Stephen T. Byington

The Society of the New Order




A very detailed plan for new voluntary societies based on a new social and personal order.



The following is here published tentatively for the purpose of getting criticisms and suggestions for improve­ment in order that it may be as clear from faults as possible before it is set working. It tries not to be harder for the average man to keep track of than the rules of baseball. Criticisms will be given full consideration by the author, Stephen T. Byington, Ballard Vale, Mass., who is acting general secretary of the Society of the New Order pending regular organization. They should be mailed directly to him, as it is desirable that his answer be printed along with each criticism as it appears in this paper. He may bunch identical criticisms together.


This is meant to be a platform to unite for action all - or as many as are willing to unite and act - of those who believe that it is an error to make violence the foundation of our social fabric; that the use of violence ought to be minimized; that it is not minimized if we use violence, or the threat of violence, for any purpose other than the prevention of violence, nor if, under the name of preventing violence, we use violence for purposes whose relation to the prevention of violence is made out by a more or less remote chain of inference. This is also meant to take in those who find it convenient to join in an agreement of abstention from violence, even if they do not believe in this principle as a universal ideal.

It is meant to furnish a basis of common action for the more radical and the less radical. The follower of Tolstoj, who does not believe in using force for any purpose, who would turn every policeman into a farmer, and every jail into a warehouse, is here invited to join with the man who declares that the only thing to do with a thief is to keep him in jail, and that the biggest thieves are the custom-house officers. The plan does not call on the conservative free-trader to give up his police, nor does it call on the Tolstojan to give his consent or approval to the use of police. It merely unites them in a practical scheme of opposition to a very large body of violence which both of them detest, while they remain opposed to each other as before in regard to what they cannot agree on. And it even invites the adhesion of the man who believes that the country cannot live without the protective tariff, but who does not wish to use his own hands in any work of violence.

I have called this a practical scheme. Violence is so inwrought in our present order that there is a very reasonable hesitation at the thought of suddenly giving it up, and leaving ourselves without provision for all the purposes that violence now serves. For, though we may not doubt that human intelligence would speedily find a superior substitute for the methods of violence, we know that in many a point the substitute is not now in operation, perhaps not yet contrived; and we should suffer, at first, the inconveniences of disorganization. If now a considerable number of people can unite in a league binding themselves to refrain from violence toward each other, they will have some occasion to introduce among themselves non-violent arrangements for ordering the different departments of their intercourse; and I do not see what circumstances can be more favorable for gaining experience of this sort before the country as a whole is rid of the reign of violence.

And, even if there would be no practical difficulty in an immediate transition to the new order, it would remain true that most people have no conception of the new order, no realization of the extent to which the present order is a reign of violence, no knowledge that any possible earthly order could in this respect be different from the present; and it does not seem that discussion can enlighten most of them within any moderate limit of time. The only thing that can enlighten them is experiment. There might be some advantages in an experiment to be tried by a party of volunteers on some obscure unpreoccupied spot of the earth's surface; but the present plan seems to offer the chance of experiment on a much larger scale, in a position which will more easily come under the observation of the ignorant. Hence this scheme is proposed as the most practical way of ending the present state of public opinion - a state which combines the evils of universal opposition with the evils of universal apathy.

The scheme undertakes to include all that it is absolutely necessary to have in order to start a civic order to working, and no more; everything that can be left until after the start is supposed to be omitted. The drawing of this line is of course a matter in which imperfection is particularly to be expected, and in which suggestions of improvement are likely to be well founded. Much of it will nevertheless be superfluous at the first start of our organization, because at first we shall be too few and too scattered to have any thought of working the thing at all. As long as this continues to be true, the parts in question will serve a merely propagandist purpose by exhibiting a skeleton outline of a possible concrete way of working with the proposed reduction of the use of violence. But I think the actual working of the scheme will begin soon enough to take most of our members by surprise. While we have been enrolling one in this village and five in that, there will somewhere be found a village where our membership includes so large a part of one circle of society that the members must choose between beginning to live by our obligation and giving it up. If they choose to begin the new life, as they must unless they joined for mere nonsense, they will need to start with as much specification as is here given. Their experience will rapidly suggest improvements in the organization and by-laws. In the obligation I have tried to include nothing that could urgently demand modification; hence critics should be especially keen in seeing that all defects in this part of my plan are pointed out.


The following is the obligation of the Society of the New Order:

Every member of this Society is bound not to use force or fraud against the person or property of any other member, except in repelling a plain criminal use of force or fraud by that other member; all these terms being understood according to the explanations given in this obligation.

1. By using force against a man's person or property we mean disturbing his person or property by physical force against his known will; or disturbing his person or property by physical force in such a way as causes him inconvenience, against what is reasonably presumed to be his will; or refusing to let him part company if he requests it. It makes no difference whether the force is gentle or violent.

2 a. By using fraud against a man's person or property we mean causing this man injury or inconvenience by telling him a wilful or reckless falsehood; or by telling a wilful or reckless falsehood to any person, if the teller expects thereby to affect that person's actions towards this man.
b. By telling any person a falsehood we mean causing him to believe any false thing instead of the truth - provided, first, that this false belief is conveyed by language addressed to that person, or to him and others; and second, that the language was used with the idea that it probably would cause him to believe this false thing rather than the actual truth; and third, that the false thing was of such a sort that one would expect its truth or falsehood to have been found out by somebody's direct observation, not merely by judgment and opinion. In this definition of falsehood, "believe" means either believing that a thing surely is so or believing that it ma y perhaps be so.
c. Under the name of language we include any sort of signs which are understood to be equivalent to language.
d. We call a falsehood wilful when the person uttering it knew it to be false or believed it to be more likely false than not. We call it reckless when it is so told that a reasonable hearer would presume that the teller knew the facts well enough to be able to give reliable information.

3. Under the name of using force or fraud we include using any threat of force or fraud, if the threat is so made that a reasonable person might be expected to take it seriously. Under this name we also include telling anyone to use force or fraud, if there is a reasonable probability that he will obey on account of fear, favor, hope of reward, obligation entered into, or mental imbecility.

4. By a man's property we mean anything, produced by human exertion, which he holds as his own by one of the following titles:
a. A man has a title to that which he produces. If two or more men produce a thing together they own it together. Furnishing the material or instruments for producing a thing is part of producing it. By producing a thing we mean bringing it into the condition or location in which it exists, or protecting it against being injured by natural agencies.
b. A man has a title to that which he uses or takes care of, unless some one else had a title before him and has not relinquished it.
c. In order that some men may not prevent other men from having a part of the earth's surface that they can use, we regard any title to location, or to things unremovable from the location, as coming to an end when the owner abandons the substantial personal use of the location.
d. The ownership of any property does not entitle any man to prevent the public from traveling along routes that their reasonable convenience requires; or to put any restriction on their traveling along such routes in such ways as do not rapidly destroy the property, and as they could have traveled if productive work had not been done on this property; or to make unreasonable conditions for their traveling along such routes in any way; or to prevent any man from producing routes of travel where the reasonable convenience of the public requires it. Where one route of travel interferes with another, it is for the producer of the second route to make all necessary and practicable provision for enabling both to be kept in use.
e. The ownership of any property does not entitle any man to claim damages for, or to repel, another's use of the unappropriated resources of nature, unless it is practically certain that the use in question is destructive to the property.
f. The fact that a man's property is not distinguishable from an unappropriated resource of nature, and might therefore be exhausted by the free use of that resource, does not entitle him to prevent any man from using that resource unless his property is open to the use of the public on terms that make the combination of this property and the resource more than twice as valuable to the public as the resource would be without this property.
g. With respect to goods held as property by a man who is not a member of this Society, we accept as valid any title which is generally accepted by the community to which that man belongs, provided that the goods have been produced by human exertion or are dependent on human care for their preservation, and provided that the title is not so interpreted as to debar the public from such liberties of travel and the use of natural resources as are reserved above; and any form of transfer that is generally accepted by the community to which he belongs shall be valid for transferring his title to a member of this Society; and if he himself becomes a member of this Society, his title shall still be recognized.
h. If a member of this Society voluntarily transfers to any man his title to any property; or if a member makes criminal use of force or fraud, and any property of his is taken from him in repelling the crime; or if a member is one of two or more who own certain property together, and one of them demands that the property be divided in a way not forbidden by any contract between them, and the division is made by such a person or persons as seem to give the best available prospect of justice, - in all these cases the ownership of the property passes from the one person to the other in such a way as the act of transfer provides. But a free gift may be revoked by the giver at any time before the receiver has begun to act on the supposition that the property is his.
i. If a member dies, his property shall become the property of surviving men in accordance with his will, so far as his will can be found out with reasonable promptness. Those who receive the property shall be free to use it in all respects as their own; except that property may be left in trust to be used for a person who is living when it is left, but not for a term longer than that person's life.

5. By criminal action we mean any action which this obligation forbids, or which it would forbid if the men affected were members of this Society.

6. We call an act a plain criminal use of force or fraud when it is practically certain that the act in question is a criminal act and that it is really committed or attempted. In any matter which has been decided by authority of this Society, it shall be considered practically certain that the decision is correct.

7. a. Repelling the criminal use of force or fraud may be of two kinds: first, acting to prevent the criminal act; second, inflicting such punishment on those who commit criminal acts that people will be less willing to commit other criminal acts.
b. But this shall not authorize anybody to use against a criminal act such force or fraud as would, if this were generally permitted, injure the public more than the public would be injured by letting the sort of crime in question go unrepelled, or more than it would be injured by confining the repelling of such crime to milder methods.
c. No act shall be regarded as a repelling of crime unless it receives the consent of the man against whom the crime is committed, if he is capable of consenting.

8. a. If a member of this Society produces a condition which causes the forces of nature to disturb another member's person or property against that other's known or presumed will, he shall upon demand pay to that other a full equivalent for the injury caused by the disturbance; and if he fails to do this with reasonable promptness, that other may repel his action as a criminal use of force.
b. A condition of disturbance by natural forces is created when a man on his own land, or on unappropriated land, or on land open to public travel, has his person or property disturbed, as a result of another's action, by impurity of air or water; or by offensive odors or noises; or by fire or flood; or by deprivation of the free use of sight by darkness, dazzling, or obstruction; or by attacks of noxious animals or plants or disease-germs. It is also created when a man is prevented by force or fraud from destroying natural conditions which cause any of these disturbances to him, or which threaten any of these disturbances so clearly as to cause apprehension in a reasonable man; or from destroying an obstruction in a passage open to public travel.
c. But we do not regard such a condition as being created by the bathing of healthy persons or healthy animals in a natural body of water, unless that water is tributary to an artificial reservoir and is under effective care to protect the purity of the reservoir; nor by such noises as are necessary for warning of danger; nor by exhibitions offensive to the eye; nor by a man's failure to guard his own person or property against possible future invasions of noxious animals or plants or disease-germs.

9. a. Any man may at any time become a member of this Society by assenting to this obligation as binding him.
b. Any member may at any time cease to be a member by giving notice to those whom his withdrawal may concern.
c. The Society may expel a member, either temporarily or permanently, for breaking this obligation.

10. a. Everywhere in this obligation, the word "man" shall be understood to mean any man, woman, or child, who has intelligence enough to mean what he says if he accepts or rejects this obligation, or any number of such persons.
b. Any other person shall be known as an irresponsible person, and shall be treated as the property of those who take care of him, with presumption in favor of the claim of his mother or father.
c. Any person above the age of five shall be presumed capable of accepting this obligation unless he is proved to be irresponsible; any person under that age shall be presumed irresponsible unless he is proved to be responsible.

11. a. By our being bound to abide by the provisions of this obligation we mean that we pledge ourselves, each one for himself, to abide by them as long as we are members.
b. And we consent, each one for himself, that if we violate this obligation, other members of the society may repel the injury in such ways as this obligation permits.
c. And if this obligation is violated by any member, neither he nor any other member shall thereby be at all freed from this obligation.
d. But in taking this pledge we reserve to ourselves the liberty to act contrary to this obligation in any sufficiently urgent emergency, and to decide, each one for himself, what is a sufficiently urgent emergency; however, when any member makes emergency a reason for acting contrary to this obligation, the others may repel his action if they choose, or may temporarily or permanently expel him from the Society if they think the circumstances justify this.

12. We further pledge ourselves, each one for himself, that when we are called upon to decide any matter on behalf of this Society we will, to the best of our ability, decide strictly according to the words of this obligation; and that when we have any controversy with a fellow-member of this Society, in any matter to which this obligation applies, we will prefer to have the controversy decided by this Society rather than by any authority whose laws require a criminal use of force or fraud - provided, however, that when it seems necessary to apply to such other authority for a decision in order to secure ourselves against criminal acts of its agents, we may do so; but its decision shall not be an excuse for any of us committing a criminal act.

13. a. This Society may decide, either by prescribing a general rule or in a particular case, what action shall be regarded as showing the use, care, or abandonment of any property; or what shall be the regular way of ascertaining and certifying membership in this Society; or any ques­tion about the meaning of this obligation, or about its application to any circumstances. It may also change these decisions; but the change shall not take away from a member any property which was already his according to the decision previous to the change, nor shall it authorize any member to treat an act as criminal if it was not criminal according to the decision which was in effect when the act was committed.
b. This Society may require its members to treat members of another society as if they were members of this, if that other society engages to give our members the like treatment; and it may make such a treaty on terms which do not precisely conform to the obligation and decisions of this Society, if the conformity is complete in all main essentials. c. Whatever it may do, it may do by the vote of a majority of the members voting, or by appointing agents or authorizing the appointment of agents, or by any other method which it shall decide to use; but this obligation shall not be changed except by a majority of all the known members of this Society.

14. a. This Society shall not require its members to do any thing whatever, except to make known their acceptance of this obligation and to refrain from doing such things as this obligation forbids them to do.
b. It shall not enforce its decisions by any penalty except temporary or permanent expulsion from membership; but it may name any penalty as alternative and permit the offender to choose between this and expulsion, or it may declare that the infliction of a penalty by the injured party will be justified.
c. It shall not use force or fraud against the person or property of anyone.
d. It shall have no secrets.

15. a. It is to be understood, as a limitation of all parts of this obligation, that every member of this Society is free to be a member and supporter of any other organization, whatever be its purposes or actions; and to give his vote and influence, as a member of another organization or as its representative in any deliberative body, in favor of any policy that he chooses; and to hold any office in another organization; and to act as judge or juror under any laws which he may be bound by or may undertake to conform to, and to give a true decision, to the best of his ability, either as to matters of fact or as to the requirements of those laws; and to testify truly, to the best of his ability, as to any matter of fact, on any occasion.
b. But no member who uses force or fraud criminally shall be excused on the ground that this was his official duty in any office which he held, or that he was commanded to do so by any person or organization; however, this clause shall not be construed to abridge the rights of voting and judging reserved in the preceding clause.
c. It is also to be understood that when this obligation permits the doing of certain things it does not thereby recommend members to do those things; and that membership in this Society does not bind a man to approve of its principles, or of the acts of any members of it, or of those acts which the obligation permits; and that a member is free to express or not express, as he chooses, any opinions on any subject whatever.

I hereby accept the foregoing obligation.
Signed ……
Address …..



The following shall be the organization and by-laws of the Society of the New Order until they are changed by action of the Society:


1. This Society shall have a secretary, who shall keep a roll of such members as have been reported to him. He shall strike off a member's name from the roll upon that member's death, resignation, or expulsion; he shall also strike off the name of any member not known to be above the age of fifteen, when nothing has been heard from him within one year; and the name of any member not known to be above the age of twenty-five, when nothing has been heard from him within three years. If he has sent to a member at the member's last known address two letters requiring an answer on business of this Society, at least a month apart, and has heard nothing from that member in the meantime or within a reasonable time thereafter, he may, if he thinks best, assume that this member is dead or that his address is unknown, and drop him from the roll. The fact that a man's name is or is not on the secretary's roll shall· be presumptive evidence of the man's being or not being a member of this Society. The secretary shall, at the request of any member, inform that member of the names and addresses of the known members in any given territory; but if the number of names asked for by one member is great, the secretary may demand a reasonable fee for this service. The secretary shall put before the members of the Society for their vote any question that is propounded by any members who undertake to pay the expense which this causes to the secretary; and he shall announce the result of the vote as soon as it can be ascertained. He shall also give information of this Society's organization and purposes to all applicants who appear to be honestly interested. He may appoint assistant secretaries and assign to them parts of his duties, and may keep parts of his roll in their charge.

2. Every person who joins this Society is requested to notify the secretary promptly of his doing so, stating his age, or, if he is more than twenty-two years old, the fact that he is so; and young members are requested to repeat the notice of membership every year as long as they are under fifteen years of age, and every three years as long as they are under twenty-five. Every member is furthermore requested to notify the secretary of all changes in his address, and to provide for having the secretary notified of his death; and every person who withdraws from membership is requested to notify the secretary of that fact.

3. The badge of this Society shall be a red cord and a white cord twisted together and made into a circlet, which may be worn around the left arm or fastened upon the left breast, or placed in corresponding position around or upon trees, buildings, etc., or carried upon a pole by a company of persons, or displayed in such other way as shall be convenient. But the use of the badge shall not be compulsory.

4. If any members of this Society living within any territory shall form a local organization in which immediate admission, carrying full right to vote, shall at all times be free to all members of this Society living in that territory, and in which no others are ever allowed to vote; and if they shall at some one time send to all known members of this Society within the given area information of the existence of their organization, and of the location and office rules of a permanent office where any resident member of this Society can at any time join their organization and can at any time receive information of its actions; and if they shall thereafter keep such information constantly public so that the local members of this Society shall generally have knowledge of it, - then, at any time when these conditions have been fulfilled for more than three months, that organization may make its by-laws supersede the general by-laws of this Society within the designated territory, provided that its by-laws shall be such as the obligation would permit this Society to have.


1. What a man does through an agent he shall be deemed to have done himself, unless the contrary is expressly provided.

2. a. If a member of this Society charges another with breaking the obligation and desires to repel the criminal act, or if a member charges another with injuring him by holding property without being entitled to it, the controversy may be decided on behalf of the Society by a board of adjudicators constituted in any way that the two parties shall agree on, provided that the adjudicators shall be pledged to decide according to the obligation and decisions of this Society.
b. If the two fail to agree on the constitution of the board, the complainant may constitute a board as follows: There shall be obtained from the secretary a list of the members residing in the neighborhood of the location of the act or property at issue; or, if this place be unknown, in the neighborhood of the residence of the member complained against; if his residence is not known, he shall be requested to name it, and if he does not do so the place where the request was made shall be taken as his residence at that time. The member complained against shall receive notice, at least three days in advance, of the time and place at which names of adjudicators will be selected from this list; this place shall be in the aforesaid neighborhood. At the appointed time and place, the member complained against shall cancel from the list any name he chooses to cancel, then the complainant shall do the same, and so on by turns until only six names are left if the original list contained more than twelve names, or three if it was not more than twelve. These six or three shall be the adjudicators; if one of them refuses to serve, he shall appoint any person he chooses to act in his place, provided that this person shall pledge himself to decide according to the obligation and decisions of this Society. If one of the adjudicators refuses to act and refuses to appoint a substitute, his place shall be filled by the last name that was canceled from the list; if the record of this is lost, the parties shall take the list and cancel anew to find the needed additional name or names. These adjudicators shall have charge of everything that relates to the deciding of the controversy, and their decision shall be the decision of the Society; but no point shall be decided to be practically certain if one third of the adjudicators dissent from it. If at the time and place set for choosing the adjudicators either party is not present and has no agent present, the other party may appoint any man to act as agent for the missing party in choosing adjudicators (provided that it is not known or supposed that this man has a prejudice against the absent party), or may make a new appointment of time and place, setting the time not more than thirty days off and giving at least three days' notice to the other party.

3. Adjudicators shall consider the evidence which is presented, and shall consider whether other evidence would presumably have been available if the alleged facts had been true, and shall consider the consequences which would result either from acting on the alleged facts or from treating them as still uncertain, and shall decide any fact to be practically certain if it appears that a reasonable man could not fail to regard it as sufficiently certain to act on.

4. If any person dying leaves as a part of his property a record showing what is his will as to the distribution of his property, it shall be presumed, till the contrary is shown, that he intended this record to become the property of those to whom it allots property.

5. If any person dies leaving no directions as to the disposal of his property except so far as the incurring a debt constitutes an instruction to pay the debt, his will shall be presumed to be that the property pass according to the custom usual in the place where he lives.

6. If two or more persons claim the guardianship of an irresponsible person, preference shall be given in the first place to his mother or those who hold title from her; next after these, to his father or those who hold title from him; next after these, to those for whom the irresponsible person shall express a preference. But none of these preferences shall outweigh the title resulting from actual continuous care of the irresponsible person, unless the custody of that person was obtained by criminal methods.


The chief purpose of these notes is to point out what would be the concrete working of the plan in certain cases. The numbers of the notes refer to the sections.

1. If a man follows me about, and I ask him to tell which way he is going so that I can go elsewhere, and he still follows, it is on the footing of assault; but not if he hangs around the sidewalk outside my house.

3. I wish this covered the raising of mobs for mischief; but I have not seen how to cover that without interfering with legitimate free speech.
A threat need not be in language; creating an obvious danger is a threat.

4. c. Conservative tradition recognizes (see Blackstone, etc.) that our land titles are an arbitrary institution. There is a more and more general recognition that under present-day conditions this institution does not most perfectly serve the public. But there is no agreement on any remedy that would be free from grave objections. I have therefore made a statement which, while intending radical change, can under section 13a receive an interpretation which may be modified by experience. The single tax is one of the possibilities under 4c and 13a.

4. d. There must be some reservation of public rights of way, not only present but future. I do not see how to define the reservation more precisely than by "reasonable convenience," a term whose interpretation would of course change with changes in public opinion.

4. e. Not only does this require game-preservers to do for the game something of substantial public value before they restrict the public, but, since game has geographical location, their title will lapse by section 4c if they afterward neglect the game.

5. The obligation neither forbids nor commends criminal acts against those who are not members; but a member is free to defend a non-member against a fellow-member’s criminal act, if the case should arise.

6. "Act" includes threatening action, by section 3. After we have given a decision we must not hold anybody a criminal for acting in accordance with it. - As long as an alleged crime is doubtful, an act of violence to repel that alleged crime is not a doubtful crime but a plain crime. Under our definitions, violence is a plain crime unless it is repelling a PLAIN crime. In other words, if a man takes it upon himself to be judge and sheriff, he makes himself responsible for afterward proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the man against whom he proceeded was guilty as charged. When justification for violence is claimed, the benefit of all doubts goes against the justification.

10. Babies are under the control of their parents till the parents abandon them (some flexibility in the conception of abandonment is provided for by section 13a) as a security against regimentation; children from an early age are to have independent rights, as a means toward the prevention of child-slavery and toward the education of children for the place they will have in society when they grow up. A parent can punish by force such childish misdeeds as are condemned by this obligation; others he must punish otherwise or leave unpunished, or else; if the child keeps up good standing in the Society and yet (very strange to say) at the same time needs whipping, the parent must renounce membership - a parent in desperation will always have this last resource. As a matter of fact it is visible that the old-fashioned general control of children by the rod is already breaking down; the best substitute I can suggest for it, apart from the development of non-violent methods of child-training in the home, is the immediate introduction of the child to the responsibilities of membership in society. I have little fear that the Society will be ruined by a dominance of child voters; so little that I make no provision against it beyond the fact that we can always start a new organization whenever experience has shown the way to a better basis.

13 c. The obligation can be amended while the Society is small, but if it becomes very large the only practicable method of amendment will be by secession. This, I think, is as it should be. Everything but the obligation is always to be amendable as easily as possible.

15. In a democratic country we shall get few members and a most unprofitable lot of enemies unless we allow to every member the right to vote for whatever he pleases to, and to serve on juries without consideration of our obligation, both in the State and in the trade-union. The reservation that is absolutely necessary, and sufficient to make our obligation a good working instrument, is that a member shall not be the prosecutor of a suit with criminal intent (section 3 is not in this respect limited by section 15) nor be himself the instrument of executing a criminal decree. If he is conscripted into an army, and ordered to shoot on behalf of oppression, we require him to refuse obedience. If he calls it an emergency, and saves his skin by helping the mischief, we permit all to treat him as a criminal if they think best.
Another effect of this section is, that members are hereby expressly permitted to form any kind of auxiliary organization to promote the principles of the Society in ways in which the Society is by section 14 forbidden to act. But, as the actions of such an ancillary organization cannot be subject to any oversight of the other members, so neither can the other members be made responsible for its actions. It will have to be organically independent, relating its actions to our Society as it chooses, but not recognized by our Society. Such an organization might undertake merely to raise money for the Society's service (a thing which will become quite necessary if the Society grows so big that the secretary is swamped with work) or it may undertake much more. It may also be wise or unwise.


3. A badge might sometimes be wanted. Where not wanted it need not be used. The "cord" may of course take the form of a ribbon.

4. Where experience useful for organization is being had, let this experience have the fullest opportunity to put itself in practice.


2. I do not at all regard this manner of constituting the board of adjudicators as the best possible . But the establishment of a better method would have to be coupled with a completer organization of the Society's membership, locally or otherwise. Until circumstances shall make such a completer organization possible, this plan here proposed seems to offer an intelligible and workable method of deciding controversies with as good an assurance of justice as is possible in a totally unorganized society.


The following summary of this obligation is given as a help to getting a quick view of the whole:

Every member is bound not to use force or fraud against the person or property of any other member, except in repelling a plain criminal use of force or fraud by that other member; all these terms being understood according to the explanations given in this obligation.

1. Force is handling a man's person or property against his will.

2. a. Fraud is making a man trouble by wilful or reckless falsehood to him or about him or about his concerns.
2. bc. Falsehood is telling any one anything that is to lead him to make a mistake; but it must be about a matter of observation, not of judgment.
2. d. Your falsehood is wilful if you do not yourself think it is true; it is reckless if you make the hearer think you know more than you do.

3. It is a crime to threaten to commit a crime; or to engage another person to commit one.

4. a. A man owns what he produces.
4. b. A man owns what he takes care of, if nobody owned it before him.
4. c. Title to land depends upon use.
4. d. Title to land is limited by necessary public rights of way.
4. ef. No game law unless the parties claiming to protect the game have produced the chief part of that game.
4. g. A man outside this Society owns whatever products of labor are given to him by the laws he lives under.
4. h. A member's property passes to another man by voluntary transfer, or by forfeiture on account of crime, or by the division of joint property.
4. i. A dead member's property passes according to his will, as far as his will is promptly known; it must pass unconditionally, except that it can be left in trust for a living person.

5. "Criminal" means such as this obligation forbids.

6. "Plain" means practically certain.

7. a. Repelling is resistance or punishment.
7. b. Outrageous severity is not a repelling.
7. c. Nothing is a repelling if the person injured by the crime vetoes the repelling.

8. abo One who injuriously alters natural conditions must pay the damages caused.
8. c. But not in certain cases where the injury to the person injured is presumed to be insignificant compared to the general injury which an attempt to prevent it would cause.
8. d. Nobody is bound to put up with conditions dangerous to life.

9. A man joins the Society by saying he joins, quits it by saying he quits, and can be put out for breaking the obligation.

10. "Man" means anybody who knows enough to mean what he says If he accepts or rejects the obligation. Babies and lunatics must be represented by those who take care of them.

11. a. We pledge our honor to keep this obligation as long as we stay in the Society.
11. b. We consent to stand the repelling if we break the obligation.
11. c. The obligation does not lose force by having been broken.
11. d. In an emergency the obligation may be set aside by any one. But he must be willing to stand the consequences.

12. We will give our decisions in the Society according to this obligation, and take the Society's decision to settle our disputes.

13. a. The Society may decide all questions about this obligation. When its decision is given, a man has a right to act according to the decision.
13. b. The Society may agree with other similar societies for the mutual recognition of members' rights.
13. c. It may act by vote or by agents, but not change the obligation without an absolute majority vote.

14. a. The Society shall not compel a man to do anything.
14. b. It shall apply no penalty except expulsion or suspension.
14. c. It shall not use force or fraud.
14. d. It shall have no secrets.

15. a. A member may belong to whatever else he chooses, vote as he chooses, hold office and sit in judgment as he chooses, testify to any truth when he chooses.
15. b. But he shall not himself do anything contrary to this obligation, no matter who requires it of him.
15. c. A member's opinions are free and unpledged .



Hatred and violence do not cease by hatred and violence. They only beget their like. It is only by love that hatred ceases. (Buddha).

Force is no remedy. (J. Bright).


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