The Power Within — Individual Sovereignty


by David Jäkle


Following the Call to Freedom…


You experience many people influencing your decisions every day. People want to tell you what you should do and how your actions should look like. However, at the end of the day, it is you suffering or enjoying the consequences of your behavior. You have to live with the outcomes of your actions. Individual sovereignty is a concept pursuing this idea to its ultimate end. This libertarian principle, also known as self-ownership or self-autonomy, signifies that you have the complete ownership of your body. In this digital age, where our data and decisions are often not our own, reclaiming individual sovereignty is not just revolutionary, it’s necessary. It’s a declaration of independence from societal expectations and a commitment to personal ethics.


Control of Your Own Life


At its core, individual sovereignty is the principle that you are the ruler of your own life. It means having the autonomy to make decisions about your body, your property, and your actions, as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of others. However, this means individual sovereignty is about negative rights — rights from something — not about positive rights — rights to something. For instance, it means not being forced to inject a medical substance. It does not signify the ability to force other people to take a substance.


Individual sovereignty is about being the sole decision maker of what happens to your body. This principle challenges the status quo, pushing against the boundaries of government overreach and societal norms. Nowadays, many are on board with enforcing medical injections as soon as this seems to be a positive thing for society. This goes fundamentally against individual sovereignty.


Prophesies Coming True


The quest for personal autonomy, expressed in the bold declaration of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, has shaped our world. These ideas were radical, sowing the seeds for more individual freedom worldwide and inspiring countless individuals to fight for their rights.


However, while the idea of having the power over one’s own body has been around for some time, the term “sovereign individual” was coined by investment advisors James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg in their book “The Sovereign Individual”, published in 1997. They argue that nation states are coming to an end and individuals are becoming sovereign. With the cyberspace arising, people can easily move to where they are treated best since they aren’t earning money in a location-bound way anymore. Furthermore, they predict that individuals will be able to bypass state controls and prophesy that “a cybermoney controlled by private markets will supersede fiat money issued by governments” (p. 24 – 25).


Only 12 years later, a cybermoney starts operating — Bitcoin. Additionally, especially in the last years, with a drastic enhancement of the ability to work online, people’s confinement to a specific location has decreased. While the predictions have not come true absolutely (yet), Davidson and Rees-Mogg describes a vision of the future not seeming unrealistic anymore, way before smartphones were invented.


International Competition


In a time when our lives are often dictated by external forces, the importance of individual sovereignty cannot be overstated. It’s about empowerment, the right to self-determination, and the freedom to pursue your own happiness. States are disrespecting individual sovereignty in increasingly extreme ways. Forced vaccinations in the recent past are an obvious example. When people don’t own their bodies, they cannot be sure to own anything. Bodily autonomy is a cornerstone of a free society.


As long as people do not start moving to other countries there won’t be a need for first-world nations to compete. However, outside of the West, there are nation states actively incentivizing people to relocate. El Salvador, which is trying to get rid of criminal gangs currently and wants to attract bitcoiners especially, or Paraguay, which has been providing very simple ways to obtain residency for some time, are examples of countries competing for people. Trends towards more and less individual sovereignty exist simultaneously. While more and more people in society think they have a right to what you do with your body, international competition begins increasing, too.


Sovereignty In Action


How can we apply this lofty ideal in our everyday lives? It starts with small steps: questioning authority, making informed choices, and standing up for our rights in our community. Whether it’s choosing to homeschool, starting a business, or simply living off-grid, individual sovereignty is about carving your own path. It’s about asserting your right to privacy in an increasingly intrusive world. It’s about making lifestyle choices that align with your values. Decrease your dependence on the state by taking matters in your own hands: grow some fruits yourself, buy directly from your local farmer, and live without depending on the state.


A question that is not easily answered is how to apply individual sovereignty to the digital age. Obviously, you are not the master of your data when you do anything digitally, and while many blockchain projects have been started to address this issue, there has barely been any success. Hence, your are not sovereign digitally. On the other hand, you know that you are giving away your data if you sign up for anything and you do that voluntarily. There is a discord of how a libertarian can behave here. Perhaps, a good way forward is just acting carefully and thinking twice before giving away your data.


Living Autonomously


Individual sovereignty is a personal manifesto. It’s about taking control of your destiny and respecting the sovereignty of others. This is what characterizes a free society, but as long as international competition for citizens is not growing, there is no incentive for Western nations to begin respecting individual sovereignty. Personally, increasing individual sovereignty is achieved by doing more on your own and relying less on the state. What steps are you undertaking to become a sovereign individual?


Think for yourself and question everything, my fellow libertarians!


David Jäkle

David is a recent graduate of Business Administration. Stumbling into Bitcoin and recognizing propaganda around the covid narrative, he began to research Austrian Economic as well as libertarian and anarchist principles, which are not very prevalent in his home country Germany. He authors the blog Libertarian Thinker where he explains libertarian and Austrian economic concepts in a simple way and stands against tyrants on X. Follow his Medium page!