The Freedom Universal

Benefits

The Freedom Universal frees up our societies and economies, leading to greater wealth creation; accelerated scientific and technological progress; improved health and education; better security against crime, terror, and war; cleaner, more sustainable environments; and strong, vibrant, benevolent communities in which the human spirit can flourish.

The Freedom Universal Constitution's benefits can be summarized in four words: more choice, less force. The Freedom Universal Constitution gradually transforms our laws and social institutions by outlawing violence in all its forms, and fostering the growth and development of voluntary ways of achieving our social ends. In essence, the Freedom Universal Constitution prohibits the government from initiating violence against any person, and requires it to protect persons and their property against the initiation of violence by other persons. It does this by requiring the government to treat all persons equally, making no distinctions between persons, not discriminating for or against any person: equal interests, not special interests. Most of what our governments do serves special interests, instead of serving all of us equally. Thus the Freedom Universal Constitution's equality provision serves as a powerful limitation on the government's ability to act. Because this prohibition against coercive discrimination is so far-reaching, it cannot be implemented overnight. This is why the Freedom Universal Constitution incorporates flexible phase-in mechanisms that allow a society to gradually over time transition away from coercive methods and towards voluntary alternatives.

Freedom

If freedom means a society free of violence, then the Freedom Universal Constitution's primary and greatest social benefit is that it provides principles and effective mechanisms for achieving a truly free society. As explained in the Deeper Discussion, when we limit a person's ability to discriminate, we limit their ability to make appropriate choices, we limit their freedom—we limit their ability to live. Freedom means the freedom to discriminate—the freedom to choose. Freedom of thought, of expression, of association, of assembly, of movement, to vote, the right to life, and property rights, all require the freedom to discriminate. No freedom—indeed no life—is possible without the freedom to discriminate. However, there is a great potential threat to our freedom to discriminate, and hence to all our other freedoms, and life itself: Violence. The purpose of government is to secure our lives and our freedom by protecting us against violence. However, because the government has a monopoly on force, the institution of government itself tends to become the greatest source of coercion and violence in society. This past century alone, more than a hundred million innocent people were killed by governments—not counting other forms of government coercion. Private violence is negligible by comparison. Therefore, strong and effective constraints are needed on governments' use of force. By prohibiting government discrimination, while protecting private discrimination, the Freedom Universal Constitution constrains violence and thus safeguards our lives and our freedom.

Freedom of thought, of expression, of association, of assembly, of movement, to vote, the right to life, and property rights, are all implied and guaranteed by the Freedom Universal. In essence, the Freedom Universal is a very concise, consistent form of stating and implementing our universal human rights.

When people are free to choose, they overwhelmingly choose good over evil. They overwhelmingly choose to live by the universal, benevolent ethic of reciprocity. By setting people free, the Freedom Universal liberates our tremendous creative energies, our inventiveness, our productiveness, our benevolence, our indomitable, joyous human spirit.

Wealth

The Freedom Universal creates a win-win society. There are fundamentally two ways for persons to interact—voluntarily, or violently. Violent interactions are destructive, negative-sum games: the victim's loss is greater than the aggressor's gain. Voluntary interactions, by contrast, are creative, positive-sum games: both parties gain (or they would not conclude the transaction). Thus the greater the proportion of voluntary transactions (and the smaller the proportion of violent transactions) in a society, the more wealth is created (and the less wealth is destroyed) in that society. The empirical evidence for this is overwhelming. The Freedom Universal Constitution enforces the universal precondition for economic freedom and wealth creation—the rule of law and strong protection of private property—and separates state and economy, thus freeing up our creative, productive resources through eliminating those government activities and regulations (the majority) that violate equality before the law. The Freedom Universal Constitution operates to shrink the public (coercive) sector and expand the private (voluntary) sector, thus simultaneously liberating our societies (political freedom) and growing our economies (economic freedom).

The fundamental source of wealth is the human mind. The poorest countries are those that have prevented their citizens from exercising their creative powers, preventing them from creating wealth and lifting themselves out of poverty. Decades of foreign aid have not helped the poor. Trillions of dollars later, the recipients of foreign aid are now poorer and more dependent than they were before. The solution is not wealth transfer, but wealth creation. The Freedom Universal provides an optimal environment for wealth creation. Without wealth creation, no other social goods—health, education, security, community, environment, etc.—are possible. Wealth creation is our fundamental and most important need.

Health

Health and health care in most countries suffer from harmful laws and institutions that violate our freedom to take care of our health. The Freedom Universal Constitution outlaws government discriminating between public and private institutions, thus allowing private institutions to compete on an equal footing with public institutions. This equal, level playing field between public and private institutions stimulates competition, innovation, cost containment, and high quality service delivery. Those countries, such as Japan and Switzerland, that have approached this model (private providers, public funding) of health care delivery, have achieved superior, world-leading health care systems. Yet even in these countries, there is still extensive room for further improvement by freeing up the health care sector even more, allowing citizens greater freedom to make their own choices, and expanding private funding and philanthropic support.

To more effectively conquer disease, we need better science, better technology, better health care systems, better education. Indicators of health are directly correlated with a society's wealth. The wealthiest societies tend to have the lowest incidence of disease, the best health care systems, the longest life expectancies. The Freedom Universal Constitution, by providing an optimal framework for freedom, innovation, and wealth creation, leads to better health outcomes.

Education

The challenges and failures of public education systems have spurred increasing experimentation with alternative education models and a growing movement of independent schools and home schooling, with alternative schoolers and home schoolers outperforming their public school peers in their careers and in life, by many measures. Yet education remains almost completely controlled by government in virtually all countries, with even private schools being strongly constrained in their curricula and how they operate—stifling educational innovation. The first step is to bring education in line with the best practices in health care (see above)—private delivery of public services. Thus parents and students should be allowed to freely choose their schools—public, private, or home—with the government paying the same amount of public funding for every person without discrimination—as required by the Freedom Universal Constitution. Furthermore, government regulation of education (home, private, and public schools) should be gradually relaxed, to allow educational innovation and competition. By transitioning education from a context of force (government-controlled) to a context of freedom (individually-controlled), we will finally be able to effectively address the problems that have plagued education far too long, and thus give our children the quality education they deserve.

No child needs to be denied a high-quality education for lack of funds. The experience of countries around the world that have implemented this model (private delivery, public funding) for health care, shows that it produces higher-quality services at lower cost, compared with the public delivery, public funding model. Similar benefits can be expected when the private delivery, public funding model is applied to education. In the longer term, we can gradually transition further from the still semi-coercive private delivery, public funding model to a completely voluntary private delivery, private funding model that incorporates philanthropic and charitable support for those with financial or other challenges.

Security

The Freedom Universal Constitution requires the government to protect persons and their property against the initiation of violence by other persons. This includes crime, terror, and war.

Crime. The large amounts of government resources increasingly being diverted to special interests violate the Freedom Universal Constitution's equality provision. These resources could and should more productively be applied to protect people against crime (and other forms of violence). There is a growing trend, around the world, for the private provision of security services. The Freedom Universal Constitution protects the freedom of private service providers to compete on an equal footing with public service providers, thus promoting innovation and higher quality service delivery. The model of private delivery, public funding that is gaining ground in the health care sector, can be applied to advantage in the security services sector.

More fundamentally, we need to address the root causes of crime, including institutionalized violence: the current system of discrimination and special interests backed by government force, in which all of us are both the beneficiaries and the victims of force. This system of taking, and being taken from by force on a constant, daily basis, creates a culture of violence, legitimizing violence as a valid means of obtaining our ends. Should we be surprised that such a system of public violence also breeds private violence? This system, through its various bureaucratic obstacles, also makes it harder or in some cases even illegal to find work, thus limiting the opportunities for creating self-supporting wealth and self-esteem, and contributing to social problems including crime, poverty, drug abuse, and the break-up of families. The Freedom Universal Constitution addresses the root causes of these and other problems in a principled way based on solid fundamentals.

Terror. The subject of terrorism and its causes is very complex and multi-faceted. What is clear, however, is that a major contributing factor is interventionist foreign policy. Neutral countries have largely been spared the horror of terrorism, while the more interventionist countries have been hardest hit. The Freedom Universal Constitution prohibits intervening in the affairs of sovereign states, except where required to protect innocent persons against violent attack. A free society with a robust, free economy is much better able to protect itself against terror, and much more resiliently recovers from such attacks as do occur.

War. When politicians choose to make war with other countries, or make war with their own country, they use our taxes, and our husbands, wives, parents, children, brothers and sisters for their war machine. While self defense is appropriate when we are attacked, the majority of wars are military adventures embarked upon for political purposes rather than defense against attack. The Freedom Universal allows self defense in response to attack, but outlaws all forms of violence initiated against innocents. (Note, too, that self defense is different than retaliation.) Empirical studies show that economic freedom is more than 50 times more effective than democracy in preventing violent conflict between countries. The Freedom Universal creates an optimal environment for the flourishing of economic freedom, and creates powerful incentives against war and other forms of violence.

Community

We have paid a heavy penalty for coercive government intervention in our lives. Families and communities are torn apart by discriminatory, bureaucratic regulations. It is widely accepted that coercive discrimination against certain persons or groups is immoral and unjustifiable. It is also destructive—it causes social divisiveness and conflict, and limits social progress. In the worst case, it ultimately leads to social disintegration, chaos, and anarchy. This is no less true of favoring special interests, which is merely the other side of the same discriminatory coin. Allowing special interests and special interest lobbying necessarily causes the corruption of our public institutions, with growing numbers of special interests pitted against each other in a vicious spiral of accelerating moral decay.

Violence—including coercive discrimination and special interests—sets people against each other. When one person's gain is another's loss, we become each other's enemies, and breed distrust, malevolence, envy, and destruction. Under freedom, by contrast, violence is prohibited and only voluntary interactions are allowed. All parties gain from voluntary interaction, and we become each other's benefactors, fostering trust, benevolence, respect, creative achievement, and prosperity. This is why the freest countries are not just the wealthiest, but also have the highest degrees of benevolence, social harmony, and philanthropic giving. Unfree countries, by contrast, are plagued by civil strife, corruption, poverty, and disease.

What is important to recognize is that even our freest countries still suffer from unacceptably high degrees of coercive discrimination, special interests, and corruption. Our taxes are spent not on providing us with the services we paid for, but instead are increasingly diverted to special interests courting government favors. The time has come to put a stop to this once and for all. The Freedom Universal outlaws all types of coercive discrimination and special interests, thus creating an equal, level playing field where no one is advantaged or disadvantaged through coercive means.

All of us, including the disadvantaged are better off in a free society. A free society is a win-win society for everyone.

Environment

The cleanest environments and most sustainable practices tend to be found in the freest, most developed countries. The reasons for this are no mystery: To maintain a clean environment, and pay for sustainable practices, costs money and requires better technologies, which can only be generated in a free society. Furthermore, free individuals care about the environments they live in, more than the governments of unfree countries do. That is why individuals in free countries mobilize to improve their environments, whereas citizens in unfree countries are at the mercy of their autocratic governments, which, more often than not, do not prioritize environment and sustainability.

The problem of environment and unsustainable practices is, at its core, a problem of externalities—of insufficiently-developed institutions of private property—the problem known as the tragedy of the commons. These externalities can only effectively be reduced by extending and developing the institutions of private property into those domains plagued by externalities. The Freedom Universal Constitution encourages the internalization of externalities by: 1. providing a strong rule-of-law framework with strong protections of private property; 2. encouraging the extension of private property to currently unowned resources through the mechanism of first possession; 3. encouraging the gradual privatization of public property by prohibiting government discrimination.

The Kyoto Protocol is a first attempt at internalizing externalities by creating an emissions trading "market". However, it uses coercive, bureaucratic methods that are likely to produce suboptimal outcomes. A superior alternative would be to create a truly free, private market by allowing the private ownership of currently unowned or publicly-controlled resources such as air and oceans. Such private ownership and markets with their associated liabilities and the involvement of the insurance industry, create powerful incentives against environmental abuse and for sustainable practices—as is already the case in domains where private property institutions are well established.

Taxes

The Freedom Universal Constitution frees up our economies and societies, leading to vastly greater wealth creation, and better social services at lower cost. In a free economy that produces greater wealth and better services at lower cost, taxes can be steadily reduced as a percentage of income. Such tax reductions stimulate a further acceleration of economic growth, in an ongoing virtuous cycle. There is good reason to believe that a society governed by the Freedom Universal Constitution will be able to reduce its taxes to less than 10% of GDP within a generation, with further reductions over time—while simultaneously delivering better social services for everyone.

Spiritual Benefits

After meeting our material needs, most of us increasingly focus on our spiritual needs. By providing an optimal environment for abundant material wealth creation, and guaranteeing the universal human freedoms of thought, expression, etc. the Freedom Universal lays the groundwork for refocusing on spiritual purposes. But the Freedom Universal also benefits us spiritually in more direct ways: The first principle of a spiritually aware life, in a social context, is the renunciation of violence against one's fellow human beings, and its substitution by the universal, benevolent ethic of reciprocity. A society under the Freedom Universal is one of mutual respect, voluntary interaction, a society of equals before the law, dealing with each other on a level playing field, producing and trading value for value in a harmonious, benevolent, virtuous spiral that inspires the best within each of us.

The Big Picture

The above examples begin to introduce some of the implications and benefits of the Freedom Universal for our societies. Its implications are too extensive to discuss them all here, let alone present detailed arguments and evidence. (A book treating these topics in greater detail, and targeted at a broad audience of scholars and laypersons, is planned.) However, a few general pointers are appropriate here. The most important thing is to always keep in mind the big picture. We need to keep in mind what it is that we are working to achieve—a civilized society free of violence and coercion, and with expanded freedom of choice. When we stay focused on our goal, the steps toward the goal become clearer and easier. We are less easily distracted by lesser priorities when we clearly see the bigger priorities.

The majority of us choose life as our ultimate value. When we clearly keep this, our ultimate value in mind—the sanctity of life—we will be stronger and more effective against those who choose death and destruction. We will become more and more aware of the subtle, hidden forms of violence and coercion that still pervade even our freest societies, and find ways to reduce and guard against them more effectively. Life, however, is not primarily about the elimination of negatives. Life is primarily about the creation of positives. And that is the glorious challenge facing the world's societies at the dawn of the twenty-first century: discovering, innovating, building, and evolving voluntary means of achieving our social ends. Already, creative individuals, organizations, and communities all over the world are increasingly transforming and replacing our still coercive social institutions with truly voluntary alternatives, thus expanding our freedom of choice.

The Freedom Universal Constitution provides an optimal social environment for the creative discovery and growth of voluntary ways of constituting our social institutions. Looking at the many ways that coercion is still used in even our freest societies, it is helpful to ask what price we are paying for institutionalizing violence, and whether there might not be other, less coercive, more voluntary ways of achieving our ends.

In this process, we may discover that assumptions need to be reexamined about what is the best way of honoring our supreme value of life. It may turn out that there are better ways of achieving our ultimate goals than we had considered until now. We may even, at times, face painful choices between cherished values. When we are torn between conflicting values, it helps to clarify what our highest values are—and to ask whether there might be alternative means to serve our highest ends. Just as when we dedicate ourselves to a healthy lifestyle, we need to clarify and commit ourselves to our highest priorities, and exercise effort and discipline to resist the temptations and distractions of lesser priorities in order to reach our goal.

By dedicating ourselves to the supreme value of our lives, and to healthy, thriving communities, we open up the creative process, we begin to see possibilities we had never dreamt of before, and we discover that we all have much more in common than separates us. We find more and more ways to work together to achieve our universal ends: joyous lives in free, just, and prosperous societies.

The simplest solutions are often the most powerful.

The Freedom Universal Constitution is an elegantly simple, yet singularly powerful framework and discovery mechanism that incentivizes societies to explore, discover, innovate, and implement voluntary means of achieving our social ends.

Without progress on reducing violence and coercion in our society, our ability to make progress in other areas is severely encumbered. This brings us to an important question (explored further at The Meta-Problem): why has our social and spiritual progress lagged so far behind our material progress? We can now see the answer: if civilized society means a society free of violence, then as long as we continue to employ violence to reach our social ends, we are neither a civilized society nor do we achieve our social ends. The extent of our social progress has been the degree to which we have found voluntary ways to pursue our social ends. The history of the rise and fall of civilizations has been the history of the rise and fall of voluntary forms of social organization and governance. The proudest moments of our past have been our freest, and the proudest of our future shall be those in which the triumphant human spirit, liberated from the shackles of violence, rises to its exalted potential in an ecstatic song of joy.

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