What ever happened to the Nth Society?

in nth-society •  2 months ago



A libertarian constitution

One of the main things that kicked of the Nth Society game project was an attempt I made at writing a libertarian constitution. I didn't mention this before I think as I didn't want to get sidetracked with the focus being on a debatable experimental constitution document instead of the much more solid game idea. I intended to bring it up at some point, and here we are.

The Nth Society project had massive energy put into it by many contributors, especially a very active core of about 5 or 6 six people. Strides were made towards the goals, especially on a design, philosophy and technical front.

However to anyone who has been following the project there has been no action on it in months. The Discord channel is deathly quiet, no posts are being made about it.

Still, the project is not dead, it lives in my heart 💖 and in unfinished work on my computer 😜

Minimum work by end of 2018

I'm not sure if I can rouse people up to continue working on things, I was unable to sustain the momentum and the project did not become self perpetuating. There are lessons to learn there for everyone.

However I pledge to get at least a minimally working distributed server multiplayer text adventure game running which attains at least some of the gameplay requirements set out in previous documents like this, this and this.

The first thing on a long-ish list is publishing my networking work inspired by the HashGraph protocol. Ballpack for that is a few weeks.

But for now, a Constitution

I thought I would share the libertarian constitution I wrote in the meantime as it might be interesting to people and I would like some feedback and discussion.

As I want the document to stand as fully it's own document on the blockchain, I will publish it a short time after this post. It will be presented thus without comment, so here's a little comment before publishing it.

Short preface

It is broken up into the definition of a single right, some preamble summarizing the intentions of the document in mostly plain English, the articles of the constitution followed by an extensive definition of supporting terms.

The approach is that bar the single right identified, there are no rights. That means that the document does not support the idea of natural rights, god-given or otherwise. There is only what is, and what is possible. But we don't leave it there as that would be no kind of society at all. The constitution is itself an agreement to act minimally well consistent with the NAP. It provides a framework for contract law, and stipulates some minimum.

So the basis for proceeding to ethical action is by agreement, not by some petition to natural order, innate morality, etc. If there is an aspiration it is for the rational mutual benefit that many libertarians see as foundational to their concept of freedom.

The constitution could (and perhaps should) be supplemented with a system of laws. Those laws could grant rights, and that would be how rights are introduced. But the constitution does not recognize any pre-existing rights. The main thing is that like national political constitutions, no law can contradict the constitution so it lays out the basis for any further laws.

Though the articles define the things that the constitution recognizes, they are terse in wording. That is because the words used are very importantly chosen and are part of a network of meaning defined explicitly and in detail by the definition section. The wording is very important, but the general meaning should be pretty clear.

The document is called the Zeroth Constitution, and those who accept it form the Zeroth Society. That is where the original naming of the Nth Society come from, the idea of an iterative versioning of societies as they improve their documents by amendment, and allowing societies to "fork" off if they don't agree with the changes.


I would like to thank @the-ego-is-you for contributing quite a lot in discussions while I wrote this document, as well as @rycharde for some discussion too.


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Still, the project is not dead, it lives in my heart 💖

Same here :)

But the constitution does not recognize any pre-existing rights.

Specifically no legal "rights", I suppose, but perhaps shouldn't before I've seen the final work. It's been quite some time since I last looked at our then unfinished work. It will be interesting to see what came of it :)