A Constitutional Rationale

for a Private Law Society

Voting by number of voters and by financing means secures a public sector free of domination


Peter J. Preusse

Presented at the

Austrian Economics Research Conference 2015

Mises-Institute, Auburn, Alabama, USA


In distinct contrast to a society established by formal membership or by informal social interaction, any territorially defined society shows a more or less compulsive character. The exit option is constrained by the high threshold of loss of solidified Körperzeit (body time, as Hoppe has it), namely in its manifestations as property, wealth, linguistic, humane, and cultural identity.

So under the postulate of a categorical rational endowment of interacting humans, and given the affirmation of life, it is indispensable for a territorially defined libertarian society to have a constitution primarily safeguarding self-ownership and secondarily alienable property. It must aim at minimizing the extent of self-ownership violations. Since intersubjective comparison of utility is illegitimate, all that can be achieved is the minimization of the instances of self-ownership violations by public choice. This is put into effect first and foremost by drastically confining the public sector, that is the realm of society dealing as a whole on the grounds of public choice.

Whoever deems society’s unified appearance necessary in a certain subject matter has to present this to all its members.

So as not to confuse it with institutions existing in past and current history, such as a referendum, an initiative, a petition, a motion, or a ballot measure, this unique procedure will here be called “Ansinnen”. Since society as a whole is not an entity capable of acting, only an institutional representation is conceivable as the direct addressee of the Ansinnen, dealing on behalf of society in a properly regulated way. It is precisely this body of rules which is called constitution.

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