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A Society Built on the Principle of Habeas Mentem

A society built on the principle of Habeas Mentem is a society based on a principle that is consistent with the way we view our universe. Our universe is now no longer a manifestation of random forces and accidental circumstances; now, our universe is a natural order formed for its own purpose and moved by its own knowledge. We can harness this order to have it become the foundation of our new social order by consciously seeking to occupy the definition of our identity; we can occupy more closely this real definition by applying the definition of our human identity to our human organization through the principle of the Law of Agreement. In agreement, we
materialize the natural order of our universe in the midst of our human definition of our reality, in particular our social reality. Thus, a society built on the principle of Habeas Mentem is a society built on a principle of human agreement. Let us now examine the nature of these agreements.

A person in agreement with another is two; a third is needed to form a society. Each person in agreement with another forms a social bond that is beneficial to each party involved in this agreement. In this manner, agreements between individuals would never cause social friction, if they never had the power to affect a third that is not part of that agreement. The fact that an agreement between two persons can affect a third is the basis on which are founded nearly all laws that regulate human behavior. It is the ability of an agreement to trespass on others that can limit our right to freedom, which can then limit our right to seek agreement. It is that simple and, yet, it can
have the power to control entirely the formation of a society.

A law is an agreement formed to keep another in check. Whether the law is agreed upon by the king and his ministers or by a majority of a legislative body and endorsed by the people, it is nevertheless an agreement that will define future action. Future human action will now be contained within the limits of that law. If that law seeks to limit trespass by enforcing an agreement, then it is beneficial to those who wish to enter such agreement. If it seeks to shelter those who are not part of an agreement from encroachment by that agreement, then it protects individuals from trespass by a group, whether it be only two or more, and thus protects from the potential tyranny of the group. In both cases, the law seeks to prevent trespass and to enforce agreement. However, if the law seeks to trespass against an individual because of an agreement by a group, then of necessity we have the kind of law that defines the formation of three parties, in effect a society.

In a society it is necessary to pass laws that define behavior for all individuals in relationship to the behavior of the group. All individuals, for example, must pay taxes for the benefit of the whole. None are exempt, except by special agreements, and in almost all cases the payment of taxes is an involuntary act. Generally, we do not have the luxury to finance the functions of government out of voluntary contributions. The agreement that defines our government, namely the constitution of the country in which we reside, defines that each one of us will be assessed for a tax. We are generally not given any options as to whether we must pay this tax, unless perhaps if we
support through contributions some other social functions, that we be exempted from paying the full tax as assessed. But, again, this is as defined by the social agreement. Thus, unless the social agreement makes provision for a variety of options to which we may contribute freely, of our own accord and as we so will, in lieu of a tax paid directly to the government, we must pay as it is levied by the social agreement against us. Tax is a universal example of an agreement that, through its definition, has in principle the power to force another against agreement.

Not all individuals are favorably disposed to the payment of taxes; probably few are. But few would argue that taxes are unnecessary, since without them the government would fail. Unless one is disposed towards anarchy, a society without government is not a desirable state of affairs. Thus, though a person would pay taxes grudgingly, he or she would nevertheless prefer a state of things as is made possible through those taxes rather than a state where no social order exists. In effect, if only by default, a person pays taxes because, though he or she may feel that they are being forced against their agreement, because they wish to pay less taxes or have that money
used elsewhere, they nevertheless agree to pay them as levied because the alternative act would be less desirable to them. The alternative might be either fines or imprisonment or, if their government is particularly liberal towards non-payment, the collapse of their social order through a lack of financial support. 

Now, an alternative might be that an individual, either at birth or upon maturity, is either declared or declares himself incapable of abiding by the agreements thus forced on him by society. At one extreme, that individual would thus not be free to partake in any benefits of existing in such a society, without protection of any of its laws and services; or at the other extreme, the individual becomes a ward of the state and is entirely at its mercy. If the first option is exercised, the person has in effect, relegated himself to a wilderness where he or she must arm themselves against predation, must resort to a kind of barter economy because there are neither guarantees of contract nor of money, and can own no property other than that protected by their armaments because there would be no formal guarantee of that ownership. In reality, such a person would probably not be allowed to live in a civilized society, though some civilized societies can at times approach such a state of affairs, as in war or total deterioration of the social fabric where the society falls prey to criminal gangs, and the individual would have to seek existence in some form of exile, such as in the wilderness. This way of life may be appealing to a
romantic nature but few individuals would opt for it as a permanent alternative to civilization. If the other option is exercised, then that person also has no rights because he or she is entirely the ward of the state. Their freedom is now defined by how the state wishes to define the limits of their activity and their inter-human agreements are restricted because, as wards and as having renounced the right to agreement, their agreements with others are non-binding. They are forever, in effect, prisoners within their societies and, even if favorably taken care of, have no freedom other than that allowed them by their social masters. Though both alternatives can be approached somewhat within the established social order, if there is still wilderness or if there is a total welfare state, neither alternative is desirable to the greater majority of the public for any length of time. When faced with the option of whether to agree or to not agree with the general agreement that is society, as in the case of taxes, we generally choose to agree.

Thus, society is an agreement, and it is a voluntary agreement not only of its majority but, more likely, of its statistical majority where the greater portion of the population, tending towards a bell curve type of normalcy, tend towards a social agreement that is generally acceptable to them. Based on that, then the decision whether to pay or not to pay taxes is to be evaluated as an agreement of a majority, if it is a democratic government that levies such taxes with the public's consent; or of a statistical majority because, by default, the tax is paid. If it is not paid, then the statistical majority has opposed it and the agreement that is the government is in jeopardy. The normalcy
of human agreements is broken because the consequences of non-payment, if they be severe enough, have made such resistance unattractive and which would occur only if the conditions that describe the agreement are truly odious to the public at large. Such is the general agreement that is society.

So generally, a society is an agreement of its majority. In a democracy, it is formally the agreement of its majority as shown by ballot; in any society, it is the agreement by a statistical majority of the population by their consenting to is laws. However, if a society is experiencing disagreement with its laws by individuals to the point where the people approach a statistical majority, it either will find it difficult to function or it will need to reform. This may sometimes happen for a small group within society at large; in that case, that group should either be allowed to leave or to reform itself under a separate agreement either with or without the support of society at
large, in effect break away as a state. But, more importantly here, the social agreement that allows a society to function favorably is one that is endorsed by the actions of the statistical majority of its population.

Therefore, what is the permissible level of trespass by a group against an individual? Because the group is a voluntary association formed for its own benefit and defined by that group's laws, the individual must accept the agreements as they are defined by that law provided they do not consciously force the individual from pursuing his or her identity as dictated by their conscience, by their happiness. In other words, should the resulting trespass of the group against the individual, be such that it forces the individual to willfully break the law in the face of that law's punishment for disobedience, then that individual is taking a conscious act of opposition to the social agreement. Such opposition may not be taken lightly, since it is a serious act that is potentially harmful to the agreement that is society. In some small measure, it can be argued that to disagree with the majority is to force the social order into disagreement, which is in itself a form of trespass. For this reason, a fickle disobedience of a law should be punishable, since it is not an act conscious of its consequences. What we are examining here, when we ask what is the permissible level of trespass of the group against the individual, is a situation that requires conscious attention by both the group and the individual.

Thus, when there is a conscious opposition by an individual to the agreement formed by the group, that opposition must be examined directly and put to the test of law. The individual must prove to the social court that the group's agreement is a trespass against his or her identity; the burden of proof of trespass, in the case of social agreements that are written formally into law, then rests not with society, but with the individual who claims to be so trespassed. If the individual's refusal to comply is in fact found to be fickle, mindless and without conviction, then it is simply a matter of social disagreement, disobedience, to be punished as provided for by law. If, however,
the social law is in fact a genuine trespass to which the individual is consciously and painfully aware and in opposition to, then it is the burden of that conscious mind to prove that the law is a disagreement with its identity, that it forces it into disagreement with its mind, against that person's conscience, and that he or she be either exempted from it or that the law be modified such to restore their freedom and allay their grievance. Under Habeas Mentem, this is a condition that is forever present, because in each law written by the social order there is the potential for error and social tyranny. As a guard against this potential tyranny, the free mind of man must have the
right to challenge any law that defines its society. If a sufficient number of individuals, so challenging and putting to the test in a court of law, are in fact found to be trespassed against, then it is the responsibility of free, conscious minds to recognize this trespass and, since it would benefit society, to change that law such as to cause less opposition. If for no other reason, it is sensible to do this, for to do otherwise causes further disagreement within the social order to such a degree as to be damaging to the social fabric as a whole. Thus, these are the limits of trespass by a group against an individual.

Finally, this principle of how social law works, where two can force a third, can apply to social agreements of governments only; it cannot apply to how individuals may act in their dealings with one another. Individuals have the power to form their own institutions that have power over their members, such as clubs, companies, or other private societies, but they do not have the power to coerce, which is a power relegated entirely to government. Private associations are formed by agreement and the individuals who wish to belong to these associations must in some manner obey these agreements and even be penalized for not obeying them, if such punishment is part of that
association's agreement; but if a member of a club or company or other private society decides that he or she no longer wish to accept and abide by the agreements that define their membership, then they have the option of leaving that association. This is something that generally we cannot do in a society with regards to our laws; we must obey them, except when we are individually exempted. Thus, individuals do not have the power to coerce. All agreements are voluntary unless they are written into enforcement by law as a contract. Then, to break the terms of a contract so written is an act of social disobedience requiring reprisal not by the hand of the individual so
wronged but by law. A contract is an agreement stated such that for either party to fail to fulfill the terms of that contract represents a trespass against the other or, in effect, a disagreement. In that respect, though individuals do not have the power to enforce their agreements, except for where in the absence of government they are forced to take the law into their own hands, as in combat, they do have the power to entrust their agreement, if in the form of an acceptable contract, in the hands of social law and its power of enforcement. Individuals are free to form agreements between themselves but, except under certain special circumstances, as in self defense, they are never free to form agreements that seek to trespass another and force that other into disagreement. Thus, except where
there is no existing social order such as in the wilderness, individuals do not have the power to form societies unless they be private associations that are totally non-coercive to its non-members. In effect, individuals are allowed to form associations only for their benefit, as that benefit may affect each member and as that member is willing to voluntarily submit to that association's by-laws; but they can never form an association for the benefit of a third party against that party's agreement. That function is entirely the domain of government.

So now we can distinguish between agreements between individuals and their government, and between individuals and themselves. Under Habeas Mentem, only governments are allowed to form agreements that have the power to coerce another. This coercion can be permitted to the level that is permitted either by its constitution, as endorsed by its formal majority at ballot, or as agreed upon by the statistical majority of its population, by default of obedience. However, it has no justification over the life of an individual if that individual is consciously trespassed, forced into disagreement both with himself and with others, by that coercion. Then, however, since society had been organized for the benefit of the individuals who are in agreement with it and for the purpose of insuring each individual from becoming forced against his or her agreement, against trespass, the burden of proof rests not with society but with the individual so trespassed. On the other hand, agreements between individuals, except as defined by contract, may not have the power to coerce each other; they never have the power to form agreements that are designed to coerce another. Such is the agreement that is the social contract, otherwise it is not a society by agreement.

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