The Freedom Universal

Explanation of the Freedom Universal Constitution's Elements

The Freedom Universal Constitution is a constitution based on The Freedom Universal—a new, precise formulation of the principle of individual sovereignty.

What follows below is a brief examination of the Freedom Universal Constitution's elements. Each paragraph below should be read together with the corresponding paragraph of the Freedom Universal Constitution.

The sovereignty of the individual is the foundation of the Freedom Universal Constitution. The source of this sovereignty is the individual's life. An individual's life is the supreme value. All other values derive from the supreme value of life, and are values only by virtue of serving the needs of the individual's life. Freedom, justice, and prosperity—and all the values of a civilized society—have meaning only in relation to an individual's life. Therefore, all other values—including social institutions such as the government—are subordinate to the supreme, inviolable, sacred value of life—the sovereignty of the individual. The statement of individual sovereignty establishes the proper relationship between individuals—a relationship of sovereign equals before the law.

The sole exception to individual sovereignty is when, and to the extent that, a person has violated the sovereignty of another person (which occurs primarily by initiating violence against their person or their property). Through violating the sovereignty of another, an individual loses their own sovereignty—but only to the extent necessary to restore the integrity of the injured person by making the injured person whole again through restitution. Once the injurer has made full restitution to the injured person, the sovereignty of the injurer is thereby restored.

The Freedom Universal Constitution's equality before the law provision is a direct corollary of individual sovereignty. It is the only legal order consistent with a society of sovereigns. The equality before the law provision requires that the government itself and everything it does—all its laws, institutions, organs, and actions—shall comply with the principle of equality before the law. This is a very far-reaching provision, and is what makes the Freedom Universal Constitution such a powerful protector of persons against violence and abuses of power. Its essential function is to constrain the corrupting influence of special interests by prohibiting the government from treating any person any better or worse than any other person. It effectively implements a consistent form of the rule of law as the fundamental and supreme governance principle of the jurisdiction.

The sole exception to equality before the law is where it is required to treat persons unequally in order to perform the government's legitimate function of protecting persons against violations of their sovereignty (which means, primarily, protecting persons and their property against the initiation of violence by other persons). For example, to bring a murderer or thief to justice, some actions may be required that unavoidably involve unequal treatment of some persons. However, such exceptions are permissible only if there is no other way to serve justice, and then only to the extent that it is absolutely necessary.

The restitution provision serves justice by requiring the government to restore persons to the state they were in before it treated them unequally. It serves as a powerful constraint against abuses of the exception clause, and breaches of the equality before the law provision, by making the government accountable for any costs it imposes on innocent or unfavored persons, and reversing any benefits it hands out to favored persons. It creates strong incentives to think twice before violating equality before the law for any reason, and to limit the extent of any exceptions. It strengthens the equality before the law provision by serving as a further constraint on the corrupting influence of special interests.

A crucially important part of the Freedom Universal Constitution is its implementation provisions:

To be effective in practice, the Freedom Universal Constitution is specifically designated as the supreme law of the jurisdiction in which it is instituted. It is only because of its status as supreme law that it can operate to gradually over time bring into compliance those elements of the legal and political system that conflict with individual sovereignty and equality before the law. Without its unique status as supreme law, other laws, institutions, or actions could be used to override the Freedom Universal Constitution and render it impotent. However, the Freedom Universal Constitution is not intended as a replacement of a society's existing laws or institutions. One of the Freedom Universal's unique design features is that it does not replace a society's politico-legal system, but heals it, by gradually over time removing the contradictions, and making it consistently anti-violence and pro-freedom. It is a constitutional framework within which a society's existing laws and institutions—including its existing constitution—can continue to operate, to the extent that they do not violate the principles of individual sovereignty and equality before the law. It can thus be described as a meta-constitution. Its status as supreme law allows it to operate as guardian of the principles of individual sovereignty and equality before the law, as a standard against which to judge existing laws and government actions, over time bringing existing laws and institutions into conformance through a gradual process of discovery and transformation. The Freedom Universal Constitution thus respects and honors the best of our existing politico-legal institutions and traditions, while pointing the way forward for their continued evolution to better serve us.

The implementation provisions stipulate that the Freedom Universal Constitution can only be instituted as the supreme law of a jurisdiction by means of a referendum of the persons of that jurisdiction. This direct democracy requirement is a core element of the Freedom Universal Constitution, both for reasons of social legitimacy and to guard against tyranny of the majority by a minority. The reverse danger—the tyranny of a minority by the majority—is guarded against by the statement of individual sovereignty and the equality before the law provision. (Individual sovereignty and equality before the law guard against both types of tyranny.) Direct democracy places ultimate political sovereignty where it should be—in the hands of the governed. It also operates as a powerful constraint against the corruption of the political process by special interest groups.

The second implementation provision stipulates that the Freedom Universal Constitution shall operate by means of cases brought before a tribunal. This element helps to ensure both legitimacy and legal objectivity. Importantly, it also provides an innovative mechanism by means of which to gradually over time phase in the individual sovereignty and equality before the law provisions of the Freedom Universal Constitution. Those cases are likely to be brought before the tribunal first, that are causing the biggest problems in the jurisdiction. As the bigger problems are addressed, smaller problems will gradually enter the focus of public awareness and be addressed in turn. This unique phase-in mechanism gives the Freedom Universal Constitution tremendous flexibility to be adopted by virtually any society irrespective of its current politico-legal system, because it does not replace the jurisdiction's laws and institutions, but rather slowly transforms them from the inside out through a gradual process of discovery.

The third implementation provision stipulates that the persons of the jurisdiction may override Freedom Universal Constitution tribunal judgments by means of referendums (initiatives). This provision may appear paradoxical at first. Why would one want to include such an override option? The first reason is that this is an additional, critically important element of the Freedom Universal Constitution's phase-in mechanisms—essentially, its purpose is to provide a means of controlling the phase-in process in a grounded, sensible, balanced way. This is very important to the ultimate long-term success of the Freedom Universal Constitution. There are many historical examples where well-intended social transformations failed because they went too far, too soon, not respecting the complex dynamics of healthy social change. This provision puts citizens firmly in control of the process and pace of change. The Freedom Universal Constitution sets the overall long-term direction, but provides each society the means to adapt the process and pace of change to its own unique conditions and needs. Importantly, this provision limits the duration of overrides to four years, and requires, further, that any override shall be significantly more in compliance with the Freedom Universal Constitution than the conditions it replaces. Thus, over time, this provision operates to gradually bring the legal and political system closer and closer to full compliance with the principles of individual sovereignty and equality before the law. The second reason for the override provision is that it serves as a constraint on the power of the tribunal, thus providing an additional element of the system of checks and balances—the separation and balancing of powers.

The fourth implementation provision stipulates that the amendment or repeal of the Freedom Universal Constitution requires a referendum of the persons of the jurisdiction. This provision guards against politically-motivated infringements of the supreme law. Time and again we have seen even the best constitutions gradually eroded and corrupted by parties acting in their own narrow interest. This provision honors the governed—the people—as the ultimate sovereign political authority by means of the principle of direct democracy, thus ensuring that the government serves its people, and not the other way around. The requirement for two consecutive referendums spaced at least three years apart, guards against impulsiveness and transient emotional swings (for example, those promoted by skilled propagandists or powerful special interest groups, or short-term circumstances or events), and creates stability and predictability.

All of these provisions are designed to allow natural self-regulatory processes to operate in the society's best long-term interests, while retaining the flexibility to adapt to unique contexts, needs, and events in the short-term.

 

The above is a brief explanation of the Freedom Universal Constitution's elements. For more in-depth background and discussion, read the Deeper Discussion, followed by The Meta-Problem, The Problem, and The Solution.

A full presentation and discussion of the various elements and dimensions of the Freedom Universal Constitution, including the historic, philosophic, economic, legal, social, and policy arguments and evidence, is beyond the scope of this website. A book treating these topics in greater detail, and targeted at a broad audience of scholars and laypersons, is planned.

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