To read this article, please navigate to my Medium channel, Blockchain Faith.
Hope you can make it to Central LA the evening of Wednesday, August 28th to make new friends, renew old friendships, and take part in frank and civil discussion. All come in equal privilege and mutual respect.
Followers who will be in Southern California on July 21st may find this inaugural event of great interest. It includes lunch and many interesting speakers, including Jonny Stryder!
A special offer for followers of this blog who cannot afford the full $76 donation to attend: pay the student rate of $37 online. Instead of presenting a full-time student ID, provide the promo code “VLDA Student” at the door to receive admission and lunch at the student rate.
The organizers ask only that you sign up online (link above) so they can get an accurate headcount for lunch. See you there!
I’ve resumed blogging, with rearranged channels. Posts pertinent to promise societies and other forms of decentralized conflict resolution will be linked to here at vlda.org. You can follow almost everything I post online at Medium.com or Eggseed Press, and can leave comments here or at Medium. Here’s hoping for a productive conversation!
The Expandable Promise Game
Keep your promises.
Publish your promises.
Ask no more than you have promised to others.
For more details about game play, see the game sheet.
It’s here! “Blockchain Faith” was published by Eggseed Press in May, 2018. The book explains how the Three Promises, public ledgers and the value of reputation in social networks work together to provide a means for civic order capable of gradually displacing top-down governance systems. In Blockchain Faith societies, no levers of power exist to fight over. Every member has the same social and political power. Everyone promises to keep their promises, put them in the ledger, and to ask no more for themselves than they promise to others.
Most important, we can begin building social promise networks without asking anyone for permission. All we need to make and use social promises is protected by basic human rights of free expression, association and belief.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll already have a good idea what the book is about. You will recognize many of the same themes and core ideas, and even a few essays are similar. But the book contains a lot of new and revised material. It’ll be worth your while to pick up a copy and thumb through it. It’s only $4.99 in electronic form, and it’s Creative Commons licensed so you can make and share copies for non-commercial use without paying a fee. It’s available lots of places online, for example:
So what’s next? Finishing the white paper already under development that describes a public ledger application for social promises, and then building a first instance of the application. Setting up certification programs through the uRULEu Institute for self-sovereign promisors, neutrals and application developers. Building up a Fellowship Program through the Institute to study and teach sociological, anthropological, economic, psychological and computer science aspects of self-governance through social promises. These activities will be group activities for which I must recruit colleagues and volunteers. As for myself, I am and will be writing fiction and non-fiction designed to expand understanding and acceptance of social order through social promises, in addition to practicing law. I am and will be recruiting like-minded authors to publish through Eggseed Press. Much fulfilling labor lies ahead.
Blockchain Faith is about improving the quality of our lives by building mutual trust to facilitate solutions to personal and social problems. It’s about building human connections for mutual benefit and human thriving. To stay tuned, follow Blockchain Faith on Medium.com. To join in, contact me!
Spring is a time of change. Here in Southern California, flowers are blooming everywhere before the heat of summer arrives. The blooms are not always conspicuous next to all the freeways, cars, billboards and printed suburbs full of cookie-cutter streets and houses. The show is spectacular in a few places. After a little rain the Antelope Valley sprouts fields of orange poppies. The Mojave Desert has its flowers too, less showy but more varied, more fetching in pockets than in the vast expanse. Soon the heat will arrive, the blooms will wither and go to seed, and attention of the outgoing multitudes will turn coastwards and upwards to the mountains. And to baseball, that idlest of pastimes except for the math.
It’s been almost two years since I stopped posting here regularly to focus on finishing The Book That Was Once About Voluntary Law. Now it is about something else yet still social order by self sovereignty and social promises and blockchain ledgers. Writing it has changed my trajectory, or maybe my trajectory just changed and writing the book was part of that. Once it comes out in a month or so, I hope to contribute more to the successor blog, between serving the needs of my family, clients, friends, causes, projects and campaigns. Maybe all those services can be feeding energy to one another and resonant with life’s true purpose: leaving better things behind for the loved ones, and growing the circle of love ever larger and stronger. Fulfilling an honorable purpose brings joy. Easy or solitary it’s usually not.
I’ll be attending the California Libertarian Party’s annual convention the last weekend of April, speaking at Libertopia the first weekend of May, and attending Voice and Exit later in May. If you will be at any of those events, please find me!
It is not in the least bit presumptuous to design a new legal system based in personal self-sovereignty and mutual benefit, for peacefully out-competing and thus, replacing all legal systems based in privilege and oppression. There is no presumption being made about the future. The future of a chaotic system is unpredictable, because the granularity of knowledge about the system’s present state is always coarser than the granularity of the differences that can lead to divergent outcomes. In other words, we can never know perfectly where we are going, because we can never know perfectly where we are. Certainly, human society is a chaotic system, full of uncertainty and tumult. We can design the new legal system to fulfill all our design objectives given all factors we know of, but cannot know whether, or how, the design will be implemented.
What we strive for is the most optimal design, given what we know, without any presumption of destiny. In that spirit of optimizing the design, we propose phrasing voluntary laws in accordance with their intended effect. That is, as personal promises to accept a certain consequence “B” in the event one commits a certain act “A.” So for example “The penalty for a slap in the face shall be two counter-slaps” becomes, in promise-based law:”If I slap you in the face, I promise I will let you slap me back twice, unless my slap was justified by proportional self-defense.” This is a silly example, of course, but illustrates the point: voluntary laws are essentially socially directed, personally made promises to other society members. For example, some voluntary laws are social promises to provide no less than a specified remedy for specified wrongs, subject to certain defenses. Application of TROTWET ensures that voluntary laws are in fact social promises. It is helpful to the people who must understand and implement their own laws, if the laws are phrased in a way that more naturally aligns with their ordinary meaning, and does not obviously implicate revolutionary consequences.
This is the thinking behind VLDA’s pivot to “social promises” and “social promise societies” as better terminology for engaging the general public. “Voluntary law,” with its revolutionary overtones, will not be discarded, but reserved mainly for the smoky back rooms where the socially aware exchange ideas, such as places like this blog. And perhaps for discussing reforms in state laws.
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Image credit to Robbi Robbins (Brilliant Hues)
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