The Constitution of Consent Contest was held in mid-2023 and organized by Max Borders. Intended to jumpstart and accelerate a conversation around the best forms that emerging models of consensual governance could take, the task was to:

Craft a Constitution of Consent that balances freedom and community self-organization. Contest entrants — individuals or teams — will develop a constitution that is chosen, not imposed—a real social contract.

Below, we present the full entry of one of the winners of the shared first prize in this contest – the Free Cities Foundation’s own Senior Advisor, Alex Voss.

Constitution of Consent

Alexander D. Voss

 

 

Introduction

In the tapestry of human history, the aspiration towards self-determination and mutual respect has been a beacon guiding societies to higher ideals. At the heart of these principles lies a simple, yet profound concept: consent. As we stand at the precipice of a new age for mankind, we recognize that the future we wish to build — a future where every individual feels heard, respected, and free — must be rooted in this sacred principle of consent.

Preamble

We the people, in pursuit of a society grounded in peace, freedom, justice, pluralism and prosperity, hereby recognize the paramount importance of consent as the cornerstone of governance.

With history as our guide and the promise of a better future as our aspiration, we pledge our unwavering commitment to the principles of consent, understanding that a society built on mutual respect and voluntary agreement is the surest path to enduring peace, prosperity, and the collective welfare of our people.

Article I: Definitions

Def 1. Private property may be any discernible object or electromagnetic wavelength with the following characteristics:

  • It is accessible, recognizable, and discernable.
  • It persists in the time scale of human action.
  • It exists independently of any perception or consciousness.
  • It is possible in practice to measure its physicochemical characteristics using the International System of Units (MKSA) or any other equivalent conceptual system.

Def 2. A previously unowned or abandoned scarce resource is one meeting all the criteria of Def. 1 that is not being actively utilized by an individual or group of individuals for the completion of a particular project, or has not been claimed to be owned, in the time scale of human action, and in compliance with adverse possession common law.

Def 3. A property right is the right to the exclusive use of and complete control over private property.

Def 4. A coercive act is any act involving the use of private property on which a cognizable property right already exists, without the free and voluntary consent of the legitimate owner.

Def. 5. Homesteading is the process by which human beings justly acquire property rights in a previously unowned or abandoned scarce resource by mixing one’s labor with the resource.

Def. 6. Rights can only belong to individuals. No institution, including any level of government can possess rights. This is true even if 100% of people adhere to any given rule or law. In such a case, the law may pass as all individuals have adhered to it regardless of institutional involvement. No Rights exist outside of the framework of property rights. As such, all Rights are property rights and property rights are the rule of the land.

Article II: Rights

  1. Every human being has an inherent, exclusive, inviolable right to self-ownership.
  2. No law shall countenance the existence of slavery, conscription, indenture, or any other form of involuntary servitude.
  3. Human beings possessing the inalienable right of self-ownership likewise have the right to justly acquire property and claim property rights over a previously unowned or abandoned scarce resource through the process of homesteading.
  4. Human beings likewise may acquire title to new property through the process of peaceful and voluntary trade, exchange, and contract.
  5. Every individual shall have the right to freedom of contract, meaning that a rightsholder’s consent is both necessary and sufficient to transfer alienable title to property.
  6. All interactions and exchanges between individuals are to be voluntary, consensual, and peaceful, and as such no individual or group of individuals shall abridge the right of any person to purchase, gift, use, control, exchange, lease, sell, transfer, bequeath, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy their property without interference until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the property right of others.
  7. The only legally or morally permissible utilization of coercion is reactive coercion in direct and proportional response to an initiation of aggressive force against a peaceful individual’s property rights as specifically defined herein. As with Rights, this only applies to individuals not institutions. Even if an individual is part of an institution, the concept of reactive, direct and proportional defensive force still applies.
  8. All parties of this Constitution have an absolute right to self-defense in concurrent and proportional response to an uninitiated and uninvited coercion, manifest or imminent.
  9. The only legally enforceable rights are property rights.

Article III: Contracts

  1. Individuals or groups of individuals may voluntarily transfer title to any property between and amongst any other legitimate property owner.
  2. Contracts are to be enforceable through the use of any arbitration agency concurrently approved by both parties of the contract prior to contract formation and in accordance with all provisions of this Constitution.
  3. Should a Contract not specify arbitration agency domain, the parties to the contract may resolve the dispute in any manner acceptable to both parties and in any case without the use of force. This mechanism will heavily incent honest businesspersons to only enter contracts with an arbitration agency clause clearly defined.
  4. Only legitimate property as defined in this Constitution and in accordance with all provisions of this Constitution may be the subject of a title transfer.
  5. The right to freely and voluntarily contract is absolute and inviolable.

Article IV: Justice

  1. Any person’s infringement of any rights stipulated herein is subject to lawful prosecution by the victim of this infringement or his agent in accordance with all relevant due process and contractual commitments and is actionable in accordance with generally recognized common law principles of the proportionality of punishment, strict liability, and restitution.
  2. Jury trials are to be utilized in all criminal proceedings. Criminal proceedings can only include cases involving the aggression against of a specific person or persons or their legally owned property.
  3. No person shall be convicted, sentenced, or imprisoned without due process of law, including the right to trial and habeas corpus, and there shall be no detention without trial, nor shall any person either before or after trial be held incommunicado. An accused person shall be assumed innocent until proven guilty. At every stage of criminal process, an accused shall be informed of the charges against him or her.
  4. No person shall be tried more than once for the same crime.
  5. No individual, collective, or firm shall be able to compel either jury service, discovery, or witness testimony during the proceedings of a criminal trial.
  6. Coercive detention shall not be exercised arbitrarily but only upon probable cause that the detainee (a) has committed or (b) is committing a criminal offence, or that he or she has been made, or is soon to be made, a subject of a court order regarding (c) a medical isolation on the account of a highly contagious and deadly disease.
  7. A person who has been arrested, detained, imprisoned, tried, or sentenced either illegally or in error shall receive full restitution.
  8. Restitutive compensation may be obtained coercively if necessary.
  9. The prosecution, arbitration, and enforcement of any and all disputes may be performed by any arbitration or protection agency formed and operates voluntarily under the purview of this Constitution.
  10. Any arbitration resolution binding parties to this Constitution that may be reasonably construed to be in contravention of any provision of this Constitution is null and void.
  11. This Constitution ratifies and adopts the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, as adopted by a United Nations diplomatic conference on 10 June 1958 and entered into force on 7 June 1959.
  12. Any and all Foreign Arbitral Awards recognized by the aforementioned Convention shall be binding in the jurisdiction of the parties of this Constitution and any enforcement agency operating in the jurisdiction of the parties of this Constitution shall have the authority to enforce such Awards upon request from the winning party.
  13. Any ambiguities in this Constitution or any future legislation must always be interpreted in favor of individual liberty.
  14. Common and customary laws shall take precedence over statutory laws. Statutes violating customary laws can be challenged and invalidated with 2/5 majority.
  15. Citizens shall have the right to form new, or join existing jurisdictions.
  16. Any creation of new laws requires 3/5 majority to pass. All laws can be repealed with 2/5 support at any time. Notwithstanding the above, in no case, even with 100% support, can the person or property of any individual be aggressed against.
  17. Any collection of voluntary taxes must be done at the most local level with proceeds passed on to higher levels of government as appropriate. The most local level is the smallest jurisdiction in geographic size.

Article V: Prohibitions

The following laws, private covenants or practices are impermissible and unconstitutional for any entity to enforce on the property of another without prior, express, voluntary consent:

  1. Any coercive, non-voluntary transfer of money from any individual or group of individuals to any governing entity, as in compulsory taxation.
  2. Any coercive, non-voluntary transfer of any private property from an individual or group of individuals to any governing entity, as in asset forfeiture and eminent domain.
  3. Any coercive, non-voluntary limitation, stipulation, regulation, or restriction on the ownership, transfer, and usage in any way of any private property whatsoever, except in cases regarding circumstances beyond the territorial borders of the jurisdiction of this Constitution.
  4. Laws, rules, regulations, and pronunciations coercively penalizing in any way any victimless or consensual actions whatsoever.
  5. Laws, rules, regulations, and pronunciations coercively compelling any individual to act in any way whatsoever against his or her express will, except at the behest of a voluntarily signed contract.
  6. Any form of restriction, hindrance, or otherwise forceful intervention against any movement of individuals or group of individuals across the borders of the territory over which this Constitution has jurisdiction.
  7. Laws respecting or establishing a right to property in contravention of those definitions of rights to property established herein.
  8. Criminal statutes that do not specify an exact mens rea requirement for prosecution and enforcement.
  9. Laws, rules, regulations, and pronunciations respecting or concerning the establishment of a central bank.
  10. Any attempt to establish a monopoly on coercion and force within the jurisdiction of this Constitution.
  11. any level may attempt to create a Capital City.
  12. The Federal Government may attempt to directly collect Taxes, even if voluntary. Federal Government Funding must come from its subsidiary lower levels of government.  
  13. Any attempt to prohibit any individual from opting out of this Constitution and into another Constitution of his or her choice. The new Constitution may be anything they please but with the only prohibition being it may not infringe on any other member of this society. It may restrict the actions of the individual opting into the system but may not allow him to do anything disallowed in this society (i.e. violence) and will only apply to that specific individual and no other member of society.
  14. Any attempt to create any agency to carry out to work of government. This includes all levels of government and all agencies or quasi-agencies. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes health agencies, revenue collection agencies, national defense agencies, intelligence and police agencies, securities and banking agencies. This is not exhaustive. No agencies may be created in any field currently in existence or potentially developed in the future.
  15. Any restriction in any way the ability of any business that does not harm, aggress or defraud customers.
  16. Any require licenses or fees for the establishment of a business or charity.
  17. Any attempt to limit or prohibit the creation and operation of competing arbitration and alternative dispute resolution systems.
  18. Any attempt to limit or prohibit the creation of privately organized defense agencies. These defense agencies may operate domestically or abroad but are subject to every clause in this Constitution.
  19. Any attempt to raise revenue via taxation without a written contract, signed by both parties to receive the funds.
  20. Any attempt to create a Military in any capacity. Defense of the nation must be provided either by individuals or privately organized and competing defense agencies.
  21. Any attempt to create monopolistic police powers are prohibited at all levels of government.
  22. Any attempt for the, at any level, to own any real property. The government may lease private property for a period of up to 10 years with funding coming only from voluntary sources.
  23. Any attempt to create laws of special privilege to any person or group. This includes but is not limited to race, religion, sex etc. For the avoidance of doubt this explicitly includes considering any of these aspects with regards to reparations and any other endeavor of the government(s).
  24. Any attempt to create a monopoly on currency. No government can participate in creating any common currency. All individuals are free and able to make transactions in anything they wish. The government may also ask for voluntary donations in any currency it pleases.
  25. Any attempt to establish a welfare program funded with anything other than private donations earmarked exclusively for this purpose. Reminder, all funding for the Federal Government must come from its subsidiary governments.
  26. Any attempt to borrow utilizing tax revenue as a guarantee. The government, at any level, may borrow only with the promise to pay via its voluntary revenue sources. For the avoidance of doubt, taxation is not voluntary.
  27. The government, at any level, may not attempt to keep any confidential records. All records shall be available for the public domain. No redactions are allowed on any document.

Cover image: Constitution of consent as imagined by Midjourney AI