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There is a group promoting what they call the Prime Law. The group is called the Twelve Visions party, and I make no recommendation of he group. I don't know who they are.

But their Prime Law is so simple it could be taught to every school child. It seems to echo the Trader Principle. It is here: http://tvpnc.org/the-prime-law/

But the law is so terse I can print it in it's entirety right here:

Preamble The purpose of human life is to prosper and live happily. The function of government is to provide the conditions that let individuals fulfill that purpose. *The Prime Law guarantees those conditions by forbidding the use of initiatory force, fraud, or coercion by any person or group against any individual, property, or contract. Article 1: No person, group of persons, or government shall initiate force, threat of force, or fraud against any individual’s self, property, or contract. Article 2: Force is morally-and-legally justified only for protection from those who violate Article 1. Article 3: No exceptions shall exist for Articles 1 and 2.

How is that for unit economy?

I am vetting our local politicians for an upcoming Recall Election and am thinking of asking them whether they would conform to such a law. If you read the law carefully I think you can see that it is something a single person can benefit from, or that could be amended to the US constitution, or to any organization of any size.

Could this be an actionable foundation for an Objectivist platform? Might we be able to use this to affect change?

asked May 18 '12 at 07:07

Value%20Critic's gravatar image

Value Critic ♦

The "Prime Law" sounds similar to the Libertarian approach, where they've taken the non-initiation of force as a mystically revealed, out-of-context primary.

To answer the OPs questions, no, I don't think it's a legal expression of the Trader Principle, nor do I think it would be an actionable foundation for an Objectivist platform.

Regarding "Article 3: No exceptions," what about retaliation against the use of force? That's different from protection, is a legitimate role of government, but is not listed in Article 2. Where does self-defense fit it? What about pre-emptive strikes when a threat is well-known? What if you gave someone permission to initiate force against you (as a stunt actor, for example)? Or is that even really force?

The "law" does not define "force," "initiation," "fraud," "property," or "contract." Most people don't think of force like Objectivists do. If someone taps you on the shoulder, or bumps into you in a crowd, is that force? The law as written leaves a lot of grey areas that are only compounded by the idea of "no exceptions." Applying the rule of non-initiation of force properly requires establishing context -- which basically says that there may be all kinds of exceptions under certain circumstances.

Without the philosophical underpinnings that Objectivism provides, it becomes very hard to make consistent definitions and to separate the good uses of force from the bad.

answered May 18 '12 at 09:12

Rick's gravatar image

Rick ♦

All good points, which I had overlooked. Is there, that you know of, a legal expression of the Trader Principle which could be effectively applied as a law? Is it possible to produce such a thing?

(May 18 '12 at 15:53) Value Critic ♦ Value%20Critic's gravatar image

In that the law is concerned with justice, it seems in its entirety to be an expression of the Trader Principle. And in particular, I think the development of contract law shows a focus on the essence of living as traders, bringing value for value (see for example the essential component of Consideration in contracts).

(May 18 '12 at 19:01) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Rand, "The Objectivist Ethics": "There is no conflict of interests among men who do not desire the unearned, who do not make sacrifices nor accept them, who deal with one another as traders, giving value for value.

The principle of trade is the only rational ethical principle for all human relationships, personal and social, private and public, spiritual and material. It is the principle of justice."

(May 18 '12 at 19:02) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

I would summarize the Trader Principle as "a trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved." The idea is grounded in morality and in the virtue of justice. Like other aspects of morality, it must therefore be chosen, so it would not be appropriate to express it as a law. You might say that taking the undeserved would require force, and should therefore be illegal -- but that's not always the case; the principle is deeper than that.

(May 18 '12 at 19:10) Rick ♦ Rick's gravatar image

"it must therefore be chosen, so it would not be appropriate to express it as a law."

My interest is what laws we should have. There are a lot of ideas bouncing around. People are poised for change. They see something is wrong and want to do something about it. Are there any proposals, or an Objectivist platform, which could aid lawmakers and politicians?

(Jun 28 '12 at 23:33) Value Critic ♦ Value%20Critic's gravatar image
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Asked: May 18 '12 at 07:07

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Last updated: Jun 28 '12 at 23:33