Brian’s Column: Panarchy Papers, Pt. 3

First cut on a modern declaration of independence
by Brian Wright

Link to Panarchy Papers, Pt. 2


So what’s this all about? First, I have come upon the concept of panarchy[1], thanks to this Website I visited a few weeks ago. The fundamental idea of panarchy is free choice of government. The government we Americans have come to know and loathe was set up by the founding fathers based on “implied” consent, and as Lysander Spooner questioned in No Treason, why should a man be bound to a contract he never signed? Panarchy resolves that question: a man should not be bound to any contract except those he explicitly makes. This is the advance we have been looking for: government by full consent, government by contract. Such a full-agreement form of government may not have been possible in the late 1700s (when the Divine Right of Kings had only just been challenged). But it makes sense now.

The remainder of Thomas Jefferson and friends’ foundational thinking, for example, the premise of the Rights of Man, still stands strongly. And having a representative constitutional republic with limited powers is yet a worthwhile premise for any governments of choice the people decide. Recognizing that we, just as the Founders, inhabit a unique context, I feel it is important that each of us clarify in writing our intentions vis a vis the existing set of coercive governments—I shall tailor some of my statement to the current very coercive (completely corrupt, criminal, and genocidal) United States government. We need to identify our relationship the better to resist having coercive government define the relationship for us.

The situation now is also different, because we are not a country declaring independence from another country. We are individuals establishing once and for all our moral decision to foreswear and defy aggression when it comes to acquiring or using any vital services governments have typically assumed. Take the following statement as a work in progress:

Declaration of Freedom and State Severance

As a mature human person, I declare and assert my full natural freedom to live as I choose without initiating force (aggressing) on others and without others aggressing on me. I declare and assert my freedom voluntarily to contract—or not—with any agency, company, or person for all social services I desire. I recognize no authority claimed by any agency of coercion; “coercion” = aggression = initiation of physical force. Specifically, I do not grant authority to any coercive government. I accept no coercive infringement on my freedom to earn a living, to travel, to associate with others, to express ideas, to assemble, to keep and bear arms, or on any other action of mine that is nonaggressive and consensual.

Accordingly, I claim the moral justification and prerogative—the “right”—to voluntarily join—or not—with other human persons peacefully to cooperate for any of the above security and social services.

The presumption of freedom entails that a government obtain its just powers solely from the consent of the governed. In the absence of an individual’s freely given consent, a government has no authority over an individual. In a relationship between a coercive government and an individual, consent by the individual to the government’s authority—in the absence of a written agreement signed without duress by the individual—must be assumed not to have been freely given. Therefore, no valid contract exists, or has ever existed, between a coercive government and an individual, particularly concerning the individual’s payment for services or obedience to coercive government measures.

When an individual—through ignorance or a reluctance to deny the authority of a coercive government—has long yielded to that government’s rules and power, it is desirable that the individual publicly declare whether he explicitly consents to or explicitly does not consent to that government’s authority. Even if the individual has made no arrangements for services of a noncoercive governing alternative, it is desirable that he publicly declare and record his statement of severance of the coercive government… out of simple courtesy, and to help prevent the coercive government from assuming it may rightly or legally continue to aggress upon him as before.

Whether or not an individual publicly declares his independence from a coercive government and whether or not an individual separating from a coercive government has made alternative arrangements with another government, the coercive government may not initiate force upon the individual to compel performance of any specific act of a contract. No valid contract exists between an individual and any agency of coercion, especially government. Indeed, the natural moral law of nonaggression requires that no body of human beings —governmental or private—may coerce other human beings.

Specific Government Relationship [This is USG]

Although the United States Constitution was a substantial achievement in limiting government aggression on individuals, thru the decades US federal government aggression has grown to catastrophic levels. The current government of the United States has reached a threshold of coercion that requires action: it has abrogated the Constitution through undeclared wars, mass detentions, mass torture and murder of civilians, assumption of dictatorial powers in all areas of production and trade, confiscation of wealth, invasion of privacy, conduct of secret programs for torture and/or murder of individuals, destruction of nature, and massive wealth transfer from productive persons to a privileged oligarchy of financial interests.

Because of the extended unconstitutional behavior of the United States Government (USG) a state of tyranny now exists. We must acknowledge that the USG, in its capacity as a coercive agency, has no contractual authority over us, and never did. We hereby sever all allegiance, obedience, and payment to the USG and insist that it cease and desist from any coercive actions toward indviduals. Egregious violations of the nonaggression principle by any government official or persons hired by coercive government are subject to prosecution by the people as petit treason.

[Final paragraph to be personalized by the declarer, pointing out any new contracted agency of protection, and probably universally containing verbiage for a nonaggression pledge and intention to be bound by cooperative standards for legal judgments in civil matters. For instance, we don’t want child custody disputes to be attended by shootouts and cycles of kidnapping.]


All right, that’s my start. Clearly the statement can be improved substantially, not to mention in wording. [It needs to have words on some peculiar details related to the transition away from the USG, what to do specifically regarding taxes and social program benefits. Also something about the GBC alternative.] I would like to hear from any in the audience who may wish to contribute to the statement. Over time—I’m thinking to have a solid document by Spring 2011—I’m hoping to be able to have something people can sign and use, at least for the US situation. Contact me via email, or through the Coffee Coaster Blog. Thanks.


[1] Panarchy means free choice of government. The more recent movement appears to use terminology “Government by Contract” (GBC), and is an extremely innovative approach for people to actually get the government services they truly want. Ref. Dwight Johnson and Government by Contract to get you started.

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