What fundamental laws will govern a libertarian society?

Sovereign Law

Will society still need some source of ultimate authority? The answer is yes. That authority will come from three ZAP-based social norms.

The first two social norms are what the writer Richard Maybury calls The Two Laws . . .

  • Do all you have agreed to do (contracts)
  • Do not encroach on other persons or their property (the Zero Aggression Principle)

If you violate one of these laws then your guilt or innocence, and the compensation you must pay, will be determined by the third social normThe Jury.

These three norms will be the sovereign law of a ZAP-based society. If you want such a society sign-up below.

Jim Babka

About the Author

Jim Babka

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Jim Babka is co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and President of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. He’s an author and former talk show host.
Previously, he was the President of RealCampaignReform.org, Inc., defending free press rights all the way to the Supreme Court. He and Susie are the proud, home-schooling parents of three teenagers. He enjoys theology, UFC, target practice, and Tai Chi.

Perry Willis

About the Author

Perry Willis

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Perry Willis is the co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and Downsize DC. He was the National Director of the Libertarian National Committee on two occasions, and ran two Libertarian Party presidential campaigns. He has an extensive background in marketing and fundraising, and has ghost written direct mail appeals for numerous luminaries, including Karl Hess, Ron Paul, Charlton Heston and Harry Browne.

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Show Comments 37


    1. I should think privately contracted police and privately contracted courts. What say you?

      1. Contracting a court itself would be an absurdity. Contracted police require even more supervision than the public kind. Certainly, putting all the clerical and paralegal functions out to bid will save a lot, but in the end, enforcing justice will still cost money.
        A government without taxes can run on an endowment, renting the lands that the government owns, and investing money it already has. Or it can monopolize industries and so make a profit in business with no real equity.
        Since the laws are not oppressive, criminality will be relatively low and the cost of justice relatively small, but still not non-existant. We cannot upgrade our debt-ridden USA to a ZAP-based society without repudiating the horrendous debt, and then initially seizing some private property as well.

        1. Hi Harland. Thanks for sharing your concerns. I’m not sure why you think that contracting for police protection would require more oversight than the statist variety of police. You have no control over the statist police at all. They can do anything they want. But consider how private security works…
          They patrol your neighborhood looking to prevent burglaries, and they come when you call, to protect you, not to invade your life, as the statist police so routinely do.
          Think of all the problems we’re having with statist police. They assault people and murder dogs. They enforce bad laws that have no victims. There’s no way at all to control them, because their pay is tax-funded. But imagine what would happen if they had to earn their money. Imagine if you subscribed to the police, instead of paying taxes for them. Imagine that people without subscriptions would have to pay a premium when they called for help. This funding arrangement would instantly make police more respectful of the people they’re supposed to be protecting, otherwise they would lose customers.
          I think the reality is the opposite of what you’ve assumed. Police who have to satisfy their customers would need less control than tax-funded police.

      2. That’s the idea Jack, though we want to provide some detail to that basic answer, and will do so soon.

      3. Not only private police and courts. People will enforce compliance by rapidly spreading knowledge in the community that the individual in question is not trustworthy and has committed wrong, which will result in those who support the defendant refusing to provide goods and services to the lawbreaker. Basically, the lawbreaker will suffer social ostracism and great difficulty obtaining basic life support until such time as he takes action to fulfill his obligations. We have all been conditioned to look to “authorities” including hired private security, arbitration or jury, but in fact we all individually and as a community hold the ability to bring justice non-violently by simply refusing to support or cooperate with people who have committed wrong and have a bad reputation. A truly voluntary society will strongly favor community cooperation of good willed people, whereas dependence on “authorities” tends to discourage community cooperation.

        1. Another great point Don. Once we start thinking about it we will find multiple ways to do things without bowing down to some hierarchy.

        2. And rapidly spreading such knowledge could be exceedingly easy with today’s communication technology (ie, “Internet” / “YouTube”).

    2. Hi Lawrence. The answer is police and juries. We’ll be writing Levers shortly to better describe how those institutions would function in a Zero Aggression system.

    3. It is always interesting to me how worried people are about enforcing laws against petty lawbreakers – common criminals – while seeming to ignore the greatest lawbreaker of all, the State. In my lifetime, nearly 60 years now, my entire immediate family has only lost less than a couple hundred dollars of value to a common criminal, a burglar, and that was compensated by home owners insurance. In the same time period the State has extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from my family through taxation, and more has been lost through counterfeiting fiat currency, from my family alone. None of that loss was covered by any insurance company. As well, the State has conscripted and sent to death tens of thousands of soldiers, and murdered tens of thousands of people in wars and police actions during that time. It is a tribute to the power of brainwashing that people are so worried about common crime that they fear life without “the authorities” who plunder and pillage on a scale impossible for common criminals. If I could exchange a few broken private contracts and some petty theft for all of the property and life destroyed by the State in my lifetime, even if I could obtain no compensation for the private crime. Those who would exchange liberty for absolute security will end up with neither.

      1. Excellent explanation of the truth of government tyranny, i.e the problem of legalized theft/taxation; the looting A to satisfy B. Politics is violence as Tolstoy mentions in his essay, The Law of Love and The Law of Violence; politicians have the “lawful” power to force people to kill other people via aggressive actions, which of course is contrary to the essence of freedom of choice and freedom to live in the absence of harm to other people and their goods. You are probably familiar with Bastiat’s essays: 1) The Law and 2) That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen. Both Bastiat essays should be assigned readings in “real” schools and for sure should be published in the newspapers and discussed on MSM, if the latter two were credible in the least. Thank you Don.

      2. You forgot to add (subtract) the billions of dollars and millions of people lost via forfeiture laws, drug laws, and socialist business regulations. The last one is possibly the worst, yet the most misunderstood and under-addressed and underestimated. The economic consequences of regulations that reduce competition are inestimable.

  1. This web page is guaranteed to deeply offend most of my neighbors (I live in southwest Virginia). The suggestion that proposals from Libertarians are equivalent to the Biblical ten commandments will permanently alienate many people. I strongly suggest removing the “stone tablets” from this page.

  2. The jury. Unfortunately juries are almost always corrupted by the “system” that they live in, and hold false notions about right and wrong, what is lawful and what is unlawful. In today’s America it would be practically impossible to get a fair and impartial jury of “my peers”. It would be almost impossible to find 12 Americans who have not been indoctrinated, conditioned, and manipulated by the Mindbenders. In recent studies that I have conducted, I barely found even ONE person [out of perhaps 100 people] that understood the Principles of Freedom, and the concept of “equal under the law” in the EYES OF GOVERNMENT] or who could determine the guilt or innocence of a person based on VALID evidence gathered “legally” and VALID laws enforced fairly and without criminal acts being carried out by the prosecutor, police, etc. For example, practically every one I surveyed didn’t see any thing wrong with the now common “illegal” practice of engaging in entrapment by government agents and agencies. It wasn’t too many years ago that any police officer, or police department, that engaged in entrapment would have been dismissed from their position if not criminally prosecuted. Now, in the criminally insane society and the criminally insane government it is common routine practice to use the illegal tactic of entrapment to make arrests of innocent people doing what they have every right to do.
    In order for a true libertarian society to exist in America, the people will have to be educated, freed from false notions about the law and government, and willing to accept the concepts set forth in the Principles of Freedom. This may be beyond the point where that can happen. Most Americans are far too indoctrinated and conditioned with false notions and police state propaganda to be properly educated. They simply are too brainwashed and dumbed down to be Reason-Able or reasoned with.

    1. @De McClung, well stated. Education is very important and then people must be logical/reasoned and thus able and willing to abandon myths, indoctrinations, propagandas, brainwashings and as you say, conditionings and manipulations by the Mindbenders. So long as government has control of education, I doubt it probable to overcome these indoctrinations.
      Yet, I still believe it is important for ZAP to attempt to overcome the government tyranny as there is with the advent of the Internet a chance that the abandonment of the brainwashing is possible, no matter how remote. In my experience there seems to be about 2 in 10 who are open minded enough to consider ZAP, Lysander Spooner’s No Treason No. 6, The Constitution of No Authority and The No State Project by Marc Stevens; the rest are beyond hope as they are too comfortable financially, i.e. they see such information as dangerous to their well beings. Also, as people reach their 60s they are fearful that their retirement plans would be destroyed and then they would be destroyed. Furthermore, the majorities believe that they could not be better off if true freedom existed and thus, without admitting it, they believe in their own enslavements. How horribly ironic is that?

    2. Education and mental change is indeed required. That’s what we’re hoping to foster.

      1. The first step is to close down the government indoctrination centers AKA public schools.

        1. That would be a beneficial thing Sherry, but very hard to make happen. We think it would be easier to simply allow people to opt-out of funding such schools. This would do three things. 1). It would remove the moral transgression of violence-based funding (taxation). 2). It would make state schools have to perform better in order to attract customers. 3). It would transform State schools into legitimate institutions without having to abolish them.

          1. @ Perry, as usual, great comment. I enjoy all the comments and will down load them and pass them along to my teacher friends with the hope that they will acquire some knowledge of the Zero Aggression Project (philosophy) and balance the propaganda/indoctrination from the unions. Thank you Perry and Jim for this excellent project.

    3. When I think of some of the goons I’ve known over the years who have served on a jury, all I can say is “God help us”!

      1. True Doc. But they’re even worse when they’re voters, and many of these types of people even get elected to office. By comparison, their capacity to do harm on a jury is limited by their ability to hang said jury (not the worst thing in the world), or by their need to have 10 others agree to convict. Of all the institutions we have that are hobbled by human flaws, the jury is the least so-hobbled.

    4. But I think you may be missing the obvious solution. The best way to reverse the conditioning and brainwashing is to remove the conditioners and brainwashers.

  3. You fellas are brilliant and I can hope that “The Donald” and Cruz and Rubio and Carson are paying attention to your ZAP mini-Levers. Right Arm, Farm Out and Hi 5s!

  4. After reading all these comments it seems you seem to ignore the practical implications of a fully libertarian society. First of all, you expect the majority of society to go through a paradigm shift to make it possible to live by the principles of non aggression. This is simply impractical, and it’s useless to promote such a system in this day an age. It’s roughly like trying to get people to remove all the locks on their doors because it would make getting into your house a lot easier. There simply are too many nasty people around that would barge in out of necessity, greed, boredom or any other nasty human trait.

  5. “Do all you have agreed to do (contracts)”

    In the society we have today, between parties that have unequal opportunities if they were to refuse a contract, there are high value unfree contracts that fail to constitute themselves as established by a libertarian standard.

    While a great many contracts aren’t affected much by this because they’re between similarly economically empowered or disempowered people, contracts between people of varying degrees of capital/idea/land ownership, as well as between the old and the young face issues of legitimiation, unless we have protections in place to ensure contractual negotiations neither favor one party nor the other disproportionately, should negotiations fail.

    So a libertarian society would in practical terms focus on softening the blow if negotiations between differently empowered people were to fail. To help legitimize rather more than less contracts. Do I see that right?

  6. I am afraid we all have ignored the truth that God has stated in his written word. ” The heart is deceiptful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?

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