most people have never read, or only read part of years ago, and therefore do not really understand it? Do you think that if everyone had to sign the Constitution, or some kind of document that laid down the guidelines for living in this country, that a lot more people would take the time to read and understand what said document says, especially if there were some kind of penalty clause in it for violating it?
One of the flaws in the Constitution as that there is no penalty clause in it. I had an idea a while ago for a penalty clause in the Constitution that would say something like, “It shall be legal for anyone to engage in acts of violence, including violence resulting in death, against any elected or appointed government official, at any level, who violates any section of the Constitution.”
Do you think that government officials would be more careful about abiding by the Constitution, if they knew it was a legitimate legal defense for somebody to beat them or murder them if they violate the Constitution?
The Constitution really does not go far enough in protecting individual liberty. This is why ultimately, coercive government should be abolished. There should be no taxes. Individuals should interact with each other on a voluntary basis.
Why is this not the way it is now? Why do we not have a voluntary society? Why do we not at least have a coercive government that is small, and strictly adheres to what is written in the Constitution?
The reason we do not have either a voluntary society, or a small government which is limited by the Constitution, is because there are too many people among us that fall into one of three categories:
- They are sociopath control freaks.
- They are people who prefer to be led around like sheep by sociopath control freaks.
- They are not sociopath control freaks, and they do not necessarily prefer to be lead around by sociopath control freaks, however, they do not possess the will to do anything to stop the sociopath control freaks, so they just “grin and bear it” (so to speak).
There are people who are freedom fighters, such as those of us who are in the Libertarian Party, as well as those who are working toward more freedom in other ways, but we are greatly outnumbered by the other three groups. The people who are in groups 1 and 2 are the enemy, especially group 1. The people in group 3 are either apathetic, or they sympathize with our way of thinking, but they do not realize it yet, or they realize it, but they think that the situation is hopeless, so they do not do anything, or they are afraid to do anything.
I really do not see any way that we can achieve liberty, unless we get away from groups 1 and 2. Libertarianism is just not compatible with the people who are in groups 1 and 2. The people in group 1 are especially dangerous. These are the people who would try to destroy a libertarian society if we were successful in creating one somewhere.
There are certain people in this country and world, who will never accept libertarianism, no matter what we do. The only things that we can do is get away from these people, and defend ourselves, with violence if necessary, if they come near us.
We will never achieve a libertarian society, as long as we are outnumbered by Democrats, Republicans, socialists, communists, fascists, monarchists, or whatever other form of collective control systems you can imagine.
The Libertarian Zone
This is what lead me to the concept of a Libertarian Zone, or Libertarian Zones. This would be a place, or places, where people who are not sociopath control freaks, and people who do not like being lead around by sociopath control freaks, can come together and live in voluntary cooperation (kind of like PorcFest, but year round, and hopefully on a bigger scale).
There’d have to be some way of spelling out what the terms to live in or visit the Libertarian Zone were, and there’d have to be some mechanism for enforcing those terms. This is what led me to the idea of the Libertarian Zone Contract. Entrance to the Libertarian Zone would not be based on race, ethnicity, or anything else beyond political, or more accurately, philosophical ideology. The ideology would be spelled out in the contract, which would be the same for everyone, and everyone would have to sign. The penalty for not signing would be ejection from the Libertarian Zone.
Perhaps everyone in the Libertarian Zone would have to post some kind of bond, and then if the Libertarian Zone Contract is broken, there would be randomly selected jury, participation on which would also be voluntary (since the price for liberty is eternal vigilance, I think that most people who live in the Libertarian Zone would welcome the opportunity to serve on randomly selected jury). If the randomly selected jury finds that a person did indeed violate the Libertarian Zone Contract, bounty hunters would be able to collect the bond which the individual posted to enter the Libertarian Zone (anyone in the Libertarian Zone could be free to collect the bounty as a bounty hunter), by forcibly ejecting the offender if necessary. If the offender is particularly nasty, and refuses to leave, bounty hunters will be free to use deadly force against them. Given that there will be no laws against self defense in the Libertarian Zone, a really heinous Libertarian Zone Contract violator, such as a rapist or a murderer, would not likely get very far, because many people in the Libertarian Zone would likely walk around armed.
Nobody would be forced to own or carry a gun, but I’d bet that many people would chose to do it. There would be no War on Drugs and no welfare state, both of which breed crime, and there’d be no laws preventing people from owning or carrying guns, or knives or swords or mace or tasers or other weapons for self defense. I don’t think that crime would be a big problem, even more so given that every individual would have to read and sign a contract that says that they agree to not engage in coercive acts of violence, theft, fraud, or destruction of property, and that if they violate this contract, they will be forced to leave the Libertarian Zone, and they will be forced to pay restitution prior to leaving, and that depending on their actions, violation of the contract could result in their death, or severe bodily injury, since many of the residents of the Libertarian Zone will chose to carry weapons and will be well trained in their use.
I think that the Libertarian Zone would be a nice and prosperous place to live, and that once people were in it, and once they signed the Libertarian Zone Contract, which would be short, and in basic terms that most people could easily understand (if a person was retarded and not capable of understanding the Libertarian Zone Contract, they would have to be a ward of a Libertarian Zone Contract signer, as in a Libertarian Zone Contract signer would have to sign for them and would be responsible for caring for them), that most people would want to stay in the Libertarian Zone, and would be careful to not initiate force or fraud.
The Libertarian Zone is an idea I’ve been kicking around for a long time for how a Libertarian Society could be achieved, given the reality that there are some people in this world who are severe obstacles to having a libertarian society.