A) Human rights and Zap
Human rights and Zap
On a planet without a state, without a government, how are human rights protected? Are there even human rights on OboxPlanet? And if so, how do they work?
Let’s quickly look at our world first. On our earth, there are governments, and there are citizens. The difference between the two is that one has what is commonly known as the “monopoly of power”. The state can enforce laws by force. Think about it. If you don’t pay your taxes, you will eventually get a fine. If you refuse to pay that fine, you will, at least at some point, probably be arrested. This is a physical consequence to your person.
You as a citizen, however, do not have this ability. Imagine what would happen if you would start ringing on your neighbor’s doorbells demanding they pay taxes to you. Of course, nobody would comply. Since you don’t have the monopoly of power, however, you can’t just lock your neighbors up in your basement. And if you choose to anyways, you’ll for sure face a prison sentence.
We can conclude that in our world, there exist two different standards: one of power and force for the government, and one without for the citizens.
In a stateless society, however, there is no state, and there is no monopoly of power. There is, however, one principle that applies to all human beings: the “zero-aggression principle” (short: ZAP, also known as “non-aggression principle NAP). This principle basically states the following: I may do whatever I want with my body and my property, as long as I do not interfere with your equal right concerning your body and your property. This rule applies to all people equally. There is no privileged class of state actors that get to lock people up.
The ZAP is also the only human right that exists on OboxPlanet. That’s it. Simple and easy. We know what you’re probably thinking. And who enforces this law if there is no state? There actually has been quite a lot of thought about this question. It requires a bit more flexibility of thought, and a bit more research. Read on, and you will learn more about it.
By the way, Zap, the spirit on our planet, is of course the “zero aggression principle”. If you have a question, imagine what Zap would answer, imagine how the problem could be solved by peaceful, contractual means.
In a few words:
On the OboxPlanet, the “zero-aggression principle” ZAP is the supreme rule for judging just actions, or more precisely unjust actions, and the reason is simple. The ZAP is the only principle equally applicable to every human being, it allows for a classless society. It is a commonsense principle that even small kids can learn and understand without effort.
In a nutshell:
On our earth, there are two classes of people. There are those who act in the name of the state, like lawmakers, bureaucrats, and the police. They make rules and enforce them with monetary fines and imprisonment and only they have this right. It’s called the state’s monopoly on the use of physical force. The rest of us must obey. If we act like the people of the state, if we use force to get money or to get obedience, we are considered criminals.
On our stateless planet, there is no state and there are no privileged state actors. Nobody may start aggression against anybody else, never and under no circumstances. Since this principle applies to every human equally, it is a classless society.
A human right worth its name must be applicable to each and every individual human being equally. Luckily, such a universally applicable human right exist. it’s called: the zero-aggression principle “ZAP” (sometimes called the “non-aggression principle NAP). The principle states: I may do whatever I want with my body and my property, as long as I do not interfere with your equal right concerning your body and your property. This means I must not steal, rob, injure, rape, kidnap etc. It is important to note that this principle does only tell us the limits of our actions, what we may NOT do, namely harm others. It does not tell us what we should do. Lying may be immoral, but it does not physically harm others. It may be prohibited by personal moral standards but it is not “illegal” in the sense of the zero aggression principle.
It is interesting to note that just about all religions respect the zero-aggression principle. “Thou shall not steal” is the 8th commandment in the bible and every child learns and understands this principle without effort. People who violate this rule are usually considered criminals and are punished in almost all societies – with one exception: the state, or more precisely, people in the name of the state. The state is and has the “power monopoly”. This means quite simply that the state, and only the state, may make rules and enforce them with the threat of fines, and if the fines are not paid, with imprisonment.
On Earth, we have two types of rights: public law for dealing with the state and for people acting in a state function, and private law for people privately dealing with each other. All societies on Earth, with a state, are two-class societies.
You might wonder: how could this come about? How did the states and the two-class societies succeed in convincing their populations that that’s ok? This is the topic of history and political philosophy and highly interesting and exciting, bit not the topic of this chapter. We want to concentrate on describing how a stateless society works. We are the explorers of a new continent, we are discovering a new planet, a world of peace and prosperity.
What experiences on earth can help us understand life on the OboxPlanet and what lessons can we use for todays Earth?
Societies without a state, or stateless societies, have existed throughout human history in various parts of the world. These societies were characterized by their lack of centralized authority and the absence of a monopoly of power.
Here are two notable examples:
While the biblical account of Israel’s early history may be somewhat mythologized, it does offer an interesting example of a stateless society.
According to the biblical account, Israel was originally organized into 12 tribes, each with its own territory and leadership. The tribes were loosely united by a shared religion and cultural identity, but there was no central government or monarchy to enforce laws or resolve disputes
Instead, disputes were often settled through negotiation and mediation, or through the use of local judges or elders. The most famous of these judges was the prophet Samuel, who was considered a wise and fair leader, but had no formal authority over the tribes.
As the biblical account tells it, the Israelites eventually grew tired of this system and asked Samuel to anoint a king to rule over them. In the Hebrew Bible, in 1 Samuel 8, God then warns the Israelites that a king will take their sons and daughters to serve in his army and in his courts, and will take a portion of their crops and livestock for his own use. The king will also impose taxes and conscript labor to build his own projects, and will essentially enslave the Israelites to his will. Despite God’s warning, the Israelites persisted in their desire for a king, and God ultimately allowed them to have one. This decision ultimately led to a series of kings who were often corrupt and oppressive, and who brought much hardship and suffering to the people of Israel.
Around the year 1000, Iceland was a stateless society that was ruled by a system of decentralized governance known as the Icelandic Commonwealth. The society was made up of free and independent farmers who lived in self-governing communities known as “thing” or “assembly.” These things were held annually and were attended by all free men in the area who were eligible to participate. At these assemblies, laws were created and disputes were resolved through a process of mediation and negotiation.
The Icelandic Commonwealth had no central government or formal legal system, but instead relied on a complex web of social norms, customary laws, and personal relationships to maintain order and resolve conflicts. Each thing was responsible for managing its own affairs and enforcing its own laws, but there was no centralized authority that could compel compliance. As a result, individuals and communities were largely left to their own devices and had to rely on cooperation and mutual support to maintain their safety and prosperity.
This system of governance was not perfect and was often beset by disputes and conflicts, but it allowed Iceland to function as a relatively stable and prosperous society for several centuries. It was only with the arrival of Christianity and the influence of outside powers that Iceland began to adopt more centralized forms of governance. Nonetheless, the legacy of the Icelandic Commonwealth as a unique and innovative system of governance continues to inspire scholars and policymakers to this day.
What are the chances of a stateless society and why should we care if the chances are small?
The OboxPlanet is a collection of ideas for stateless solutions. We hope they are credible and inspiring and will ideally serve as a model, a guiding star for how we can improve some parts of our society.
Why should we care? For three reasons
Firstly, Because when need and opportunities arise, these ideas must be known. Overall, most things are slowly getting better on Earth but some programs might be unsustainable, such as social welfare or socialised medicine. Other programs might run out of steam, like the war on drugs. When such opportunities arise, and people are open for new ideas, the stateless variant must be known to have a chance to be implemented.
Secondly, if a case is morally right, we have no choice but to oppose it, even if chances for success are small. We will always condemn and fight murderers, without the illusion that they will disappear forever. So, if we believe that the legalized coercion by states is wrong, we have the same type of duty to oppose it.
Lastly, history has shown that even the most unlikely events can happen. The fall of the Berlin Wall is one such example, and it’s not impossible to imagine a future where people wake up and question why they ever allowed politicians to have so much control over their lives.