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Good morning. Exceptional circumstances brought me back to OL.

The simple fact is we're getting older, all of us. With sadness, I noted the passing of Barbara Branden and was glad to see her charm and resilience recorded in a pretty wonderful Atlas Society video. Speaking personally, I'm on the same mortal coil with far less credit to my account and far fewer friends, of course.

Be that as it may, a sense of approaching decline prompted me to gather up some material into an orderly presentation of my life's work. Two separate motives for doing so: I am an extremely stubborn person -- and I continue to believe that there was and still is a gap in the Objectivist canon pertaining to constitutional law. Libertarians are worse in this regard because they wrongly maintain that a categorical imperative of ethics (non-aggression) is a full solution, provided that you sign a contract of some sort. How this explains parenthood or law enforcement or national defense baffles me.

I will try to come to the point as quickly as possible, but first an important disclaimer:

The goal of my work has been to define and articulate a laissez faire system of government and public justice, with due regard for received wisdom. Unfortunately, in the haystack of U.S. political history and legal thinking there was damned little wisdom and a great deal of tripe. I'm sorry to say that my attitude toward certain characters became contemptuous. In the restatement and clarification of my work, you'll find that nothing much has changed in that regard. I'm still me.

Here follows a canned press release about the new book.

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"I don't mind writing for posterity, but it's going to be mighty damn difficult for posterity to find what I wrote."

HOUSTON, May 21, 2014 -- Iconoclastic author Wolf DeVoon announced today that his latest book on laissez faire law, entitled The Constitution of Government in Gult's Gulch, will be available at Amazon and other online stores next week.

The 168-page book compares utopian fiction presented in Atlas Shrugged with the actual experience of living in a private community beyond the reach of government. It covers theory and practical real-world aspects of liberty, property, and constitutional law in a fully free society.

The Constitution of Government in Galt's Gulch also presents a surprising proposal to fund national security by private enterprise that does not rely upon taxation. In a long section on property, DeVoon concludes that wealth is a moral office of responsibility to advance the general welfare by offering employment.

The book is addressed to libertarians and Objectivists, and it offers a new theory of value and moral virtue based on individual character, personal ambition, and risk of change. Discussion of constitutional law includes loyalties beyond the law, fundamental rights, due process, and persistent presumption of innocence.

Author "Wolf DeVoon" is the pen name of a reclusive novelist, inventor, businessman and controversial advocate of capitalism. He was a high profile insider and officer of Laissez Faire City in Costa Rica, who served as general counsel and proxy for its embattled CEO and wrote The Freeman's Constitution in an attempt to save Laissez Faire City from destroying itself.

DeVoon says that his new book completes a 30-year personal quest to identify and articulate a coherent theory of constitutional law in a free society, based on an idea set forth in The Freeman's Constitution, that justice is the armed defense of innocent liberty.

"Liberty is an unpopular idea," DeVoon said. "There isn't a square centimeter of Colorado to hide behind a heated layer of air in Galt's Gulch, without EPA Region 8 and DHS poking their noses and missile-firing drones into it. The best hope for a free society today is in expatriate communities in loosely governed, corrupt host nations like Costa Rica, Panama, or perhaps Argentina," he said. "The goal of my work is to define the rule of law for folks who are living effectively outside the control of regular governments."

Apparently his new book is the last one that DeVoon intends to publish. A 2007 title, Laissez Faire Law, was almost entirely ignored by libertarian and anarcho-capitalist scholars. "I don't blame anyone for pushing the established canon of live and let live," Devoon explained. "The rule of law with compulsory production of evidence, summons to appear and jury duty is an absolute pain in the butt for traditional anarchists and libertarians. I don't mind writing for posterity, but it's going to be mighty damn difficult for posterity to find what I wrote."

The Constitution of Government in Galt's Gulch, ISBN 978-1499550450, $8.99

http://www.amazon.com/The-Constitution-Government-Galts-Gulch/dp/1499550456/

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I'm not asserting copyright. One cannot own a constitution, nor an argument in favor of its ratification. If you'd like a pdf of the text, please send me a PM with your email address. Alternatively, perhaps MSK will arrange a method of storing the material and making it available. I'll log in from time to time if you have any questions.

In 1974, I set out to fix a problem. Feels good to have finally fixed it.

===========================

EDIT FROM MSK: You can get a free PDF version of Wolf's The Constitution of Government in Galt's Gulch here. It is in a zip file.

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Welcome back Wolf. Your last post freaked some of us out, so it's good to see you're still alive and kicking. Good luck with your book.

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Damn, great to know that you launched this.

Between you and George Smith we have a great one (1) two (2) punch in this underworked area of objectivism and libertarianism.

Glad to see you are still dragging that mortal coil around,

A...

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I'm not asserting copyright. One cannot own a constitution, nor an argument in favor of its ratification. If you'd like a pdf of the text, please send me a PM with your email address. Alternatively, perhaps MSK will arrange a method of storing the material and making it available. I'll log in from time to time if you have any questions.

In 1974, I set out to fix a problem. Feels good to have finally fixed it.

Interesting constitution you wrote. But like any other constitution it will guide and shape the world only if those who want this constitution support it against armed opposition by armed forces. You are going to need a citizen army ready to lock and load.

Can this be done in the practical sense. Look what happened to the U.S. We went from armed Minute Men on Lexington Green under Captain Parker to a feeble sick U.S. under Barak Obama. Why won't this happen again?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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We went from armed Minute Men on Lexington Green under Captain Parker to a feeble sick U.S. under Barak Obama. Why won't this happen again?

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My understanding is that the American Revolution commenced circa 1770 and ended with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution by nine states in 1790 and passage of the Bill of Rights in 1791 -- roughly 20 years of tumult, sacrifice, improvisation, contention, and uncertainty. During Washington's first term, the 1st Amendment was violated by the Alien and Sedition Act, and Hamilton's doctrine of "implied powers" simultaneously upended the notion of enumerated powers and nullified the 9th and 10th Amendments. At commencement of civil disobedience and armed resistance to George III, only a minority of American colonists believed it was possible or desirable to declare independence from England. The U.S. Constitution was a product of pragmatic compromise and wholly mute on the subject of justice, although it assumed continuity of the common law, which was rapidly extinguished by legislation and by a Supreme Court decision that deemed Indians to be in a perpetual condition of pupilage. I would argue that the republican form of national government envisioned by the Founders ended in 1860. Everything since has been "winner take all" political mudwrestling.

The Freeman's Constitution does not create a government. It is merely the organizational law of the laissez faire bar. It was invoked in only one case before Laissez Faire City collapsed. Petitioner A sued Respondent B and an arbitration judge was appointed to hear the case. When B petitioned for discovery of evidence, A walked away in a huff -- so the effectiveness of due process under The Freeman's Constitution was never fully tested. It remains a theoretical solution, not unlike Paine's theoretical statement of The Rights of Man wherein it is asserted that government without a constitution is devoid of legitimate authority.

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We went from armed Minute Men on Lexington Green under Captain Parker to a feeble sick U.S. under Barak Obama. Why won't this happen again?

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My understanding is that the American Revolution commenced circa 1770 and ended with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution by nine states in 1790 and passage of the Bill of Rights in 1791 -- roughly 20 years of tumult, sacrifice, improvisation, contention, and uncertainty. During Washington's first term, the 1st Amendment was violated by the Alien and Sedition Act, and Hamilton's doctrine of "implied powers" simultaneously upended the notion of enumerated powers and nullified the 9th and 10th Amendments. At commencement of civil disobedience and armed resistance to George III, only a minority of American colonists believed it was possible or desirable to declare independence from England. The U.S. Constitution was a product of pragmatic compromise and wholly mute on the subject of justice, although it assumed continuity of the common law, which was rapidly extinguished by legislation and by a Supreme Court decision that deemed Indians to be in a perpetual condition of pupilage. I would argue that the republican form of national government envisioned by the Founders ended in 1860. Everything since has been "winner take all" political mudwrestling.

The Freeman's Constitution does not create a government. It is merely the organizational law of the laissez faire bar. It was invoked in only one case before Laissez Faire City collapsed. Petitioner A sued Respondent B and an arbitration judge was appointed to hear the case. When B petitioned for discovery of evidence, A walked away in a huff -- so the effectiveness of due process under The Freeman's Constitution was never fully tested. It remains a theoretical solution, not unlike Paine's theoretical statement of The Rights of Man wherein it is asserted that government without a constitution is devoid of legitimate authority.

Many interesting comments, Wolf. I'm sure your book is full of more such. Let's see how this thread developes.

--Brant

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Mr. DeVoon,

I haven't read an article by you in 20 years, but in the late 1990's you were one of the two or three best political writers on the internet.

Your Post #5 above is typical of the idol-smashing insights you regularly published in The Laissez Faire City Times.

I have ordered your reasonably priced book from Amazon and can't wait to crack it open.

Best of luck to you and please contribute here (or elsewhere) often.

Francisco Ferrer

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Wolf,

I just ordered your book.

(A few months ago I did some sleuthing and got the one on screenwriting. :) )

I have been looking into Laissez Faire City. What a roller coaster ride. The entire story of that undertaking would make an excellent novel, maybe a fiction based on the effort instead of a memoir. :)

Since a whole bunch of the principals, from what I was able to glean so far, used pseudonyms, there would be nothing wrong with sewing up the different antics into universal themes and throughlines.

More coming.

btw - I am very amenable to helping you to the extent I can. Just let me know how you want the PDF to work and I will set it up.

Michael

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Mr. DeVoon,

I haven't read an article by you in 20 years, but in the late 1990's you were one of the two or three best political writers on the internet.

Your Post #5 above is typical of the idol-smashing insights you regularly published in The Laissez Faire City Times.

I have ordered your reasonably priced book from Amazon and can't wait to crack it open.

Best of luck to you and please contribute here (or elsewhere) often.

Francisco Ferrer

Hi Francisco,

I'm deeply honored that you remember. I found archive.org captured some of my writing from that period.

http://web.archive.org/web/20010121171200/http://www.wolfdevoon.com/Expression.htm

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Wolf: re your reference in Post #5, where you refer to 1860 as the lynch pin of decline, can you either expand on this or point me somewhere where you have done so before? I assume you mean the beginning of the Civil War, but am interested in your specific analysis. thanks.

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The Freeman's Constitution does not create a government. It is merely the organizational law of the laissez faire bar. It was invoked in only one case before Laissez Faire City collapsed. Petitioner A sued Respondent B and an arbitration judge was appointed to hear the case. When B petitioned for discovery of evidence, A walked away in a huff -- so the effectiveness of due process under The Freeman's Constitution was never fully tested. It remains a theoretical solution, not unlike Paine's theoretical statement of The Rights of Man wherein it is asserted that government without a constitution is devoid of legitimate authority.

In the absence of a real test with real results you have a speculation.

In a word, you have just another theory. Is there any historical basis to indicate that a principled constitution would either bring or guarantee liberty.

My speculation is no matter how good the constitution or how bright the beginnings, in three generations or so, we will be back to square one.

The first generation of gungo ho liberty lovers and fighters will prevail and have their moment.

The next generation will honor their fathers and uncles and hold the line.

The third generation who have no first hand or living connection with the struggle for liberty, will in their sloth allow the rot to re-enter society.

The next generations will let the revolution slide to oblivion

And so it goes....

As it said in the Book of Exodus there arose a Pharo in Egypt who knew not Joseph.

And do it goes...

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Replying to PDS...

In previous writing I indicated that Pres. Andrew Jackson's 1830 veto of the Maysville Cumberland Road project and his 1833 removal of Federal deposits from the Second Bank of The United States were significant actions to limit the power and size of government. In January 1835, Jackson paid off the entire national debt, the only time in U.S. history that has been accomplished. An 1838 Supreme Court decision struck down a state-chartered monopoly in Charles Bridge v Warren Bridge. Jackson's vice president and successor Martin Van Buren advocated lower tariffs and free trade. After Pres. Harrison's brief 32-day term, he was succeeded by vice president John Tyler who reasserted the fundamental tenets of limited federal power. Tyler was succeeded by Polk (1845-49) who added Oregon, Texas, and Guadalupe Hildago (California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah), cut tariffs, and restored the Independent Treasury System under which government funds were held in the Treasury and not in banks or other financial institutions. The lost decade of Presidents Taylor, Fillmore, and Pierce were timid, dithering, and unable to cope with the slavery question.

Which brings us to 1860 and the disaster of the U.S. Civil War -- conscription, suspension of common law and constitutional rights, asset seizures, paper "greenbacks" deemed legal tender, nearly a million war casualties, huge tracts of land granted to railroad speculators, Federal expenditures amounting to five times the GNP of 1865, not including what it cost the South in destroyed property and lost production. In Texas v White, states lost all power to resist Congressional regulation of infrastate commerce.

Replying to Ba'al...

"Guarantee of liberty" strikes me as an odd notion. I endeavored to show the existence of defacto anarchy. Obedience is a choice.

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Replying to Ba'al...

"Guarantee of liberty" strikes me as an odd notion. I endeavored to show the existence of defacto anarchy. Obedience is a choice.

So is disobedience

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So is disobedience

Well, yes, that's exactly the point. The situation today is that many disobey the law. Arguably, we all do, one way or another, usually on Form 1040, or sliding through a stop sign or jaywalking, or selling something for cash at a swap meet or garage sale. Crime is a popular business. Murder is almost impossible to prevent, and waving a law book (or a Bible) at gangbangers generates laughter.

Quoting from The Constitution of Government in Galt's Gulch --

"I hereby certify that the law cannot catch or deter a clever evildoer. That's not the purpose of law, which exists first as a means of restraining mob violence, ignorant prejudice, and statist tyranny. If we apprehend a callous predator, from time to time, that's laudatory. But ending systemic, wholesale injustice is far more urgent, especially the heavy lifting of securing constitutional rights, which are few in number — no summary punishment, fair trial by jury, no perjury, no secret evidence, and the right of appeal to ensure fundamental fairness." [p.66]

"The law is mostly voluntary, folks. I acknowledged this openly and emphatically in my essay 'Government Is A Quack Faith-Healer'. If there is to be law and order, you yourselves will be the police of it. The Good Walk Alone was a fair portrait of our enlightened future — two dozen cops for a self-governing city of 40,000 — relying on the civic strength of a free society to mostly police itself, which means: settling your disputes by seeking legal guidance voluntarily from an unarmed judiciary, whose chief weapon is reason." [p. 132]

As a practical matter, each of us bears personal responsibility for law enforcement:

"The right to keep and bear arms and to use reasonable force in defense of one's life and innocent liberty, or the life and liberty of another, describes the police power generally." [Article IV, The Freeman's Constitution, p. 128]

"...the militia is us." [p. 92]

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As a practical matter, each of us bears personal responsibility for law enforcement:

"The right to keep and bear arms and to use reasonable force in defense of one's life and innocent liberty, or the life and liberty of another, describes the police power generally." [Article IV, The Freeman's Constitution, p. 128]

"...the militia is us." [p. 92]

Rand Paul touched on this when he discussed William J. Clinton wherein he talked about the civil society and basically talked about shunning a person like him.

It is the concept of mallum en se - "that which is wrong in itself" - that which we know is wrong...the common sense.

A...

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Rand Paul touched on this when he discussed William J. Clinton wherein he talked about the civil society and basically talked about shunning a person like him.

It is the concept of mallum en se - "that which is wrong in itself" - that which we know is wrong...the common sense.

A...

Agreed wholeheartedly.

"It is every person's job to judge the facts of reality, separating truth from falsehood, right from wrong, giving each man his due. Some men deserve our loyalty and service. Some must be punished. We, each of us, do this privately, choosing lovers and friends on their evident merit, shunning others because they are evil assholes. It is particularly confusing when the asshole in question is a family member (spouse, child, parent). But justice excuses no one." [p. 94]

"The job of enforcement is done by all of us and each of us, every day of the week, acting as civilian judges of one another in our immediate society." [p. 95]

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Wolf DeVoon,

The quote from your book The Constitution of Government in Galt's Gulch (post #16) expresses, or at least might be consistent with, what I was trying to say in another thread here: that laws do not make a people good.

I was arguing against the idea that open immigration, though it doesn’t work for the U.S. right now, would work if the U.S. were governed by a fully libertarian constitution. Open immigration wouldn’t work in that case either because culture trumps law. Bring in lots of people with a socialist mentality and the law won’t prevent the ultimate end of liberty.

The U.S. needs an immigration moratorium, like we more or less had for about forty years after 1924. The U.S. needs a lot of other things too, such as rescinding the so-called Civil Rights Act that took away freedom of assembly, but immigration is the most pressing.

Requiring a would-be immigrant to sign a contract swearing fidelity to libertarian principles is so impractical I wonder why people even suggest it. It’s as useful as the proprietor of a jewelry store whose wares aren’t behind glass asking someone to swear they’re honest before letting them in.

Does your book say anything about immigration directly?

Mark

ARIwatch.com

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Does your book say anything about immigration directly?

"...innocent liberty admits of no limitation by legislatures, territorial states, or previous condition of citizenship." [Article V comment, The Freeman's Constitution, p. 129]

"I am particularly eager to uphold and defend the fundamental right of innocent liberty, which implies unrestricted immigration and some public property (roads and rights-of-way) to get from point A to point B unhindered." [p. 61]

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What to do in the U.S. in today's context is an unsolvable problem. Let's suppose that we agree about an immigration moratorium and it's signed into law tomorrow. What do we do with the estimated 20 million illegal immigrants already in the country? What about the 'Dream Act' children who were brought here illegally? or 'anchor babies' who were born in the U.S.? Do we deny tourist visas for pregnant women? Abolish all H-1 and H-4 visas?

Sorry about the question marks. I'll put it affirmatively, that I disbelieve the United States can effectively seal its borders or distinguish fairly between a child born to a U.S. citizen and a child born to a visiting scholar from Kenya. Island nations like Australia and Britain have tight controls on immigration, but America has thousands of miles of unfenced land bordering Canada and Mexico. We would need a reverse East German wall with searchlights and machine guns to keep people from escaping in.

I don't have a good solution for the U.S. or continental Europe or Red China. The goal of my work was to define constitutional human rights irrespective of extant states. I am unable to see how one person has more rights than others by virtue of their place of birth.

In a fully free society, land owners with settled right to property are justified in forbidding others to trespass, and they could subscribe to a security service with other land owners to defend their community. I lived in a 'Galt's Gulch' in Costa Rica that was so remote we had no external 'government' and there was a volunteer security service to defend private property, despite uncontrollable public rights-of-way by numerous roads, beaches, rivers, and jungle paths.

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Pretty accurate assessment of the current dilemna.

As much as I "see" the need to control our "borders" in the current world, you are correct. It is too far gone to effectively "seal," or, solve.

A...

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Wolf,

A fait accompli is no reason to give up and not try to un-fait it. Illegals should be deported, including anchor baby mothers and their progeny. Also, the idea of an anchor baby should be ended. Yes, by all means abolish H-1 and H-4 visas. If Israel can seal its borders so can the U.S.

That's the telegram version answering the particulars you mentioned. What I most object to is this generality applied to foreigners vis-a-vis immigration (paraphrasing): "One person has no more rights than another by virtue of his place of birth," meaning in this case, "A foreigner has a right to enter the U.S. just as I have a right to re-enter it."

Why have borders, why have a country, why organize a militia to defend it when a foreign army can come in man by man and the militia is supposed to sit there and do nothing. It's ridiculous.

In your lifetime you’ve seen what the Hart-Celler Immigration Act of 1965 (which took effect in 1968), combined with a simultaneous and intentional breakdown in immigration enforcement, has done to what used to be America. Third World immigration has brought ruin to our country, permanently.

Leftists love open immigration. Libertarians should take a hint. This isn’t just guilt by association.

Mark

ARIwatch.com

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Mark:

Got it.

My understanding is that DeVoon is addressing a future minimalist-anarchal society with a common law that is honest and functional.

Dropping that future paradigm on today's real world America just is not in context.

It is like Korzypski's "The map is not the territory" concept semantic.

It is utopian.

It also depends on each individual being his own master, her own mistress in terms of following a natural rights approach to law.

Don't try this at home, folks.

A...

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Replying to Mark...

I understand. You view the sovereign state (Israel, for instance) as necessary or desirable.

Under the heading of National Security, pp. 139-56, I advance the idea of a publicly traded utility funded by institutional investors (banks, insurance companies, pension funds) competent to guard territorial borders and airspace, but with no civilian or internal police power. In an accompanying note that quotes previous writing, I suggested the U.S. military-industrial establishment should be privatized, too:

"I don't see the point of forbidding foreign ownership, since U.S. policy is driven by Israel and the Security Council, cordially treating Russia and China as equals in a balance of power. Let's talk IPO. Give the Pentagon to Merrill Lynch and let them syndicate World Cop Inc. I'm sure that Britain, Germany, Japan, and New England will buy a piece, to keep crude flowing northward from the slave-states of OPEC.” [note 3, p. 156]

My reasons are those of a simpleton. The sovereign U.S. nation-state is bankrupt.

I'm not entirely persuaded, as you suggested, that Third World immigration has brought ruin to our country (-- to Britain and France, yes, but not the U.S.) What brought ruin to the United States was welfare entitlements and discretionary foreign wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Our discretionary policy of defending Israel and Saudi Arabia created the backlash of jihadi commando attacks against us.

I doubt very much that my views are leftist or libertarian, as such. The notion of private property, private actors, and private interests is arguably Objectivist. There is nothing in Atlas Shrugged that suggests global security is a positive duty or desirable plan of action.

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