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Sovereign Press was an obscure little book publisher in Rochester, Washington, USA. They were an in-house publisher for the views of a handful of writers who proposed that "individual sovereignty" should be the basis of society. They haven't published any new books since 1993 and have an online presence as the Valorian Society.
How did they define "individual sovereignty?" They rejected both government and the concept of private property, and took the libertarian/anarchist antipathy towards government as an institution of oppression and applied it to all of society and civilization. The only form of law would be agreements between individuals, which would include a proposed "seven points of agreement" that everyone would agree to in their culture. (How this would presumably work if somebody didn't wish to adhere to all seven points is that person would be considered an outcast from the community and would have to find someplace else to live. In order to prevent the obvious from happening, they further propose that intentional communities trying to practice this culture would have to maintain strict separation from the outside world in true cult fashion.) They distinguish between two types of people: "sovereigns" and "shielded". A shielded person is someone for whom a sovereign acts as their agent in dueling, by mutually revocable consent with a sovereign or by their mother (or mother's sovereign) until the age of procreation.
The seven points they propose are most distinguished by a bizarre appeal of last resort in disputes between "sovereigns", which is a peculiar form of duel: The disputants, each equipped only with a short sword and 15 meters of strong cordage, enter from opposites ends of a wilderness area large enough to allow strategy, and at most one returns. No observers are allowed. Refusal to answer a challenge is punishable by death by any means.
Group (jury) adjudication is the appeal of last resort only in cases of murder, mayhem, rape (or other offensive sexual act), "secret restraint" and "conspiracy against individual sovereignty". Any attempt to thwart this system of trial by jury is also outlawed. All breaches are punishable by death within 24 hours of conviction by the jury. (They do admit that intentional communities trying to practice this in today's world would neither be able to legally practice lethal duelling nor carry out their own extrajudicial death penalty, so the duel would be replaced by a nonlethal simulation and the penalty would be banishment from the community. They do look forward to a future time when they can put these proposals into action for real: the book Valoric Fire suggests the aftermath of a nuclear war is a good time.)
The stated objective is to prevent the tendency for demagogues or mobs to arise in any form and, thereby, artificially select humans who are prone to uninhibited individual expressing in a variety of forms up to and including deadly force as well as feminine choice of which genes make it into the next generation. Their claim is the combination of male "sovereigns" practicing duels to the death, and female "soveriegns" having total control over their reproductive rights, both genetically select for "individual sovereignty" and will allow this culture to continue indefinitely.
Sex and human evolution
According to this group, human evolution is currently regressing in the direction of the social insects, and in the opposite direction of most other animals. They believe implementing their proposed "culture of individual sovereignty" will turn this around; otherwise, human culture will become like that of bees, termites, and ants with individual humans physically incapable of survival on their own, citing Aldous Huxley's Brave New World as a warning of such a future. They blame the "Western" and "Oriental" cultures for this development, the Oriental culture having imposed collectivism through the family unit and the Western culture having done so through organized religion and later the scientific establishment, the latter likened to a secular religion.
They were obsessed with sexual intercourse, and seemed to fear that the rise of collectivism will mean the end of it being freely practiced as we know it today. They took a strong stance in favor of women's rights on libertarian, individualist grounds (even if they never used the word "feminism"), particularly women having absolute control over their reproductive rights, seeing it as leading to selection in favor of individuals with "integrity and sexual perception". Women lacking such rights, and instead being pressured or forced into bearing children for men of high status regardless of whether or not that status was indicative of genetic superiority, was seen as favoring the selection of the most submissive women and the most thuggish men, leading to a thuggish, submissive society that was easy prey for collectivist ideologies. On the other hand, they were also stridently homophobic, seeing same-sex relations as a perversion that misused sex as a tool of pleasure instead of procreation and genetic selection.
History and shoehorning
Their books are impossible to classify into any conventional political spectrum but they are a fascinating exercise in shoehorning. Among other things they attempt to shoehorn into their "individual sovereignty" are: Thomas Jefferson and his Jefferson Bible, the teachings of Jesus, pre-Christian Norse mythology, feminism, Wagner's operas, and ancient Japanese samurai culture. Oh, and Santa Claus, can't forget Santa Claus.
They view individual sovereignty as having thrived in pre-Christian northern Europe and western Asia with a group entity (the Roman Empire, and later the Catholic Church) in opposition, demeaning them as "barbarians" as they conquered and destroyed their culture. Ancient Greece and India were imperfect sovereign cultures, ones in which sovereign individuals descended from the ancient Aryans (originally hailing from what is now Iran) ruled over collectivist masses, but both cultures were eventually subsumed by the group-selected people they ruled over, examples that they used to answer the question of why they had to segregate themselves from society. Jesus and his early followers are viewed as having tried to restore individual sovereignty in the face of group entities like the Pharisees, until Paul came along and turned Jesus' teachings into a group entity itself in the form of the Christian religion. The founding of the United States is viewed as an attempt to restore individual sovereignty, but was thwarted by a conspiracy to impose group-entity rule through the founding of the Federal Reserve bank, which, like central banks elsewhere, used money and capitalism to destroy individual sovereignty and impose a collectivist hierarchy. Mass media only finished the job, concentrating power in the hands of the elite. The upper classes under capitalism are deluded into thinking that they hold individual sovereignty because they have financial power, when in fact they are still part of the same system as everybody else — the upper caste, but still a caste.
Speaking of the Pharisees, they also view the Jews as a group entity, and take this in the usual scary directions. They thankfully stop well short of endorsing Nazism, the Nazis after all being another "group entity" opposed to "individual sovereignty". On the other hand, one of their books is entitled Censorship in the United States: I Accuse the Jews, and another, a republishing of the Jefferson Bible, has a rambling introduction about Jewish-this-and-that that has to be seen to be believed. Okay, so anti-Semitic but also anti-Nazi. The two aren't at all mutually exclusive, and this is a case in point. It should be noted that their antipathy is towards "civilization" (any form of specialization-based human ecology), and that their anti-Semitism is due to their perception of Jews as being the exemplar of "civilization".
There, enough shoehorning for you?
Their best known book is probably Camp 38: Current Model of Northern European Lifestyle Before Christianity by Jill von Konen, due to its promotion and sale by now-defunct libertarian publisher Loompanics Unlimited. Published information on this group is rare; they have gotten mentions, mostly in the "check this out this is really too weird even for us" category, from Loompanics, the Church of the SubGenius, Factsheet Five, A-Albionic Research... all the usual suspects.
- "The Valorian Society - Human Culture as Regressive Social Insects", apparently written by a supporter.
- Human History viewed as Sovereign Individuals versus Manipulated Masses, the history of the world viewed through their lens.
- Dr. Bronner's Soap
- Neoreactionary movement
- Not even wrong
- Third positionism
- Time Cube
- Not to be confused with Sovereign Press, Inc., the Wisconsin-based publisher of the Battlestar Galactica role-playing game and several third-party Dungeons and Dragons tie-in products, and Sovereign Media, the Virginia-based publisher of anime magazine OTAKU USA.
- Melvin Gorham, John Harland, Jill von Konen, Erik Holden, and Margurite Pederson, and a few published pseudonymously as the "Valorian Society"
- a jury consists of all sovereigns present at the trial
- rape is defined as any act of procreation the woman chooses to call rape within three months if performed in the absence a revocable, public proclamation of the woman's sexual acceptance of the man so accused
- an individual may restrain others if done openly
- including any agreement granting arbitration authority beyond the aforementioned cases to be tried by jury