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Friday, January 27, 2023

The Constitution and the Blockchain

We are committed to delivering to you the best possible Constitution and also a robust and user-friendly blockchain solution. This article examines changes in the legislative power as stipulated in our Constitution, which we made based on our blockchain development.

Code and Law

Liberland is the first country to draft its Constitution alongside its governance platform – the Liberland Smart Chain blockchain. 

Most often, instructions flow from the Constitution to the blockchain, as one may imagine. The point is to create e-governance for Liberland, not a government for a blockchain, and Liberland’s system is chiefly defined in its Constitution.

There are, however, times when we see the draft Constitution can be upgraded based on how it seems most prudent to run the system. 

Computers are the doers in our world, increasingly freeing human labour, but they also help us think. 

Not just by routinely solving complex mathematical problems but also by engaging our intuition and imagination. They allow us to visualise our ideas and conceptions, making our thinking easier.

Direct Democracy

One such system has been our recent decision to lift the restrictions on direct democracy in Liberland. We had previously been reluctant to put too much power directly in the hands of the citizens, mindful of the destructive influence of populism. 

We thought that, while the people should be able to repeal measures, only professionals (elected officials) should be able to draft them to keep the quality of the future legislation at a sufficiently high level.

The ease with which it is possible to implement direct democracy on the blockchain and to create a system of checks and balances has made us change our minds.

Firstly, it is much easier to bribe a couple of politicians than the nation, even if it is city-sized like Liberland.

Second, populists crave offices to abuse, and in direct democracy, office holders don’t have nearly as much power as in representative democracy.

Thirdly, we should trust the people to make policy decisions, by which we motivate them to become better educated and vote more wisely.

Fourthly, returning to the blockchain theme, the system we inherited (Polkadot) puts constraints on unchecked popular power. There is still a robust Congress, and its proposals are markedly easier to pass than popular proposals.

Proposals submitted by Congress have, as the system calls it, lower “tallies” (the size of majority required to pass a proposal) than the proposals by the people would have. They need fewer Referendum votes to pass.

By introducing more direct democracy, we cut the middle man between the people and their State. In so doing, we fulfil the vision that Congress is the primary drafter of new laws (thanks to the lower tallies), but the citizens remain the decision-makers. Like in ancient Rome or Athens!

Unlike any historical referendum, however, here, the people vote as in a DAO – with their tokens. One more good argument for a directly democratic solution is to fulfil our vision of a State-as-DAO. But let’s now examine the new Referendum and how it works.

Referendum in Liberland

The system as it is now can be described as follows:

Popular Referendum

  • A citizen proposes a decision or a regulation.
  • They have to find support and people to endorse the proposal by waging their LLM (Liberland Merits) into it, locking them for the time being.
  • At the beginning of each Referendum Epoch, the algorithm chooses the highest endorsed proposal, and it becomes a referendum.
  • The tally for popular proposals is a supermajority (approximately ⅔ of active voters) required to pass the measure.

Congress-initiated Referendum 

  • If the proposing citizen is a Member of Congress, they present their proposal to their peers.
  • If all members of Congress agree, they get a massive boost in the tally – a supermajority of cca ⅔ citizens is required to block the measure.
  • If a majority of Members of Congress agree, the tally is 50 percent plus one vote.
  • The algorithm that chooses Proposals for Referenda cycles between popular and Congress proposals, so they don’t compete.
  • It is, therefore, possible that Congress proposals can pass without any significant endorsement into the Referendum stage, putting further power behind these proposals.

Again, we would like to reiterate that we are glad to see this “bias” towards Congress, not because we wouldn’t want to give power to the people, but because we recognise a strong correlation between focused professionals drafting proposals and the comparatively higher quality of the product.

Mind you; the Congresspersons also need to be voted in (once per 3 months, a short term indeed), so they can’t be divorced from the citizenry. 

In practice, even their proposals will likely be consulted with the voter base, if not outright coming from the people.

Regardless, all proposals get a Referendum. There is no such a thing as the Congress pushing an unpopular proposal against the will of the (super)majority.

For the special cases where, due to low turnover or some other systemic reasons, the Referendum decision doesn’t reflect the will of the people (or the will has changed in the meantime), we keep our previously thought out institution, that of the Public Veto.

The Public Veto is a special kind of Referendum where, uniquely in Liberland, the people vote with “head count” rather than their LLM. We ensure that even the “poorest” citizens, or those least committed to politics, get properly represented.

Representative Democracy

Previously, we have created our vision of Congress as a body voting with LLM, meaning not every Member of Congress would have equal power. They were the ones directly adopting and rejecting the proposals.

As we stated above, this was to ensure professionality in the proposals. We want to keep this vision and make it even stronger. 

The current version of the Congress primarily aims to produce professional Proposals. Its Proposals get a special queue and are given favourable tallies, as we said above.

The elections are LLM based (tokenized) and occur every three months. They are bound to become pitched battles, a system where no politician is secured of his seat, and we find this very good. 

However, the voting in Congress is not tokenised, and all Members of Congress have an equal say. Let arguments win the day, not what amounts to a form of money.

In addition, the ⅔ majority of Congress will have the following emergency power: Where they see that a Referendum is malicious or the proposal detrimental to individual liberty, they can veto it.

Such a Proposal can’t become Referendum while the current Congress sits in its place, as it will surely remove it from the queue if re-applied.

This is a further check and balance against the encroachment of populism. 

Lastly, proposals which aim for a party to get funding from Liberland’s State Treasury (Treasury) are called Budget Proposals. Those are unique in that they are not going before the Referendum, but they get to be decided by Congress directly. 

As everybody wants money, the power to issue it is easy to abuse. We leave the decision-making here fully in the hands of the professionals to prevent rule by popular fervour.

The payment itself is then facilitated by another body called the Senate. The Senate is the “2nd chamber” of Liberland’s “parliament”, our “house of investors”. The Senators have invested the most in Liberland and have the most to lose if Congress should advocate for an unsound spending policy. 

They are therefore given the final say in financial matters. 

They can also strike out any regulation just like the people by the Public Veto. Unlike with the Public Veto, they can’t strike out Laws which have already been given legal force: this privilege is of the people alone.

The Executive and Beyond – a Call for Your Ideas

We have upgraded the system to reflect the reality of our times. Representative democracies had been thought up in ages when it was exceedingly difficult to run a ballot. In the mid-19th century, when traversing the distance to the furthest homestead might have taken days, it made good sense to let the homesteader be represented.

Nowadays, nothing but the inertia of current mainstream politics prevents the people from taking up their power.

We are now opening the chapter of the Executive; after all, the Cabinet (aka. Government) has to find its place on the blockchain. In Liberland, the executive branch has limited powers according to which it may act. 

We intend to keep it that way – powerful Executives are perhaps the greatest threat to freedom in any State.

There are only four ministers. We would also prefer to keep it this way, as bloating the administration would require bigger budgets, and those, in turn, ask for methods akin to robbery to fill their coffers. 

Not something we are going to do in Liberland.

It is time to effect significant changes in Liberland’s most central political processes – you can become one of our State’s “Founding Fathers”. 

All you need for this are good ideas and the ability to communicate them. Everything is up to debate except for our commitment to freedom.

We also intend to implement our Judiciary system on-chain. Do you have some experience as a Judge or an attorney? Do you have something to say to contribute? Please, wait no longer and contact us.

We invite you to read our Constitution here: Consolidated Version of the Constitution.

You will see that there are seven short “books”:

Book 1: Core principles of freedom, property and human dignity (right to life, right to bodily integrity, etc.);

Book 2: The government is born as the public protector of private property, and constraints are placed on it, so it doesn’t turn oppressive.

Book 3: The basic rights of every human being and citizen.

Book 4: The judiciary.

Book 5: The legislature.

Book 6: The Executive.

Book 7: The Guardians of the Republic (the Senate and the President) 

Book 8: How to make amendments, final provisions.

Please choose the book best suits your interests and give us your ideas.

How can you contact us regarding the Constitution?

  1. There is a place in our https://forum.liberland.org/ here: https://forum.liberland.org/t/liberland-constitution-conceptual-discussion-announcements/78.
  2. You can contact the drafters directly at justice@liberland.org. Michal Ptáčník, the author of this article and the person responsible for the consolidation of the drafting, will take the time to answer you and discuss the proposal with you.
  3. You will be able to place recommendations directly in the draft.

Have you booked your stay at the Floating Man already? See https://floatingman.ll.land – Liberland’s Provisional Government members will be there, ready to discuss your ideas with you in person! 

At the time of the writing, there are still several very affordable rooms and accommodations available in Apatin and surrounding areas, and we will be glad to have you come!

See you in Liberland!

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