Founding PrinciplesAdapted from the writings of Publius, a pseudonym for Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, writing collectively in the introduction to The Federalist Papers.
The message of Publius to eighteenth century Americans was that the opportunity to set up a system of governance for a whole new continent was unique in history; so let's stop and think, do it right, and replace the screwed-up systems that had got the Old World into the mess it was in.
Basically what we say in our paraphrasing of Publius is: Things are messed up, the Internet is Broken. Since the Internet is really the world's information infrastructure, it is imperative that we put to use a good set of solutions even though it requires doing things very differently. The big news is that with the fixing of the information infrastructure we also have the means for effective government for the first time since the concept of "king" was invented by the head of the toughest band of thugs in the countryside.
Since The Republic of Bookland exists only online, it is only natural that the change should be led by the people of Bookland.
The Founding Principles were moved here, as the writing style of the eighteeenth century is a bit dense to put at the top of a Web page.
The form of government of Bookland is optimocracy. Optimocracy is a well-developed decision-making process employed in the engineering profession, applied to public governance.In an optimocracy, as in a properly managed engineering effort, the process of arriving at a decision is characterized by optimization, that is,
- an identification of a problem
- identification of the various possible solutions to the problem
- an objective analysis of the effects of the various courses of action
- an effort to quantify the benefits and drawbacks of each of those courses of action
- a decision based largely upon that quantification
- an active effort to disassociate the courses of action from the personalities that proposed them.
Note that campaigning is a punishable misdemeanor in Bookland (see Bookland Statutes).
Bookland is a theocracy. Learn about our state-sponsored religion here.
Parliament consists of commissions.
Each commission consists of commissioners plus a moderator who is elected every two years by a simple majority of the commissioners.A commission may consist of any number of individuals, each of whom has passed the qualification process.
Any citizen of Bookland who is qualified may become a commissioner at any time. There is no appointment procedure for commissioners.
The commissioner qualification process consists of the following:
- The candidate shall have read all proceedings of the commission within the latest period of time designated by the moderator, but in no case less than the preceding month nor more than the preceding two years. Reading of the procedings will be demonstrated by a complete set of checkpoints that have been digitally signed by the candidate, using his or her Tabelio™ Credential (OpenID credential signed by Tabelio enrollee's private key)
- The candidate shall have passed a test on the contents of the proceedings, said test having been devised by the commission's testing committee and approved by the moderator and two thirds of the existing commissioners.
- The moderator may call for re-testing of all previously qualified commissioners no more frequently than once a year. A commissioner who fails the re-test will lose hiser commission and will be required to pass the qualification process before heshe may regain hiser commission.
- The moderator will set rules for participation in commission proceedings as evidenced by digital signing of checkpoints no more frequently than once a year. A commissioner who fails to keep current will lose hiser commission and will be required to pass the qualification process before heshe may regain hiser commission.
Commission proceedings will be governed by rules specified in Robert's Rules of Online Order.
The Executive branch of Bookland's government consists of the Chief Moderator and hiser support team. Aside from ceremonial functions, the Chief Moderator's job is to resolve disputes between and among the various Commissions, including decisions regarding the creation of new Commissions and the splitting of existing Commissions.
Bill of Rights
Parliament shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, and no government communication facility shall be quartered in any online residence, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, digital files, personally identifiable information, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Title to and personal control of personally identifiable information is established according to the standards and procedures of the Personal Intellectual Property Infrastructure. Probable cause and warrants for abrogating the terms of the Personal Intellectual Property Infrastructure are established by the standards and procedures of the Law Enforcement Infrastructure.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the domain or online community or facility wherein the alleged crime shall have been committed, which domain or online community or facility shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him or her; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed one thousand constants, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the Republic of Bookland, than according to the rules of the common law.
(1 constant = 1/10000 of a "Vernier Basket", which is a collection of specific goods delivered (tax and 1% shopping service fee paid) in the parking lot of Carrefour Vernier in Vernier (Geneve). The definition of the Vernier Basket is set every six months by the Bookland Currency Valuation Commission.)
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the Republic of Bookland by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the domain or online community or facility, are reserved to the domain or online community or facility respectively, or to the people.
Bill of Responsibilities
"To have a right to do a
thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."
Each citizen of the Republic of Bookland shall publicly declare and maintain a personal document entitled My Bill of Responsibilities. (Examples are available here; examples may be copied.) The document shall consist of the following sections, in addition to any others that said citizen chooses to include:
Describe your commitment to truthfulness and responsibility in exercising your right to each of the following:
freedom of religion:
freedom of speech (include your definitions of what constitutes unacceptable prurience, vulgarity, and unduly provocative or antisocial expression):
Click here for a tool that will help you encode those standards such that vchips and other blocking devices will be able to make use of them by means of the personal prurience blocking protocol (PPBP)
Click here to search for vchips, viewing programs, or other items to which you would like to apply these standards
freedom of the press:
right to assemble:
petition of government for a redress of grievances:
Describe your commitment to responsibility in exercising your right to keep and bear arms given the need of a free state to maintain a well regulated militia:
Describe your commitment to maintain your Personal Intellectual Property Infrastructure in such a manner that your personally identifiable information is protected:
Describe your commitment to solving disputes without recourse to litigation whenever possible:
Commitment to Authenticity
Describe your commitment to authenticity:
Acceptance of Rule of Law
Acknowledge your acceptance of the Implications of the Rule of Law, as specified in the Constitution and Statutes of the Republic of Bookland:
Cousteau and the Rights of Future Generations
"Why should we preserve a livable planet if not for our children and grandchildren?"
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
MINDFUL of the determination proclaimed by the peoples of the world in the Charter of the United Nations to reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of the human person and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
ACKNOWLEDGING that it is among the purposes of the United Nations to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends,
RECOGNIZING that for the first time in history the rights of future generations to exercise options with respect to the nurture and continuity of life and the enrichment and diversity of their mental and physical environment are seriously threatened,
BELIEVING that each generation has the inherent right to determine its own destiny and the corresponding responsibility to accord a similar right to future generations as an extension of the right of the living,
SOLEMNLY PROCLAIMS the necessity of securing the universal recognition of this right and this responsibility; and to this end
Future generations have a right to an uncontaminated and undamaged Earth and to its enjoyment as the ground of human history, of culture, and of the social bonds that make each generation and individual a member of one human family.
Each generation, sharing in the estate and heritage of the Earth, has a duty as trustee for future generations to prevent irreversible and irreparable harm to life on Earth and to human freedom and dignity.
It is, therefore, the paramount responsibility of each generation to maintain a constantly vigilant and prudential assessment of technological disturbances and modifications adversely affecting life on Earth, the balance of nature, and the evolution of mankind in order to protect the rights of future generations.
All appropriate measures, including education, research, and legislation, shall be taken to guarantee these rights and to ensure that they not be sacrificed for present expediencies and conveniences.
Governments, non-governmental organizations, and the individuals are urged, therefore, imaginatively to implement these principles, as if in the very presence of those future generations whose rights we seek to establish and perpetuate.
The Statutes of Bookland
1. The Government of the Republic of Bookland is bound imaginatively to implement the principles put forth in "Cousteau and the Rights of Future Generations," as if in the very presence of those future generations whose rights we seek to establish and perpetuate.
Each adult citizen of Bookland is issued two blank misdemeanor tickets annually. A Misdemeanor Ticket may be issued by that citizen to any individual in Bookland, whether or not the issuing person has a grievance against the person to be ticketed.
Any ticketed person is entitled to a hearing. Decisions may be rendered by juries if sufficient jurors are available; otherwise a magistrate who is appointed by the Bookland Judiciary Commission will render the verdict.
All proceedings shall take place online in InDoor spaces that are suitable for judicial proceedings.
If a Misdemeanor Proceeding results in a conviction, the issuing party will be given a replacement blank Misdemeanor Ticket. If the Misdemeanor Proceeding results in acquittal, the Presiding Magistrate may issue a Misdemeanor Ticket for the offense of Harassment, and may additionally revoke any remaining blank Misdemeanor Tickets in the posession of the issuing party.
Following is a Complete List of Misdemeanors as of January 1, 2007
In Bookland, the following misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of between 20 and 2000 constants
(1 constant = 1/10000 of a "Vernier Basket", which is a collection of specific goods delivered (tax paid) to the parking lot of Carrefour Vernier in Vernier (Geneve). The definition of the Vernier Basket is set every six months by the Bookland Currency Valuation Commission.)
If someone asserts as fact something which is known by that person to be not a fact, you may issue a Misdemeanor Ticket to that person. You must be prepared to support the claim. A misleading utterance does not constitute a lie.
Anyone that wants the presidency so much that he'll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.
- David Broder
In Bookland, if you want something you ask for it directly. Working
overtly or behind the scenes to obtain the support of others in
obtaining what you want is considered campaigning. Campaigning is
illegal in Bookland. Anyone who has been found guilty of campaigning
may not serve as moderator for a period of ten years.
Abrogation of Personal Bill of Responsibilities
A Misdemeanor Ticket may be issued by any citizen against any other citizen if the former believes that the latter has abrogated his or her Personal Bill of Responsibilities in a material way.
All citizens and residents of, and visitors to, Bookland, should be aware that certain activities which in the physical world constitute non-criminal antisocial behavior are crimes in Bookland.
Assault on Reputation
Bookland is a purely online place. Since physical bodies of occupants are not present, our only representation of ourselves is with our identities and the character and reputations that they represent. Therefore in Bookland any unprovoked and/or unwarranted assertion that damages another's reputation is considered not just a reason for civil litigation but is also a felony.
Larceny of Personal Intellectual Property
Each citizen and resident of Bookland has a personal office and a personal administrative assistant. The personal administrative assistant is typically robotic and is responsible for administering his or her boss's Personal Intellectual Property Infrastructure and its Disclosure Practice Statement.
Anyone in Bookland who uses another's Personal Intellectual Property in a manner that is not explicitly authorized by the Disclosure Practice Statement of its owner shall be subject to the charge of espionage and/or larceny.
is a purely online place. Since physical bodies of occupants are not present, our only representation of ourselves is with our identities and the character and reputations that they represent. Therefore in Bookland any unprovoked and/or unwarranted assertion that damages another's reputation is considered not just a reason for civil litigation but is also a felony.
Anyone who uses the title Chief Executive Officer in Bookland is responsible for the actions of all subordinates in the organization where heshe holds the title. If subordinates are accused of fraud, such accusation automatically inures to said Chief Executive Officer as well; and if said Chief Executive Officer claims that heshe was unaware of the actions which caused said accusation, said Chief Executive Officer shall additionally automatically be found guilty of Competence Fraud for representing at time of hiser appointment that heshe was competent to serve said organization as Chief Executive Officer; said claim of unawareness of actions which resulted in an accusation of fraud shall serve as necessary and sufficient evidence that said Chief Executive Officer misrepresented the level of hiser competence at the time of appointment to the office of Chief Executive Officer.
The penalty for Competence Fraud shall be equal to the penalty for any and all fraud committed by subordinates, whether the conviction is obtained against the subordinate or said Chief Executive Officer, plus one year of confinement in a correctional facility.
4. Provision for Civil Law
Because common law is written through outcomes of court cases, it can be overly dependent upon, and encouraging of, strife.
For that reason, Bookland's legal system is based upon Latin law rather than common law. In Bookland, litigation is officially and actively discouraged. Contingency fees for legal advocates may not be a portion of the award but must be based upon hourly rates approved by and auditable by the court. The losing party in litigation must pay the legal fees of the winning party.
In Bookland, monetary compensation for other than monetary loss is not permitted. The notion of monetary compensation for loss of life is treated as an obscenity. If the court deems a financial penalty to be appropriate punishment of a losing defendant, the penalty is paid to the general fund of the Treasury of Bookland.
5. Provision for Personal Capital
All organizations that are chartered in, or that do business in the Republic of Bookland, will observe a distinction between disposable income and personal capital in the payment of salaries, wages and other forms of compensation.
Disposable income consists of all compensation, whether in the form of cash, equity, options, perquisites or any other form, which in total is less than or equal to eight times the compensation of the lowest-paid person in the same organization, after adjusting for hours worked and any policy providing variable compensation for personal circumstances such as number of dependents.
Personal capital consists of all compensation, whether in the form of cash, equity, or perquisites, which in total is more than eight times the compensation of the lowest-paid person in the same organization, after adjusting for hours worked and extra pay for personal circumstances such as number of dependents.
Personal capital may be used for investments, for charitable donations, or for any other purpose provided that none of the capital nor any of the earnings from the investment of that capital at any time in the present or future may be used for personal expenses, that is, it may not become disposable income. Once funds become capital they remain capital.
The earner of personal capital may place himself or herself in a position of authority over the use of such personal capital as for instance a management position in the organization that benefits from the investment. However, none of the personal capital nor the earnings from that capital may find its way into disposable income for said earner nor for any member of his or her family, whether immediate family or other.
Any attempt to circumvent the prohibition against turning personal capital into disposable income for family members will be seen as a violation of this law and may be dealt with in law or in social norms.
6. Founding Principles
Citizens of Bookland are presumed to be competent to make decisions that are necessary for everyday life. This has many implications for our system of laws and in the way we deal with each other.
For example, in Bookland, it is assumed that patients are competent to choose doctors and to evaluate and consent to proposed medical procedures and medications. It is further assumed that everyone, including physicians, makes mistakes. For these reasons all medical care is provided under the following covenant between patient and physican:
Since the physician may assume that the patient will not and cannot sue, the physician shall treat the patient in the best practical manner possible and shall not be influenced by anything other than practical medical concerns. Patient, in turn, will accept treatment with the understanding that doctors do make mistakes and that it is the patient's responsibility to select competent practitioners and consent to procedures in such a way as to minimize mistakes.
Any patient may publish a signed account of a medical procedure, including any opinions concerning the physician's demonstrated competence in the procedure. Any physician may append comments to such an account.
Adapted from the writings of Publius, a pseudonym for Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, writing collectively in the introduction to The Federalist Papers.
AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting Internet, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the Republic of Bookland. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the Internet, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been left to thought leaders, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men and women are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident, force and manipulation of perceptions (the FUD factor). If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.
This idea will add the inducements of philanthropy to those of patriotism, to heighten the solicitude which all considerate and good men and women must feel for the event. Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good. But this is a thing more ardently to be wished than seriously to be expected. The plan offered to our deliberations affects too many particular interests, innovates upon too many enterprises with jealously guarded market shares, not to involve in its discussion a variety of objects foreign to its merits, and of views, passions and prejudices little favorable to the discovery of truth.
Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of technocrats to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the market positions they hold; and the perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union under one government.
It is not, however, my design to dwell upon observations of this nature. I am well aware that it would be disingenuous to resolve indiscriminately the opposition of any set of men (merely because their situations might subject them to suspicion) into interested or ambitious views. Candor will oblige us to admit that even such men may be actuated by upright intentions; and it cannot be doubted that much of the opposition which has made its appearance, or may hereafter make its appearance, will spring from sources, blameless at least, if not respectable--the honest errors of minds led astray by preconceived jealousies and fears. So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy. And a further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists. Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.
And yet, however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.
In the course of the preceding observations, I have had an eye, my fellow-citizens, to putting you upon your guard against all attempts, from whatever quarter, to influence your decision in a matter of the utmost moment to your welfare, by any impressions other than those which may result from the evidence of truth. You will, no doubt, at the same time, have collected from the general scope of them, that they proceed from a source not unfriendly to the new Constitution. Yes, my countrymen, I own to you that, after having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to adopt it. I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness. I affect not reserves which I do not feel. I will not amuse you with an appearance of deliberation when I have decided. I frankly acknowledge to you my convictions, and I will freely lay before you the reasons on which they are founded. The consciousness of good intentions disdains ambiguity. I shall not, however, multiply professions on this head. My motives must remain in the depository of my own breast. My arguments will be open to all, and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth.
I propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars: -- The utility of the UNION to your political prosperity -- The insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union -- The necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed, to the attainment of this object -- The conformity of the proposed Constitution to the true principles of republican government -- Its analogy to your own state constitution -- and lastly, The additional security which its adoption will afford to the preservation of that species of government, to liberty, and to property.
It may perhaps be thought superfluous to offer arguments to prove the utility of the UNION, a point, no doubt, deeply engraved on the hearts of the great body of the people in every State, and one, which it may be imagined, has no adversaries. But the fact is, that we already hear it whispered in the private circles of those who oppose the new Constitution, that the thirteen States are of too great extent for any general system, and that we must of necessity resort to separate confederacies of distinct portions of the whole. whole.1 This doctrine will, in all probability, be gradually propagated, till it has votaries enough to countenance an open avowal of it. For nothing can be more evident, to those who are able to take an enlarged view of the subject, than the alternative of an adoption of the new Constitution or a dismemberment of the Union. It will therefore be of use to begin by examining the advantages of that Union, the certain evils, and the probable dangers, to which every State will be exposed from its dissolution. This shall accordingly constitute the subject of my next address.
Bookland is a Theocracy. Click here to learn about COWHN, the official Church of Bookland.