Montréal, 1er avril 2000  /  No 59
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Scott Carpenter is a young entrepreneur living in Victoria, B.C. and the founder and editor of Liberty Free Press
by Scott Carpenter
          In this day and age the integration of politics and principle is a lost art. Our society has forgotten that politics, like its sibling, economics, is a direct outgrowth of our overall philosophical view. Consistency from principle to application is essentially forgotten and what we end up with is a bastardized existence where the polity of a given nation is based on nothing more than the whim of whatever tyrant happens to occupy the head of state at any given moment. Ultimately, even our esteemed democracy is nothing more than tyranny when it is used to exercise control and power over any society, group or individual that exists within or outside our national boundaries.
From principle to application 
          Liberty can only be present when « domination » forms of government are absent from the political landscape. Liberty can only be achieved when there is a consistent integration between philosophical principle and practical political application. This is the end to which author Richard Rieben dedicates his first book, Reciprocia. From principle to application Rieben breaks new ground with a constitution constructed from the principles of his own view on natural political philosophy. 
          The title of the book is implicitly an outgrowth of Rieben's prevailing principle: That human rights are essentially reciprocal. While this is not necessarily a new idea it is one of the few times in libertarian writing that it has been so eloquently stated. Each right implies a responsibility on behalf of each citizen to respect the rights of others. Rieben writes: « All human rights are equal and thence reciprocal and by this alone defined and delimited. » 
          In this statement alone we are given the fundamental mechanism for defining law, politics and economics. Reciprocity of rights is the foundation of civil society, without which we exist in a state of over regulated, domination-based chaos. Rieben continues, « Laws are subsequently defined upon this base to represent and protect individual rights... Human needs are, for the most part and beyond infancy, individual responsibilities. »  
     « Liberty can only be present when "domination" forms of government are absent from the political landscape. Liberty can only be achieved when there is a consistent integration between philosophical principle and practical political application. » 
          By this definition men are equal politically and politically only. All other rightful equalities and inequalities are the result of effort, inheritance or talent, none of which (in a free society) may be limited or quelled by government or any other act of force. The purpose of government is relegated to the protection of individual rights only; the underlying premise being: « The government that governs least governs best. » 
          Rieben writes with an eloquent but straightforward style that makes Reciprocia a book for everyone from high school students to university professors. He challenges the reader from the outset by stating that the constitution drawn from his statement of principles is a work in progress. This means it is not a utopian document. The constitution is not perfect and thus it forces the reader to analyze the content for contradictions between Rieben's principles and their application within the constitution. 
          Furthermore, Rieben breaks new ground in many areas of Reciprocia such as the issue of constitution as a contract between citizens; as an agreement between each sovereign man to respect the rights of his fellow citizen. He also questions the morality of pollution and its effect on an individual's health in aggregate. To summarize: Rieben writes not of the ways in which the current system is mismanaged and abused but rather of the way in which a proper system of polity is established.  
          Reciprocia is a book with guts. Although you won't agree with everything Rieben writes it is, nonetheless, a brave leap from principle to application. The libertarian movement will only benefit from this work. 
Reciprocia is now available from or through the publisher's website at 
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