The Imperial Charter: Section Three

Continued from part two.


Article I: On Imperial Shares

The Empire, as a corporation sovereign, shall issue a number of shares of citizen stock equivalent to the number of Imperial citizens. Such shares shall be nontransferable, and issued to each citizen-shareholder of the Empire at the point of their becoming so, and shall confer the rights of citizenship with ownership. Such stock shall be purchased by the new citizen at the current floating market price, and shall be repurchased by the Empire from their estate upon the citizen’s death, or from the citizen directly should they renounce their citizenship on some future date.

The Empire shall maintain a register of all citizen-shareholders, this register to be maintained at the seat of government and to be open to the examination of any citizen-shareholder at any time; and each citizen-shareholder shall be provided with a certificate indicating their status and ownership of citizen stock.

Such surplus income as the Empire shall derive from sources other than service fees, once all disbursements and the requirements of the Reserve Fund shall be met, shall be distributed to the citizen-shareholders of the Empire as a dividend, allocated in due and strict proportion.

Article II: On Citizenship

The Empire shall consider as an Imperial citizen-shareholder any sophont who shall both have assumed allegiance to the Empire, in front of the Imperial Couple, the Senate, or any other body appointed for such purpose by the Imperial Couple, or any therein wielding authority by right of coronargyr and the Imperial Mandate, such assumption of allegiance to consist of placing their seal upon a copy of this Charter to signify their acceptance of the rights and responsibilities of the citizen enumerated herein, and of purchasing, or having purchased on their behalf, a single share in the incorporate Empire at the current floating market price; or

Any sophont native to or naturalized by a nation of the Empire at the time of the ratification of this Charter;

Provided that they shall possess, upon audit, the minimal standard of rationality and mental stability prescribed by the Eupraxic Collegium.

(The above boldface section was added by the Eleventh Amendment, of which more later.)

Neither one born within the territory of the Empire, nor one born of an Imperial citizen-shareholder after the time of the ratification of this Charter, shall become a citizen-shareholder through any means save that of assuming allegiance to the Empire, as provided for by this article.

No sophont shall be permitted to become a citizen-shareholder of the Empire who cannot demonstrate an understanding of this Charter and of the Imperial language (This is specifically held to include any form of the Eldraeic language, such that citizenship is possible without regard to physical substrate, and therefore capacity to speak or understand specific Eldraeic linguaforms — ed.); or who is not willing to live in accordance with the principles, rights, and responsibilities described therein.

The Senate, or its duly appointed delegate, shall have the right to withhold citizenship from any sophont who wishes to assume allegiance to the Empire for:

  • Fraud or misrepresentation in their assumption of allegiance or in their prior relationship with the Empire, Imperial citizen-shareholders, or Imperial coadunations;
  • Criminality by Imperial legal standards, or widely accepted dyspraxic defect;
  • Imperial security concerns;
  • Philosophical incompatibility or other unassimilability;

Although no sophont born within the territories of the Empire, nor any sophont born of or created by an Imperial citizen-shareholder, shall be denied citizenship upon attaining their majority or on later application, without public disclosure of the reasons for this denial and the right to appeal this denial to the Curial courts; nor shall any citizen-shareholder be deprived of their citizenship without due process of law.

(The above boldface was added by the Fifth Amendment, “Rights of Genesis”, on which more below.)

Article III: Fundamental Rights of the Sophont

This Charter acknowledges that any just and honorable government must and shall be built on the ancient and sacred inalienable rights of all sophont beings, and thus declares that the Empire shall hold as its fundamental law the Four Fundamental Rights of the Fundamental Contract:

The Empire shall respect and enforce the inalienable Right of Domain for every sophont within its domain: that their property and domicile shall not be appropriated, traded, moved, altered, used or destroyed without their informed consent; such property to include each sophont’s body, work, and services.

The Empire shall respect and enforce the inalienable Right of Defense for every sophont within its domain: that they may violate the Right of Domain of another sophont in defense of their own Right of Domain.

The Empire shall respect and enforce the inalienable Right of Common Defense for every sophont within its domain: that they may exercise the Right of Defense on behalf of another sophont, with their permission (In some cases, such as domestic violence, Stockholm syndrome, or insanity, case law holds that an individual may be temporarily psychologically incapable of granting permissions which would have been granted by an uncoerced and/or rational version of that individual. — ed.), or if they have reasonable grounds to believe that it would be granted were they able to do so.

The Empire shall respect and enforce the inalienable Right of Fair Contract for every sophont within its domain: that they may transfer present or future property rights or services to another sophont, on a temporary, partial, permanent or provisional basis, provided both come to a mutual agreement without fraud or duress.

No citizen-shareholder, constituent nation, or instrumentality of the government of the Empire shall violate the Four Fundamental Rights of any sophont, unless in the due process of law prosecuting a violation of the Four Fundamental Rights by said sophont.

In assuming allegiance to the Empire, all citizen-shareholders of the Empire shall be held as having consented and contracted to undertake the responsibilities of the citizen-shareholder outlined in Section III, Article V of this Charter.

Article IV: Imperial Rights of the Citizen-Shareholder

The Empire guarantees the following inalienable civic rights to all Imperial citizen-shareholders, over and above the fundamental rights of all sophonts.

Right of Person and Property: In recognizing the sacred and fundamental Right of Domain, the responsibilities of the citizen notwithstanding, all Imperial citizen-shareholders shall retain the inviolability of their minds, persons, homes, data, correspondence, and honor, save in accordance with strict process of justice, upon probable cause and within specific bounds, or for the immediate public safety. And since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof except where public necessity (This has the very specific meaning and implication of both usage by the governance, Imperial or local, for a public purpose, and one which cannot be reasonably carried out in another way. For example, the governance cannot use this power to obtain land for a public building, since they could purchase land for this purpose and the location of such is fungible. However, they can use it to obtain land to construct a road — one of the long-distance Interstate-type not managed by local odocorps — since they require a specific route it would be impractical to obtain otherwise. In actual practice, most Imperial constituent governances endeavor to reserve land from terra nullius suitable for anticipated future needs. — ed.), legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and then only on condition that the owner shall have been previously and equitably indemnified; when the immediate preservation of the public safety and order shall demand it; or by due process of law as punishment for a crime.

There shall be neither chattel slavery nor any other form of involuntary servitude in the Empire.

Right of Knowledge: Access to information shall not be abridged by the Empire, or by any instrumentality thereof, save to the least extent required for the public safety; nor shall the freedom of research and inquiry; nor shall the freedom of speech, nor that of the press, save when such information or speech constitutes, in whole or in part, infectious or self-executing code; nor shall the right of the people peaceably to assemble be abridged, subject to the availability of free public volume in which to assemble, and the capacity of the local environment to sustain life.

(The first piece of boldface there is the Eighth Amendment, passed after advances in memetics had permitted “viral ideas” to be constructed which affected the brain in such a manner as to effectively (if temporarily, usually) constitute brainwashing; and technology coming into existence permitted self-executing code to be inserted into the brain to run autonomously and override individual will; such mechanisms that control rather than inform the brain posed risks which required this minor redefinition of the freedom of speech.

The second one is the Third Amendment, which expanded on the existing “public volume” principle that you had to leave enough volume available for other people to go about their business in peace, i.e., not cause obstruction, to cover life-support system capacity, after the first incident of people holding a sufficiently large and poorly-planned assembly in space as to result in cases of severe oxygen deprivation.)

Right of Arms: In recognizing the sacred and fundamental Right of Defense, all Imperial citizen-shareholders shall retain the right to bear such personal arms (The strict Eldraeic meaning of “personal arms” here implies those weapons which can be reasonably used by a single man in personal combat; firearms, for example, even rather large ones, are generally covered, while war mechanicals (requiring a crew) and instruments of regrettable necessity (used in large-scale combat) are not, even though the ownership of the vast majority of these has never been restricted by Imperial statute law. — ed.) as they deem their honor and the public safety to require; nor shall the exercise of this right be abridged on account of any crisis or state of emergency, howsoever existing or declared.

Right of Association: All citizen-shareholders of the Empire shall have the right to form and eschew associations with their fellows as they shall see fit; and they shall also have the right to form, join, withdraw from, and disband such coadunations (The term “coadunation”, in Imperial parlance, implies any organized group with legal personality. Not necessarily implying a business organization, such as a corporation; any organized body with legal personality is considered a coadunation. — ed.) as they shall see fit; nor shall anyone be compelled to become or remain a member of such a coadunation; and this right of association shall only be restricted by law on the grounds of protecting the public safety, the public order, or the public health.

Such coadunations, as associations of citizen-shareholders, shall have legal personality; and shall be guaranteed rights and be bound by responsibilities equal and equivalent to those guaranteed to and binding the citizen-shareholders constituting them, without exception.

Right of Trade: In recognizing the sacred and fundamental Right of Fair Contract, all Imperial citizen-shareholders shall retain the right to work within their trade or profession, to own, buy, and sell goods and capital, to enter freely into binding contracts, and to otherwise transact business within the Empire, without let or hindrance; and no law shall be made impairing the obligation of contracts, or restricting the freedom of trade.

Rights of Petition and Appeal: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire shall have the right to petition the runér in whose fief a matter, having direct negative impact upon them, falls for redress of grievances; to, should they fail to relieve such grievances, appeal further to that runér‘s superior; and finally, to appeal for redress to the Imperial Couple.

Right of Voyage: An Imperial citizen-shareholder shall have the right to travel freely between and take up residence within the Empire’s constituent nations, except where impeded by due process of law for the public safety or public health; to leave the Empire; and having left the Empire, to return to it, except where prohibited by previous due process of law completed before the date of their departure.

Rights of Justice: The Empire shall recognize these rights of an Imperial citizen-shareholder accused of a crime:

  • To be released on the word of a runér;
  • To seek such release by writ;
  • To challenge the prosecution before trial (i.e., at arraignment — ed.) to show that the prosecution is motivated by evidence linking the citizen-shareholder to the crime (Which is to say, is not politically motivated, or intended for the purposes of reputation gaming, or some such — ed.) ;
  • To a trial before a tribunal of judges of the Curial courts, of legal capacity to examine all relevant evidence (i.e., no trial may be held in which any evidence is considered classified to a level that prevents the court from examining it. Any such prosecution must either be withdrawn, or the trial moved to a court which can examine said evidence, even if that means the Curia, and no Curial court may reject a motion for change of venue on these grounds. — ed.);
  • To examine the indictment and the evidence against him before trial;
  • To summon witnesses on his behalf;
  • To engage an advocate and investigators;
  • To make any statement of explanation or exculpation; and
  • To accuse others.

For the protection of the citizen-shareholders against the unjust application of law, the privileges of the prerogative writs shall never be suspended; nor shall any ex post facto law be passed; nor bill of attainder, bill of pains and penalties, or lettre de cachet be used; nor conviction work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.

And all citizen-shareholders of the Empire shall and must have full recourse to the courts of justice and mediation both for remedy.

Right of Self-Mutagenesis: The Empire shall respect the right of each and every sophont of self-ownership insofar as, but not limited to, each citizen-shareholder’s inalienable right to modify their physical substrate as they shall see fit, through genetic or cybernetic technologies or through any other means, including the right to transfer their mind-state to such replacement physical substrates as they shall see fit.

While the Empire shall respect the Right of Self-Mutagenesis with respect to germline genetic modifications or other modifications which may affect the subsequent creation of other sophonts, the Right of Self-Mutagenesis shall not be held to supersede lawful restrictions upon reproduction imposed for the public health, or for the benefit of the incipient sophont.

(The entire right of self-mutagenesis was introduced in the Fourth Amendment, to preemptively clarify and guarantee what was, in any case, a right to self-alteration implicit in the right of Domain.

The boldface portion, however, was added by the Fifth Amendment, “Rights of Genesis”, of which more details are given below.)

Right of Gnosis: The Empire shall respect the right of each and every sophont of self-ownership insofar as, but not limited to, each citizen-shareholder’s inalienable right to modify their mind-state as they shall see fit, through noumenal pharmacy, psychedesign, noetic modification, or through any other means, provided only that such modifications do not constitute pernicious irrationality threatening the public order, the public safety, or the public health.

(Similar to the above, the right of gnosis was introduced by the Ninth Amendment for essentially the same reasons as the Fourth Amendment. One may also see here the beginnings of the rules against pernicious irrationality, which reached their full extent with the Eleventh Amendment.)

Right of Assistance: Inasmuch as the Eldraeic Transcend exists coextensively with the Empire, the Transcend guarantees to all Imperial citizen-shareholders, whether currently Aspects of the Transcend or not, the assistance and advice on demand of a Transcendent coadjutor.

(The right of assistance was introduced by the Twelfth Amendment, as part of the general process of recognizing that the Transcend had become effectively coextensive, for the most part, with the Empire.

A coadjutor, in the Transcendent sense, is a dedicated AI subroutine devoted to the best interests of its assignee. In short, it’s the weakly-godlike-superintelligence version of a guardian angel.)

Article V: Responsibilities of the Citizen-Shareholder

To permit the fulfillment of the purposes of the Empire, as laid down in this Charter, all citizen-shareholders of the Empire agree and contract, by virtue of their citizenship, to fulfill the responsibilities here laid down.

Responsibility of Law: It shall be the duty of each citizen-shareholder of the Empire to abide by this Charter and respect its ideals and institutions; to follow the law of the Empire in such matters as this Charter shall provide for the existence of such law; and to uphold the sovereignty and unity of the Empire.

Responsibility of Support: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the responsibility of paying such service fees as this Charter permits and as the Exchequer shall deem necessary, within the bounds laid down in this Charter, for the maintenance of the Imperial governance and the fulfillment of its purposes herein defined.

Responsibility of Common Defense: Inasmuch as the Empire guarantees to its citizen-shareholders the right to, and the means for, the common defense, each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the responsibility of participating in the common defense (This clause should not be interpreted as establishing a military draft; the citizen militia is a necessarily unorganized (due to the prohibition on forced labor) body which exists solely for defense, and cannot be deployed as an instrumentality of offensive or preemptive warfare. — ed.); to defend other citizen-shareholders when and wheresoever it may be necessary; as part of the citizen militia and severally from it to defend the Empire, and its people wholly or severally, when they are threatened, whether by ill deed or cataclysm of nature; and to value and preserve the rich heritage of our ancestors and our cultures both common and disparate.

Responsibility of Eminent Domain: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the necessity of transferring specific and enumerated items of property to the government of the Empire or that of a constituent nation when it shall exercise the power of eminent domain as set forth in and restricted by this Charter, provided that public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and when they shall have been previously and equitably indemnified (Equitable indemnification, in Imperial terms, generally means 108/96ths of the current open market price, plus reasonable relocation expenses where necessary.).

Responsibility of Sortition: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the responsibility of service, when selected, either in the Senate or in such local assemblies as the demesnes in which they are domiciled shall require, for the sound governance of the Empire; and to vote when called upon in plebiscites.

Responsibility of Self-Development: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the responsibility of participating in the civilization, culture, prosperity, and progress of the Empire, and of educating and advancing themselves so far as shall be necessary to participate therein.

The existence of this responsibility shall not establish any governmental privilege to define the meaning of, or the terms upon which one may engage in, such participation, nor to deprive any citizen-shareholder of their citizenship for failure to meet such standards.

Article VI: Nonrestriction

The enumeration of these certain rights and responsibilities in this Charter shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the citizen-shareholders of the Empire.

Article VII: Equal Protection

All citizen-shareholders of the Empire are entitled to the equal protection and obligation of the law of the Empire, and the laws of its constituent nations. No right, immunity, protection or privilege granted by the Empire, or by any nation of the Empire, to an Imperial citizen-shareholder, may be abridged or denied by any nation of the Empire; nor shall any nation of the Empire deprive any citizen-shareholder of liberty, domain or property without due process of law; nor deny to any citizen-shareholder the equal protection of the law.

Article VIII: Non-Imposition

No citizen-shareholder of the Empire shall be required to maintain any record beyond proof of citizenship and shareholding for the convenience of the Imperial administration; nor shall the Empire impose uncompensated costs, mandates, or restrictions upon citizen-shareholders, unless public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and when they shall have been previously and equitably indemnified, under the principle of eminent domain.

Article IX: Exclusivity

Forasmuch as sovereign allegiance cannot be divided, the citizenship of the Empire is singular and exclusive. No person who voluntarily assumes allegiance to any other polity or other entity outside the Empire shall continue to be an Imperial citizen-shareholder from the time of such assumption, their citizen stock escheating to the Exchequer at that time; and should this alien allegiance be assumed without prior renunciation of their Imperial citizenship, they shall be subject to such penalties as the government of the Empire shall see fit to specify.

Article X: Renunciation

An Imperial citizen-shareholder may renounce citizenship in the Empire by formal renunciation, before the runér appointed for their domicile, or before an ambassador or other duly designated representative of the Empire in foreign lands; and in doing so selling their citizen stock back to the Empire, for which they will be compensated at the current floating market price; and having done so, they shall not again be permitted to assume allegiance to the Empire without the permission of the Senate.

Article XI: Felonies

Any citizen-shareholder, upon conviction of a crime by a Curial court in due process of law, and when that crime has been deemed to be a felony by the Empire’s statute law, shall no longer be considered a citizen-shareholder of the Empire, and shall no longer possess the rights, privileges, honors, and responsibilities appertaining thereto from the time of their conviction; and their citizen stock shall escheat to the Exchequer at that time, without compensation.

Article XII: Majority

The children of Imperial citizen-shareholders, who are deemed incapable of attaining Imperial citizenship by reason of incapacity, shall retain the Imperial rights by courtesy in the same manner as a resident non-citizen, save that their exercise of these rights, along with their exercise of the fundamental Right of Fair Contract, may be restricted by their guardians for their own best interests; and these restrictions shall persist until they shall fulfill such conditions for majority as are set down by law, or until a Curial court or executive decree shall grant them exception.

Article XIII: Resident and Transient Non-Citizens

Those who come to be domiciled within the Empire after the ratification of this Charter, both those who are born or created within the Empire and who are recognized as having the legal capacity to attain Imperial citizenship, and yet do not do so;

(The above boldface was also added by the Fifth Amendment, of which more below.)

And also those who enter the Empire for the purposes of visitation, or while in transit, and do not possess Imperial citizenship;

And also those who relinquish or forfeit Imperial citizenship, and retain domicile;

Shall retain the rights afforded Imperial citizen-shareholders by courtesy, save that their exercise of these rights may be restricted by the government of the Empire as it shall see fit, for the maintenance of public order and public safety; and save also that such resident and transient non-citizens may be expelled from Imperial territory by due process of law, or in time of war or civil emergency by decree, provided that they are provided with the opportunity to assume Imperial allegiance at that time.

Article XIV: Imperial Rights of Genesis

Inasmuch as its (The original Eldraeic used the “unknown” gender here, which English translation does not permit. — ed.) creation affects the incipient sophont as much as those responsible; and inasmuch as such incipient sophonts are often incompetent to manage their own affairs and defend their own rights;

And inasmuch as the Empire recognizes that no sophont should exist as an instrumentality for another;

Each citizen of the Empire is amenable to and accepts that the creation of another individual sophont, whether by inherent reproduction, biological cloning, logos iteration, duplication of mind-state vector, neogenetics, or any other means, and the development and education of that sophont to the point of independent legal competence, may be restricted by the Empire, either for the public health, or acting for that of the potential incipient.

(This entire article was added by the Fifth Amendment, which  granted the Imperial governance the right to regulate reproduction where matters of public health were concerned, originally to deal with genetic disease.

Later, the powers granted by the fifth amendment were also used to regulate unfit parents, unfit circumstances, self-duplication, and autohegemonization.)

…continued in part four.


14 thoughts on “The Imperial Charter: Section Three

    • I have to wonder how a floating market price is determined in the first place for a commodity that is legally non-transferrable, which sort of short-circuits the market of buyers and sellers that determines a market price.

      • It’s the supply-demand curve generated by the number of would-be immigrants (demand side) versus the number the Empire is willing to put on the market (supply side).

        (The latter being determined by the limited rate of growth in turn determined by the fact that since no-one invented sovereign immunity and as such the governance can’t simply evade its half of the “social contract”, the number of citizen-shareholders can’t/mustn’t grow any faster than their ability to provide all those things that they promise to their citizen-shareholders, from running the justice-and-adjudication system through paying out the Citizen’s Dividend (i.e., the dividend stream attached to that citizen-share) to parking gunboats in orbit to remind any outworld barbarians who need reminding that one does not fuck with Imperial citizen-shareholders, no sir, and assorted other things that back up the Worlds’ premium citizenship brand.

        So to achieve that, they set the number on sale so that the price floats at the point at which their return on the capital paid for a citizen-shareholdership plus the estimated future income stream from (the average) citizen-shareholder ESF payments neatly balances the per capita cost of providing all those things, plus reserves, at which point the problem goes away and they end up with the largest possible number of new citizen-shareholders to whom they can meet their obligations, and everyone’s a winner.)

        • Which in turn leads me to wonder who it is that does all the math and the bookkeeping this all would entail.

          • That’d be the Logarchy of Statistics and Computation, or more specifically, a small part of it wedged between the Exchequer, the Ministry of the Empire, and the Ministry of State and Outlands.

  1. Hoo boy… I have so many “question seeds” starting to blossom in my brain, but I think I’ll wait a bit before I start asking them (in case they’re covered in later sections in some way).

    • Well, there’re thirteen sections, so you might want to start asking ’em now in the comments before they have time to slip your mind. If they come up in later sections, I’ll respond accordingly.

      • Well, starting with that last paragraph: I can take a crack at what the first three items on the list mean, but I’m a tad unclear on what, exactly, “autohegemonization” is.

        And while I’m at it, again I can see why (and what kinds of) regulation of unfit parents and unfit circumstances might be necessary, but what sorts of perceived threats or dangers were they trying to counteract with the other two?

        • Autohegemonization is basically extreme self-copying: turning yourself into a hegemonizing swarm by replicating again and again and again in an attempt to outcompete everyone else and turn the universe into endlessly repeated copies of yourself. (Becoming a runaway von Neumann machine is an obscure taste, but hey, some people juggle geese!)

          On a smaller scale, while some self-copying is not a problem (and even the Sallantars of Valiár are not a particular problem because they’re just clones, not forks) there are some pretty nasty public health issues that come up when you have a significant chunk of your population all running off the exact same genotype and memotype. The generalized form of the Clone Army problem, you might say.

          (As a side note, while not really a problem for the Empire – which doesn’t work this way – there has also been seen in some other polities a nasty interaction between forking and democracy. It turns out that despite being a terrible and unsustainable plan, there are more than a few political parties happy to try and stack the election by simply duplicating their voting base enough times to put them over the top…

          …it never ends well, but since when has that ever stopped anyone.)

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