Copyright © by Barnabas D. Johnson

All writings on and its extensions are explicitly copyrighted, with one exception, the Constitution of Jurlandia (in English; see below).

Every “copy” — whether explicitly under copyright or not — must be properly attributed and accurately reproduced in every particular, including all punctuation. See Note on Punctuation. This site is not Constitutional Jurisprudence Made Simple.

The main purpose behind copyrighting these materials is to preserve their integrity and to discourage “dumbing down” efforts supposedly based on these writings. Nothing makes sense without context. The context here is humanity’s quest for clear thought and communication as clear as possible, given the complexity of our subject.

Any copying or distribution of these writings must include this Copyright Notice, or a hotlink to it. Ideally, the Jurlandia Institute proposes the following: Write what you have to say about a topic, any topic, or about Jurlandia’s treatment thereof, and then provide a hotlink to the Jurlandia piece in question and  let that piece speak for itself.


If you think a Jurlandia writing has merit or requires criticism, etc., then include (with your criticism) a link to the passage in question. Make all our lives easier. Swipe five to seven words for a search-string; paste into your browser; do some research; easy, or complex …. Then let your reader peruse or study the writing(s) under consideration as available via the internet. Most of us are getting quite skilled at surfing the web and drawing our own conclusions regarding what we find; let’s encourage further development of these skills.

Several writers have used Jurlandia materials in support of propositions that those materials do not necessarily or even remotely support. That is fine, so long as those writers provide the hotlink that will enable their readers to consult the original and let it speak for itself. Inserting relevant hotlinks is easy, courteous, and … (in a nutshell) facilitative of what Jurlandia seeks to uphold: Serious discussion, over time, of complex issues.


Some Jurlandia writings indicate the date of original composition. Over 99% of the Constitution of Jurlandia (as currently appearing in English) was produced in January, 1991, following months of meetings initiated by Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania. Some English changes were made in light of their value in clarifying Russian-language implications. In that sense, Lowry Wyman was the principal author of both the English and the Russian texts.


I have not yet tackled the daunting task of proposing a “federal alternative” to the “unitary model” this text currently constitutes. Using that document, as well as alternative approaches, to anchor an internet-mediated “encyclopedia of constitutional democracy” is … well, a long-term goal, not a present reality. Realizing this goal will depend partly upon internet-mediated tools that are still in the development stage.

We aim our arrow where the target will be when our arrow gets there. That, as the Jurlandia writings seek to elucidate, is the best approach.

Modern internet-mediated research and publishing is a dynamic phenomenon. The Jurlandia Institute seeks to participate in developing the protocols, scope, and details of that dynamic — focusing not on bells and whistles, etc., but on the furthest reaches of internet-mediated research, writing, and communications.

In this territory, to find the path requires participation in making the path. The Jurlandia website is “text driven”; it assumes that clear prose has a vital future; and it seeks to model such clarity in every particular.

Please support that goal. Above all, please do not frustrate it.


Finally, several passages in the Constitution of Jurlandia are “lifted” from other works, including constitutions, international conventions, and proposals by official or unofficial groups of scholars, etc. Obviously, nobody can claim copyrights to such documents. Paragraph 1, Article 3, of the Fifth Chapter provides a good example of such a composition:

All persons shall have the right to freedom of inquiry, thought, conscience, and belief; to freedom of speech and of the press, including broadcast media; and to the free exercise of religion. These freedoms shall include the freedom to change one’s thoughts, beliefs, or religion — either alone or in community with others — and to manifest one’s thoughts, beliefs, or religion in teaching, practice, observance, and worship. All persons shall also have the right to peaceful assembly and association with others, whether or not within the context of any formal organization such as a political party, trade union, professional association, or corporation; such an organization may, however, be subject to reasonable licensing and similar restrictions pursuant to legislation governing the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of these organizations; the people hereby instruct that their natural and inalienable right of association shall not be confused with legislatively-created privileges of specific kinds of organizations, including but not restricted to those here named.


Accordingly, the text of the Constitution of Jurlandia and the texts of related documents and translations into Lithuanian, Russian, Armenian, or any other language, do not explicitly claim any copyrights. Whatever rights they claim or carry should be construed in light of my overwhelming desire to enhance the integrity of the Conversation of Democracy. I want this text to evolve over time, through carefully-considered discussion, debate, etc. It first appeared on the BALT-L and RUSS-L “distributed lists” of the early internet days, it seems, in Spring of 1991. During succeeding years, it remained available via coevolving web technologies. Insofar as I can tell, all those English-language texts conform to this one, which is official … but, on principle, not iconic. Constitutional democracy has evolved, coevolved with liberty and law. Law and Liberty. A perichoresis of Matter, Mind, and Empathy. Etc.



Note on Punctuation:

Good writing requires consistent use of the final serial comma. Some assert that this comma should only be used where it is essential to avoid confusion as where someone undertakes (confusingly) to “thank my parents, Joan Sutherland and God.” But that rule itself invites confusion or at least requires the brain to process a sentence “both ways” before deciding whether there is a confusion that needs to be resolved — and this gets in the way of the brain’s already-formidable task: processing as-clear-as-possible sentences regarding unavoidably-complex matters. If, in speaking, we would provide a “brain-pause” that makes it clear we are thanking our parents, Joan Sutherland, and God, then that brain-pause should be “cued” when one is writing this thought. Thus, for my overnight camping trip I packed supplies that included (in alphabetic order) bacon, brandy, coffee, eggs, juice, milk, and sugar. Next morning I enjoyed a breakfast of (in gustatory order) juice, eggs and bacon, and coffee with milk, sugar, and a tad of brandy.

While on the subject of punctuation, let me also note that hyphens and dashes should be distinct. Hyphens draw words together, and should not have spaces on either side, except when linking concepts like computer- or internet-mediated phenomena. Unlike hyphens, dashes specifically, “M-dashes” separate words or strings of words, and should have spaces on either side. Such spaces are especially necessary because, when writings travel from one computer- or internet-mediated platform to another, the M-dash often gets “converted” (debased?) into a hyphen-length “dash” (but it is still a dash); those spaces on either side usually survive such travel. If so, not all is lost; significant information is retained; those spaces can make all the difference.

Generally, M-dashes (the width of an “M”) set off text that is not parenthetical; for parenthetical text we have parentheses. Dashes should not be used where parentheses should be used. Dashes serve to induce brain-pauses of a more complex kind than those induced by commas, and are aimed not only at separating elements but also at highlighting or emphasizing an element … although, hmmm, especially-thoughtful brain-pauses are often best induced by three dots, called ellipses. N-dashes (the width of an “N”) do not travel well from one computer- or internet-mediated platform to another; whether they will survive currently-evolving communications protocols is unclear. This is a good example of ways in which our tools “make us” as much as we make them; they and we coevolve; grammar, punctuation, vocabularies, and our capacities to use them well, are co-creative. Hotlinking has changed writing. Good writers have always been “composers”; now, all writing must attend to enhancing the power of co-creative composition. The dew is fresh upon the leaf of hyper-textual metalogues.

Imparting complicated ideas as clearly as possible requires many tools of thought and communication, including emerging tools to facilitate “societal thinking” — especially cross-cultural dialogues that become metalogues whenever their focus is upon enhancing societal thinking. Some of the tools used by the Jurlandia website, such as dashes, are used quite differently in other languages; for example, Russian does not have “is” and therefore often uses a dash to impart what in English “is” imparts. But one of the main purposes of this website is to model good English-language writing, including punctuation, because English is attaining a special place within the emerging Ecology of Mind. Among its many assets, English is a language which (with the exception of dashes) travels well from one computer- or internet-mediated platform to another.


Two final points: First, Jurlandia essays often place quotation marks (called inverted commas in England) around a word or phrase when first introduced, followed by a definition or other contextual pointers regarding that word or phrase. It is not always clear where this device should be employed. This website probably errs on the side of overuse. It does so in hopes of combating the tendency towards “over concretization”: thinking that maps are territories, that names are the things or relationships named. I plan in due course to take up this subject — first introduced by Aristotle and recently advanced by Korzybski — in far greater detail.

Second: I follow Friedrich A. Hayek and others in using initial capital letters for “Rule of Law” and similar fundamental concepts in order to denote that they are “elevated” terms of art. Not every “rule of law” accords with the Rule of Law. My initial-cap usage throughout the Jurlandia website reflects the crucial distinction, for example, between so-called “laws” and that fundamental Rule of Law by which any law or governmental action taken “under color of law” must be judged. In this regard, I think it illuminating to quote an early work by Hayek, Road to Serfdom (1944, 50th anniv. ed., Chicago, 1994):

Nothing distinguishes more clearly conditions in a free country from those in a country under arbitrary government than the observance in the former of the great principles known as the Rule of Law. Stripped of all technicalities, this means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand — rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one’s individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge. Though this ideal can never be perfectly achieved, since legislators as well as those to whom the administration of the law is entrusted are fallible men, the essential point, that the discretion left to the executive organs wielding coercive power should be reduced as much as possible, is clear enough. While every law restricts individual freedom to some extent by altering the means which people may use in the pursuit of their aims, under the Rule of Law the government is prevented from stultifying individual efforts by ad hoc action. Within the known rules of the game the individual is free to pursue his personal ends and desires, certain that the powers of government will not be used deliberately to frustrate his efforts. [Hayek, Chapter 6, p. 80.]

The above includes the following footnote:

According to the classical exposition by A. V. Dicey in The Law of the Constitution (8th ed.), p. 198, the Rule of Law “means, in the first place, the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power, and excludes the existence of arbitrariness, of prerogative, or even of wide discretionary authority on the part of government.

I should note that, for Dicey, “regular law” is also a term of art. His “law of the constitution” is about a specific model, that of England, in which “the constitution” and “the rule of law” are essentially identical. They start with the 1215 Magna Carta, the “law of the land” by which “due process of law” is secured. In addition to that “absolute supremacy” of regular law, Dicey notes that there must be “equality before the law” and a recognition that “the law of the constitution … [is] not the source but the consequence of the rights of individuals.” (p. 199)

Interestingly, while Dicey’s text does not use initial-caps, his “side notes” accompanying the text do. His side note to page 198 is “Summary of meanings of Rule of Law” and his side note to page 199 is “Influence of ‘Rule of Law’ on leading provisions of the constitution.” The first edition of Dicey’s classic was published in 1885. The eighth and final edition was published in 1915.

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