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We introduced The Master Contract (or MC for short) in a previous post. The Master Contract for the Absolute Austro-Libertarian theory is a small set of rules that forms the basis of the Absolute Austro-Libertarian way of life.

We must now expand on its concepts and shed light on its principles.

The second Condition of the Master Contract states:

          Property rights are absolute with only one exception:

                  a)   Slavery is forbidden. A human being cannot be sold or purchased even voluntarily.

This condition addresses the fundamental question: where do rights originate from?

The answer is: from property.

The very first property that any human being of any race, color, belief or physical condition has it its own body. The only person in the planet that can command a body to do something is its owner. As such, the ownership is absolute. But it is also unlimited. Subject to the laws of nature, a body owner (person) can order its body to do anything including destroying itself (suicide). As such, the ownership is also unlimited.  This is only natural and as such the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system accepts it.

Going further, we extend this principle to all property that was properly acquired (as described in Condition #4). We do so because property is acquired through the use of our body, which we command. Hence the product of that effort is our property and inherits from our body the quality of being owned absolutely.

It is strange, but children actually understand this principle far better than adults: “It Is Mine!” sounds familiar? They get it, we don’t.

The current legal thinking is that rights of property owners are not absolute. In the past this was not so. For example, the Romans were among the first organized Libertarians. They believed that property rights were absolute to the point of slavery.

But why is that current thinking changed? Because governments needed a “legal way” (whatever that may mean) to command private property on demand. So governments created nonsensical rules such as “Eminent Domain” that were imposed “for the good of Society” (who? this is a topic for a future post). These rules are not based on any logic or  system, but are simply based on the greed and insatiable thirst for power that politicians have.

Now, to be clear. The Absolute Austro-Libertarian system fully acknowledges that human beings are greedy and thirsty for power. But the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system does not attempt to re-program humans through meaningless governments and laws. What the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system does is to limit greed and thirst for power by opposing them to other people’s greed and thirst for power to achieve a balance. This balance is automatic, instantaneous and self-organizing. No government, leader or laws required.

If the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system would stop here, then simply achieving a balance of power would do very little for mutual prosperity. What the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system does is to provide a single exit channel for all that greed and thirst for power. And that channel is the marketplace. As all these human energies are placed in the marketplace, general wealth increases and with it general prosperity.

Let’s now address slavery.

The Absolute Austro-Libertarian system is purportedly a logical system. It is intended to be as much self-consistent as possible.

If we follow this logical consistency through the end, we will come to this path: as property rights are absolute, I, as an absolute owner of my body can sell it to somebody else. This is slavery since now a person (other than myself) owns my body and can sell it to other person since his rights are absolute. This means that  I no longer possess any rights to my body.

Slavery is incompatible with Libertarianism. The main reason is that libertarianism is based on the freedom to make choices. That’s it’s primary goal. A slave, by definition, has no choices. Therefore an amendment to the second Condition of the Master Contract must be made forbidding slavery.

Furthermore, the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system is based on contracts, which must be accepted voluntarily. A slave has no rights, hence no will, hence it cannot enter into any voluntary contract. This, again, goes again what the Absolute Austro-Libertarian system attempts to achieve and therefore we need an amendment.

 Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

 Continue to The Master Contract Explained - Condition #3


2 Comments | Add yours
  • First let me thank you for the website and information contained within. The seemingly rampant spread of libertarian ideas and information is starting to give me hope that we may start seeing more liberty and less of the state in the not so distance future. Now with my comment on the subject…

    The explicit call out of “Slavery is forbidden” in the master contract causes a couple problems. 1st, it implies that Slavery would otherwise be allowed in an absolute austro-libertarian system or worse, that the system would otherwise facilitate slavery. In fact, slavery is inherently not permitted in the system.
    In order to sell something it is first a requirement that the thing be owned by the seller. It does not follow that in order for someone to own something they must be able to sell it.
    Ownership – The act, state, or right of possessing something.
    Possessing – The state of having, owning, or controlling something.
    Sell – give or hand over something in exchange for money.

    Looking at the key definitions it is seen that Ownership is the act of controlling something and Selling is the act of exchanging control of that thing for money. The reason a person cannot be sold is because it is not presently possible to relinquish control of your body or for someone else to control your body (including your mind). Moreover, historically slavery was entered into unwillingly by the slave. This kind of abduction would certainly not be allowed in AL as all sales or contracts would have to be entered into willingly. Thirdly, a person’s status as a person cannot be forfeited. A person will always be a person and as such is afforded protection from coercion. In other words, a person who is not fully controlled by another will always be able to raise the complaint of injury or damage that would be settled through the legal process. It was the failure by the state to recognize groups of people as persons that has “legitimized” many of the oppressions members of society have exercised on others. It seems clear that the past and present incarnation of slavery cannot exist in the absolute austro-libertarian society. If, in some sci-fi future direct control of a person’s mind becomes possible, let us trust the legal system established by the absolute austro-libertarian society to sort out the legitimacy of those sales.

    It is possible that person ‘A’ may enter into a contract to serve person ‘B’. The contract may even permit person ‘B’ to perform acts of brutality against person ‘A’. However, as soon as person ‘A’ chooses they no longer wish to fulfill the contract, person ‘A’ would be free from the service of person ‘B’. Person ‘B’ would likely use the legal process to charge person ‘A’ with breach of contract under which the legitimacy of the contract would be scrutinized and if the contract was deemed valid, person ‘A’ would be responsible for restitution in the same manner as all other contracts.

    The 2nd complaint about the inclusion of “Slavery is forbidden” is it brings a third party into all contracts, especially contracts for employment, which one would expect to be among the most commonly executed contracts. Would it be the charge of enforcement agencies to police all employment contracts and invalidate those that were deemed slavery? If so, who will be forced to provide this service? If this service is not provided what is the value in including it in the master contract? If there is no claim of injury or damage by either party why should the contract not be allowed to be fulfilled? The idea appears to be that ‘WE’ have judged slavery to be wrong or harmful or unsafe and ‘WE’ do not trust individuals to enter into appropriate contracts or sales where employment of their services is concerned, so ‘WE’ will protect the people from themselves by forbidding slavery. This echoes the state’s paternal nature of ‘WE’ know best. If ‘WE’ know best about slavery, then what other things will ‘WE’ decide the people need protection from? This is an extremely dangerous seed to plant.

    All that is needed to safeguard against the evils of slavery is to recognize all peoples and justly try any complaints of injury or harm raised by them. These safeguards are already present in the system, so let us trust the system rather then start anew with the seed for tyranny already planted.

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  • Guest (Editor1)

    David, thank you for the post. Please see The Issue of Slavery.

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