3: Natural Law Societies

Chapter Three Natural Law Societies (Part One)


We have not intentionally created a specific type of society. We have basically sat back and let things flow. But, even though we weren’t trying to do so, we did, in fact, lay out the foundational elements of a type of society. We did this by default; if no intent is made to put any structures together, the people still have a ‘society.’ They just don’t have an intentionally-created and directed society.

When we first arrived in the past, we could have decided we wanted the land owned and then figured out who we wanted to own it. But we didn’t do this. We didn’t do these things mainly because we had a lot going on. We basically chose to worry about our immediate needs first, and not make any decisions about ownability right away. (We will do this shortly; some people will claim that their nations own and will be willing to fight for the rights of their country. But, so far, we haven’t even discussed the issue.)

The concept of ownership and ownability of land, either by a country or by any other human entity, is an affirmative concept. If we don’t intentionally create it, accept it, and create a set of rules to enforce it, the mountains, rivers, forests, swamps, and fields of the Earth are unowned and unownable.

We have not intentionally laid out the underlying foundational principles of a society. But as long as no one owns, we will have foundational principles that are entirely different than the principles of the 21st century societies we left behind.

Natural Law Societies

Although our society is entirely different than the societies we left behind in the 21st century, we did not invent this alternate type of society. This type of society existed in the last iteration of the human race. In fact, over the period of many thousands of years, many billions of people were born into societies like this. They took their first breaths in these societies, nursed for the first time in them, cried and bonded with their mothers in them. They learned their first words in this society and, slowly, as they grew up, learned the way this type of society operated.

They played with their friends, learned the skills they would need as adults to meet their future family’s needs, flirted with members of the opposite sex, and formed intimate relationships, all within the context of societies that didn’t have countries and did not accept that human entities could own mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, and fields.  They had children of their own and raised them in these societies, they taught their children the skills they would need later in life, and they watched while their children formed relationships and had children of their own.

They grew old and sat around with others of their age talking about the same things that old people always talk about, like the defects of the next generation, how the next generation’s habits and music are not as good as their generation’s habits and music, and the fact that very immature people are taking over administrative powers from people who knew what they were doing and are going to make horrible mistakes that will harm the entire group.  They passed on and were buried, all without ever knowing that anyone anywhere had ever or would ever have a society that accepted that humans and human entities could ever claim to own and enforce claims of ownership of mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests.

Side By Side Comparisons

We actually know a lot about the way many of these groups lived because the two societies existed side by side on the same continent for roughly 400 years. They actually both existed at the same time for much, much longer than this, but the groups with the two different kinds of societies didn’t know that the other group, or the other society existed, so they had no way to compare these different types of societies and possibly benefit from the comparison.

This was impossible because the planet Earth has several enormous landmasses that are isolated from each other, separated by vast oceans.  The two largest landmasses have both been inhabited for at least 10,000 years, but the people on them didn’t interact with each other and don’t even appear to have known that the other group existed until very recently.  The largest landmass on Earth, ‘Afro-Eurasia,’ consists of the three connected continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe, together with islands close to this landmass and in seas defined by the land. This landmass contains roughly 32.81 million square miles of land.

The second largest landmass, ‘The Americas,’ includes the continents we call North America and South America, the tiny isthmus connecting them, and a great many islands in connected archipelagoes and seas defined by the land. The American landmass has about 16.42 million square miles of land.

As of the year 1492, both of these landmasses had populations of many millions of people. We can tell by the artifacts on both landmasses that the populations on both landmasses had many extremely intelligent people. People on both landmasses had cities, towns, and villages. They both had networks of roads and trade routes and complex administrative systems that allowed the densely populated lands to function smoothly and provide for people in the cities. The people on both landmasses had the technology to manufacture items of great complexity. They would not have been able to do the things they did and make the items they made if they were (as the propaganda of the conquering societies claim about the people of the Americas) primitive savages that simply wandered the land in small groups hunting and gathering to meet their needs. They had to have been very intelligent and had to have had organizational structures of this complexity.

The people on both continents had very complex languages that were capable of expressing and were used to express abstract concepts. They were capable of forming and formed complex plans. When intelligent people with these language skills get together anywhere to have conversations, they use these skills. They discuss things that are important to them.

What is important to people?

They care about the people they deal with. They care about eating and getting other necessities. They care about where they live, the quality of their life, their standard of living, and the luxuries they have. They care about fairness and equity. They care about rights and liberty. They care about the realities of their lives and the structures that determine how they get the things they need to survive and raise their families.

The people on both of these continents talked about these things. They considered their relationships with others and the world around them. They looked for ways to arrange their relationships with other people and the world around them to see if they could improve these relationships, giving them better lives. They looked for improvements they could make in the organization of the structures of their societies.

As of 1492, the people on both of these landmasses had developed a great many very complex societal structures to help them meet their needs. Although they both had complex societies, the societies on both landmasses had evolved entirely independently and without any significant influence from the societies on the other landmass. They therefore developed entirely differently. As of the year 1492, the people of the two landmasses had entirely different types of societies. They weren’t just different in a few details. They were structurally different; they were built on entirely different foundational concepts.

Sovereignty-based societies

The societies that had gained control of the Afro-Eurasian landmass were built on the premise that the land belonged to whoever could ‘conquer’ and control it. If a group of people (perhaps calling their group a ‘country’ or a ‘sovereign state’ or a ‘kingdom’ or some other term) could gain military control over a part of the planet and hold it and defend it against outsiders, the conquerors could then claim the land belonged to them and, by the rules accepted in the societies that had evolved on this landmass, that part of the world really did belong to them. They could consider it to exist only for their benefit and could take and keep anything it produced without any regard for the interests of any other people anywhere.

If they could gain advantages for their group/country by destroying the land around them (perhaps to get coal and iron to make swords, cannons, and other weapons), they had the absolute right to destroy the land around them: the land belonged to them and all owners had the natural right to treat their possessions any way they wanted to treat them.

Natural Law Societies

The societies in the Americas were built on entirely different foundational beliefs. Although a great many societies existed in the Americas, and the details of these different societies had dramatic differences, we have enormous amounts of evidence (which will be discussed shortly) that show that the foundational principle of these societies was the same:  These people believed that humans are residents of this planet, but not its owners. They believed that all residents of the Earth depend on nature for their existence. Humans are not exempt from this. Since we depend on nature for our existence, we must form a stable and sustainable relationship with nature if we are to survive.

As noted above, the idea of ownability and ownership of the land is an affirmative concept. People must intentionally accept that the land is ownable (perhaps by a country, perhaps a clan or tribe, perhaps by a king or other individual) and form structures that protect the rights of the owners, or ownership and ownability doesn’t exist. The societies on the Afro-Eurasian landmass had built institutions to defend and protect the rights that people who claimed to be owners claimed they had. As of 1492, the people of the American landmass had not taken this step. Without structures that were intentionally created that protected ownership and ownability, their land was unowned and unownable.

As noted in the introduction, we need names to refer to different societies so we can discuss them intelligently. This book uses the term ‘natural law societies’ to refer to societies that are built on the foundational principles that supported the pre-conquest American societies.


I want to diverge here for a moment to point out the significance of the fact that the various critical types of societies humans can form haven’t already been named.

If people in the past had wanted to figure out how the structural elements of human societies worked, they would have needed names to refer to specific societies that have existed on the planet in the past so they could compare them. The fact that societies that clearly existed in the past and clearly operated entirely differently than the societies that replaced them don’t already have commonly accepted names indicates that this kind of analysis has not been done.

I think this is an important observation because it seems to me that nothing should be more important to the human race than to gain an understanding of the different ways that societal structures work. We can all see that the societies that we inherited have serious problems and that these problems will eventually destroy us all if they continue.

How can we hope to understand how to build societies that don’t have these problems if we can’t don’t even bother to study other societies?


People who were raised in natural law societies would think that claiming to own a part of the world would be ridiculous. To people raised on the primacy of the laws of nature, humans depend on nature and are its servants, not its owners. The idea of two groups of people organizing to kill each other to determine which of the groups of people would be considered to be the owner of a mountain range, a river, or a forest, would be as ridiculous as the idea of two colonies of fleas organizing to kill each other to determine which would be accepted as the owner of the leg or ear of the dog they live on.

Our group in Pastland has not intentionally created a specific type of society. But by not taking affirmative steps to create a society built on ownership and ownability of the land by countries or other human entities, we have built a specific society. Until we take such steps, our society rests on the exact same foundation as the societies of the pre-conquest American people; it is a natural law society.

An Intentional Temporary National Law Society

Before we go into an analysis of natural law societies, and show how they work, let’s see why we might want to make some sort of rule formalizing the unownability of land.

We are all from societies built around the idea of countries. In the 21st century, everything we do depends in some ways on the specific structure of the country we are in. Do you have the right to carry a gun? That depends on the country where you live. Countries determine what kinds of corporations can exist, they regulate wages and interfere in markets to alter prices, they print the money and therefore determine the value of the money, they determine what medicines people may use, and determine which people will be arrested or rounded up and put into camps, and what will happen to them while they are in government custody.

Countries grant a lot of very important and very valuable rights to special interest groups (corporations, for example, lobbies, owners, creditors, and relatives of people with inherited political power, to name a few). Our group in Pastland has many individuals who used to have special rights in the past as members of these privileged groups. Eventually, something is going to come up that will cause these people to want to claim that they have been granted rights by countries and still have them. In many cases, the rights they have include rights to harm the world and form armies to commit mass murder on people who hold different opinions than they have.

If we don’t have any rules, we can expect conflicts and disputes to take place and escalate to violence. We may want to put a rule in place—perhaps only as a temporary measure, but still binding—to prevent violent conflicts from taking place, at least for some period of time, so that we can deal with more important problems first.  Consider this situation:

The Pistol

One of the people who went on this cruise with us has a passion for guns. Her name is ‘Alice.’ For some reason that I have never been able to understand, some people feel their lives are better if they can carry a tool that they could use, if they wanted, to kill anyone nearby.

Alice is like that.

She likes guns.

Cruise ships don’t allow passengers to bring guns onboard, for obvious reasons. But several thousand people board these ships with large amounts of luggage in a space of a few hours. The cruise companies don’t have the time to search everyone’s luggage for contraband. Alice was able to sneak a pistol onboard. She kept it in a special case in her cabin, together with a holster and a box of ammunition.

When we went through the traumatic events after the nuclear bomb, the case slipped behind one of the beds that were bolted to the wall. It was lodged in a cranny behind the bed that she didn’t know was there, because she couldn’t move the bed. She looked for her gun for many weeks, but she couldn’t find it. Eventually she gave up. We have been in Pastland for two years now. Alice finally decides she has to clean behind the bed, and this means she has to unbolt it from the wall. When she does, her gun case falls out. She immediately puts on the holster and starts walking around with her pistol strapped to her waist.

Some people don’t like this.

Several of them tell her that guns make them nervous and they would feel better if she kept her gun in her cabin. But Alice loves her gun. She tells them that it is a free country: she has the freedom to carry the gun and they do not have the freedom to keep her from doing this. She tells them she is going to wear it regardless of what people think.

Our group in Pastland has regular meetings to discuss important issues. At the next meeting, several people bring up the gun. The issue of guns has never come up before because no one has had any guns. Several people say they would prefer that Alice keep her gun in her cabin unless she is leaving the ship. Alice says that there is no rule against carrying guns, so she is going to carry it.

Someone then proposes a rule against carrying guns in the public areas of the ship. We vote on and pass the measure.

Alice leaves the gun in her cabin for the next week. Then she starts wearing it again.

When people ask what she is doing, she says that the rule we passed is invalid because it is unconstitutional. We are in the United States of America. The United States Constitution prohibits any infringement of the right to bear arms. (The relevant text: ‘The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.) The rule against carrying firearms in the public areas of the ship is clearly designed to infringe her right to bear arms. Any law that infringes on her right to bear arms is illegal, so any attempt to prevent her or anyone from carrying arms wherever they want is illegal.

There is nothing anyone can do about it: her right to carry her pistol comes from the highest law in the land and is an absolute and unalienable right that can’t be infringed.

How Other People Can Benefit By Accepting There Are ‘Nations’ In The World

Kathy hears about Alice’s claim.

She never really thought about the laws of the United States of America being in force before. She knows we are living on land that, back in the distant future, was in Texas. The United States annexed Texas on December 29, 1845. All governments of annexed states have to accept the Constitution of the United States and adhere to its provisions. If the laws of the United States are in effect here in the distant past, she has very important rights to the Pastland Farm that she hasn’t been exercising.

You see, her aunt and uncle owned the land that we are now calling the ‘Pastland Farm.’ Kathy was doing some family research before she left on this trip and, as part of her research, she downloaded a file full of documents. These documents include the deed to this farm, in the name of her aunt and uncle.  Her aunt and uncle are no longer alive. She is their only living relative.

The property and inheritance laws of the United States are based on the property and inheritance laws of England that are based on the property and inheritance laws of the Roman Empire. Under these laws, the closest living relative inherits the land. If the property and inheritance laws of the United States are in effect, this land belongs to Kathy. It is her farm.

The United States Constitution has several provisions designed to protect property owners. The most important is called the ‘takings clause’ and is a part of the Fifth Amendment. It states: ‘nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.’

Under the property laws of the United States, all production from the land belongs to the owners. The owners must pay costs of production of course, they must meet any financial obligations they have (like mortgages), and they must pay taxes under the tax codes of the nation and state they are in, but they don’t have to share anything the land produces with the people around them.


How much tax would she pay?

The State of Texas has no income tax so the only income tax she would pay would be the Federal Tax. The maximum income tax rate as of 2020 is 37%. If she didn’t take advantage of any of the many tax breaks available to farmers, she would pay about 37% of the free cash flow, or slightly less than $1 million.

But the tax codes have a very large number of special tax breaks that apply to farmers. As a result of these tax breaks, most farmers in the United States pay no taxes at all. (Any rich enough to afford good tax attorneys can reduce their tax liability to zero if they want to.) If Kathy can find a good tax attorney here in Pastland, she can take advantage of these breaks and will not owe any taxes.

We can’t change them specifically to take money from her because of the 14th Amendment, which specifically prohibits this kind of law. If we follow the laws of the United States of America, and Kathy is smart enough to get a tax attorney to find the tax laws, we get nothing from this farm.


Kathy thinks about this and ultimately decides that these people have been taking advantage of her lack of assertiveness.

This is her farm.

It would have belonged to her if she were the only living relative of her aunt and uncle in the 21st century, and there is no reason she could accept it doesn’t belong to her because of the circumstances of our voyage into the past.

She decides that she is willing to let people keep the money they got in the past. She will consider it to be ‘charity;’ it helped a lot of people who wouldn’t have eaten otherwise. But there has to be a limit to her charity. She can’t give money to every single member of the human race forever. At the next meeting, she makes a demand:

We must accept that the land belongs to her. Her ownership rights come from a legacy of laws that originate in ancient Rome and had been in effect for thousands of years before we took this voyage. It is true that we have been administering this property as if it were ‘public use property.’ But the Constitution of the United States of America specifically prohibits taking private land for public use without providing ‘just compensation.’

Kathy says that she is willing to be reasonable. Back in the future, farmland like this was selling for a multiple of 20 times the free cash flow. This farm produces a free cash flow of $2.4 million a year. If we give her 20 times this, or $48 million in cash, she will allow us to ‘take the land for public use’ under the law.


Kathy has no fear that we will buy this land for public use because we can’t: the necessary $48 million in cash doesn’t exist.


But if we don’t give her this amount of money, the farm is hers under the highest law of the land. Anyone who tries to prevent her from exercising her rights as an owner is in insurrection against the most sacred laws of this part of the world, the Constitution of the United States of America.

Other Claims Under Other Principles Used To Claim Ownership Of Parts Of Planets In sovereignty-based societies

Other people have started thinking about this same issue. If the laws and principles of the future world apply, Kathy isn’t the only one who can claim this land belongs to her. A man named ‘Joseph’ speaks up. Joseph says that the Constitution is not the highest law in existence, not in this part of the world or any other part of the world. The laws of GOD are higher.

He pulls up a copy of ‘The Bull Inter Caetera’ on his computer. In May of 1493, God’s personal representative on Earth, Pope Alexander IV, issued this document. It stipulates that God wants all land west of a line 200 miles west of the Azores to belong to the sovereigns of Spain, forever. He reads the relevant passage out loud in a public meeting:


By the authority of Almighty God, should any of said islands have been found by your envoys and captains, give, grant, and assign to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and villages, and all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and mainlands found and to be found.


The Pastland Farm is very clearly in the part of the planet that God granted to ‘kings of Castile and Leon, forever.’ Joseph brings out a DNA test that he had done before he took this trip. It showed that he is directly related to King Ferdinand of Castile. (Ferdinand had a large number of children, 7 with his wife and an unknown number with other women. About 3% of the people of Spain have at least one ancestor descending from Ferdinand.)

As far as he knows, he is the only person here with any claim to be an heir to these kings. If others can come forward and prove a direct linage, he will share the land with them. But until such time as others come forward, the land belongs to him.

His rights don’t come from arbitrary decisions made by the 39 people who signed the United States Constitution. They come directly from the creator of all existence, God. No law could possibly be higher.

Still More Claims

A Chinese woman named ‘Doctor Lu’ speaks up. She tells Joseph that he made a legal mistake, and because of this mistake, Joseph is not the legal owner of the Pastland Farm. Back in the future, Dr. Lu had been a professor of international law at Oxford University. She was a leading expert in her field and has a long list of letters after her name, and a long list of fellowships and awards acknowledging she is one of the best in the world in this field. She explains the problem with his argument: God actually gave away the land of the Earth a long time before the Papal Bull was issued. Right after the great flood, God gave the world away to descendents of Noah. Here is the relevant text, from Genesis, chapter 10:


These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.


God couldn’t give the land away again in 1493, because he had already given it away in 2348 BC, the year of the great flood.

The Papal Bull was actually an ‘affirmation of claim’ not a ‘fee simple land grant.’ What happened was this:

Christopher Columbus, acting as an employee of the kings of Castile and Leon, had discovered land. The inhabitants said they did not own it. Somehow, in the time since the land grants had been made in 2348 BC, the people who had been given this land had renounced their ownership.

Now that the land was unowned, it was available for anyone to claim. Columbus claimed this land for his employers under the accepted international laws. The 1493 document is an affirmation that states that God had been informed of the claims and verified that they had been made correctly and were therefore valid. God did not give the land to the king of Spain, he merely verified that the King had followed God’s laws for land transfers.

For Joseph to claim this land under the 1493 document, he would have had to have gone through the same ceremonies that Columbus had gone through in 1492. If he had done these things, the affirmation of claim might possibly apply to him. It would, of course, depend on God and we would have to elect a Pope to ask, but at least Joseph would have a shot at owning this land.

But since Joseph did not go through these ceremonies, the 1493 document is meaningless. Joseph does not have a claim.

However, someone does:

When Dr. Lu goes to cocktail parties, she carries around a little decoration to put on her drink, so she knows which one drink is hers and doesn’t get it mixed up. This is a little cocktail stick with a flag of China on it. She had it in her pocket when we landed.

As soon as she heard that we might be in the ancient past, she decided to go through the ceremonies required to claim land, under the accepted principles of international law. She stuck her cocktail stick with the Chinese flag into the ground. She looked up the exact words that Columbus said and repeated them, with the only difference being the name of the country she claimed it for: she was claiming the land for China, not Spain. All land connected with the land where she put her flag belongs to China for the rest of time.

This means that Pastland Farm is on Chinese territory. Under the Chinese constitution, the land is to be administered for the good of the Chinese people. She is the only ‘Chinese people’ here so the farm must be administered for her personal good from here on.

The farm is hers.

She gets everything it produces.

Dr. Lu says she is claiming this land in the name of civilization. It is hers under the accepted principles of international law, as worked out over the centuries. Many people have given their lives so that land could be administered in an organized and legal way. If we refuse to accept these laws, we are refusing to accept civilization: we are no better than savages, living in chaos and anarchy. We have to accept her as the only person on Earth with any right to the things the Pastland Farm produces.

A Panamanian man named Manuel then asks for the right to speak. After the chair recognizes him, he says that he thinks Dr. Lu has made a critical mistake: she has no more right to claim the land for her native China than Columbus would have had to claim it for his native Italy. Columbus arrived on a Spanish ship in the employ of the Spanish king, so he could only claim the land for Spain. All other claims would have been meaningless.

The cruise ship we were on was registered in Panama. If Dr. Lu had been working for the Panamanian government, and had claimed the land for Panama, her claim would have been valid. But Manuel is the only Panamanian on this ship. The ship happens to be owned by a corporation that is partly owned by the president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela. Manuel was working for the president of Panama on a Panamanian ship just as Columbus was working for the king of Spain on a Spanish ship.

Manuel is the only person with a legal right to claim this land. He hasn’t gone through the ceremony yet, but this is just a formality: he is the only one that has the right to go through the ceremony. He will go through this ceremony and claim it; as soon as this is done, the land will be his.

Various other people start to make claims. The laws that determine who owns which part of the planet in our 21st century world have a complexity that defies description. In some cases, the land is claimed to belong to certain people because a god (perhaps named ‘God’) gave it to their ancestors to pass down to their heirs. In other cases, land is claimed by right of conquest: the nation that mounts a successful war against people in an area and can force them to sign over their rights to the land becomes the land’s owner, in accordance with the principle of international law. In other cases, land is claimed to belong to certain people because they are good, moral, and noble people who need this land so they can bring justice and liberty to that part of the world. Sometimes, land is given to some group as reparations for harm or damage done to their ancestors. Nearly everyone here has some thread that they can follow into the minutia of legal arguments to make some sort of claim on this land.

At this point, people start to argue with each other. Some of the arguments start to get aggressive and, soon, we can see that violence is about to break out.

The Moratorium and a Temporary (Formal) natural law society

We have a chairperson who runs the meeting.

She calls for order. She says that we have a lot of things to cover at this meeting and we need to get back to the agenda if we are to make any progress.

We have chosen this particular person, Margaret, to chair our meetings because she is very good at keeping things moving along. She used to be an administrator in a highly bureaucratic organization back in the future and has learned some tricks about how to get people back to the topics she thinks are important.

One common trick used for this is called ‘tabling the issue’ (also called ‘sending it to committee’). Margaret thanks the people who brought up the issue and says that it deserves more study. She says that we need to form a committee to go into depth about this issue. Until the committee makes its report, the topic is ‘in committee’ and she won’t entertain any motion to discuss it in meetings.

Margaret says that some people have raised some very important issues and she wants to thank them for bringing them to the group’s attention. Unfortunately, our agenda for this meeting is already full so we won’t be able to take the time this issue deserves here and now. We will have to put it off for later. She wants everyone who believes the Pastland Farm is in a country and wants to help us figure out which country to sign up for a committee to discuss the issue.

Margaret points out that some of the issues the committee will work on will take a lot of time to sort out. For example, which legal principles have priority: rules made by and agreed to by a majority of the members of the human race (our group in Pastland, which has decided it has the authority to ban carrying of guns in public), rules made by the 39 signers of the Constitution of the United States of America (who have claimed that the ‘rights to bear arms shall not be infringed’ in any lands that are formally a part of the United States of America), the laws of gods or of God as stated in religious texts and interpreted by the representatives of various gods or of one god (who some claim is named ‘God’ and whose name should therefore be capitalized), or the principles of international law, as worked out over the centuries in international dispute resolutions?

Margaret says that this is only one of many complex questions that we will have to answer before we can really determine which country owns this land.

How much time do we need to solve this issue?

We are determining the future of the human race here.

We are better off not to rush; if we come up with the wrong answer, we could end up with a dangerous and destructive type of society, one that may destroy itself. She proposes that we give the committee a reasonable amount of time to solve this problem. She proposes that we might get these problems solved in 20 years and asks that we call for the committee to report after this time.

Some people who want nations think this is way too long to wait. They ask for the report in 5 years. There is some discussion where other numbers are proposed. Finally, we agree on a 10-year period for the debate to take place.

In the meantime, some people have very strong opinions about which country owns this land. We know that, back in the future we came from, people often used violence to get others to accept their claims about which country owned a particular part of the planet. In fact, this violence often escalated into all-consuming wars that killed millions of people and destroyed things that took enormous periods of time and effort to create.

We don’t want these things to happen here.

To prevent any problems in this area, Margaret proposes a rule that will help prevent such fighting: we will have a moratorium for ten years on certain issues to allow the committee to discuss the issue in peace. We will agree that if changes are made after 10 years from now, they won’t affect anything that happens before these changes are made. (For those with legal training, this means we will not allow ‘ex-post facto’ laws to be passed.) This will allow us to continue to distribute the wealth the land produces as we have been doing, without anyone having to be afraid that later rulings will judge the money people got was supposed to have gone to others and they have to give it back.

To make sure no one tries to influence the committee by putting any administration by any country, nation, or sovereign state in place, we will not allow anyone to create any structures that grant any rights at all to any countries, nations, sovereign states, kingdoms, or any other entity whatsoever. Since the rules of ownership are different from nation to nation, adopting any rule of ownership implies that the rules of one nation are valid; to avoid any disputes in this area, we will not allow such rules. For the time the moratorium is in effect, no one may own or claim to own any part of the planet.

We are not passing these rules to create the foundation for a society, but simply to prevent violence and allow our members to live together in harmony, at least until the committee issues its final report. If this report indicates that we need to divide the world into countries and start fighting each other, we will do this. But in the meantime, we will administer the land as if it doesn’t belong to anyone.

Enforcing the Moratorium

After Margaret proposes the moratorium, she asks for a show of hands for people who oppose it. Several people raise their hands. They love their countries and are going to try to create new senates, houses of commons, and armies to enforce the constitutions that they left behind in the 21st century.

Margaret says that everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, no minority of the people has the right to try to use force to get the majority to accept structures that the minority thinks are right, but the majority doesn’t want. She asks the people who oppose the moratorium specifically if they intend to use violence or any kind of force to get others to accept that countries exist. In other words, she wants to know this: if the majority votes for the moratorium, are they going to organize for violence to force the majority to accept countries?

Most of the people who opposed the moratorium say that they will respect the decision made by the majority. They want countries but, if the majority wants to wait 10 years before forming them, they will comply with the wishes of the majority and wait 10 years.

Two of the people who oppose the moratorium are not willing to accept the will of the majority. They love their countries and they truly believe their countries own this land. They pledged their allegiance to their country thousands of times as children and hold this pledge to be sacred, more important than the will of the people here in Pastland. If they must use violence to recreate the structures of their countries and defend their country’s rights, they will use it. If they have to kill for their country, they will kill. They owe their allegiance to their country. If the only way they can get their country to exist is to give their own lives for the cause, they are willing to give their own lives, proudly and willingly.

Margaret then says she accepts their position. She is not going to try to change their minds. However, if the majority wants a rule, and the minority has pledged to use murder to make sure the majority can’t have the rule we want, the majority can’t let the people who have pledged murder remain with us. Any who aren’t willing to accept the will of the majority will have to leave.

We are lucky enough to have a ship, an electricity-generating plant, a water system, an internet, and the various facilities of the ship. We live on bountiful land and we have shared the bounty of the land equally among all of the people.

She asks that we add a provision to the moratorium: if people refuse to honor the desires of the majority in this matter, they will be allowed to live in peace, but they will have to do it somewhere else. People who refuse to accept the will of the majority will be asked to pack up their things and leave, never to return. We simply don’t need people who openly try to organize murder living with us. We vote to add this provision to the measure. Then we have a vote on the moratorium as a whole and it passes.

Margaret then asks the two who had said would not honor the moratorium to come forward. She says she wants them to have a chance clarify their position. Do they think that they can wait until the moratorium is over until they start advocating for the formation of nations? If they can, they can stay. Otherwise, they will have to start packing right now, and be off the ship by sunset, never to return.

One says she was just trying to make a point that she loved her country. She had always been a patriot and loved her country more than life itself. However, her patriotism is strong enough to survive a short respite while we deal with other matters. She says that, in the interests of international cooperation, she will put her nationalism on hold. After the moratorium is over, she says, she will have a plan prepared to divide the land around us into countries, to assign nationalities to each of the people here, and to rebuild a nation-based system with all of the structures we remember from the 21st century.

But, until the moratorium is over, she will keep her ideas to herself, if we will allow her to remain with the group.

The other objector says, ‘Ditto for me.’

When our group arrived in the remote past, there were no humans here. We are the entire human race. Every single person here has agreed to follow the terms of the moratorium. This means that we have all agreed to follow rules built on the proposition that we are residents of this planet, but not its owners, and that no one may own or act as owners of mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, or farms.

As individuals, we all know that if we start organizing countries or treating the land as if we own it, the others have already stated their intention to ask us to leave. We know that if we try to use force to overcome the majority and make them accept countries or ownership, the majority will basically have no choice but to band together to use whatever levels of force are necessary to prevent this.

Why must they do this?

They have voted on a measure and passed it. If they allow small groups that don’t approve of the will of the majority to use force to make the majority back down, no one will take the will of the majority seriously anymore.


When we look at different societies later, we will see that sovereignty-based societies (societies built on the idea that groups of people can have sovereignty over land) are structurally inconsistent with majority rule (direct and binding elections to determine important common variables). The main reason is that this system grants special rights to a tiny minority (often as little as 1% of the people) at the expense of the majority. The majority would never vote for policies like this so, they must never be in a position to vote on this issue; if they could, they would vote the system that grants special rights to the minority out of existence.

Many types of societies are entirely consistent with majority rule. Natural law societies are in this category, as are the socratic societies we will examine later. You and I are not used to the idea of majority rule (instead, we have the idea of a ‘democracy,’ a system where people called ‘rulers’ make the rules but where, in some cases, the people can have some influence over the identities of the rulers).


Chances are that we are not going to have people actually leaving just because they want nations. As a practical matter, nations don’t bring any real benefits to people and there is no reason to suffer to have them. However, we have to be firm in this one area: if people openly organize mass murder and other acts of violence against the majority to create nations or for any other purpose, we can’t let them live with us. We will have to ask them to leave and, if they don’t, we will have to use whatever level of force is necessary to evict them.

A Formal Natural Law Society

We have not intentionally formed a specific type of society. But we have formed one. During the time that the moratorium is in effect, no person or group may have absolute ownership of any part of the planet. This puts our system on the same general foundation as the systems of the pre-conquest American people. This book will use the term ‘natural law societies’ to refer to societies built on the primacy of the laws of nature. People who start with the belief that nature is above humans and that we must respect nature and live in accordance with its rules to meet our needs, and refuse to accept any institutions or structures that disturb this natural relationship, have ‘natural law societies.’ The key feature of natural law societies is the belief that humans are not the owners of the world. This belief is then turned into policy: no policies that allow humans to act as owners or take on any of  the rights that are claimed to belong to owners are allowed.

It is possible to get to a natural law society through beliefs. It is also possible to simply enact rules that prohibit any institutions or structures that grant or enforce rights accepted to belong to ‘owners’ to any person or group. In our case, we haven’t even really discussed beliefs. Some of our people clearly believe that the land around us belongs to certain groups (their countries) or to certain individuals (generally, themselves). They can believe whatever they want to believe. But if they want to live with the majority, they have to accept that the world can’t be owned and not try to create any structures based on ownership or ownability of land.

We will see, in this book, that beliefs don’t really define societies. Beliefs are internal. Rules determine what happens in societies. In societies built on ownability of land by countries, people can believe that the land isn’t really ownable if they want, as long as they don’t violate the rules that protect the owners. (If you believe forests can’t be owned and try to interfere when corporations that have papers that say they own forests destroy those forests, you will be arrested and prosecuted for violating the rights of the owners. You can believe anything you want but, if you want to stay out of jail, you have to make sure that you don’t act on your beliefs.

The same is true for our society in Pastland. The rules are the same rules as those in natural law societies. You can believe that you own anything you want. As long as you don’t act on these beliefs, you are fine. If you start to act on the beliefs and try to prevent people from walking on the land that you claim belongs to your country, you are in violation of the rule. If you use violence to prevent them from crossing what you claim are the ‘borders’ to your ‘country,’ you will be required to pack your things and leave the community.

Natural law societies have existed in our actual history. It is easy to discount the importance of these societies because these societies have certain defects (described later) that make them extremely poor at making war. Because these societies can’t do well in war, people with societies that are organized around war (like the societies that we have inherited) can remove them easily and take their land.


What kind of society have we inherited?

These societies are built on the principle of sovereignty. A group of people can sew up some cloth into a flag, write a few patriotic songs, draw up fancy documents (declarations of independence, for example, and constitutions) and declare themselves to be ‘countries.’ If they are accepted as countries, they can claim to own parts of the planet and will own all rights to it. The type of ownership that accepts the owner owns 100% of rights to the land is called ‘sovereign ownership.’ It is the kind of ownership that people who called themselves sovereigns (kings, queens, tsars, and khans, to name a few of the more common terms) claimed to have and have enforced over the land. It is an absolute ownership with no limits of any kind: sovereign owners can do anything they want to their land.

We live in societies based on the principle of sovereignty. All countries in the world today claim sovereignty over the land inside their borders. The principles of international law, as worked out over time in dealings between countries, hold that each country has sovereignty over its own land. I will call societies built on this principle ‘sovereignty-based societies.’ This is ‘the type of society that we inherited from past generations.’


You and I were raised in societies where victory in war is everything; the victor gains unquestioned ownership of the conquered land and the absolute right to do anything desired to the people who have been vanquished. The winners in the war run the school systems so they determine what children will learn. The winners can tell their story from their perspective, and this story and perspective becomes history. Of course, the winners want the history books to say that they (the winners) were the good guys: they were kind, noble, loving, altruistic, and cared only about freedom and liberty for all. The losers were horrible monsters, not even real humans, who knew nothing and wanted only barbarity and savagery. Children taught in the schools will be taught these things; they will be tested on them, and if they get the wrong answer (perhaps claiming that the people who were defeated were real human beings with the same human capabilities as the victors) they will fail the tests and be relegated to positions in life where their deviant ideas can’t do any damage.

Because the victors write history, the standard books of history paint a picture of the past that claims that wars were won by the good guys. The good guys wiped out evil monsters or sub-human savages who harmed the world, so the wars improved the world and made it better. Nothing related to the vanquished is worth considering; to even admit that this might not be the case destroys the entire argument that the victors are trying to support, that the war made the world better and everything the victors did was justified because the losers had nothing to offer.

This line of analysis isn’t really logical, however. Logic tells us that the side that uses the most brutal, offensive, and inhumane methods, the side that extracts as much wealth as it can from its people to wage war on the other side, will win. Logic tells us that there is a lot more to the story than the history books tell us. Logic tells us that even the societies that were not devoted to building weapons and learning how to use them have something to contribute to human knowledge and understanding.

Natural law societies were real societies. Over the immense periods they existed, billions of people went through their childhood in societies built on the principles of natural law; they met playmates and learned how to do the things they would have to do to meet their needs. They started thinking about the other sex, flirted and courted, and found the one they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with, all without having countries and governments to tell them what to do. They had their own children and raised them; they socialized, they played music, they danced, they had celebrations and festivals, they sat around fires at night and talked about things that were important to them, all without knowing that people could ever or would ever live differently.

Although a great many different natural law societies have existed in history, and these societies were different in many details, they all shared certain foundational structures and therefore all had certain similarities. (The same is true for the societies that we have now: each country operates slightly differently and its details are different, but they all have structural similarities that lead to the same basic problems.)

Since these societies have existed in the past, we can study them two different ways. First, we can look at the way life will work for the people in such societies in general, using logic and reason, with an example natural law society like the one with our group in Pastland. We can formulate theories based on the flows of value to determine how we would predict people are going to act in such societies.

After we have done this, we can take the second approach: we can go to the history books and see how natural law societies that existed in the past actually worked. We can use the information in historical records to test our theories. If we study the information the same basic way we study the sciences of physics and chemistry, we can come up with theories about how the societies should work, based on the operation of their basic structures, and then test these theories with empirical studies.

The next chapter goes over a few of the more obvious flows of value and incentives that are inherent parts of natural law societies, so you can see how people would be expected to act in such societies; it then goes over the records to show that people reacted to the incentives exactly as we would expect them to react. Natural law societies operate entirely differently than sovereignty-based societies (the type of society we have in our 21st century world now), but we can understand them. If we understand the inherent incentives in the two different societies, we don’t have to guess about the way people will act in them and the way they will live; we will see that incentives matter in all societies. Since natural law societies have entirely different incentives than the societies we have now, life will be dramatically different for the people in these two types of societies, but the same basic forces affect behavior in the exact same way.

If we look at societies consistently and scientifically, we can understand everything we see. We have enormous amounts of evidence that tell us that natural law societies dominated the Americas for an incredibly long time, at least 10,000 years; during this time, the people lived in great harmony with the world around them and kept it in pristine condition. To people raised in destructive societies, this seems impossible. We can’t even stop minor acts of destruction in the societies we inherited: the idea of them going thousands of years without harming the world seems impossible. But if we understand the way natural law societies work and understand the specific differences between these societies and the societies we have inherited, we will see that there are certain structural differences that totally alter the way these societies will work. No amount of good intentions, no amount of love or concern, no appeals to higher powers, can prevent very serious problems from existing in societies with these structural flaws.

I want to make it clear here that I am not advocating we try, in our 21st century world, to create natural law societies at this time, as a way out of the problems we face. As we will see, natural law societies have certain problems that prevent them from meeting the long-term needs of the human race. But even though we may never again want to have these societies, we still need to understand them.

If we want to understand how to build societies that can meet our needs, we need to understand the basic elements of societies and understand which structures are essential and which are optional. (For example, are ‘countries’ essential or optional?) I am not claiming that natural law societies are better than the societies we inherited and those who believe in their countries or the rights of countries are wrong and those who don’t believe in such things are right. I am only claiming that that humans have lived other ways, and this is proof that humans can live other ways. If we understand the ‘different ways humans can live’ and the different structures we can put together to make human societies, we can understand exactly what we must do to create sound and healthy societies.

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