The State of Nature

In “The Social Conquest of Earth, E. O. Wilson presents a compelling argument that individual selection is compatible with biodiversity while group selection, resulting in highly social organizations as found in eusocial insects, tends toward dominance of the environment and consequent reduction of biodiversity. This tendency toward environmental dominance reaches its ultimate expression in humanity’s potential for eusocial organizations, such as civilization with its concomitant mass extinctions.

Therefore, where humans intend to coexist with nature’s biodiversity, a sound social arrangement prefers individual, over group, selection. The rules governing such a society may be thought of as constituting a State of Nature.

In statecraft, a useful way to think about “selection” is via the concept of “sovereignty” or “integrity”.  Sovereignty is the locus of agency.  Integrity — the proper integration of parts into a whole — is in service of that agency.  Individual integrity is more compatible with nature’s biodiversity than is group integrity.

In what follows, underlined words are my modifications* to the original (cite given at the end) “Seven Points of Agreement Between Individuals” — a contract entered into by individuals with other individuals so as to create a society within which individual sovereignty is upheld. These agreements are thought by the author of the book within which they appear to formalize the culture of the pre-Christian Germanic** peoples.

*The here-modified version of the agreement has not been tested in an actual community.  The original form of the agreement, with natural duel and death penalty replaced by non-lethal forms in a “dress rehearsal” society, has been tested successfully.  For a perspective on that test, read “Brave New World: A Different Projection” by John Harland.

**”Germanic” is used in the anthropological sense — that is to say it refers to all pre-Christian northern European peoples, not the modern nation-state.

LANGUAGE FOR THE AGREEMENT

Instead of using the words “adult” and “minor,” or “female” and “male,” or “authority” and “layman,” or any of the many other pairs now used to designate and confuse social roles, this agreement uses only two words “sovereign” and “shielded.” A significant carry over from current word usage is that “sovereign” implies decision backed by force. Full definition is given to the word “sovereign” and “shielded” by pointing out their social function.

This agreement recognizes that force is an element of every social structure. At the same time it recognizes that a quality of being that inspires protection is the essential balancing element to force.

The force that perpetuates the social organization set forth here is that of sovereign individuals.

Those who inspire and receive the protection of an individual sovereign are designated as “shielded.” The shielded have some protection by all sovereigns and some behavior is enforced on them by all sovereigns. When old enough, children of either sex who have been shielded, may choose forceful sovereignty. As an alternative, they may choose to continue non-participation in the use of force by not declaring their sovereignty.

This agreement gives formal social approval to the use of force in certain circumstances by sovereign individuals. This agreement severely limits the use of group force. The group can use only as much sovereignty as individuals — by this agreement — have delegated to the group and no more.

Within this agreement a vote is always a deliberated group decision to use group force within the severely limited area herein specified that group force can be used. Because a vote is a basis for the use of force, only sovereigns can vote on matters that are decided by vote.

A provision for formal combat between individual sovereigns is a group enforced protection against demagogues who seek to extend the areas for the use of group force. Because men of honor and integrity usually disdain the twisted use of mob-swaying words (the reason-mutilating weapon of demagogues) formal physical combat on Nature’s terms is every sovereign’s prerogative.

A shielded person cannot vote and cannot be challenged to formal combat.

Small children cannot effectively function as sovereigns, and some adults may not wish to do so. Such persons may be shielded by a sovereign individual.

The shielded are partially protected from action of other sovereigns by the one sovereign under whose shield they live. A shielded person becomes subject to the discipline of all sovereigns if the one sovereign’s shield is removed.

The following statements help define the terms “sovereign” and “shielded”:

A child is born protected by the shield of its mother if she is sovereign or by the shield of her sovereign if she is shielded. Anyone who has reached the age capable of procreation may become sovereign by formal declaration of one’s sovereignty — except for the special condition noted below regarding formal combat.

Except for the special condition noted below regarding formal combat, a sovereign acting alone may remove the shield from one protected by it. Removal is made by a formal declaration of the fact. The shielded person thereby becomes sovereign.

All who are protected by a sovereign’s shield become sovereign if their sovereign dies or disappears.

A sovereign who, is shielding no one may cease to be sovereign and become shielded by another sovereign if formal declaration of the relationship is made by both sovereign and shielded.

A sovereign (unshielded) child who is too young to make a valid declaration of its wishes may become shielded by a sovereign who makes a formal declaration of the relationship.

SEVEN POINTS OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS

  1. Except in self defense or enforcement of this agreement, no one may willfully kill, disable, or permanently disfigure another. No one may secretly restrain another. No one who has reached the age capable of procreation may physically force upon another any offensive, sexually-oriented act; nor engage in any offensive, sexually-oriented act with any person who has not reached the age capable of procreation even when no force is involved. An open (not secret) majority vote of all sovereigns assembled as set forth In 3 below shall be the effective determination as to whether the alleged act took place and whether the act was offensive and was sexually-oriented. Any degree of participation in group force that results in violation of this point of agreement regarding offensive, sexually-oriented acts makes every participant fully guilty of the result, along with the person actually performing the act.
  2. No man shall force the act of procreation on a woman. Rape Is hereby defined as an act of procreation without the involved woman’s deliberated consent. Any man who engages with a woman in an act of procreation without her formal, publicly-proclaimed deliberated consent may be found guilty of rape. In the absence of a formal public acceptance, the individual woman involved Is the sole judge of whether an act of procreation was rape. If a woman who has not made advance formal acceptance of a man prior to the act of procreation, formally accuses him of rape within three months after the alleged act, and if a majority of sovereigns assembled as set forth in 3 below vote that the man engaged in the act, then It shall invariably be construed as rape – even though it may clearly be shown that the woman Invited, or even persuaded, the man to engage In the act. A woman may revoke formal acceptance of a man at will by giving formal notice of such revocation.
  3. Any individual, either sovereign or shielded, or any group of Individuals, may restrain persons suspected of breaking these agreements for a period of not to exceed fifteen days, conduct a trial for them at a specified, easily accessible place on a date, time, and place publicly and formally announced three days In advance, and penalize (in person or by proxy or proxies) those deemed guilty by an open (not secret) majority vote of all sovereigns at the trial who are permanent residents of the community. (The composition of “community” and the meaning of “permanent resident” is to be defined by those entering into this agreement.)
  4. No one shall be required to give testimony at a trial but it Is agreed that one found guilty of perjury by formal trial, as set forth In 3 above, shall be subject to the penalty set forth In 7 below.
  5. No additional agreements that give a group’s decisions effective power over individuals shall be made. Any group of two or more individuals who make other agreements giving a group decision effective power over Individuals, or who fail to abide by these agreements, shall be deemed a conspiracy against Individual freedom. All acts against them by an Individual or a group of Individuals who have entered into this agreement shall be construed to be self-defense. — Further explanation: Anyone may bring interpersonal problems before a voluntarily convened formal open Forum structured after the manner of a traditional court of law. In such a Forum opinions regarding the interpersonal problems, and deliberated recommendations for settling differences, can be formally given, but such opinions and recommendations will not be binding on those Involved. Those who bring problems before the formal Forum may, if they choose, make personal agreements congruent with the Forum’s recommendations after the recommendations have been made. Those found guilty of making agreements to be bound by the Forum’s recommendations before the recommendations are made are guilty of making agreements giving a group decision effective power over individuals.
  6. Any sovereign may challenge another sovereign to formal combat for any reason. The following are the conditions for such formal combat:
    1. All combat shall be one sovereign individual against one sovereign Individual.
    2. A challenger shall give formal public notice three days prior to combat and a formal public declaration of reasons therefore.
    3. There shall be up to a one year interval from the time one is challenged to formal combat before one may again be engaged as the challenged. This interval may be shorted by the challenged issuing a formal public declaration of its termination. The challenged may not shield others from the end of combat through the end of this interval.
    4. Subject to the following provisions, the conditions of formal combat shall be established by a majority vote of all sovereigns of the community who assemble after three days public notice. The intent shall be to give challenger and challenged the equal opportunity they would have In Nature — if no human society existed. Terrain of the combat ground shall be varied and extensive enough to permit strategy and to give the physically weak the chance that Nature gives them. Combatants shall have equal weapons and clothing. Weapons shall be a sword or knife with a blade not to exceed 25 cm (approximately 10 inches) plus a 15 meter (approximately 50 feet) length of strong cordage. All previous agreements between challenger and challenged are automatically suspended during the period of formal combat. There shall be no rules within the combat ground. Challenged and challenger shall enter combat ground from opposite sides. No one but challenger and challenged shall be within the combat ground. No one shall attempt to aid, hinder or observe what happens. It Is intended that only one shall return alive from formal combat. When two return alive one shall forever be shielded by the other. The relationship must be announced jointly by them before they are permitted to leave the combat ground. Two are not permitted to return alive if one has been permanently disabled or disfigured by his opponent.
    5. No sovereign who has an unanswered challenge pending may leave the community, refuse combat, or relinquish one’s sovereignty.
  7. Guilt for breaking any point of this agreement shall be determined according to Item 3 above. The invariable penalty for anyone found guilty of breaking any point of this agreement shall be death within twenty-four hours.

p90-93, “Valoric Fire And a Working Plan for Individual Sovereignty” From the Valorian Society ISBN 0-914752-18-9

($5 to Sovereign Press, 326 Harris Rd., Rochester, WA 98579)

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