Last Saturday, the government of Liberland released a second draft of its Constitution. The constitution is being authored by Kacper Zajac who has described himself as “legally educated” and is part of Vit’s team in Prague. Mr. Zajac has been working on drafting the constitution for nearly two months now, and for his efforts we commend him. Drafting a constitution is not easy work. Liberland aims to be be the freest society in the world, and the current draft of the constitution, if enacted, would arguably make Liberland the most Libertarian society in history. But is it Libertarian enough? In this article we will quote the current draft of the constitution and put forth questions and comments which demand further consideration.
§II.9. No law shall abridge the right to assemble peacefully where no negative rights of others are infringed.
Such language is sometimes used in other countries as a way of squashing protests. In the name of noise and traffic control (negative to others), “free speech zones” are often required as are permits. We recommend to be added to the bill of rights that all public areas shall constitute free speech zones and that no permits will be needed in order to protest.
§II.13. No law shall regulate the rules concerning uploading and/or transmitting any materials through the Internet and/or any other medium of exchange, where all parties of age involved consent; nor shall it regulate the rules concerning displaying and/or accessing such material.
The non-regulation of the internet is an excellent thing in any free society. However we ask the drafters of the constitution to define the terms “parties” and “consent” as far as transmitting material. Does one need the author’s consent to link to an article? To paste parts of an article somewhere? To use an image that they did not create? To broadcast a film they did not create?
Most libertarians believe in property rights, but some do not believe that copying digital material is equivalent to theft. We believe this matter should be clarified within the constitution, with an emphasis on allowing the free passage of material to the maximum number of people. We also believe that all internet activity should be private, that is to say never monitored by the government, and that this should be guaranteed in the bill of rights.
§II.15. No law shall prohibit video and/or audio recording of any agent of the Public Administration in public space and whilst on duty.
Why only when they are on duty? Should not all citizens, residents and visitors have the right to film and record whatever they want in public view?
§III.1. No person shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, unusual, or degrading treatment by any agent of the Public Administration or with consent or knowledge thereof;
Is the death penalty considered cruel and unusual?
§III.3. No person shall be deprived of the right to own, manufacture, sell, transport, and bear arms unless declared otherwise by a court of law on mental health grounds, nor shall licensing be used to infringe upon this right.
The right to bear arms is consistent with liberty, and giving the right to a court to take away said arms can be dangerous. What if, because of political reasons, a judge decides a group of people he or she doesn’t like have “mental health problems” and takes away their right to bear arms? Is it safe to have one judge deciding such things? Have we carefully defined what mental grounds are cause for denying somebody their right to bear arms?
We also call into question the wording of this statement “nor shall licensing be used to infringe upon this right” Natural rights need no license. Would you license the right to speak freely, to choose a religion or to have a newspaper? This language is unclear as to whether there will or will not be gun licenses issued in Liberland, and we suggest clear language is added that no guns will be licensed or registered.
§III.6. No person shall be convicted, sentenced, or imprisoned without due process of law; any person who has been arrested, detained, imprisoned, tried, or sentenced either illegally or in error shall receive fair compensation.
Paid for by whom? The citizens of Liberland, most of whom did nothing wrong? If anything, it should be the prosecutor, judges and/or jury if evidence is found that they knowingly put somebody in prison for unjust reasons.
§III.10. No person shall be deprived of his or her citizenship otherwise than by a court of law.
Why should a court of law have the right to take away citizenship? What if the person doesn’t have another citizenship and no other nation will take them? This could create stateless persons. What if a judge wishes to banish people politically? This is a dangerous provision. Nobody should lose their citizenship for any reason.
§III.14. In criminal proceedings, the defendant shall have the right to the following:
§III.14(5) to the assistance of legal counsel free of charge where appropriate;
§III.14(8) to be provided without expense with the services of an interpreter if he or she does not speak the language of proceedings.
This is socialized legal services, which is clearly not libertarian. In Liberland, we expect there to be little or no regulation for legal representation. Furthermore, we expect charities would be more than willing to help with giving legal counsel and interpreter services to any accused persons. Therefore we can expect market forces to keep legal costs low, with charity filling in for cases where the accused has little to no resources.
Ultimately it should be the responsibility of the individual to have insurance and/or savings to pay for any and all criminal proceedings. If we are true believers in this system for education and healthcare why are we not believers in the same system for legal services?
§IV.10. A Taxation Bill proposing taxation no other than tax on actual land and/or sales tax shall be the only Bill capable of levying tax burdens in the Free Republic of Liberland, and shall be passed with a majority of three-quarters of all Assembly Representatives, and shall be subject to the power of general veto by the Citizens as provided in §IV.18.
For Libertarians, this is the most alarming part of the constitution’s draft. Liberland’s President has been widely quoted as saying that all taxes would be optional in Liberland. If this constitution is ratified, new taxes would be mandatory once passed by the assembly and referendum, in direct contradiction of the President’s pledge. We strongly urge the Liberland team to rethink their plans, and to come up with a way that Liberland can work within a purely voluntary tax system.
Overall we praise Liberland for attempting to create a constitution that will limit the scope and powers of the government. With that said, we see room for improvement and urge the founders of the nation to consider the above points towards a freer and more Libertarian society.