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L. Neil Smith's
Number 822, May 17, 2015

Maybe they're just stupid

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What IS a "Political Statement"?
Why is One Needed?
Who would Use It?
Where does the Covenant of Unanimous Consent fit
in the context of history and today's world?

by Dennis Lee Wilson

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

What IS a Political Statement?

In philosophy, the study of politics is the study of interpersonal relationships, i.e. the study of how people interact with each other[1]. A particular political system will be a result of—a reflection of and guided by—a particular code of ethics or morality. A dominant form of morality (usually held implicitly) is selflessness and altruism and that leads to a political system with some form of authoritarianism. The Covenant of Unanimous Consent is explicitly guided by and a reflection of the ethical/moral principle contained in the Non-Aggression Principle.

In the context of this article, a Political Statement takes the form of written rules—reflecting a particular ethics and morality—by which a group of people agree or are expected to conduct their relations with each other. Those who do NOT "agree" are usually ignored, ostracized or persecuted. In the Covenant of Unanimous Consent they are simply warned what to expect if they violate the Precepts of the Covenant.

For comparison, some other notable political statements (and their links[6]) include:

Exodus 24:12,13: Moses' Ten Commandments
(The last five commandments relate to interpersonal relationships.)
1100: The Charter of Liberties
1215: The Magna Carta
1320: The Declaration of Arbroath*
1777: The USA Articles of Confederation
1787: The USA Constitution
1776-1956: Constitutions of each of the 50 States
1861: The Confederate States Constitution

ALL of the above political statements, except Moses, suffer the failings noted in the first sentence of the Covenant and also noted in the article A Written Constitution: Protecting the State from the People[2]. They (those forms of political Governance) rely upon "other", delegated people for enforcement—and that is their Achilles' Heel.

The Covenant of Unanimous Consent reintroduces the idea of personal responsibility instead of relying upon "other", delegated people (government) to "make", care for and enforce sensible and rational laws.

1986: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent

Why is a Political Statement Needed?

Galt's Oath and the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle[3] are moral/ethical principles.

The basic or minimum requirement for peaceful interpersonal relationships[1] is understanding and adhering to the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), a very simple MORAL/ethical concept that is even readily understood by most children.

But sometimes moral statements are not sufficiently explicit or not easily applied to particular situations. Because of varying education levels (there will ALWAYS BE children coming into adulthood), understanding the full consequences of moral statements and/or applying them consistently can become problematic. In larger groups of people, applying moral statements consistently becomes increasingly problematic—especially when modern-day sophists specialize in deliberately distorting and delight in twisting the meaning[4] of even something as simple and rational as the Non-Aggression Principle.

Minimum requirements for living peacefully amongst other people do NOT require a person to be "fully rational" nor to understand what moral/ethical principles ARE, nor even to understand what principles are! Education levels vary enormously as do levels of rationality!

A characteristic of Political Statements—and a reason why they exist—is that they are more explicit than moral statements and consequently, are less vulnerable to innocent and/or malevolent "interpretations" and deliberate distortions and twisting.

That important point is worth repeating:

Rules of Conduct, such as a Political Statement or the last five of Moses' Commandments, are MORE SPECIFIC AND CONCISE and considerably LESS ABSTRACT than moral principles, and are therefore less subject to misinterpretation and less liable to deliberate manipulation.

The Covenant of Unanimous Consent is a five point Political Statement of interpersonal relationships based on and explicitly derived from the single moral principle in the Non-Aggression Principle.

As can be seen in the essays, articles and discussions in Footnote[5], The Covenant of Unanimous Consent reflects a very explicit, sovereign individual oriented morality.

Who would Use It?

The Covenant of Unanimous Consent
a Political Statement fulfilling the promise
Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence.

It can be used by
Agorist, Anarcho-capitalist, Anarchist and Survivalist Communities;
Objectivist "Galt" Gulches and similar Societies; Redoubts;
Family/Community Farms; Free State Groups; Private Apartment Buildings;
Home Associations and Restricted or Gated Communities;
Supersedure Zones; Temporary and Permanent Autonomous Zones;
Sea Steads; Independent Territories; ZEDEs;
Friendships; Marriages; Polyamorous, polygamous, polyandrous groups
Voluntary Groups of any size—two people or more.


[1] See What *IS* The Bare Minimum...? for more details:

[2] A Written Constitution: Protecting the State from the People

[3] Galt's Oath and the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle

[4] Even something as simple and concise as the NAP can be a target for distortion. See In Defense of Non-Aggression
by David Gordon at for details.


[6] Links to historical political statements:

* What IS a Political Statement was originally published on Dennis Wilson's web/blog/forum at where additional supporting material exists and will continue to be added when it becomes available. Thoughtful comments are solicited.

Permission to redistribute this article, or any portion of it, is herewith granted by the author—provided that appropriate credit is given.

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